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Dave Smith Instruments (DSI) is an American brand formed in 2002 by Dave Smith, a musician and engineer, also known as a Sequential Circuits founder in 1970s. The company became famous thanks to forward-looking designs in sound synthesis technology. Dave Smith is considered to be the MIDI pioneer and developer of the first microprocessor- controlled analog synth – Prophet-5 (1978).
Besides intuitive, effective control and unique analog sound Dave Smith Instruments also feature relatively small weight and dimensions which made them so alluring. The instruments allow unobstructed integration with DAW and many models have a built-in high quality arpeggiator. Dave Smith Instruments is definitely one of a kind company which has been making fully programmable polyphonic analog and hybrid synthesizers.

Monophonic analog desktop synth Evolver became the first brand’s design and absorbed many technologies including vector synthesis which had been developed by Sequential Circuits. Evolver series comprised: Evolver Keyboard, Poly Evolver Keyboard, Poly Evolver Rack. Evolver Keyboard model was issued as a monophonic 37-key version. The series were characterized with two analog and two digital oscillators with a set of waveforms and possibility to upload additional ones into the synth memory. So the sound of the series differs noticeably enough from others owing to its combination of analog and digital oscillators. The synthesizer comprises 2 analog low pass filters and a digital high pass one. Each filter possesses its own ADSR. Poly Evolver Rack, a polyphonic rackmount version (released in 2005), is of the same characteristics as the first Evolver model is.

Poly Evolver Keyboard, a 61-note polyphonic synthesizer came out in 2005 as well brinning the same specs of all this series again. On the whole it’s 4 Evolvers in 1 and they can be controlled in sync (or not necessarily). Poly Evolver Keyboard can be used as a polyphonic 4-voice synth, as 4 monophonic synths functioning independently and as a combination (like 2+1+1) giving one sequencer per voice!
Prophet series polyphonic synthesizers went into production in 1978 under Sequential Circuits brand name. Series successors launched by Dave Smith Instruments embraced all those progressive and newest developments inherent to the legendary Prophet-5 but adjusted to modern technologies and electronic components.

Polyphonic analog synthesizer Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 has a 5-voice polyphony and is considered to be the first fully-programmable analog synthesizer with the microprocessor. The instrument had a memory for 40 patches and offered 2 VCOs, ADSR envelope attenuator. This synth set the standard for all the programmable polyphonic synthesizers.

Prophet’08 released by DSI in 2007 has inherited some main features as well. The synthesizer includes an 8-voice polyphony, analog DCOs, 4x16-step sequencer, arpeggiator, 2/4-pole analog filter and the opportunity to work with the sound layers. Thanks to the Poly Chain function the synth can expand its polyphony. It also has a module twin. Prophet’08 emits classic saturated analog sonic flow and is good for both studio and stage.

Mopho series release date came in 2009. Monophonic synth was portable and practical as well as affordable. Mopho Keyboard presented 32 full-sized keys with aftertouch and programmability. The front panel offered a big number of knobs which allowed momentary preset editing. The synth had a classic analog sound owing to 2 VCOs and 4 LFOs. It can also expand other DSI synths polyphony through Poly Chain mode.

The next unit of the line is Mopho x4. It’s based on Mopho architecture and features 4 voices of polyphony and 44 semi-weighted keys with aftertouch. Poly Chain function allows Mopho x4 to increase the polyphony up to 16 voices (with the help of Mopho series or Tetra integration). In 2013 Mopho SE came out based on the first model of the line – it was an improved Mopho with a simplified interface.
Polyphonic module Tetra shares its specs with Pophet’08 and equals 4 Mopho synthesizers. The module is good as a standalone and as a polyphony expansion for other DSI synths in Poly Chain mode.

In 2011 DSI launched analog drum machine Tempest. It’s not that affordable but it’s so powerful and capable: 6 voices, 2 analog and 2 digital oscillators per voice, analog filters and amplifiers, broad and motley number of presets, effects, 16 velocity sensitive pads, record and track change in real time mode and a great (for a drum machine) display.

Prophet 12, a top DSI model / hybrid synthesizer issued in 2013, includes 12-voice polyphony with 4 digital oscillators per voice, 4 LFOs per voice as well and a linear FM synthesis which enlarges its sound potential dramatically. According to Dave Smith they decided to use digital oscillators to avoid drift, run-out and lack of balance. Instrument interface allows us to control sound completely which is surely not the least important thing while performing. Prophet 12 is an apogee of all DSI achievements in one device. Dave Smith also claimed it to be his best instrument ever because it provides you with unlimited possibilities for creation.

Prophet~6 was released in 2015 appearing to be an improved and modern Prophet 5 version which meets the fans requirements. The model included studio quality effects, polyphonic step sequencer and arpeggiator. The changes also concern the interface: knobs make any parameter accessible in a flash. It’s the only Dave’s synthesizer which has a “Sequential” plate on it since SCI ceased to exist thanks to Yamaha returning the rights to use his brand name.

Paraphonic Pro 2 is one of the best multifunctional American monosynths at the moment. This model was assembled of P12 electronic components and among its specs offers a powerful step sequencer, interface with touch elements, 4 digital oscillators (per voice or you can choose to have a 4-voice paraphonic mode) and one auxiliary LFO. The synthesizer also features CV In/Out and let you control other analog synths or receive signals from them.

Brand can’t stop surprising its fans with new designs launching year after year: from progressive ones to modules for module systems. In 2016 a 6-voice analog OB-6 was released as a result of two geniuses collaboration: Tom Oberheim and Dave Smith came together to create a classy machine. The unique case indeed – two competitors allied and which is more they got away from the head-on collision with utter intelligence intending their OB-6 and Prophet-6 to be nothing like each other. And tempted you into having both of them.

Dave Smith Instruments is a widely recognized and higly respected brand. Dave’s works are classiс American handmade designs with unparalleled sound. If you acquire one of these be sure in time DSI synth will only get more precious and render you a true brand follower.