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DSI Tetra

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:15 pm
by DonutDude
I own many Moog products and have contributed to this forum many times, however, I still feel a little awkward posting this question here... but I will anyway. :)

I am in search of an affordable poly synth and am considering the Dave Smith Instruments Tetra.

Does anyone here have any experience with this synth? Is it reliable, does it sound good? I'd love to hear opinions on the Tetra.

Thank you!

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 7:34 am
by francesco
I have a DSI Tetra in my setup since some years. Soundwise the tetra match very well with my Moog synths, a Voyager and a Taurus III.
Compared to a Moog one have to work harder to get things right, the so called "sweet spot" is remarkable smaller.
The handling of the Tetra is also a little bit difficult, due to its many parameters and the small amount of knobs on its surface.
Therefore I have added a Mopho Keyboard to my setup in order to tweak the Sounds of the Tetra with the knobs of the Mopho.
This works very well. In the end, the Tetra is a small box with incredible possibilities.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 11:34 am
by jsharpphoto
I looked pretty hard at the tetra during my quest for a poly synth module, which is still on-going. I spent some quality time with one in person at a Sam Ash store here in town. I agree completely with Francesco, in that there are sounds that it makes that are very nice, but sometimes you have to dig them out, buried under nonsense. We all want different sounds, so I wouldn't take my opinion, or anyone else's about "sound" being a deciding factor. I didn't really like the limited surface control. If you get one, you'll need a dedicated midi controller, with lots of knobs to control it appropriately. There are more successful implementations of the same interface style. Waldorf synths are still limited in knobs, but they are somehow much more easy to use. I would look at one of those. The new Futursonus Parva looks and sounds very nice, and is 8 voice not 4, and all analog. It's also $1000, which means it's twice as much as a tetra, but it's twice as many voices.

I encourage you to rank your priorities. A tetra might be perfect for your needs, but there might be something better.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:11 pm
by MRNUTTY
I love my MoPho, but hated the P08; go figure?

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:59 am
by jsharpphoto
MRNUTTY wrote:I love my MoPho, but hated the P08; go figure?


Because you have ears. I the the P 08 is one of the worst synths ever. It feels and sounds horrible.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:23 pm
by DonutDude
I remember playing with a Prophet 08 when it first came out and was terribly disappointed. I had high expectations of the 08, based on what I had read. Everyone is different, we have to decide which synths are right for us personally.

I've made a few buyer mistakes based solely on reviews I've read from major publications. That's why now I also like to ask opinions from people who have actually spent money and time with a particular synth.

I appreciate your comments and opinions guys!

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:28 pm
by thealien666
I've never tried a Tetra. But since it is largely based on the P08 technology (same DSI120 chips means same oscillators, same filters, same VCAs), you might be disappointed of it, too...?

I've played a P08 and it has absolutely nothing to do whatsoever with the newer P6. They're worlds apart sonically.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 1:09 pm
by DonutDude
thealien666 wrote:I've never tried a Tetra. But since it is largely based on the P08 technology (same DSI120 chips means same oscillators, same filters, same VCAs), you might be disappointed of it, too...?


That's a good point. Thinking back I only doodled with the presets on the 08 and have since read they are not a good indication of what the synth sounds like. The Tetra has sub oscillators and analog feedback that the 08 doesn't, but I think that's about the only difference.

I've found a really good price on a new model and that is heavily influencing my decision to buy the Tetra. Just want to make sure I'm not missing something.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2016 7:54 pm
by 4dubs
Like francesco, I too had a Tetra/Mopho keyboard combo. Yes, sub oscillators and feedback are the only difference vs. the P08, but they actually make a big difference . . . feedback especially. Small amounts can thicken the sound considerably. Decent sounding synth, but I never loved it. The Tetra is indeed a pain in the neck to program from the front panel. The Mopho keyboard's control surface makes it much easier to deal with, but even with that, there are still a lot of shift functions for knobs that do double duty. I eventually sold off that combo to get a P6, which is outstanding. As thealien666 put it, it's world's apart from the P08.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 6:47 pm
by namahshaman
I owned a Tetra for about 2 weeks before I sold it to a friend. Personally, I didn't like the sound or the interface (talk about tedious :roll: ). I honestly was never too crazy about the '08 either, just from noodling in stores and watching videos. However, I did purchase a Prophet 6 in February and haven't regretted it for a second. The previous comments are indeed right (perhaps even an understatement), worlds apart indeed. :D

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:54 pm
by DonutDude
I went ahead and ordered a Dave Smith Instruments Tetra today. Thanks for all your help and opinions - greatly appreciated.

If anyone is interested, ProAudioStar still has quite a few Tetras in stock and are selling them for $475 new on eBay or $449 new at their website.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:32 pm
by DonutDude
Got the Tetra a few days ago and am very pleased. Awesome sound!

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:59 pm
by EnjoyRC
Does the Korg minilogue compete in this poly market?

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:09 pm
by jsharpphoto
I have a Minilogue on back order from sweetwater. It was going to be my pad machine until DSI releases the OB-6 as a module. Then I started getting concerned with only 4 notes on polyphony. 4 is fine for chord stabs, but if you want more ethereal and evolving pads, you'll need more voices. Today my Waldorf Steichfett arrived. It nails the ethereal pad sounds and was $350. It has some pretty cool voice modulations.

I would have recommended it earlier, but I forgot it existed.

Re: DSI Tetra

Posted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:10 pm
by EnjoyRC
jsharpphoto wrote:I have a Minilogue on back order from sweetwater.

Yeah, I think the Sweetwater date is now 5/18