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DSI Tempest users: How many of you kept the Tempest?
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Author DSI Tempest users: How many of you kept the Tempest?
thesnow
DSI Tempest users: How many of you kept the Tempest?

What do you love about it? What do you not like about it?

Is it worth the $2K?
FlameTop
Just picked mine up from the dealer smile Let you know in a couple of days....
dan_p
thumbs up

I will try to elaborate later when i have more time, but its pretty much my favourite thing ever after the modular.
Bath House
I've kept it. Love it more than anything else I own at this point.

What I love: it's deeper than almost anything else I've ever owned, especially for making analog drums, which are my bread and butter. It gives me more to work with than even my modular - in one sound alone (out of 16 available at a time) I'll have five envelopes going all over the place, two analog oscillators, two different LFO's, then 8 more mod sources going to destinations. I can build patches on this thing like nothing else, and the workflow is quick even in spite of menu diving due to the great blend of face controls and soft keys and knobs. I also love the constant updates on the message board, with features that I've specifically championed making their way into regular updates. That feels good as someone who was an early adopter - I'm actively helping make the machine the best that it can be.

I love the sound - melted plastic. Reminds me of old Roland stuff a lot. The envelopes are way snappier than the Mopho/Tetra, which I also own. The ability to have an envelope modulate itself, envelope delay, waveform reset, all right at hand are perfect for making great percussion sounds.


What I don't like: step sequencing really needs a lot of work and seems to be item #37 down the list of priorities. For example, just doing TR-style step sequencing, tapping a pad that's lit up automatically turns it off and resets all of the data that was on it, so even though you can do really awesome "parameter lock" stuff on a per-step basis, you end up having to use a really tedious "etch-a-sketch" interface with the soft knobs and screen grid instead of using a combination of the pads and main knobs, which is at odds with the workflow of the entire rest of the machine.

Speaking of that list of priorities - for a machine that's been out almost a year, they seem to have left one poor dude - Pym on the board - to finish it, and he's clearly working his ass off but it still doesn't have a few basic functions like the ability to make "songs" (playlist), and stuff like external sequencing or polyphonic sequencing in the box may be months away.
StepLogik
Bath House wrote:

Speaking of that list of priorities - for a machine that's been out almost a year, they seem to have left one poor dude - Pym on the board - to finish it, and he's clearly working his ass off but it still doesn't have a few basic functions like the ability to make "songs" (playlist), and stuff like external sequencing or polyphonic sequencing in the box may be months away.


Pym is obviously a gifted software engineer but he's definitely having to bust his ass. I think he does firmware for most of the other DSI devices as well..? That is a BIG task list to carry! I'd love to go work for Dave Smith as a firmware engineer - it would be my dream job! - and give Pym some relief.

I've been holding out on buying the Tempest until a few more of the software issues are resolved. I wanted to adopt early so that Dave would have more R&D cash on hand but I'm just a bit skittish.
thesnow
Yeah the leftover software issues and the inability to be able to program "songs" like Bath House mentioned is why I've also waited to invest in the Tempest, too.

But I'm sure it sounds fantastic as all of DSI's stuff does, especially the Evolvers.
Suburban Bather
Bath House pretty much hit the nail on the head on all points. Don't forget the two digital oscillators in addition to the analog oscillators thumbs up

The step sequencing is kind of tedious, but its easy to get fast with it regardless of all of the knob twisting you have to do. At least filling in 16th notes is super quick. Just use the roll function and hold the pad down while recording. The minor gripe with the step sequencing just gives me another reason to practice my drum pad playing skills anyways.

If your buying the Tempest for an xox clone, you are wasting your money. It does have some pretty good 808 and 909 samples in it though. I do have to say that you will be disappointed with the 909 open hat sample(the decay is too damn short) If you want an analog/digital hybrid drum machine/synth with a super easy to use interface, the Tempest is definitely worth the 2 grand.

If it was not for PYM being on the ball with update after update, I would have sold my Tempest and bought a Machinedrum or Miami.
Audio Resistance
Suburban Bather wrote:

If it was not for PYM being on the ball with update after update, I would have sold my Tempest and bought a Machinedrum or Miami.


The Tempest and the Machinedrum compliment each other really well. The MD just has that crunch in the high end that comes in crystal clear over the Tempest.

I love the Tempest, and if you have any experience with the other DSI stuff you will immediately understand a lot of the architecture.

This video has some Tempest and MD playing of each other. However, some Buchla percussion is in the mix as well.

Bath House
Suburban Bather wrote:

The step sequencing is kind of tedious, but its easy to get fast with it regardless of all of the knob twisting you have to do. At least filling in 16th notes is super quick. Just use the roll function and hold the pad down while recording. The minor gripe with the step sequencing just gives me another reason to practice my drum pad playing skills anyways.


I totally love step sequencers for writing melodies and basslines becuase I always - ALWAYS - come up with something different and weirder than I would have naturally done. I'd like to see even a few basic updates to the step sequencer on the Tempest - for example, tapping an existing step doesn't automatically delete/reset it but instead just selects it for editing, and also maybe the ability to change pitches per step using the pads by going to 16 pitches from 16 time steps, ability to just tap "reverse" on a selected step to reverse it instead of hunting it down in the menu and turning it "on," inserting notes with a duration greater than 2 (which often makes the note barely audible), etc.

This thing could be the next MC-4.
ResistSound
I bought mine back in December. The Tempest is the best music gear purchase I've ever made.

Reasons I love it
I always write songs on it. Ideas come quick and easy.
On one track you can have poly, another a mono and analog drums on the others
Sounds great!
Great filter!
2 analog OSC and 2 Digital OSC
Super fun and amazing features for performing

Things I can't wait for it to have
Sequencing of external gear
some type of ARP

This paired with my Euro is hours of fun!

Something I did with it right when I got it
pipwilliams
can the Tempest output triggers to a modular?
Suburban Bather
pipwilliams wrote:
can the Tempest output triggers to a modular?
That's how I sync an Oberkorn, it works great thumbs up
computer controlled
I WISH i had one!!!
ideovideov
external sequencing would be amazing.. the tempest as a full fledged sequencer would burn some sequencer competition imo.. had two buddies return it tho, granted they both had never owned a menu-driven desktop unit.

will stick with the mpc for now tho, interested to see where the firmware goes smile
dan_p
Its very flexible as a sound design tool, and for drum sounds I find it fantastic, its very easy to make sounds with too. despite some knobs having a couple of functions via a shift button and occasional click of the arrow button to look at a different page I find it very intuitive and quick. its laid out really well.
The analogue voices sound great, really great, and the modulation routings and possibilities are vast.
The Sequencer is just amazing, its very quick, intuitive and so much fun to use. as a tool for building beats and stuff quickly and then jamming with them all on the fly it simply has no equal that I have ever used.
It feels like an instrument too, it just comes together so well. The pads feel great and the real-time beat control is brilliant.
I also find it very expressive, the pads feel great and you can easily set up lots of velocity stuff to change stuff which makes it feel so hugely expressive.

I should point out though that I use it for what it is, I am only interested in using it as a complete unit. I have no desire to sequence anything else with it. I do have some interest in the Midi in side which is not quite there yet as I used to be a decent drummer and would like to try it with a small electronic kit and a Roland Handshandy (HSPD15) but I would consider that a bonus. I also don't use a DAW at all so don't want to hook it up to Abletool 7 and a FaderFux (Like the Kids do!). I just use the midi clock via a little box to send 16ths to the Modular.
About the only thing I am really wanting to happen is to remove the quantize from real time recording. I find it a bit annoying when your trying to drop stuff in the pocket. I understand that this is a sticking point as it makes life difficult for the step seq side of things. I have only looked at the step sequencer side for 5 mins, I can't be arsed when its just so easy to bang the beats in from the pads. If I had my way they would fuck it off altogether. Like someone said above, if you want to X0X it then get something that does the X0X thing.

Any way, ramble over. Tempest Fucking Rawks Biatch!!!
Bath House
dan_p wrote:
I have only looked at the step sequencer side for 5 mins, I can't be arsed when its just so easy to bang the beats in from the pads. If I had my way they would fuck it off altogether. Like someone said above, if you want to X0X it then get something that does the X0X thing.


Step sequencing isn't meant to "just be X0X" by a long-shot, and is there to get completely different results than you'd gravitate toward playing in.
Indigo333
I became very impatient with the OS updates and honestly, my Tempest sat for months on a coffee table lol
When it came down to it, I got more out of my MDUW and the Polyevolver...I needed some modules etc so I sold it. I bought the Tempest along with the OT and some other shit, so when I went into overload, the Tempest sold. I would like to have one again but I am not in a hurry due to the wait for the updates to reach where IMO should have been before the Tempest was even on the market. I can understand the bugs get worked out mainly with the help from many users and what they find but I was impatient enough with the OT.
As a stand alone groove box it was just not my thing but sending it through other gear and mangling it was rad.
This is just my experience and I may have another someday but for 2000 it's not worth it. I would rather have a used MDUW and an evolver for that amount of cash. I sold mine for 1500 USD, that's how much I cared...overrated IMO but a fun little toy
lvoemachine
I loved the sound but the lack of external sequencing, occasional note hangs and a few other things led me to sell it. I think kits a little pricey for what it does and where the firmware stands but worth it if you want to base your sound and workflow around one box. I use Dsi gear so the interface was super easy for me and I actually wrote tons of songs on it in a way I've never done before. Worth it if you have cash to burn but considering I can get a used machinedrum for almost half it made it hard to keep. If was even 1500 I would have reconsidered returning it.

It does sound like I should have spent more time on the message board though. I'm glad to hear there is response to feedback in the design by users.
Indigo333
Don't get me wrong(not that there is one) in all respects, but why is it there is no reverb in any of the DSI gear? I understand crafting with the delay, feedback etc but if there is 2 digital Ociators in the PEK and the Tempest
as well, why no reverb, either digital or analog? seriously, i just don't get it
astroschnautzer
Indigo333 wrote:
Don't get me wrong(not that there is one) in all respects, but why is it there is no reverb in any of the DSI gear? I understand crafting with the delay, feedback etc but if there is 2 digital Ociators in the PEK and the Tempest
as well, why no reverb, either digital or analog? seriously, i just don't get it
I don't know but reverb is not something thats related to analog synthesis as delay is, and reverb you often want better quality that would be possible on this kind of machines.... Just my 2 penny speculation.....
dan_p
^ yeah, I have feeling that if the Tempest had Reverb then I wouldn't want to use it anyway, much better having outboard stuff for me.

The digi osc is different than having a digital effect in the signal path.

Bath House wrote:

Step sequencing isn't meant to "just be X0X" by a long-shot, and is there to get completely different results than you'd gravitate toward playing in.


I may of put my point badly, I am not against step sequencing in the slightest, I love sequencers of any flavour apart from maybe DAW's Its just that for ME I never use the Tempest step seq side, but I am conscious of how it is limiting the play the sequence in live via pads side that I do like a lot. It would be interesting to know how many Tempest users do the majority of programming via the step seq and not mashing pads?

What I was trying to get at in my post was that whilst I love the Tempest I do only use it in a very basic focussed way.
deltaphoenix
I am just bumpin' this because I am interested in what the OP asked....who still has it? Is the current update doing the trick for you?
thesnow
and does it do anything else besides 4/4 now and when will you be able to actually record songs, store them and play them back for things like live performances, like the electribe mx's.
dan_p
Still have one

os (beta) is now stable again after a bit of a bad spell.

alternate time signatures (very flexible) and playlist are implemented. I dont use playlist so cant vouch for how comprehensive it is, i have a feeling that it has further to go.
shreddoggie
I didn't like mine - I sold it. My conclusion after spending a lot of time with it was that the Linn bit was AMAZING and I loved the interface and the thinking behind the performance drum machine concept - really live and responsive and musical like an instrument rather than just a beat box. What I didn't like was the Dave Smith bit - for my taste it was just not big and solid enough no matter how much work I put into synthesizing kicks or using good samples - it just didn't thump.

Elsewhere on the web many have expressed the same opinion but there are also many who feel that the synthesis engine is very deep and those people have found the results they've gotten to their liking. We all have different aesthetics. If I was to 'advise' someone very keen on getting one I would recommend that its great for the top of the kit and the sequencing and performance possibilities are fantastic but I would use something else for the solid bottom.

Given unlimited funds I would consider using it as a drum sequencer with another unit (or 2) as the sound module(s). Tempest brains driving an MPC 60 and a TR-909 would be from outer space.

BTW: Pym is the man, really smart, helpful, and enthusiastic about what they are doing. I felt guilty giving up on the Tempest because he was so helpful - he actually invited me down to DSI hq so someone could install an OS update that wouldn't install on my machine.
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