Dave Smith REV2 is like getting a Prophet 08, squared

Dave Smith’s collaboration with Pioneer tends to the minimalist side, but not so the new DSI keyboard. The REV2 is all about more.

While it’s not called a Prophet 08 II or something, the REV2 is rooted in that earlier synthesizer. It still has two DCOs per voice. It still opts for the sound of Curtis filters at its core. (In other words, you had better like that particular flavor.)



The ’08 “squared” business is all about newer and more, in this year’s model. So this is a 16-voice standard configuration over 8. (8-voice is available, and … heh, actually may still be the more sensible option, now made more affordable.)

It’s also bi-timbral, with stacks and splits.

There’s now waveshape modulation – perhaps the most compelling addition. Vary pulse width of each of the four waveforms, or use an LFO or modulation source.

And while you have the same effects, you get more of them, plus a more extensive modulation matrix for applying them to more places. So that makes reverb, delay (standard, bucket brigade), ring mod, and distortion more powerful.

And there’s a new polyphonic step sequencer, with 64 steps and 6 notes per step, ties and rests, and of course external sync.

You also get more premium features for your premium price, with USB support, integrated power supply, an OLED display, and better keyboard.


To be honest, I’m a bit torn on these things personally – though don’t mind me. I never could make myself fall in love with packed-to-the-gills digital workstation synths, and so I have to say even in the analog domain, I rather prefer more purpose-built, minimal synths to monsters like this one. That said, I think if you want a monster, this one is very likely going to be on your short list – it has an exceptionally balanced set of features and a mature and beloved sound. So while the Arturia MatrixBrute has gone hog-wild with features, for instance, and the Behringer has entered the market with their cut-rate do-everything keyboard, I think Dave Smith is still going to have a big, big say in the market among synth enthusiasts.

And it’s not a terribly huge investment, either – especially in comparison to what you could easily spend on a Eurorack, if what you want is a playable keyboard synth with loads of features, you’d rather have this.

Coming in April, US$1499 8-voice, $1999 16-voice.


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