There are certain little bits of news that you spend so long wishing for that you almost forget they could be a possibility. When we saw the words Mopho x4 flash up in an email, the result was mass panic, elation and everyone figuring out what we could sell to buy one.
Yes: Mopho has gone polyphonic. So between the four voices that's a total of eight analogue oscillators, eight sub octave generators, 16 LFOs and 12 5-stage envelope generators.
Each voice also benefits from the Curtis low-pass filters (2- or 4-pole) that DSI units are famed for - and which can be FM'd for good measure and bell-like shimmer. These filters in particular, along with circuitry that has appeared in numerous legendary synths in one format or another over the years (see below) plus a re-latchable arpegiator, 20 mod sources and just shy of 50 destinations.
For the novice player, this essentially means that either via way of preset - of which there are a great many, easily flicked through in banks of sounds - or built entirely from scratch, a synth player can choose to create four individual sounds to layer, arpeggiate and sequence, or alternatively stack them into gigantic searing tones.
Crucially, it's all analogue, so while the controls certainly feel like a modern take on tone selection the circuitry contains a warmth and presence that purists would argue is absolutely impossible to emulate in digital form - those envelope filters in particular are a unique part of the DSI sound.
More Mopho For Your Money
All of this incredibly powerful functionality is paired with the usual DSI attention to detail, including the logical and precise array of knobs and buttons on the control panel to help you move through presets and make edits swiftly, and a semi-weighted, aftertouch/velocity sensitive keyboard that will suit the amateur and pro player alike. There is also, of course, the option of chaining Mophos, Tetras or Prophets into the x4 for seriously silly soundscaping.
The move to polyphony brings with it a significantly new attraction to the Mopho range. The original mono versions have been typically used to provide bass, and while voices were limited to one, the module and keyboard were praised thanks to controls that could all be deeply edited and mapped to a user's preference. While the DSI Prophet 08 has been available as an alternative for the polyphonic user for some time now, the Mopho represents an excellent compromise for the player who is still keeping an eye on their bank balance and doesn't need as many as eight voices. Heaps of thick and powerful tone and of course the potential for more voices should you want to chain units together make this an unusual unit with little in the way of peers.
Speaking of peers, there is of course already the Tetra available to buy, which allows access to up to four Mopho voices within one desktop module.
However, rather than simply being a Tetra keyboard edition, the Mopho x4 provides a synth which is actually closer to the aforementioned Prophet 08 – you get the multi-timbral, deep editing that the Tetra isn’t capable of in such a hands on manner, but in an incredibly slim and efficient chassis.
The Dave Smith Legacy
Dave Smith has long been revered within the music technology world, known as the 'father of MIDI' for his significant role in its development, and with the Prophet 5 responsible for the first micro-processor-controlled poly synth, no less. His circuitry has found its way onto legendary synths - Roland's Jupiter series, Yamaha's general exploration of synthesis and Korg's wayfaring Wavestation rigs - and it's good to know that under the flag of Dave Smith Instruments, the likes of the Mopho x4 are all designed and built in San Francisco, rather than being outsourced anywhere else.
We're certainly excited - we've been waiting for the Mopho x4 for so long now that we can't see it being anything but snapped up when it arrives, so place an order fast!