I always liked the sound and design of Dave Smith Instruments. The new Tetra is no exception. This compact polyphonic synth is basically 4 Mophos put in one box, making it similar to a mini Prophet. More importantly the Tetra features USB connectivity for programming through the free editor that is compatible with MAC and Windows.
“We’ve been getting the message loud and clear from our customers that ‘smaller is better,’” said company founder Dave Smith. “All our recent products pack a lot of power and functionality into a small package—even the Prophet ’08, which is relatively small for a full-sized keyboard. We’d also gotten a lot of requests for a poly version of Mopho, our analog mono synth, which has been very successful. By following Mopho’s lead and paring the interface down to the essentials, we can keep the price low and provide excellent value. Everybody wins.” Tetra is fully programmable via the front panel or with a free downloadable editor for Mac OS and Windows.
Tetra is basically four Mophos in a very compact (7.9″ L x 5″ W) enclosure, a sort of mini Prophet with a couple of extra tricks up its sleeve: specifically, a sub-octave generator for each oscillator and feedback. With a street price of approximately $799, that’s like four Mophos for the price of two. And it’s expandable. Tetra can be poly chained with additional Tetras or a Prophet ’08 for up to sixteen-voice polyphony.
Other features include Combo Mode, used to combine four programs into unison or poly “super patches.” Combos can also play four 16 x 4 step sequences—one per voice/program—simultaneously. In Multi Mode, each of Tetra’s voices responds to a different MIDI channel, making it ideal for complex arrangements and sequencing analog drum sounds. Tetra is the first DSI product to feature USB. “USB is one of the most requested features across our entire product line,” said DSI’s Tracy Wadley, “so it’s great to be able to offer it.”