Dave Smith Does It Again In 2006

Dave Smith's Evolver

By Lorraine Kay

There was a time when EM musicians considered the Prophet 5 the ultimate machine, but Prophet 5 designer Dave Smith has done it again and outdone hmself with the new Evolver. In the words of the creator himself, :This will run circles around a Prophet 5.”

In an exclusive interview with Smith, he shared the cold-hard facts about the advantages of the Evolver. “The Evolver Synthesizer is not just a retro synth.  It is real analog but it doesn’t stop there it has a lot of digital enhancements.  So you can do all the old Prophet 5 sounds if you want since it has the same analog filters that were in the Prophet 5. But you can do a lot of things you couldn’t do thanks to all the new features in the instrument. So it’s a very complex instrument that covers a very wide range.  It is very unique in its ability to produce digital sounds, analog sounds, wild sounds – along with all the old sounds.  Start with a basic sound, turn a knob and you can be shredding sounds like nothing else can. Everything you want to do – you can.”

The keyboard has 4 voices, each a complete Evolver identical to the mono Evolver and rack mountable Poly Evolver. Poly Racks using the dedicated poly chain MIDI output can be chained for more voices.

“This is intelligent polychain,” said Smith.  “There are two midi outputs – one is the regular old-fashioned midi output.  The other is specifically for chaining. And it is smart.  Every time you hit a note, the first four will play on this keyboard, the next four will play on the chained rack.  It doesn’t just do simple overflow. There is a point if you had 5 or 6 racks, you might experience a bit of latency and start to hear a little delay on some of the notes, but it’s pretty fast.”

Specs for the keyboard are basically the same as the Poly Evolver rack, i.e. 512 Programs, 384 Combos, etc. Of course, there’s the 78 knobs, 58 switches, blinking LFO and sequence blue LEDS, and backlit wheels.

According to Smith “The 4 voices are each a complete Evolver, which not only provides backwards compatibility with a monophonic Evolver, but also allows a number of cool features to play with. Each voice still has its own sequencer. This allows some great wave-sequencing applications by gating sequences polyphonically from the keyboard. Each voice also has its own effects, such as feedback, distortion, and delay, which enables completely independent processing of each voice for a super thick sound. And, the LFOs, delays, and sequencer all sync together and to MIDI.”

In addition, the stereo audio inputs go to all four voices, each of which can select to process or ignore the external signals. This allows the user to do quad parallel processing of any audio source. Also, since there are stereo outputs on each of the four voices, the output of one voice can be routed to the input of another voice for some interesting effects.

Overall, the Poly, while retaining all of Evolver’s wild capabilities, has emerged with its own personality. The keyboard will be released in April with a SRP of $2699 and should be available through major music stores or online