Dave Smith Tempest Drum Machine

No longer available at zZounds
This powerhouse drum machine lets you step-sequence beats, record in real time, edit sounds, add tuned synth parts, tweak FX -- without stopping playback.

Tempest is the brainchild of legendary instrument designers, Dave Smith and Roger Linn. It's a professional drum machine that generates its sounds using six powerful analog synthesis voices, and uses an innovative, performance-oriented operating system that permits an extraordinary level of control to create, edit, arrange, and manipulate beats in real time without ever stopping.

See a demo of the Tempest from Dave Smith himself, along with drum machine legend Roger Linn:

The performance-oriented operating system, ninety panel controls, and bright 256 x 64 dot OLED display work together to provide a tightly integrated, non-stop workflow.


- Record a drumbeat in real-time
- Switch to another drumbeat and use the lit pads to record it using step programming
- Switch to another drumbeat and record tuned keyboard parts
- Use the two touch controllers to record real-time note sound animations or perform beat-wide sound changes
- Use the generous sound controls to edit any of the drum sounds
- Tweak the analog effects or drum mix
- Arrange beats in real time and record the live arrangement into a song
- And all of the above without ever stopping play
- Mahogany end panels

- Oscillators:
- Two analog oscillators per voice capable of producing sawtooth, triangle, saw/triangle, and variable pulse width square waves, with hard sync
- Two digital oscillators per voice loaded with over 450 drum samples and waveforms
- One sub-octave generator per voice (one octave below oscillator 1)
- Glide (portamento): separate rates per oscillator
- Filter:
- One classic Curtis analog low-pass filter per voice (switchable 2- or 4-pole) with audio rate modulation, self-oscillating in 4-pole mode
- One analog high-pass filter per voice
- VCA:
- Analog VCAs with programmable feedback level
- Envelopes:
- Five envelope generators per voice (ADSR plus hold)
- LFOs:
- 2 LFOs per voice
- Modulation:
- 8 x 8 modulation matrix
- Controllers:
- 16 pressure and velocity sensitive lit pads
- Two pressure and position sensitive touch sliders
- Stunning OLED 256 x 64 display
- Effects:
- Analog compressor and distortion (available on Main audio outputs)
- Sequencer:
- Sophisticated realtime sequencer
- Roger Linn Designed Swing modes
- Hardware MIDI delay per voice
- Memory:
- 650 Sound Program locations
- In/Out:
- USB type B receptacle
- 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
- Dimensions: (L x W x H) 15.4 x 9 x 2.5"
- Weight: 6.5 lb

For support or warranty questions, please contact the manufacturer:
Phone: 707-963-7006

Reviewers gave this product an overall rating of 5 out of 5 stars. (2 ratings)
Submitted August 22, 2019 by W J in Minneapolis, MN

"What are you waiting for?"

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
(see rating details)
Verified Customer zZounds has verified that this reviewer made a purchase from us.
Hands down one of the most versatile and qualified pieces of hardware available for the price, and can replace tons of equipment in one package. The amazing sound that comes out is what keeps you up all night, tweaking knobs and building patches. the hierarchical modulation system from a full track all the way down to a snare drum is why I bought it. easily mix and perform live with a real synth and sounds that YOU created, don't be just another Ableton punk! Goes from modern tribal deep house to harsh noise and then to 80s disco and back again in a heartbeat. Ease of use is excellent, but there is a LOT going on here! If you are new to synths and drum machines you will learn a ton about how they work as some of my friends have while using it. The Tempest is a powerhouse beast, so be patient. Cons:-As with any proper synth it can take a VERY long time to create a beat or patch you are very pleased with.-Some people who have not had experience with hardware synths have found the Tempest intimidating and annoying when using it. Big learning curve for beginners.

The way it sounds is completely up to you. Sounds absolutely beautiful even plugged into some crappy stereo at your friend's house. Throw a decent compressor at it and some quality rack effects processors... even better.

The Mixer feature is awesome, expression sliders can do things you've never even heard before. The master beat modulation controls(LPF,HPF,Envelopes) read more are incredible. Dedicated Distortion knob is killer whenever you are at a Small, Loud venue and you want to melt faces and make people confused. So versatile. The DSI 2-pole and 4-pole Lowpass filters are what sets the Tempest apart from anyone who uses a laptop and software instruments to create music.

Ease of Use
Very easy to use considering how much it has to offer.

I have owned mine for over a year now using it for many hours a week and the operation is still perfect. knobs are still tight and pads are like the day I bought it. All interconnects/jacks are still rock solid. You will need a hard case for transport.

Absolutely worth it. Still expensive, though!

Manufacturer Support
Yes. DSI support is very good in comparison to what you usually get elsewhere nowadays.

The Wow Factor
DSI always slays.

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No longer available at zZounds

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