Dave Smith Instruments Tetra Reviews4.4/5.0 based on 5 customer reviews
All I can say is, "Wow." Dave Smith Instruments has just brought a serious analog polyphonic synth to a price point that I never dreamed was possible. Unbelieveable. Don't stress out thinking about it too much; just buy it. You won't regret it.
Dave Smith Instruments Tetra is the analog synth that I've been waiting for. Why, you may ask? This is the first ever multi-timbral analog synth at this amazing price point. Finally you can play a bass note and chords simultaneously! (4 note polyphony) You'll hear the amazing depth and rich, fat sound that only an analog synth provides. If you've always wanted an analog synth but haven't wanted to spend thousands of dollars to get one, Tetra is for you. I've been playing keyboard for over twenty years now and after playing the Tetra I can truthfully say I haven't been this inspired by a new piece of gear in a very long time. Get one and I believe you'll soon feel the same way!
The sequencing capabilities of the Tetra are astounding. When you hook this to the librarian software ($49.99 from Dave Smith) your entire idea of what you thought this synth was will change. The best part of the Tetra is that it is not a plug-in. This is hands on hardware, tweakable, adjustable and it will maintain its value.
from boulder, co
May 13, 2010Music Background:
Best analog poly synth (currently) on the marketI've been through every step within the DSI product line, and have to say the Tetra is a homerun, the best thing they've done since the Evolver in terms of product capability, price point, and quality. It's a 4-part multi-timbral analog powerhouse with more modulation capabilities than a modular frankensynth at 4x this little guy's price. The editor has a few bugs, but nothing that you can't work around, and I'm sure this stuff will get ironed out as the product matures. Otherwise, I'm in love. The only thing I'd want more is a keyboard version!
from Portland, Oregon
March 29, 2013Music Background:
In some respects more powerful than a modularThis synth should appeal to sound designers and or programmers that want to get deep into programming. I generally dislike presets that come with synthesizers and I found few presets on the Tetra that I liked, this is actually a blessing because I (over the good two years I have had it) have been able to create anything from a vintage Crumar performer string synth to strange third world percussion sounds to cheesy horror sound effects. Bar none, you will not get a better synth for the asking price anywhere else!
from Indianapolis, Indiana
February 4, 2013Music Background:
Great analog synth in a small package!Great 4 voice analog synth. 4 vocie analog at this price is incredible! So much fun and sounds are suoer thick.This synth is really good and built like a tank! The screen is easy to read, knobs are nice and firm also. You need this! Buy it now!
May 5, 2012Music Background:
Semi-pro musician, songwriter and producer
Wish it was a little more user friendly, but sounds great!This was the first synth module I had bought in probably 10 years. I've been writing acoustic stuff for a long time but decided to start incorporating some synths into my music. I was tired of the synths I had so I picked this thing up.
First off, I gotta say that it has huge bang for the buck. The presets are great and provide a great starting point. Hard to believe this thing only has 4 voices because of how thick it sounds. There must be some engineering trickery here to make it sound like there's more than 4 there, because it really isn't as much of a limitation as I was thinking it would be.
The filter sounds awesome, really beefy and has that real analog bite. The step sequencer is a bit of a hidden gem on here, which leads me to the one downside of this box...
Being that I have been out of the synth game for a number of years now, I think I lost some of my patience for navigating tedious and confusing menus. Fact of the matter is, there's a lot that this synth can do that I just will never take the time to learn how to do. That's not a detractor for everyone out there, but if you're like me and you just play acoustic guitar most of the time and don't like to fiddle with things too much you might feel a bit overwhelmed. It's kind of frustrating that DSI makes you pay for the premium version of their sound editor too, since I figured as a paying customer I almost had a right to that for free.
Can't complain much though, it does a lot of cool stuff for the money. Look up some videos online to see what it sounds like and if you like it I say go for it.
May 12, 2011Music Background:
Biggest syth available in a tiny boxI was on the market for a while for a great analog synth. Recently, there have been more companies delving into this territory, but for mass production, there is only 2. Moog & DSI. I pondered for a while if I wanted to go with a Slim Phatty or the Tetra. Going on Youtube and watching as many demo vidoes I could. Ultimately I went with the Tetra. Good grief, this thing is powerful! Forget the fact that Dave Smith is responsible for Sequential Circuits Pro One & Pro 5, or the "Father of MIDI" or for the first computer based synthesizer, or the Korg Wavestation..... The synths he has been cranking out the past decade have been damned near unbelievable.
The signal path is 100% Analog. What that means is there is no digital conversion of the audio signal path. The oscillators are DCO which stands for Digitally Controlled Oscillators. Even though they are digitally controlled, they are still analog just like the standard VCO's (Voltage Controlled Oscillators). The difference is DCO's are digitally fired by electronic pulses that drive the oscillator and generate tone, where as VCO's are fired by capacitors, which, over time will not hold a charge as well as it did when it was new and cause the oscillators to drift out of tune and require regular maintenance to keep in tune. This actually gives the Tetra a leg up compared to some other analog synths.
Probably the biggest option that brought me to buy the Tetra was the fact that it was a 4 Voice Polyphonic Synth. An analog polyphonic synth for under $1000!!!!! WHHHAAAAAA???!!!??? And not only is it polyphonic, it can be treated as 4 independent monophonic synths (think 4 mopho's in one)!
It's biggest downfall is the interface, but, this is of course what keeps the cost down. On analog synths, the keys can make up a large part of the cost of the synth. But, if you get the SoundTower Editor, it is easy to access all of the features on the computer, which this thing has a ton of! But, if you absolutely need hands on control, just get a DSI Mopho Keyboard Synth and polychain it with the Tetra. Not only do you now have a 5 voice Polyphonic synth, but the Mopho becomes the control surface for the Tetra!
I did take one star off for the noticeable bugs with the software in the Tetra. Do keep in mind that this is manufactured by a small company of 6 people, including Dave and there is a possibility of bugs in anything digital. DSI is very helpful with any issues and they take all complaints to heart and will work on the software to eradicate all bugs reported. I know this from personal experience with them. All in all I am absolutely in love this this device. The sounds that come out of it are amazing considering it's size. Do not be fooled, if you are here searching for a new synth and you have read this review this far, hit that "add to cart" button now! Do it!
This is the analog synth that I've been waiting for. Why, you may ask? This is the first ever multi-timbral analog synth at this amazing price point. Finally you can play a bass note and chords simultaneously! (4-note polyphony) You'll hear the amazing depth and rich, fat sound that only an analog synth provides. If you've always wanted an analog synth but haven't wanted to spend thousands of dollars to get one, Tetra is for you. I've been playing keyboard for over 20 years now, and after playing the Tetra I can truthfully say I haven't been this inspired by a new piece of gear in a very long time. Get one and I believe you'll soon feel the same way!