Dave Smith Tetra4 Synth: Compact Size, Quadruple the Mopho Pleasure

Quadruple quadruple your refreshment, quadruple quadruple your enjoyment… sorry, I started quoting old Doublemint Gum jingles. As expected, Dave Smith has released his Tetra (“Tetr4” in the l33t speak on the case). The name says it all: the Tetra takes the popular Mopho synth and packs four of them into a single, compact case. The Mopho was featured in the CDM Winter Guide and was one of the favorite reader products of 2008. Its strength is that it’s a great-sounding synth in a small box with all the basic analog goodness. The Tetra simply takes that design and squeezes four …

READ MORE →

Roger Continues LinnDrum II Work, But Release Slips

The Linn 9000 shipped way back in 1984, but could nearly pass for a shipping product today. So, since the LinnDrum II mock-ups look nothing like the current design, let’s feast our eyes on this instead. Roger Linn, father of the modern drum machine and creator of some of its greatest models (including the MPC60 and MPC3000), really is working on a new generation. I’ve seen some of that design work, and I’m confident it’ll ship in some form. But announced yesterday, that shipment won’t happen third quarter this year. Also, it seems that, while this was always a LinnDrum …

READ MORE →

Arturia Origin, Guest Review: From Soft Synth to Hard Synth, at a Price

Ever wished you could pack the sonic goodness and programming power of a soft synth into a hardware box? Dreamed of software that lived in a road case and had the stability and power-on capability of your outboard gear? You’re certainly not alone. That meant many of us were intrigued when soft synth emulator house Arturia showed off the Origin, a DSP-based hardware box that put their emulations in a box that wasn’t a PC. There’s plenty to recommend this device, with an onboard step sequencer and terrific sounds. And then you hit the US$2500 street price – hardly recession-friendly, …

READ MORE →

Mopho, the $400 Dave Smith Analog Synth: Extra Details

Hot dog purveyor Gray’s Papaya in New York is beloved for its “Recession Special”: two dogs and a drink. Their champagne is made from coconuts. And you don’t just scarf these down in bear markets; you enjoy them any time. Dave Smith’s monophonic Mopho synth is perhaps the greatest recession special in the history of synthesis. It’s got the soul of a single voice from the Prophet ’08 analog synth, but with sub-octave generators, distortion that they claim ranges to “extreme skronk,” and the ability to process audio input. Interestingly, that means its “skronkiness” and input processing address some of …

READ MORE →

LinnDrum 2: New Design, New “Beat-Centric” DAW-Synth, 2009?

The treachery of mock-ups: Roger Linn Design today released a new image of a design that Dave and Roger won’t be using. The LinnDrum II (once the BoomChik) has become a somewhat mystical beast, looming over the horizon and taunting fans of synth and beat hardware. The collaboration between beat machine guru Roger Linn (of LinnDrum and MPC fame) and synth guru Dave Smith (of Dave Smith fame), the box has gone through various design revisions, each leaked and dissected by, well, people like me. Saturday brought a new set of news, as spotted by Tony Mission on Gearslutz. Here’s …

READ MORE →

Dave Smith/Linn LinnDrum II Pre-order List Now; Specs

We’ve been eagerly awaiting the LinnDrum II since it was called the BoomChik. We called the non-functional prototype one of the best products of this January’s NAMM – reasoning being that, based on what we heard from showgoers, a silent LinnDrum still beat more evolutionary blandness from the rest of the industry. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say some of us were getting a wee bit impatient waiting for some kind of news. Now that news appears to be here — a rough estimate on availability and pre-order details. (Updated: Specs had been posted previously, as Cory observes …

READ MORE →

Tenori-On is Shipping in US; Tenori-On Meets Kyma Synth

Tenori-on Meets Kyma from Nomad Cinema on Vimeo. US distributor Keyfax NewMedia reports that it has Yamaha’s Tenori-On in stock and shipping out now. (Pre-orders began at the beginning of May, but this is apparently the first the US unit has made it to our shows — unless you happened to win one from createdigitalmusic.com, that is, in April, in which case you know who you are.) Every time I mention Tenori-On, despite the awe and lust it inspires in some musicians, someone raises the point of its somewhat retro-styled, simple sound bank. Fair enough: the minimal sounds are fantastic …

READ MORE →

LinnDrum II: Former BoomChik Gets More Delayed But More Mature

Amazing how time crawls when you’re eagerly awaiting something. Such is the case with the BoomChik: it seems like ages ago that drum machine legend Roger Linn and synth legend Dave Smith “pre-announced” this synth/drum machine. It was actually just this time last year. Unfortunately, you’re going to be waiting a little longer: feedback from musicians and the release of Linn’s AndrenaLinn III and Smith’s Prophet ’08 (easily two of the biggest products of last year) has delayed the BoomChik. Now the good news: in addition to a new name, the new design looks far more mature. And it’s going …

READ MORE →

Dave Smith the Synth Prophet Reflects on Music Tech, in English and Spanish

There are few names who have had so profound an impact on music technology as Dave Smith. Three decades after the introduction of the Prophet-5, and nearly 25 years after the first MIDI product shipped, his new creations remain some of the most sought-after musical instruments available. The new Prophet ’08 is capable of producing just as much excitement as some of those earlier landmarks. That’s why we’re pleased to offer this entirely non-exclusive interview with — Yes, that’s right. I said “non exclusive.” The word “exclusive” gets thrown around a lot, usually meaning something that really isn’t terribly exclusive …

READ MORE →

Dave Smith Prophet 08 is Here: All Analog, All Modern Synth Shipping

The Special Edition Prophet 8 synth from Dave Smith features a hand-signed nameplate and glowing red pitch and mod wheels. Who says progress is bad? Synth designer Dave Smith’s Prophet ’08 synth is a new instrument inspired by his legendary Prophet series, but there are a number of clues that indicate it’s not 1978. First, driven by Internet buzz, word-of-mouth preorders are already taking off. (DSI hasn’t yet added the Prophet ’08 to their price list because they’re scrambling to fill the early orders.) That means, ironically, the Web generation is better able to support “boutique” synths now than even …

READ MORE →