Dave Smith Tempest

Analog Drum machine (2011)

A drum machine born from two legends:  Dave Smith and Roger Linn, saldy plagued by bugs never corrected. Machine went out of production in 2020 with no further update.


OVERVIEW classy machine with wood side,  256 x 64 dot OLED display, a lot of knobs! Linn-like sixteen pressure- and velocity-sensitive lit pads are arranged in a 2 x 8 configuration. The pads can be used to play thirty-two drum sounds (two banks), mute/unmute the thirty-two sounds on playback, play and arrange sixteen beats in real time, play one sound at sixteen tunings (in a variety of scales) or sixteen velocities, or as sixteen time steps for step programming. The ROLL button permits creating drum rolls or repeated groove patterns by varying pad pressure as the beat records, and doubles as a momentary “stutter” effect when the pads are assigned to play beats.

Terminal connectors:
    USB type B r
    MIDI In, Out
    Main audio outputs: 1/4″ phone jack (unbalanced)
    6 individual voice audio outputs: 1/4″ stereo phone jack (unbalanced)
    Two pedal/control voltage (3.3 VDC max.) input (1/4″ TRS phone jack)
    Headphone output: 1/4″ TRS stereo phone jack


OSCILLATORS Each of the six analog voices DCO  has two analog oscillators (shapes: sawtooth, triangle, saw/triangle, and variable pulse width square waves, with hard sync)   + One sub-octave generator per voice (one octave below oscillator 1)+  two digital oscillators (with 450 included samples at 16-bit ),  with audio-rate modulation,  analog VCA with feedback.

ENVELOPE Five envelope generators per voice (ADSR plus hold)

LFO  2 LFOs per voice with matrix modulation.

FILTER classic Curtis analog lowpass filter + an additional highpass filter.

DSI analog board on the left, the 6 channels

Effects, sequencer and memory 

EFFECTS  Stereo analog compressor and distortion circuits affect the stereo output mix; Beat-synced delay is achieved by generating additional delayed note events within the sequencer. A beat-synced “stutter” effect is created entirely within the sequencer by looping short portions of the drumbeat.

SEQUENCER  up to 32T (triplets) the highest resolution. Two pressure- and position-sensitive Note FX slide controllers permit real-time recording of note or beat-wide sound parameter changes into the drumbeat as you play. For example, record simultaneous filter frequency, tuning, envelope decay, and pan changes for each note. The Playback key permits using the slider to override these parameters on playback, which can be recorded back into the beat. Plus, the sliders can be used in performance to alter beat-wide sound parameters like low-pass frequency or resonance, high-pass frequency, envelope attack or decay, and more.

MEMORY 650 Sound Program locations

Powerful machine with A LOT of bug.

Dave smith tempest Specifications

Pads 16 pressure and velocity sensitive lit pads
Voices 6
Oscillators 2x analog oscillators with hard sync per voice
2x digital oscillators with over 450 drum samples and waveforms per voice
Waveform Type Sawtooth, triangle, saw/triangle, and variable-pulse-width square

Generators 1x sub-octave generator per voice (one octave below oscillator 1)
Low-Pass Filter 1x analog Curtis low-pass filter per voice (switchable 2 or 4-pole) with audio rate modulation; self-oscillating in 4-pole mode
High-Pass Filter 1 per voice

LFO 2 per voice
Modulation 8 x 8 modulation matrix
VCA Analog
Envelope Generators 5 per voice (ADSR plus hold)
Controls 2x pressure and position sensitive touch sliders
Glides Portamento, separate rates per oscillator

Programs 650 sound program locations
Effects Analog compressor (on main audio outputs)
Analog distortion (on main audio outputs)
Display 256 x 64 OLED

MIDI 1x 5-pin DIN MIDI input
1x 5-pin DIN MIDI output
1x USB type B
Audio Output 2x 1/4" (6.3 mm) unbalanced main outputs
6x 1/4" (6.3 mm) unbalanced voice outputs
1x 1/4" (6.3 mm) stereo TRS headphone output
Connections 2x 1/4" (6.3 mm) TRS pedal/control voltage inputs (3.3 V DC maximum)

Dimensions (L x W x H) 15.4 x 9.0 x 2.5" (39.1 x 28.8 x 6.4 cm)
Weight 6.50 lb (2.95 kg)

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