What’s Dave Smith Introducing At NAMM This Year?



Dave Smith is introducing a new synth, at this year’s NAMM Show, that – based on this picture – will make grown men gawk in wonder.

According to Smith, the photo documents “Critical listening tests, 3 months ago. Tune in Thursday for the results!”

Here’s closer look at Dave Smith’s new synth:dave-smith-synthesizer



Yes – the giant iMac blocking the new synth is making us angry right about now. It’s a knob-filled keyboard synth, though, which is always a good thing!

We’ll have details on Smith’s new synth from the show. In the meantime – what do you think Dave Smith is introducing – and is there any special significance to these ‘critical listening tests’?

61 thoughts on “What’s Dave Smith Introducing At NAMM This Year?

  1. God I hope it’s another synth aimed at the Minibrute (though I doubt it). Still, this has to be the best time to be an analog synth fan. So many new affordable analogs, it’s never been like this before.

    1. The Mopho keyboard pretty much has that covered. In that area we currently have the mopho keyboard, the minibrute, the sub phatty, and the new ms-20. There are mire than enough cheap mono analog synths right now.

  2. MONO Evolver keyboard MK2???? Please? The discontinuation of the MEK was heartbreaking… especially after it was replaced by the (IMHO bland and generic) mopho…

    I would seriously kill for a new mono-evolver with VCOs instead of DCOs. The quad sequencer, tuned feedback effects, crazy mod possibilities, multiple gain staging options, wavetables, distortion, delays, really cool HPF further down the chain… it was the coolest and most interesting mono out… C’mon Dave!!!

  3. I’m just excited that everyone isn’t showing their hand early this year. Recent NAMM shows it seemed like everything had been revealed by this point in the week, this year I think we’re going to get a few actual surprises.

    1. …or not, due to low expectations for the economy.

      Note how major manufacturers release distincly ‘meh!’ things like 2-channel USB I/O boxes.
      Would they even mention those if they had the next CS-80 lined up?

  4. I reckon it is connected and the 2 jacks are the inputs for footswitch and expression pedal. Could be something like the Tempest with a keyboard, but then again: I’d rather see them making the Tempest bug-free than releasing another bug disaster… Looking forward to tomorrow! 😀

  5. It’s a rompler, designed for backing tracks, and guaranteed to bring a new level of performance to entry-level auto-accompaniment instruments.

  6. Dave Smith spearheaded the anologue modeling and instrument modeling departments for both Korg and Yamaha. It will be interesting to see if he is headed in that direction. And honestly, it is rather sad to see so many here wishing to revert to old technology for progressive sound production. Isn’t the whole point of progress to….well progress? I mean honestly, the reproduction of an MS 20 is a good thing?

    I would rather see new physical synths in new hardware configurations. I am not interested in rehashing old and staid designs.

    1. Reality wasn’t too kind to the Neuron, the FIZMO, the SX-WSA1, the Acxel, and the OASYS-PCI. Cutting edge technology usually isn’t appreciated until it becomes a sought-after classic.

    2. Reproduction of an MS-20 is definitely a good thing. We should certainly innovate, but there’s no need to emulate something if you can do it for real at reasonable cost. For a long time the economics of analog synthesis were poor because of limited parts availability and high labor costs for assembly. Doing virtual analog emulation on a DSP chip made far more economic sense. But thanks to SMT and automation technology, discrete component devices can be manufactured far more affordably than before and so analog makes sense to manufacturers again. We could guess it was going this way as Korg introduced firs the Monotron and then the Monotribe to test the waters and their manufacturing process. It’s very possible that other manufacturers like Roland and Yamaha will follow suit soon.

      It’s not so much that analog is better (most of the gear sitting in front of me is digital right now), but that if you can do it affordably and well it’s better than an emulation, for the same reason that a real piano or guitar has certain advantages over a sample library. I fancy picking up this new MS-20, but I’ll still use my VA gear – it’s just that they’ll now be freed up for other sounds that they produce which would be hard to achieve with analog gear.

  7. i’m guessing it’s going to be a 6 voice poly with an engine similar to the tempest, but with envelopes tailored more for synthy sounds as opposed to drums, and with no sequencer. should be interesting whatever it is!!

  8. Evolver mk2 please…

    Digital noise source
    more delay time to be manipulated more like a sampler
    more modular routing for the delay/sampler turn 2 oscillators into 22 with feedback and delay.
    true through zero FM more EGs
    more knobs

    Yes, the evolver is not a moog, but it was never suppose to be. It is something analog and digital, it is harsh, really harsh, it is essentially the only modular effects processor that I know of. It is a fantastic little box that needs to live on.

    1. I play guitar through my evolver desktop and have a poly evolver rack. I would love anything they do that replaces or one-ups their flagship synth.

  9. It’s a tough guess given his existing designs. Hope that it might be a knobtacular 6 voice
    Poly with a VCO design. Whater is it, we can be sure that Dave taps deep into the fountain of synthesis.

  10. Look at his shoulders. He’s reaching with the left to tweak while holding whatever keys down with his right. Which means whatever it is, it’s a long keyboard: 4 octaves at least.

  11. Dave said he has no interest in redoing an evolver because he’s been there, done that. So I imagine there will be something new and exciting here.

  12. cheap poly so that I can it instead of crap ‘vintage’ synths which are broken or have vile interfaces and buttons and sliders. Just hope its affordable, or else I’ll going King Korg

  13. like others have suggested, my guess is some kind of mutant Tempest/ Tetra keyboard offspring. would love vco, but the betting is on dco. will be something to compete with elektron’s analog4 and the new korg micro ms20 and the older monotribe. something in the “neo-analog groovebox” category. should be solid and cool, whatever it is.

    1. This thing is über sex. I was hoping for a T8 redux, with the most beautiful keybed to grace a modern synth, but this is a good second.

    1. Top comment. Yeah, I had a Prophet08, and I couldn’t say which annoyed me more — the 2% chance that an encoder move would give me something random, or the army of knobs in rigid rows where there was no connection between position and function. It was a forest, with no clues. Every knob had equal importance in the prophet08, erm, non-design. I just never warmed up to it. I find the same issue with a lot of eurorack stuff with knobs in a row. There’s a real sweet spot between uniform rows, and ultra-craziness. I find my Odyssey and SEM to be right there — logical flow, good design that gives the hand-brain enough clues to build up some happy learning. The prophet 12 design looks like a blessed relief. Dave might have done a slight disservice to himself in demoing a lot of digital, bite-y sounds, but that’s probably just my taste.

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