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Does anyone have a Dave Smith synth?
Old 21st May 2006
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Does anyone have a Dave Smith synth?

I am looking into getting a synth for the first time ever and was blown away by the Dave Smith polyphonic synth at GC. I am looking into that or the Virus TI but am shying away from that because of the reported bugs it has.

I just listened to an interview with Dave Smith about why he is making this keyboard and I really like the ideaology that he has. So I am sold practically already. I am just making sure that almost $3000 dollars after tax isn't wasted.

No I don't know how to play synth that well but looking to get better.
I just wanted opinons on if current users think that this is a good first synth and something I can grow on musically with.

The reasons I want a hardware synth vs. a software synth:
1. Can be used as a stand alone - throw it into an amp and just jam away.
2. Less processing power.
3. Easier to intergrate into my outbaord effects for quick experimentation.

Am I crazy? I do wish it could be used as a plug in like the Virus but apparently even the Virus doesn't do that well with the current software. Also I wish it had digital outs etc. but then again neither do my guitars.

I want to feel like I am fourteen again in the garage with my first epiphone guitar banging away and discovering new things with every note.

Any general comments BESIDES software is better and hard ware is overpriced? Esp looking for comments about this vs. other possible hardware synths (Though I know the board hates those threads) and any specific knowledge or issues with this one in particular.

Thanks!
Old 21st May 2006
  #2
Lives for gear
 
rolo's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I have TONS of soft synths... i use them, but they will NEVER come close to the real deal. Yes I own a Poly Evolver from Dave. I also own a NORD 2X, NORD 3, NORD Modular expanded, Studio Electronics SE-1, V-SYNTH, as well as a MOOG Prodigy, Source, ARP AXXE, and tons of other great boards... There really is something about working a physical synth instead of a softy. The creation process is more involved and personal... much like plugging a 60's strat into an original Orange or Matchless INSTEAD of plugging a 60's strat into NI's Guitar Rig.. VERY different. If you have the means to buy the dave synth...do it. B.T.W. I have owned the ACCESS virus A, then B, Then the TI.... I always sell after the WOW effect burns out (2 or 3 months). the others i've listed will stay for sure.
Old 21st May 2006
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
I've got the Poly Keyboard and rack. I originally got the pair so I would have an 8-voice synth, but I've been using them as seperate units lately.

The poly excells at huge organic, evolving textures. It definitely does things that I have yet to hear in the modeling world. It may be a bit overwhelming as far as programing the thing if you are new to synths. I really think the Dave Smith stuff are going to be considered classics in years to come.
Old 21st May 2006 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
rids's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
First of all, I don't think hardware is overpriced. Dave Smith built the evolver desktop with a retail of $500! That's incredible. I bought it when it first came out and it was underpriced IMO. Felt like I got a hugh bargain being that it does things other hardware doesn't.

I played the poly keys and enjoyed using it. Only played once so I just tweaked around and listened to what Dave came up with in the programs. It wouldn't be my only hardware synth, but it has a very unique sound that can do a lot. I'm not sure of issues it has if any.

I think if you are looking in that range of price, look at Studio Electronics Omega synth series, you can get 2-8 voices. I have the ATCX and love it. These are great synths, and you'll have a blast with all of them. I'd say the poly Evolver for more unique analog stuff and the SE Omega for more pure analog bliss. Both great!

I'm sure the poly evolver can really get organic swirling seqences going with 4 voices. My single voice Evo can really swirl already.
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
I looked at the desktop monophonic online and then saw the new NAMM footage of the monophonic one. I don't know if it monophonic would limit me? I like the price though!

How long would I go before I wanted a polyphonic if I went that way? I really like three note chords (limit of my keyboard playing) but the monophonic seems "lush" enough to make my music still seem full with one note lines.

Question about the rack mount : All I have is a keystation 49e so I would have to buy a controller for it if I went that way.... how much and what is a good controller cost? Would i be approaching the keyboard version? (What do you call a non-rack one with keys? workstation? keyboard? I need to brush up on my termonolgy!)
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #6
Lives for gear
 
max cooper's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
It depends on what you're doing. Monophonic synths go a long way for me. I thought I would be missing poly, but it's a different animal altogether.

BTW, I saw Stereolab recently and they had a couple of M-Audio Keystation 61s tucked back behind the Moogs and Nords. They certainly were using them.

Whereas I want a piano controller to have weight and feel as much like a piano as I can afford, I want a synth controller to be pretty fast and light.
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Yutaka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I think you can have a completely different approach when using a mono synth. It's like you are writing for a horn, or a string instrument one at a time, and I think making arrangements this way can be very interesting.

Mono Evolver is not as fat sounding as, say, a SE-1, or a moog, but the depth you can go with programming this unit is really amazing. It's almost like having a modular synth - you can route anything to anywhere. Actually, I wouldn't think I would have spent as much time programming it if it was a poly model - the limitation really forces me to plan well and be creative with sound design.

You can hear a bit of what I did with it by clicking on Chris Lung link in my signature. The first song on the player features mono Evolver, if you are interested....
Old 22nd May 2006 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Nut
 
🎧 15 years
reading the things you say i guess you really need to buy the polyphonic keyboard version,

because

1) you like chords
2) you want to "jam away". using a midi controller keyboard takes away that effect a bit.

have fun with it...
Old 26th May 2006 | Show parent
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
I have an Evolver. They are fantastic. They fill up a lot of space, so you will be playing monophonic much of the time. That said, I'll likely get a PEK in a few months; it is a really nice synth.
Old 26th May 2006 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
GYang's Avatar
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Polyevolver Rack is polyphonic and real bargain for its capabilities. Keyboard is significantly more expensive, but as I have several master keyboards rack is fine for me.
Sound-yes it's great part of DSI.
Actually it's my second favorite after Omega 8.
I have more than 20 synths and really appreciate this one.
Old 26th May 2006 | Show parent
  #11
Lives for gear
 
Greg_KPX's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
great synth, has its own unique flavour.

i have the original desktop version but if the opportunity came, i'd pick up the poly evolver keyboard because its just easier to tweak when all the functions have their own knobs.
Old 5th June 2006 | Show parent
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
rasp's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I own a Sequential Circuits Pro~One, Roland Juno-60, Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 AND a Dave Smith Instruments desktop mono Evolver. Guess which one I like best?

As far as sound, it is a pretty close tie between my Pro~One and my Evolver but then both share a similar design and employ that "munchy" sounding, Curtis filter. For me, what sets the Evolver apart is the creative use of multiple delays. It is very easy to get an Oberheim type sound out of the evolver as well.

What I don't like: The interface. If you can, invest in the mono-keyboard version or the Poly Evolver keyboard. I can't stand matrix UIs.

That said, the Evolver is the most versatile, analog sounding, synth I own. I love it! And with the Prophet VS waves the sound is comparable to a knife in a birthday cake. Enjoy.
Old 6th June 2006 | Show parent
  #13
jhg
Lives for gear
 
jhg's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
No, what about Dave Smith Meta Acoustic box? Anyone?
Old 6th June 2006 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Nut
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
just picked one up. been pondering for a while and there was one on ebay for $435 incl. shipping. if you lurk, you can get one cheaper. but i'm impulsive and i like toys!!
Old 6th June 2006 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
Yutaka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
And for those of you looking for an interesting effect box for mixing, don't forget that mono-evolver has stereo analogue filters which you can control with an envelope follower, MIDI sync'd LFO's and 4 track step sequencers. It has as well tempo sync'd delays (feedback path can be with/without analogue filters). On top of that, it has a bit crusher and a distortion for lo-fi stuff.

I really think it is one of the best deals in the synth market.
Old 7th June 2006 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
rasp's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you do end up getting a desktop Evolver, I'd highly recommend downloading the software editor for it from Dave Smith's website. I think it costs about $50 but it is well worth it. It just makes programming faster.
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
Yutaka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Looks like the Psicraft editor is finally out, too. It is supposed to work as a stand alone and as a plug-in within a VST host. Has anyone used it yet?
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Head
 
🎧 15 years
Thanks for all the info guys!

I am thinking going desktop now to get my tweaking skills down then get an Polyphonic later. What should I get to trigger it though? I have a keystation49e but that has usb only I think (out of the country and can't check). I have a usb to midi converter I had to buy once for something else, but I don't know if that's the right thing for this application? Anyone know a good controller for less then say a couple hundred?

To those with the Virus TI that chimed in... how are yours working because that is still the COKE to my Pepsi I want... I read alot of bad things that shyed me away from that. BUT then again the only reason I know about the DSI is guitar center had one sitting there all close encounters like in a dark room and the sounds I got from fiddling were just MASSIVE and I didn't even know what I was doing besides a couple years screwing with Reason's presets on the Malestrom etc.

I still like the fact that the TI can be used as a plugin in a true fashion (i believe). Meaning that it does the processing etc and passes everything usb. I like that. That doesn't tie up inputs on my system. Of course then again one reason I want a synth in hardware is to get wild with feeding it thru out board gear too once I mastered it.

(Sorry I am rambling bored waiting for a plane home)

HEY I just looked at the VSTi (which is pointles till I pony up the money for the VST->AU plugin since I do logic pro) mentioned above.
I AM CONFUSED. Are all those "presets" for one product or do you end up paying for each device you would like the interface for... i.e. if I had a Virus and a DSI I would have to buy both versions? The website didn't make that clear to me. Also, randomly... Can I get a Virus C or something else maybe at a lower cost then a TI and lose mainly the plug in function I want and replace it with this and have a more afordable bundle?

Really why I want the plug in function is so I don't have to remember saving patches when I write songs and I can save the settings in the logic program file instead. Bring up the song bring up the patch. Or do I need to still have it save the patch to the keyboard itself? SEE total newbie.
Old 8th June 2006 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
Tibbon's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I really do wish that just the interfacing was a LITTLE more clear on the DSI gear. It's not that I can't wrap my head around it, it's just not clear like a Juno 106 or a Minimoog. Of course, it's not as bad as a Fizmo or my TG33 (which with a patch editor isn't that bad either).
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
gsilbers's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
1st... the TI just upted its software to 1.1 and it just rocks. it was useless for me until yestderday when i got the update cuase of the bugs. the sounds are fantastic. and its total integration is just amazing. just programing a synth on a little display is the most cut inspiration ever.
the TI plugin will get you going in seconds. and the sound is wayy better than any pllugin around and most hardware synths.
the TI has digital outs also, s/pidf.
as for experimentation. havin the TI as a plugin and being able to precess it however u wish , its far far......far better and more options and control than with external fxs. unless u have something like 50 hardware efx just laying around already patch.
and thatll take some time.

i can get the TI to have phaser, delay, reverb, wierd filters envelopes, in a minute and send it to a bus to get some reverb which then the reverb is compressed with a kik sidechain input to it.
you can get also a plugin call camel space and do wierd stuff with it.

2nd... i really like the TI much better than polyevolver. the sounds are better in my opinion and having the plugin integrated into the sequencer if freafin amazing. i hate recording synths/patch/ midi dump sysex etc.
the TI uses wavetable, not as good as waldorf, but still sounds amazing.

3rd. if your not too familiar with synths.. maybe you should get a few more soft synths first. get the arturia stuff, that emulates the minimoog , and other substractive synth. then get stuff like fm7 and other synth that uses FM synthesis.
but the mother of all is modular synth... like reaktor from NI, or tassman.
or get something like the sh-32 from roland pretty cheap in the used market and still rocks.
its also a way to getting to know why something like a virus TI or a polyevolver is so expesive. its kinda like the long path that teaches you.


moog just came with a more inspirational album. less knobs and easier to tweek, so just play away.

check out, the micromodular from nord, or the regular modular. you program it on your computer and its modular. so its like having an inmense modular synth onyour computer. the learning curve is a little steep. but once you learn that, programming any thing will be freakin easy.

as for soft vs hard ware; i bealive software is upthere with most hardware. the sound of the new linplugs synth, octopus, is really good. getting amp simulation software also helps, logic guitar amp is good as well as guitar amp from NI.
calkwalks rapture is awasome as well. besides, softsynth also use a lot of bit redusing/ samplerate and its also fast and convinient to add fxs.
but its a small amount of software synths that sound good and only with if u program it good.
trilogy and atmosphere use sample base technology so its the real waveforms and not softsynth based which give it a better sound.










i am curious to see the comment on another gearsluter that has something like a synth museum in his studio. oh my ... what a studio....
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
r0ck1r0ck2's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i.just.really.hate.the.virus...

boring.boring.boring..

but for some reason i really liked the polyevolver..

mucho fun..
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
Yutaka's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by uselesstomorrow
HEY I just looked at the VSTi (which is pointles till I pony up the money for the VST->AU plugin since I do logic pro) mentioned above.
I AM CONFUSED. Are all those "presets" for one product or do you end up paying for each device you would like the interface for... i.e. if I had a Virus and a DSI I would have to buy both versions? The website didn't make that clear to me. Also, randomly... Can I get a Virus C or something else maybe at a lower cost then a TI and lose mainly the plug in function I want and replace it with this and have a more afordable bundle?
Well, I actually am wondering about the same thing as well... Would be sweet if you can buy the whole suite at that price, but I don't know if that's the case. Probably not. There's also Sound Quest editor as well, that works as VST for Virus (well, so they claim - I have no experience).

You may need to check the VST-AU compatibility, though - I don't know if they can do full adaptation. Maybe someone else can chime in.

If I had a budget for Virus TI, I would probably try to get an ATC-X (moog-option) for bass and lead - $1100, an evolver $600 - more experimental leads, and an Alesis Ion $600 - pads, etc.. For bass and lead, you really can't beat the analogue. All of those can process external sounds as well, so if you want to feed a loop you have you'd have 3 units to have fun with.

Saving patches is really not too bad if you get used to sysex dumping, or using a librarian.
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #23
Gear Nut
 
slowdive's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
i recently made the move to analog myself too. took the plunge and bought a moog voyager electric blue

at first i thought monophonic was limiting...but now that i am used to thinking in those terms, i really love it.

its certainly inspiring to work with

the PEK is fantastic too though..
Attached Thumbnails
Does anyone have a Dave Smith synth?-synth1.jpg  
Old 9th June 2006 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
soundsubs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
dont mean to start a war, and im an analog purist, but i have to agree with tsilbers here-- TI wins for your application. honestly though, theres no right answer, chances are you'll be happy with either/both.

yes, many users have had problems with theirs. the PROBLEM, i might suggest, is that the TI can now be all things to all people. wtf do i mean? well, with a usb cable, a laptop, and a TI, you have a 4in/4out soundcard, the best va synth on earth, a killer programming interface, and it can work for the most part as a plugin. nothing will do that. so i think a lot of the problems that exist for users (in the minority as far as i can tell) are that they may not be keeping their computer up to spec on their end. as far as i can tell--- and ive lurked on bboards and elsewhere on the internet, pouring over hundreds of discussions, if you use the TI in stand alone mode, there are no problems. its when people try to use it with the computer. for example, while running audio in/out the 1/4" i/o, you can also use the usb to feed the analog io into your laptop or computer. so it really is a fully functioning soundcard as well. like i said, my educated guess is that this is where its breaking for users. yes, the 1.1 fix is a godsend.

ti wins on:
-polyphony-- they claim 80 voices and at this number, who knows really
-sound flexibility-- since its digital you can get digital waves in there and therefore somewhat realistic sounds. yes, i said piano.
-filter models-- from the 1,2,3 pole filters, to the virus filters to the moog filter, the TI has them, and they are pretty damn good. the saturation models and routing is deep too.
-effects per channel-- yes, reverb, delay, chorus, flange, distortion--- PER channel
-build quality-- my Polar is built like a tank. maybe the most solid synth i have ever owned, save minimoog. the keys feel amazing too, if a keyboard ti is what youre looking at.
-thousands of built in sounds and presets. idk how many the poly evolvers have.


i second the suggestion of nord modular. thats fun that never ceases, if youre really a synth geek.
want to also suggest searching for an alesis andromeda. its analog too and extremely powerful.

just some thoughts, please take it at face value. let us know what you decide!!


--shane
Old 9th August 2006 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
Bryce's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by rids ➑️
Only played once so I just tweaked around and listened to what Dave came up with in the programs.
Dave didn't write most of the programs in the Evolver synths - he just builds 'em. I wrote a bunch of them, though...

Yeah, I know - I'm the ADAM guy. I'm also lucky enough to work with Dave, too...

dB
DSI
Old 30th July 2016
  #26
Lives for gear
 
Stevism's Avatar
 
6 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
I have a dsi synth. It is awesome. OP I say go for it
Old 30th July 2016
  #27
Lives for gear
 
tehlord's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Old 30th July 2016
  #28
Lives for gear
 
orcoaffamato's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Old 30th July 2016 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
TheBrightSide's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevism ➑️
I have a dsi synth. It is awesome. OP I say go for it
Bump of the year!
Old 30th July 2016 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
tehlord's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide ➑️
Bump of the year!
Of the decade, literally.
πŸ“ Reply

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