Sequential Tempest Drum Machine Retired

Sequential today announced that it is retiring the Tempest, their 6-voice analog drum synth.

The Tempest was co-developed by Sequential founder Dave Smith and famed drum machine designer Roger Linn.

“Our users have put Tempest to a lot of really creative uses over the years,” notes Smith. “But a time comes when every good instrument deserves its place in the great electronic retirement community in the sky.”

“On the bright side,” adds Smith, “we’re as busy as ever designing new products, and we’ll be telling you about some of these in the next couple of months.”

The Tempest has been criticized by some for what it can’t do, but has also won many devotees for what its powerful sound engine can do.

The Sequential Tempest drum machine will be available as stock lasts.

47 thoughts on “Sequential Tempest Drum Machine Retired

  1. The Tempest was such a unique thing. I’d say those who gave it the time, and didnt try to make it an MPC enjoyed it. I know i did.

  2. If they made another version that was more focused on the drum machine and less on the analog synth, id be on it in a second. I do remember this being a fun box, but also remembered the headaches that came with trying to program kits. The rytm has a great sound, more focus and lots of tweakability, but you at least start with a drum and build an even better drum, not start with a synth and build a drum but end up with a squelchy bass. Can’t wait to see whats next and how much it’ll be.

    1. In terms of percussion-focused synthesis architecture I’m still waiting for anyone to beat the Nord Drum. In my opinion this is by far the best non-sample-based drum engine anyone has ever designed to date.

        1. The Machinedrum has sample-based, FM and Physical modeling engines, no real VA engine emulating early all-analogue drum machines. Also in the ND you can go much deeper in sound editing. So I maintain my first statement.

          1. I don’t like the game of calling an instrument the best (even if you said “in my opinion”)

            You have subtraction machines on the MD called TRX,
            Can you guess what the “TR” stands for? :).
            13 different ones to be exact with up to 16 parameters on two pages for each one of the 16 channels (LFO’s and a sequencer that act as a modulation source and much more…)

            The nord drum is just also nice to have.

            1. I could craft more interesting sounds in Nord leads drum kit mode than the TR family from MD, so I can probably imagine the Nord Drum many years later blowing away the competition from Machinedrum .Havin said that I almost kept my MD 10 years and it was my favorite drum machine as a total instrument. But it’s sound was not its best quality.

              1. there is no such a thing “sound quality” in instruments, also there is no competition (not for us anyway)
                you just making excuses for your preferences and taste.
                maybe you just don’t like to read manuals and prefer the simpler option or the one you use too.

          2. Well that’s wrong. Seems like you’re selling it a bit short.

            The Machinedrum does actually have a full compliment of VA machines known as TR-X.

            From the manual:

            TRX is inspired by classic analogue drum machine synthesis. With TRX we have not tried to recreate any specific existing drum machine, but to create a classic sound with extended and relevant controls

            There are 13 different TRX “machines” focusing on the different drum sounds from kick to cowbell

            There is the E12 engine which is sample based on classic era drum machines. Many of which were digital sample based.

  3. I hope they put a tempest 2 out. There’s few truly analog drum machines with character out there. If i had the knowhow i could build a whole lineup that would wreck the analog market… But i got a lot more important things to mend right now. It sucks to be someone with big ideas held aside by having a kid with cancer. Suddenly nothing you want to accomplish matters anymore. Just getting to cured. Maybe in a few years depending on how things go. Or i can send my ideas to others to see if they can run with them. In any case ive missed my chance at owning one of these gems. My sons med bills are a tempest a year, hehe. Thank god for annual maximums.

    1. My heart goes out to you and your family. I’ve also had to put some of my ideas into suspended animation, due to life’s ‘oblique strategies’, so I get where you’re coming from. I’m just trying to leave myself good notes/documentation for when I get the chance to resume.

    1. I just reread this. I cannot believe how dismissive DSI/Sequential was to all aspects of their devoted user base asking for them to listen… it’s all right there in the thread. It was so wrong at the time and it stands even more shockingly offensive all these years later.

    2. i was just going to ask about this, did they every provide the requested fixes or just stonewall their users and then drop the machine when nobody was looking any longer?

      1. Actually, poor Roger Linn, ever the gentleman was left to address the many issues that should have been addressed by Dave Smith. Roger even made a video apology and he attempted to address some of the outstanding issues. Dave Smith for his part was caught on camera during a product demo/sales presentation to an vendor deriding owners and insinuating that those whom spend the least complain the most.

        I like Dave Smith, yet the momentary wanker in him is strong at times.

    3. DSI updates, service and support are great, most of this are feature request. not bug fix. the bugs are not that serious (all complex machines have bugs, simply all of them!!) and i didn’t experience most of them.
      a lot of work put in to the tempest, people are just feeling entitled.
      this was after 5 years. rytm is also nice, i have both, i don’t see a reason to choose only one drum machine.
      it’s better drum machine then a polysynth, programing drums can be hard for some….

      1. The final push was not feature requests at all. It was focused on fixing bugs, implementing features that were in the original manual, and correcting things that were not behaving as a user would expect. It was basically the loyal user base begging DSI/Sequential to do what most reputable companies do before they even release the product in the first place… they make sure that the product works as advertised. It was always very strange to me that DSI/Sequential did not take these matters seriously… both from a legal perspective as well as a brand reputation perspective.

      2. You’re making it sound like you’re the only one here who could possibly know how to program a drum machine. Programming drums is not difficult.

        The main problem programming drums with the Tempest was that the panel controls were better suited to making poly keyboard sounds. With the Tempest you could load a Kick drum and two knob turns later you had something completely unrecognisable as a drum sound.

        It wasn’t fine tuned for making drum sounds. Which goes to show DSI really didn’t even think about that when making it. They just shoved a poly synth engine into a box with Pads.

        And the sample memory.. don’t get me started. Such a tiny, miserable amount

        The final update was only bug fixes. And there were tons of them.

        “a lot of work put in to the tempest, people are just feeling entitled”

        For the money the Tempest cost, you were entitled to a lot more than DSI gave.
        It really wasn’t a lot of work they did at all. Tempest did half the things that were advertised on release.
        We found out through the DSI user forum, that only one guy at DSI worked on firmware for the entire range of products. We also found out he was ” far too busy” with other DSI updates to work on the Tempest.

        If I think of the valuable updates I’ve received to my Rytm since I bought it in 2014, it puts DSI to shame

        The Tempest it seems was a thorn in DSI’s side. They couldn’t wait to get rid of it.

        1. I didn’t make it sounds like anything or saying programing drums it’s hard.
          I said it’s hard for some. And it is, What are you on about??

          Tempest is optimized for drums, The osc retrigger internally, parallel gating, HP filter, amp feedback, more deeply curved, quicker env, compressor, distort and so on… I guess they just didn’t put emphasis on that on the advertising, It’s just based on the same circuits. it’s not acting like the Evolver or prophet at all when programing short burst drums,
          it’s sound the same on every hit and within phase so you get this feeling of tightness and speed.
          The samples are a bonus for me. You don’t need to use them untouched and the single cycle waveform worth it alone. There are plenty of user preset that prove how great the analog side of it for drums alone.

          it is entitlement. assessing the time and effort to make a device and by how many “guys”, support it for so long, How much put into it and if it’s “worth” it’s cost without understanding all the variables.
          I remember the same talk” about Elektron and Jomox analog drum machines over and over again.
          I always felt so grateful to have all this dreamy machines. They still all have bugs and i couldn’t care less. Yes, I do admit this whining maybe made it better (maybe too complex like Roger linn suggested) but we should all be grateful such machines even exist.

  4. I don’t know if they should have released Tempest in the first place. It seems like a cool product, but also an un-finished product with lots of midi issues, if you looked around on forums.

    1. yeh they left its firmware stranded…unfinished. IMHO it did a lot of damage to their brands and the buying publics trust that the next product would work properly.

      Anyways whilst it stood with only a few at the time and therefore could justify the $$$ its now in amongst the forest of Volcas and Behringer for way less money

  5. The Tempest was for me forcing drum sounds out of a polysynth structure. It made similar sounds to a Prophet. If they made a dedicated drum structure with the ability to load your own samples, it would have been better. When I got mine I was surprised by the cheap looking plastic front. It needs metal.

    1. Analog drum machines used a simple subtract synth, you can’t make good drums with the tempest, the instruments is not the problem.
      it’s all metal and very heavy duty, the front overlay sticker is lexan, very durable material used in cockpits and industrial controls. it will survive much longer then the silk screen prints on the new ones.

  6. Go on youtube and type in Tempest videos and then shoot for Analog Rytm videos. Big difference. There was no excitement around these boxes. I watched a 4 part video on how to make a kick drum – 4 parts! And a majority of the videos big on the synth side of the box and not the drums. I still got one just to see for myself and figured it out $2k poorer. Sold it shortly after. Felt the same about the Toriaz sp-16. Dropped, looked cool, no support, people bailed and no excitement to even tempt a purchase.

  7. Funny all these comments. None of the criticisms are wrong but it’s the one synth I have that I could never come to sell

  8. This was just out of my price range for a drum machine. But I enjoyed having a go with it in the shop.
    I didn’t know that firmware development lag had been a problem. This was one of the early revivals though. It will be interesting to see what’s next.

  9. I was a relatively early adopter of the Tempest. I liked it for the most part, even with it’s early OS flaws. I used it’s samples for drum sounds and it’s analog synths for, well, synths. Ultimately, I sold it after a year and a half, as I needed the money and kind of felt like I wasn’t using it enough to justify the price tag.

    I’ve sold some stuff in the past that I miss from time to time, like my Korg EMX or my DSI desktop Evolver… but the Tempest isn’t one of them, and I don’t know why. I did get some nice chiptune stuff out of the Tempest, I don’t know if it’s cool to post Youtube links here, but I have a playlist of them:

    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE542Tpn4F954AuHGV2zPMIDvDvIoFxbi

    But even then, if I want to make chiptunes, there are free programs out there that are purpose made for that. The Tempest is like a dream that almost came true. And shortly after it was released, we got that first wave of the current affordable analog gear, and DSI just leaned into that expensive, higher end market… it was fun while it lasted.

    1. Those are pretty amazing tunes. All sequenced internally? No external MIDI?

      The drum sounds you’re using are the internal samples right?

      1. Thanks for the compliment! It’s all sequenced internally, and yes, the drums are samples. I was never satisfied with the purely analog drums I made on the Tempest.

  10. Had it three times, sold it three times. The concept has/had so much potential, and great sound, but despite my best efforts we just did not get along good enough.. somewhat too restrained in some ways. So, for me, it remained a €2400 groovebox..

  11. The tempest has long been abandoned – before it was even finished, starting from the early days. I was one of their first customers to get this synth and I still have it. Its software has many flaws and was never really finished. Then customers had to sign a petition only a few years in (something I never heard of in the industry – that is quite something!), and now it is officially abandoned. It is time that customers abandoned DSI and Roger Linn too. Unless they open-source the synth to allow people making something truly amazing with the hardware.
    PS.: Their last OS update, dubbed BETA and Final at the same time (LOL!!!), came out 4 years ago. This statement, that they have abandoned it now, is quite bold in that context: https://forum.sequential.com/index.php?topic=586.0

  12. As a analog drum machine it never was a succes with me, the analog rytm was way better imo. I think its just better to engineer dedicated analog circuits to produce drum sounds then have can do it all circuits.

    The Tempest was a difficult task for Sequental with the realtime OS, but let me say this to Dave and his colleague’s don’t let this get you down!

    I still hope Sequential makes a killer grove box next, having analog and digital in it, or a killer synth in a very small formfactor, please Dave please don’t be afraid of the little boxes!! 🙂

  13. As a relatively late Tempest adopter (I picked mine up about a year after the online petition was created) I can’t speak to the frustration that many must have experienced with the Tempest at the time. However I think it’s a great and very unique machine and to call it “unfinished and abandoned” is a bit of an overstatement.

    It has a sound and workflow all its own and while there are still features I wish it had, everything it currently does is useable and sounds great in the right hands. I’ve got an Elektron AR as well and I think comparing the two has always been apples & oranges, but I can see why people would prefer the immediacy and additional features in the AR. Tempest is halfway between a drum machine and a synth groovebox, and the nebulous nature of it is kind of where the magic (as well as the confusion) about it comes from.

    It’s a uniquely polarizing instrument with valid criticisms, but there’s plenty to love about it.

    1. Not sure what your point was but he kinda concludes in that video that the Rytm was way better and more immediate for getting drum sounds out of while the Tempest was a lot more tedious and lent itself more to background ambience and bass as opposed to drums. He even said that if he had got the Rytm before he had the Tempest he wouldn’t have bothered getting the Tempest.

      1. It’s like a beauty contest, who care about who’s the best, They are all amazing 🙂
        The sound of the tempest drums in this video is simply stunning,

  14. Tempest is corrupt with regard to all non 4/4 time sigs.Last year I bought Tempest with its odd time signature capabilities in mind.Sent it back after using it for 2 weeks due to broken loop screen function and frequent freezing when playing anything beyond 4/4.
    Using the loop screen function caues the sound to disappear or even the machine to freeze totally. And the “loop screen” is vital when step programming lenghty beats. The bug is even present in some of the factory preset beats.
    I contacted the Sequential support, but they told me that the development is over and this bug is not going to be fixed.
    Such an disappointment… I have immediately happened to like the Tempest’s sound and interface.
    I have to say that I still like Sequential as a brand though, I own OB-6 and Prophet-6 and find them my favorite synths.

  15. The Tempest is my favorite instrument for drums hands down. It’s also my favorite groovebox. I stayed away for years because of the complaints. So glad I took a chance before it was discontinued. I cant imagine ever selling it.

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