Combo Remapper - use score text and symbols to switch articulations
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DSI Tetra released

Discussion in 'Music Creation' started by Orren Merton, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. Orren Merton

    Orren Merton Logic Samurai / Administrator Staff Member

    There's gotta be some people here who use hardware as well as software instruments. :) In fact, my latest track uses the following synths:

    Logic's ES2
    Logic's Ultrabeat
    Ohm Force Symptohm
    Access Virus TI Snow
    Dave Smith Instruments Prophet '08
    Dave Smith Instruments Mopho
    Spectrasonics Omnisphere

    So as you can see, I'm as much a fan of hardware as software instruments. And one of my favorite hardware synth manufacturers, Dave Smith Instruments, has just released a new synth, the Tetra:

    Read the site for all the details, but basically:
    • The Prophet '08 is an 8-voice analog polysynth with 4-track sequencer, etc.

    • The Mopho is essentially a single Prophet voice, but with added sub-oscillators, feedback, and audio input

    • The Tetra is a four voice Mopho, with the added bonuses that it has a combo mode to create multi-patches, and it can be used as additional voices for a Prophet '08 or Mopho.

    And to bring it all back to Logic Pro, thanks to the External Instrument SI, using hardware synthesizers is nearly as seamless as using plug-ins—especially when like the Tetra, they have USB for their own MIDI I/O!

    I want, I want, I want...

  3. paulnajar

    paulnajar Senior member

    Orren, I'm both as well.

    The Prophet 5 was my first synth purchased new in the 80's. I only sold it early this year as it was just too unreliable, and I finally got to play the Prophet 08 and loved it. The sound character was still there and all the new features! So I though I best leave the 5 to a collector who didn't want to turn it on and make music every day.

    I sold off some other hardware in the last year or so - Kawai K5000R. Still haven't got around to selling my Sy99 & ASR10 rack but fully intend to sell them all.

    There's not much I still love about hardware but there is the odd exception like the prophet. I use the external instrument for prophet input as well.

    About the only other thing I might lust after in a dream is the Alesis Andromeda - but I wish there was a rack. My prophet 08 is a rack. I so don't need another keyboard.

    If I never knew what a real analog synth sounded like it would all be software for me. I think it's interesting that many guys who never had the REAL analog hardware lust after things like hardware digital synths which are mostly software VI's in their own box - and overlook the REAL analog hardware not realising the difference!

    Go DSI. Dave's doing a good job of keeping hardware synths relevant!
  4. Orren Merton

    Orren Merton Logic Samurai / Administrator Staff Member

    Hi Paul,

    Nice instrument! So much of the music I grew up on had Prophet 5 in it. :) I'm sure that's why I gravitated towards the DSI sound.

    Do you just use a MIDI controller keyboard?

    Sadly, that Andromeda dream is exceptionally unlikely...I believe the entire team that developed the Andromeda has been disbanded.

    I agree, that's how it's going now. I think that one of the differences between something like the Prophet '08 and a software instrument is not just that you have physical knobs, but that the knobs are specifically laid out for the signal flow of the instrument itself.

    I'm a guitarist at heart, I'm used to grabbing a knob and turning it and hearing what happens. I have a pretty solid understanding of synthesis basics at this point, so I can do a bit of sound design on GUI interfaces. But there's still something very satisfyingly tactile about grabbing a knob and changing the sound.

    You can do that with a MIDI controller too, but the controller isn't laid out the way that the instrument is, its generic. Of course, that's the way it needs to be, unless it's a very specific controller like the Maschine controller from NI. Moreover, it's incredibly easy to map the knobs from the Prophet to software instruments (it's SUPER easy in MainStage!), so it can be a fully featured MIDI controller as well.

    I think for some of the, like the Virus (which I own) there is no software version, so we sort of have to get the hardware (I have the Snow) if we want that sound. I would have said the same about Waldorf, but now there is Largo. But Waldorf and Access, in my opinion, are the only VA "software synths in a hardware case" that I would consider unique. The rest of the digital hardware synths, I feel, have excellent software replacements.


  5. paulnajar

    paulnajar Senior member

    Yes just a crappy CME UF8 88 note weighted controller now days. I grew up as a classical and jazz pianist so it suits me - even for synth sounds. Apart from it's action which is decent, it's full of software bugs - the USB midi is unusable - I simply use it's 5 pin midi. I would not recommend CME anything.

    So the Andromeda is not produced anymore? I really can't justify owning it anyway. The trend in studios is that decent sounding control rooms are becoming so cheap to hire I can see the day coming when I will have a kick ass mobile studio - you know - Mac Pro & 30 inch screen, with UAD cards, 24 strips of Mackie control or similar in a case, a great audio interface and a bit of front end pre stuff and just move from room to room. The Andromeda doesn't really fit that picture but the Prophet 08 rack does!

    I agree the knob layout makes for a more musical experience. Heck, if Apple can change the colour of their finder window borders and this makes me feel better then knob layout certainly can. For me I'm so used to programming synths I generally know what I want to reach for before I reach - like how an orchestral composer or orchestrator knows when they want to hear brass instead of strings etc and then also know within the brass - which instruments and how many of them they need to play a line to get the sound they're looking for..

    Hey nice idea about mapping the Prophet knobs to control software VI's. The thought had not even crossed my mind.

    You're right about some digital hardware being worth it. And the Waldorf for sure! The Virus - I used to have a TDM system than ran the Virus VI - it sounded great - but I've not heard that sound in a few years. Maybe I might fall in love with it again. The other name in digital hardware that springs to mind is Nord - but not the Nord Lead - I think of the Nord Modular. I used to lust after one of them when live gigging was a big part of my business...

  6. Lukeomalley

    Lukeomalley New Member

    DSI Tetra Environment?

    Has anyone made one that they would be willing to share? I am trying to do one but I think I am setting it up all wrong.

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