The wait is over! Dave Smith Instruments is now shipping the fabled Tempest Analog Drum Machine that first appeared on the scene at NAMM 2007 as the BoomChik. Along the development route Tempest's name and structure has changed dramatically from the original BoomChik to the LinnDrum II to it's release as the Tempest Analog Drum Machine. Here's a look at it's evolution:
First design, showcased at NAMM 2007 as BoomChik:
Second design, showcased at NAMM 2008 as LinnDrum II in two models, the first being an all digital sampler model:
And as the LinnDrum II Analog Drum Machine:
LinnDrum II Third design is teased later in 2008:
According to Roger Linn the Linn Drum II Digital Sampler is still in development, but is a long way off. This past year Dave Smith and Roger Linn have been working exclusively on getting the Tempest to market. As Roger states "Tempest has turned out much, much better than I originally expected. In fact, I ended up putting most of my best LinnDrum II design ideas into it. Plus I have to admit that the beautifully complex sounds and real-time tweakability of Dave's analog+sample voices give it a pretty amazing sonic pallete, and its real-time performance operating system and 90 panel controls make it a monster of a performance instrument."
The Tempest features a beautiful OLED display, a Curtis analog lowpass filter with audio-rate modulation, an additional high pass filter, 16 pressure and velocity sensitive pads, as well as "two touch controllers to record real-time note sound animations or perform beat-wide sound changes." For oscillators the Tempest features six analog voices with two analog oscillators plus two digital oscillators (with a large bank of included samples.) What will set the Tempest apart from other drum machines is it's future ability to double as a six-voice analog keyboard synth! However currently that's one of the things yet to be included in Tempest that will be implemented in future OS updates, here's the full list:
Sound Bank B (32 sounds per beat instead of the current 16 per beat)
Play Lists (lists of drumbeats that play in sequence)
Time Signatures other than 4/4
MIDI clock in sync (clock out is functional)
MIDI control of parameters (files can be exported/imported)
MIDI keyboard control for use as a 6-voice polysynth
Undo Record (Erase and Revert work fine)
Drum Kits (individual sounds can be saved and loaded now)
In a message on DSI.com Dave Smith and Roger Linn talk about the development and release of Tempest:
"As many of you know, this product has been a long time in the making. It is easily the most complex musical instrument we have ever built, a monumental task for a very tiny company. At this point we have a number of units in the field used by a variety of top artists, and the early reaction has been amazing and highly encouraging!
When we originally announced Tempest, perhaps we were a bit optimistic in giving details about all of our planned features for the product. As a result, even though Tempest is now an immensely capable tool, we've decided to ship with some of those features not yet implemented. We are finding that already this instrument is so powerful and musicians are having so much fun that it's time to go for it. Check the video links below and see if you agree!
The hardware is solid and rest assured Tempest is stable and will not eat your beats. Going forward we'll be releasing periodic free software updates that can be downloaded and installed over MIDI, and we'll be maintaining a list of what is remaining to implement. If you wish to wait until all features are done, we understand. If you wish to try it out first then decide to wait, that's OK, too—we will maintain a liberal, no-questions-asked return policy while we're finishing up the remaining features.
Be assured that we stand behind the product and we are fully committed to insuring that everyone has a great experience with it. We are really looking forward to seeing/hearing Tempest in action!"
-Dave and Roger
The Tempest Analog Drum Machine is now available for purchase from your favorite music store for $1999 USD! Because of it's high demand you probably want to get your order in quickly if you want one in the near future...