DSI Tempest Drum Machine Update In The Works

Dave Smith Instruments Tempest drum machine

We recently reported on a petition, organized by owners of the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest drum machine, asking for DSI to prioritize Tempest OS updates.

There was a huge amount of discussion on the post – and DSI’s Carson Day provided a very detailed response. In his comments, he addressed each of the issues listed in the petition, noting whether they’re known issues and whether the company considers them bugs or feature requests.

His response was qualified, though, by this statement: “We will be revisiting the Tempest OS, and hopefully soon, but the Change.org petition has no bearing on our timeframe, and we can’t specifically guarantee when will dive back in.”

A month later, though, it looks like the wheels are in motion for some updates to the Tempest. 

Roger Linn & DSI ‘Working Hard’ On A Tempest Update

dave-smith-instruments-tempest-drum-machineThis morning, Sonic State reported that the Tempest firmware was ‘back in development‘, based on comments from Tempest co-designer Roger Linn:

To be honest, a big part of the problem is that I’ve been so busy with LinnStrument for the past couple of years that I haven’t been giving Tempest the attention I should have as designer, and I think that is reflected in problems in the last Tempest update.

So I owe Tempest owners an apology.

Dave and his guys were already working on a new update, but with the kind assistance of one of the writers of the petition, I’ve stepped back in to help insure that the next update does what it needs to.

I’d love to give you a release date for this update but there are still too many unanswered questions. So the best I can say now is that we’re working hard on it and this is very important to me personally.


We followed up to Dave Smith Instruments to make sure we included their perspective on this, and got this response from Carson Day:

DSI supports all of its products, and occasionally releases updates as needed as we have development time available.

Since the Tempest was a joint development project with Roger, he is also involved in the process.

So, nothing more to add really; we were already planning an update for the Tempest when this petition popped up, and Roger (as you saw) is actively involved.

While neither DSI or Linn are making any promises about when a Tempest update will be released, both confirm that they are working together on it.

27 thoughts on “DSI Tempest Drum Machine Update In The Works

  1. Carson, your demos are awesome (thanks!) and were instrumental (pardon the pun) in me buying some DSI gear, and making me want to buy a Tempest in the past (especially your version of Came Back Haunted).

    This defensive, and I’m sorry to say arrogant attitude of “our customers screaming for help with this unfinished product won’t influence us” put me off buying one – an instrument is supposed to help me be creative, not annoy me with bugs and waste my time on forums trying to find workarounds and predict if a fix will ever arrive! If I wanted to listen to political spin I’d switch on Fox News.

    Now Roger steps in and says the right thing, and presumably will follow up with the right actions. I will wait until I see it, because although I get the feeling that Roger is very genuine and trustworthy this whole mess is frankly… weird. But once it’s fixed, count me in for one of these amazing machines.

    Remember that the people buying your gear are not just faceless cash-machines. We are people like you, who are part of the same community and have a lot of respect for you guys and your work. We expect the same sort of respect in return.

    All the best!

  2. Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the note. The point is that the customers “screaming” is not the catalyst for an updated OS to be released. We have been open about our commitment to the continued development of the Tempest (to those who contacted us directly) and have been actively planning and working on an OS update for some time. The last Tempest OS update was released around 14 months ago and we are getting to the point in our production cycle when an update is due.

    We are very happy to have Roger’s support in testing and design for the upcoming OS release and I think the petition has been influential in that respect. In no way do we think our customer’s are “faceless cash-machines”, which is exactly why the Tempest OS has been under active development even without customer’s “screaming” for it.

    Thanks for the kind words regarding some of my demos, I genuinely appreciate it. Best!

    1. Hi Carson,

      If that were the case (and what you say is genuine and not ever more spin), then there would still be updates in the works for other dsi machines that also have frustrated owners ‘sceaming’ for support. I can concur feeling like said ‘faceless cash machine’ as a dsi owner when there seems to be a steady stream of new instruments coming out while your forums are littered with us faceless begging for support.

      I’m not talking anything esoteric, but simply an expectation of what was promised. For example, simply cleaning up the combo functionality of the Poly Evolver and Tetra to make it effectively usable. I bought both on the premise and promise of that functionality, under the impression I was buying 4 evolvers, mophos, as advertised. The experience of trying to use them as such has been exasperating to say the least. Check the forums. And support has been dropped for these instruments some time ago.

      It’s not hard to feel frustrated, unheard, ignored, and unsupported as a Dave Smith Instruments owner. Which is a shame since there’ so much to almost adore about them. Just a little follow through would do wonders for the end user experience and reputation of dsi. You talk a good talk, Carson. It’s a shame that Dave’s not backing it up. Just my experience (and a whole lot of others based on the forums).

  3. I almost bought a Tempest before I read about all the bugs. If they fix them I may buy one, but I’m hesitant to buy anything from DSI given their F you attitude toward their unhappy customers. Some of the complaints in the petition were stupid, but more than a few were legit issues that would drive me up the wall after dropping 2k on a piece of gear. I would expect it not to have so many bugs, but more importantly, I’d expect the company to fix the bugs in a timely manner before shifting attention to a new project. Then factor in the dismissive attitude on top of it all. DSI isn’t the only game in town, and every year there are more players with comparable offerings. Don’t bite the hands that feed you.

    1. To be fair to DSI, the Tempest has some legit bugs, but some of the so-called ‘bugs’ people are asking are things like polyphonic glide for when you’re using the Tempest as a poly synth.

      1. No one is asking for polyphonic glide. Legato glide was specified in the manual. We are asking for the Tempest to match what was promised. We also are expecting it to behave like a $2000 instrument, even on items that were not specified in the manual but are intuitively expected… Like swing on roll…

  4. I have done nothing but praise the customer service and customer relationship efforts of Carson at DSI… But, I’d like point out the difference in approach between the comments of Roger Linn and the comments of DSI, here represented by Carson. Roger approaches his customers with humility and respect. Carson is still trying to convince everyone that the Tempest users had nothing to do with them working on the unit. I just don’t see the value in continuing to behave that way. Every person that signed that petition and that has gotten super pissed actually still LOVES their Tempest and passionately fights for it. It’s time for DSI to extend some gratitude to the faithful owners that have beta tested their machine for the last five years and fought for it to be great while they have all but given up on it. Please… Lower your defenses and treat this user base like the friends of DSI that they actually are.

  5. People, please stop forcing the hard working engineers DSI to reconsider the semantics of their statement, so they can use their time more constructively to develop another update for the instruments we love. They are an SMB not a large multinational with a dedicated PR team. DSI deliver the (most important) goods and this hiccup will no doubt be forgiven and forgotten!

  6. “DSI support all their products” !?!?

    Yeah right… I reported several bugs in the MIDI specs of the Evolver series, and was promised fixes for MORE THAN 4 YEARS! … they never came… I had so many problems with the Tempest as well, that I gave up on it… loop points in the wave samples being wrong and glitchy, MIDI DIN not working with SysEx (which again was promised to me being fixed as soon as they were finished with the updates for Pro2 and P12… since DSI made both Prophet 6 and OB6, modules and now Pioneer too)… this update has still not been done.

    I have to add that all other current products have been well serviced by DSI… but the bug fixing of the Evolvers and Tempest is simply not good enough, PERIOD!

    My recommendation for buyers is simple: You get what you see… see updates as a bonus, do NOT expect them to fix the bug that annoy YOU… either it may be deemed to be “expected behavior”, or a “minor bug” that is not “worth” fixing… so do your research before you buy, read the forums for current bugs etc. if you want to be safe.

      1. Should I really have to sign a petition to have a device of that price fixed to what it said it would do when I bought it? .. I think not.

        I’ve been a VERY thorough member of the DSI forums, both the old and the new, so I know very well about the petition… I was also asked to participate in finding the complete list of bugs, which I regret I did not find the time to do unfortunately…

        I’ve had the Tempest TWICE, but got rid of it again both times, so I don’t have any real reason to participate… the petition was launched after I sold my Tempest for the second time.

        And before anyone ask why the hell I bought it twice: Carson (CBMD) actualy assured me in private emails, that the bugs I sold it the first time for, had been fixed with the latest bug-fix…. I took the chance, and lo and behold; nothing had been fixed anyway…

        I feel I have all the right in the world to be upset about both Tempest and Evolver bugfixes (or the lack thereoff I’d rather say)… Also, I’ve been complaining so often about it on the old forums, that I had to withstand a hoarde of fanboys who could not take even the slightest of offence to their “DSI Gods”… I’ve rattled this cage for so many years now, that I’ve actualy given up quite some time ago… but I just could not resist giving a last rattle when I saw this thread, because it made me smile… really it did! … finaly DSI actualy appologices for this… they feel threatened, and that delights me, it’s well deserved!

        But other than that… I LOVE DSI products… they are the best in both sound and MIDI specs… which is why I think it’s such a shame, that they don’t give a s*** about two of their masterpieces… Tempest and Evolver… I complain out of love for those machines! I still have my PER, and I might even get the Tempest again, but not until I’mm 100% certain those bugs have been fixed.

        Hope this clarifies.

  7. it’ll suck even if they fix the bugs. straight up just doesn’t sound very good; oscillators are buzzy without depth, filter is fragile and brittle in the top end and doesn’t really have any warmth when it saturates, the output distortion sounds like a cheap guitar fx pedal, the one-knob compressor is terrible, the midi delay is totally pointless, the samples aren’t that good and you can’t load your own, the sequencer is pretty limited. i sold my one, wish i’d never bought it. it s u c k s.

      1. can you name some examples? personally i’ve seen the tempest only in the hands of people with too much money, less talent, and even less released tracks … (but of course, i don’t know ALL the users)

  8. I think it’s a great thing to see that a) users get together to adress a request in a way that it is heard and that things are moving now b) Dave and Roger and DSI always treat their customers with respect and never stopped the communication (like some other companies do…) and c) the great Tempest now even will get better !

  9. DSI are actually phenomenal at customer support – all this DSI bashing is getting tired. Why did you buy a Tempest without researching its limitations first? Yeesh.

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