Tempest opinions years later

Hey everyone,

After many years of Tempest existence i understand it’s still a polarizing machine that I can’t decide if I should get at one second hand at some point… I’ve always been intrigued…
Love ? Hate ? Need some opinions :slight_smile:


Previously on Elektronauts:


Bought mine used this year in excellent condition. Best drum machine IMO. I understand anyone who went through all the crap forming hard opinions on it, had same experience with sp16. The tempest is a drum machine designed to be a live musical instrument. If that’s what your after then it’s very cool.


Bought mine just a few weeks ago.
I would first ask, what are your other gear experiences?

But nonetheless, I echo what @Francis says. great drum machine thats made to be jammed on.

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I have pretty extensive drum machines experience haha
Been jamming on mainly Elektron products such as the machinedrum, analog rytm but also the arturia drumbrute, the volca drums and the Vermona and I guess the MnM to some extent.
It’s just that I have never seen such contradictory things on the tempest, some people saying it’s actually a synth, it’s buggy but then the firmware dealt with that, the demos don’t do it justice ect… It seems everybody says it’s great to jam on but I can’t assess the sound of it

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There is something compelling about it for sure, DSI DCO wooly, itchy, and weird.
I’m definitely in the camp of using less like a drum machine and more like a synth, or a hybrid somewhere in the middle.


Heres the first thing I’ve recorded, just last weekend.
Kick and hats that come in halfway through are from Analog Rytm MKI.
Recorded in Live, Tempest is running through Live’s Drum Buss and sending to some reverb,
low ratio Glue comp on the master.
Tempest def wants some processing, but I think it sounds very interesting dry, like compelling I guess, but with the thought that I’m always gonna want some comp and EQ on it.

EDIT: There is no reverb on this clip bc I don’t know how to use Ableton Live lol.

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I have it since years, and i wont sell it. The strong point if it is the Bass, and Zip Zap sounds like the modor can do. The sequencer is meh, but i use it now with digitakt to sample it. The overdrive sucks, but with digitakt … who cares, only midi delay, but again syntakt compensates all its flaws.

HiHat, Claps, Synth stabs … just good. With digitakt its an insane combo.

I like the overdrive! But I use it sparingly and more as an effect that shows off the sounds when you switch it off if that makes sense.? More of a dirty filter. The things you can do while running a sequence make it a pleasure to play, and the different modes are very usable. My other drum machines are pulsar 23 and Modor and they all do their own thing.


Echoing what Francis and others have said, the DSI Tempest is a wicked machine, flexible almost to a fault. It doesn’t hold your hand, you have to learn at least basic synthesis to be able to shape and mould your own sounds, though there are presets and learning synthesis on the Tempest is a joy. Having the envelopes laid out as they are and hearing the differences that come from minute tweaks is super cool.

You can get any sound you like out of the Tempest, and the sequencer is the best I’ve used, hands-down. Wonderfully performative, with nuance by the bucket load. Jumping between patterns without missing a beat, having entirely different kits per pattern if you so desire, then playing the sliders to perform weird and wonderful glitches and filter sweeps and pitch madness is a joy


Can you elaborate on this? Having developed somewhat of an Elektron brain myself, I find the Tempest sequencer slightly limited tbh. Probably it’s just different and I haven’t yet realised what its pros are.

We actually did a temporary swap with my friend (my Tempest, his Rytm mk2) last week and for me the Rytm is just soo much quicker and more convenient (with the internal fx etc). For sure, there’s sound design potential in the Tempest that the Rytm can’t touch but I feel it’d take me A LOT of time to be as comfortable with the Tempest as I am with the Rytm after basically just a couple of hours.

So I’m considering making the swap permanent (with some money coming my way) cos I’m getting slightly frustrated with the Tempest. I feel a bit bad (possibly) giving up on the Tempest so quickly (only had it a couple of months) but on the other hand I have to be honest with myself - I prefer to get on with making beats quickly whereas I’ve been getting lost in the sound design maze on the Tempest right now.

Trying to tell myself it’s ok to let go of something if it starts feeling like a chore - no matter what the potential. Haven’t completely made up my mind yet tho.


Have you tried the standard-issue tutorials available on the Tempest? Following them is what really opened my eyes to the sound design on there:


In terms of elaborating upon my appreciation of the Tempest sequencer, for me the best way to sequence is MPC style, with loads of pads, each representing a sound, and 16 levels of volume and tuning per pad. The Elektron way is great but I find myself lost in the details and not recording anything with them. Whatever works for you though, keep doing that. :slight_smile:


Thank you! Will check the Tempest Recipes right away!

As for what works for me, one of the reasons for getting a Tempest was to get out of my Elektron comfort zone but that may have been a bit arrogant as I still have loads and loads to discover within the Elektron realm as well.

As should be clear, this isn’t about the Tempest but rather about the amount of time and effort I’m willing to invest in it at the moment.

I still feel the same about it as when I left it.
Sounds amazing, really designed to be a drum machine instrument.
It demands your attention to get it to shine.
Works best on it’s own with a mixer and few other effects, maybe 1 external synth.
Can’t stand the touch strips and how they work.
The Project limitation and the absence of banks makes it seem shallow to me.
What really frustrated me was the midi event limitation, so you can’t really put too many notes on 1 beat pad.
You would think this would be the work around for banks, using mutes etc, but nope.
Really fun to play, terrible if you plan to incorporate it with some other gear as a brain or drum centered set up.
Lastly, lot’s of the samples are really questionable to me.
If they were going to limit it so much, to bad you couldn’t at least choose the sample pack you wanted installed.
80% of the samples I never care to hear ever.
I used to think about giving it another go, but all I gotta do is re-read that other Tempest thread on here, or go to the Tempest forums.
Reminds me why I bailed.

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It’s not for everyone, and I hope you have found or find the machine of your dreams. As for me, I love not being able to put my own samples in a machine, as it means I’m not constantly wishing you swap things out, I’m just making music. The touch strips are some of my favourite things about the Tempest, amazing how each Sound can have its own settings as well as each Beat. And I love how the movements can be recorded into the sequencer, means with clever programming programming you can make one kit with huge flexibility in tone. A single hat can have changes in timbre, noise, attack and sustain mapped to the sliders for endless fun. :smiley:


Just make the pack and I’ll buy it :grin:


Tonight I jammed out on the tempest and dr2, fun, immediate but with endless variation. As much as I love the elektron sequencer being able to do so much while pattern is playing is awesome. And the interface on both is great.

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It’s been years since I had one but I’ll definitely pick it up again if the opportunity and price is right. It was a ton of fun. I loved the touch strips as well. Being pressure sensitive adds a lot in terms of playability along with the great pads. I have a pro 3 and was very disappointed that they just used the as-1 basic strip instead of the pressure ones from the tempest, pro 12 and pro 2.

As a synth the tempest is kind of a 6 voice evolver with better envelopes for drums and no digital effects. I loved the drums sounds I got out of it.

Step sequencing is a little wonky coming from elektron but it’s not crazy complicated. Once your sequence is set it’s still one of the most fun to play (with the various pad modes) of any gear I’ve ever owned.

I definitely found my dream set up.
Really just a few small pieces away from the end goal.
Got over all that gear swapping once I got an OT, traded out the Tempest for RYTM, and got an A4, which now became an AK.

My old Tempest set up was fun though.
Right when I had really dialed it in, the RYTM came out, I had just gotten an OT, and I just gelled with the Elektron paradigm really well.


I haven’t owned one, but watched and read a lot when it came out :slight_smile: . From multiple rants I remember 2 points:

  • It has an architecture of typical general-purpose DSI synth, not a specialized drum-synth. So it has generous 4 osc and 5 envelopes per voice (!) with typical DSI deep modulation matrix, but not any specialized machine like “kick drum” or “hi hat”. Many classic drum sounds are not based on subtractive synthesis. Probably there should be, for example, FM between Oscs (synth drum do need it), but I haven’t tested myself how is it working and how is it sounding.
  • Sample-based oscillators in theory should help with missing sounds, but people were not happy with their selection. Also something very basic was missing from the analog oscs - white noise? Using sample for that is hmmmmm…
    I was not following since mid 2010’s if there was any update of samples.

So if you are looking for classic drum machine, it’s not exactly following this definition. It’s rather a versatile groovebox/sound module with Curtis LPF and all that sound. Probably it’s sort of 6 voice DSI Tetra with better controls and more oscs/envs .

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