Friday, September 26, 2008

DSI Mopho

There’s a new synth called the Mopho, just announced by Dave Smith Instruments. It’s small, bright yellow, inexpensive and for me totally fascinating. It’s only 5" by 7.5" and contains one complete voice from the Prophet ’08. Sweetwater claims it will be available the week of October 5th and cost US$400.

It has four dedicated buttons for cutoff, resonance, attack and decay/release. It also have four assignable buttons under a two line display. That may not seem like much to program something as interesting as a Prophet ’08 voice, but DSI has two answers for that. One is that they’re including a free Mac and/or Windows editor, and the other is that if you happen to have one laying around you can use the front panel of a Prophet ’08 to access almost everything in the Mopho.

I say “almost” everything because there are a few nice additions built into the Mopho that the Prophet ’08 doesn’t have.

The first addition is a set of suboscillators. Each oscillator now has a sub. I’ve done some good basses on my ’08, but now with suboscillators I fully expect to be able to blow the roof off the joint. Next comes an audio input. You can process external audio with the Mopho. But it’s not only that as you can also gate the synth from the audio input. This means that the Mopho can be silent until it detects audio at its input, then once it does, all sorts of things can happen.

Now let me talk a moment about the awesomeness of the Push It button. I’ve been wondering how I could do some of my tunes live as I used multiple Prophet ’08 tracks on some of them. With a Mopho or two, I can simply push the button and have it latch the sequencers on. Instant performance backgrounds. Plus, you can use it in conjunction with the audio input to gate the Mopho so the sequencers play only when audio is sensed at the input. Can you think of any other synthesizer that can do that? And even if you can, can they do it for $400?

There’s been a bit of growsing on the Analog Heaven mailing list about the Mopho. Much of it is because it’s a super bright yellow, which for some reason has upset a few people. Personally, I have nothing against yellow as I’ve owned both a Waldorf microQ rack and a full Q rack in the past. (I sold the Micro Q so I could get the Q, then I sold the Q so I could get a black Q keyboard.) All consideration of color aside, the Mopho is arguably more powerful than a Minimoog, it’s the size of a large format paperback, it comes with free editing software, and, as if all that wasn’t enough, it’s friggin’ cheap.

I’ve already ordered mine from Sweetwater.

Photo credit:
Photo is from the manufacturer’s website
Dave Smith Instruments

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