Synth Site: Dave Smith Instruments: Evolver: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Sumerki a professional user from Estonia writes:
Overall, a great machine, that is most likely to become a cult in the nearest future. It deserves such a role for sure. I'm selling all of my other monos, as I have no need for any of them any longer, becouse of the Evolver's character and possibilities. Yet, there are some obvious and uncomfortable limitations Evolver has, that are never mentioned in any of the reviews. For some reason, the analog osc's go down to a lowest defined note, right after you release a key. This may be a good option for some sounds, but it makes it absolutely impossible to make melodic pads with long release. It also leads to some latency when triggering the analog osc's, since they have to always reach the note you play from they note, that they go down too. And, if you use glide option on a lead, be prepared that when you trigger the envelopes, the glide of osc's will go not from the previous note you played, but from the lowest one. Of course, analog leads is not quite, what the evolver is made for - it's designed mostly for complex evolving textures and noises, so all of the above inconviniences can't be seen as serious disadvantages, but be aware of them anyway. It deserves a maximum score anyway. Astounding machine!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Feb-12-2003 at 06:00
Töm a professional user from Germany writes:
It´s small...it´s blue...but it isn´t a smurf...;)

Indeed it´s a giant when it comes sound and programming deepness. I won´t repeat the specs here, they can be read well on the site from Dave Smith, but let me talk about the sound...it offers a big variety of sounds, which always has this uniqueness to it, that let´s you, once you heard it, immediately fall in love with this genious masterpiece of hardware synthe architecture, or not. And for 500$, it´s just a MUST buy. I would say, this one is a classic, just like the NordLead, MiniMoog, TB303, TRxxx... Software will never be able to have so much charisma and character...

Go and get one now. You won´t regret it.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-31-2003 at 07:36
macshit a hobbyist user from Japan writes:
This is just one of those synths that just clicks.

There are a lot of simple analogue monosynths currently on the market that sound pretty good, but I've seen nothing that's as inspired (and inspiring) as the evolver, which takes a sweet analogue core and adds layers of digital sound mangling and control that vastly expand its repertoire. It sounds great, and despite the relative complexity of its voice architecture and low-end user-interface, is fairly simple to use. I see it as an elegant compromise between analogue and digital synthesis, which manages to combine the strengths of both.

Basically it just sounds wonderful. The VCOs and filter can sound very sweet and clean and have a nice `deep' sound at low pitches. The digital oscs can be used for rougher or more clangorous tones (though they can sound pretty sweet too), well controlled by the filters. The feedback can be used for both subtle thickening and wild out-of-control screaming. The distortions sound great and crunchy. The delays also sound good, and can be synced to the clock.

The overall tone palette is very wide, from thin pure sounds to utterly absurdly huge and complex ones that you will NOT believe are coming from a monosynth without effects. The deep modulation possibilities and the sequencer make it easy to create dynamic ever-changing sounds (the name `evolver' is well-chosen indeed). Because the oscillators sound great individually, it's quite reasonable to have all 4 of them playing separate melodies, something which the factory presets take great advantage of (some of them will really make your jaw drop).

A good tag-line for this synth might be `I can't believe it's a monosynth.'

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Friday-Jan-31-2003 at 04:48
juno60 a part-time user from USA writes:
This is an amazing synth, and a steal at the sub-$500 pricetag. Solid, thick metal construction...loaded with features you don't see very often, such as 4 oscillators (2 analog and 2 digital, with waveshapes taken from the Prophet VS), a 4-track 16-step analog-style sequencer, built-in feedback paths, stereo external inputs to the analog filters, bit-reduction on the outputs AND inputs...so much to talk about.

And it sounds great! I'm continually being surprised at some of the sounds that come out of this thing. It can be very strange and twisted-sounding, but it can do traditional synth sounds well too. The sequencer is very inspiring, and it's a great tool for me creatively because I often wind up with melodies that I wouldn't normally have written on any of my other synths.

My only gripes: the sequencer can't send MIDI out to other gear, and the waveshapes for the digital oscillators cannot be the target of any modulation other than the sequencer (i.e. you can't "sweep" through the wavetable with an LFO, but you can have the sequencer change the waveshape for each step).

Even with those drawbacks, I'd give the Evovler an A+. And to top it off, Dave Smith has been excellent to deal with on all accounts, offering quick and courteous service each time I've contacted him.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Dec-15-2002 at 22:20
Symbiot a part-time user from Netherlands writes:
Great little box with big sounds =) Kudos for Dave Smith!!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Dec-09-2002 at 11:25
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