Can Your Drum Machine Do This? (DSI Tempest As A Synth Module)

Can your drum machine do this?

This video, via tblv9300, takes a look at using the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest drum machine as a 6-voice polyphonic synth module. 

The DSI Tempest is based on analog voices tailored to percussion, but the drum machine has a lot of synthesis capabilities that go beyond traditional drum syth sounds, as this video demonstrates.

Technical Details:

No effects added. Tempest stereo outputs to USB audio interface into Ableton Live.

24 thoughts on “Can Your Drum Machine Do This? (DSI Tempest As A Synth Module)

  1. It was always billed as a Dave Smith synth with design by Roger Linn. Its like a 6-voice Tetra with pads. Its one of the great things that can arise when two designers who know about Feel divvy up the labor. You’re missing half of its power if you don’t hook it to a controller and switch its roles around on the fly.

  2. It’s really more like a PolyEvolver or new Pro-12 than a Tetra, in that it has 4 OSCs per voice – 2 analog and 2 digital (samples). 🙂

  3. I’ve heard there are tons of issues with the Tempest OS. have they sorted these issues out? I was looking into buying one of these a while ago but the Operating System problems made me hesitate and I bought an analog 4 instead.

        1. There’s most definitely some bugs in Tempest OS, but it’s completely capable of doing a lot of things, and it’s only getting better with time. I think some of the OS complaints are well founded, as well as a lot of complaints coming from misplaced expectations or people who just like to complain about everything always.

          I LOVE my Tempest, it works great and it’s a LOT of FUN to play!

            1. Still no control of parameters via MIDI.
              When recording slider movements it still works in stepped fashion.
              No free running LFO’s, although there are some workarounds using external gear into the footswitch.
              When muting a sound, it MUTES the sound with no trailing off, some people want this behavior changed.
              When Tempest is slaved, the timing is a bit funky on stopping and starting the master clock.
              Sometimes params reset themselves or change values when changing beats.
              When going from one beat to another while sequencing external gear, the first note going to external gear is dropped on the first pass.
              There’s bugs here and there and a few people experience them more than others. The menu screen can get wacky sometimes, occasional stuck notes, unquantized recording is a new feature that seems to cause a few glitches. Some users seem to think the latest beta OS is less stable, but worth the risk.

              The latest beta OS definitely raises the bar for Tempest making it feel like it’s pretty much what it was intended to be. I’m sure most of the current bugs will get sorted.

              There’s also a long thread about up and coming ideas for sequencer out as well as sequencer functionality and workflow enhancements.
              Things like CC#’s out for sequencing external gear, possibly another Seq out channel, methods for assigning parameters to sliders, some sort of parameter lock workflow, setting note duration workflow, etc.

              All in all I think it’s really shaping up, and it’s A LOT of FUN!!!
              The above video is just another great example.

              1. Hi!
                thanks for the list of issues, i have only one question: when you said “Still no control of parameters via MIDI”, you mean also the changing of a song/pattern ? thank you in advance

  4. Thanks for the video. This sounds great. It reminds me of SQ80 I. I wonder if it the programmer or just the character of the synth. 6 voices is all I ever seem to need.

  5. Would be nice to get some sound banks to download … For those, who wouldn’t be as good or wouldn’t want to spend that much time on designing all their own sounds. I’ve got the Tempest and I love it a lot, but programming sounds is really not that super straightforward.

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