Dave Smith Instruments Mono Evolver

Dave Smith Instruments Mono Evolver Image

The Mono Evolver was the highly anticipated performance-oriented keyboard version of the original Evolver table-top sound module. The voice architecture is identical to the Evolver, but it sports a 3-octave semi-weighted keyboard, pitch and mod wheels, a new built-in arpeggiator, and finally enough knobs and switches to put all the controls within easy reach.

Mono Evolver is a true analog synthesizer that incorporates many of Dave Smith and Sequential's old secrets, circuits and technologies. It's monophonic with four oscillators - two analog DCOs and two digital - it's a true analog/digital hybrid synth. The analog oscillators feature multiple classic waveforms plus pulse-width modulation and hard sync, and they sound really nice and big. The digital oscillators feature FM synthesis, Ring Modulation and 96 wavetables straight out of the Prophet VS (plus 32 user wavetables, loaded via MIDI software editors such as Motu Unisyn).

Mono Evolver also features two Curtis voltage-controlled analog low-pass filters which are fully resonant and switchable for two- or four-pole operation, two digital highpass filters and real analog VCAs. Modulation capabilities are handled by four LFOs and three ADSR envelope generators (for the filter, the amp, and one is user assignable). There are dedicated onboard effects (feedback, delay, distortion, glide, etc.). Stereo audio inputs let you process external audio through the Mono Evolver's filters, envelopes, LFOs and effects. The Evolver's ultra-cool MIDI-syncable 16-step, 4-parameter, analog-style sequencer (with each patch able to store its own sequence) is also on-board to really bring the Mono Evolver to life with animated evolving sounds. The LFOs, step sequencer, and three separate delays can all be synced for massive, rhythmic, time-based effects in stereo.

A major unique feature of the Mono Evolver is that although it is monophonic, it has a true stereo signal path. The reason many things come in multiples of two here is because each channel gets its own independent analog oscillator, lowpass filter, highpass filter, VCA and effects. It's sort of like two independent synths - one on the left and another on the right. This allows for pretty nice stereo imaging effects not possible with most other mono-monophonic synths. Some of the factory patches will make your jaw drop - sometimes it's really hard to believe it has only a single voice!

Dave Smith Instruments Mono Evolver Image

The original Evolver was a hit when it came out. There just were no other modern analog-digital synthesizers in its price range. It sounds wonderful, and was one of those synths that has no real need for external effects. But it was limited in its table-top form, with just 8 rotary knobs for hands-on control. Four years after the Evolver was released, Mono Evolver finally appeared to make the Evolver a true performance-oriented synthesizer, and without breaking the bank! For about the same price you could also get the Poly Evolver Rack which is basically 4 Evolvers in one tidy little polyphonic rack module. And then there's the flag-ship keyboard version - the Poly Evolver - twice as expensive but four times as big.

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29 Visitor comments
Bestovitch
October 27, 2013 @ 4:29 pm
@fabras Use the keyboard to enter values for each step. let's say you're using sequence 3 to tweak the filter. touch the SEQ3 button, then hit the WRITE switch then the START/STOP switch to enter sequence-record mode. now press a key to enter a value for the filter. the higher the key, the larger the value, the more open the filter will be. after each keypress, the sequencer will advance a step and wait for your next key press. it's an easy way to visualize (for me, anyway) the value you're entering on each step, which makes programming the sequencers a lot less cumbersome, i think.
tao
October 19, 2013 @ 9:44 pm
You can clean the encoders with deoxit, which improves them for a time. Better yet, contact DSI to have the problem fixed. We've all gone through it!
frabas
October 18, 2013 @ 11:16 am
I love this synth. Very brilliant implementation, and the quad-sequencer is a real jewel. Sounds great, from deep basses to cutting leads to lush pads (well monophonic pads !) to crazy-noisy stuffs. The only complain are these crappy encoders: mine is almost unusable because of that. One thing I'd wish to see in the O.S. : allowing to record a step sequence with the keyboard (say by keeping SEQ EDIT down while playing).
Pedro Paramo
May 11, 2013 @ 3:24 pm
It have a learning curve but when you release the power its [beep] ing amazing! Nothing else sounds like evolver it goes from soft to agressive to out of this world !!! presets [beep] s you need to make your own sounds .
Brendan Clarke
April 11, 2013 @ 9:44 am
Love it! It does warm and analog and gritty noise and everything in between. Small enough to throw in a case and carry around and still has everything up front. The feedback possibilities really push it over the top. The only downside is that it has spoiled me on modulation routing. On other synths I keep trying to do stuff like modulate LFO amount with another LFO and then remembering I'm not on the evlover :)
 
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  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 digitally controlled analog oscillators (DCOs) with selectable sawtooth, triangle, saw/triangle mix, and pulse waves (with pulse-width modulation), and hard sync;

    2 digital wavetable oscillators with Prophet VS waves and wave sequencing capability, FM and ring modulation.

    White noise generator.
  • LFO - 4 LFOs each with sawtooth, triangle, ramp, pulse, and random waves. Each LFO can be routed to any destination in the matrix. Can sync to MIDI clock.
  • Filter - 2 Low-pass filters: 1 analog Curtis filter per channel, selectable 2- and 4-pole operation (self-resonating in 4-pole mode) and ADSR envelope generator.

    2 digital 4-pole Highpass filters.
  • VCA - 1 analog VCA per channel with ADSR envelope generator
  • Arpeg/Seq - Sequencer: 16 x 4 analog-style step sequencer that syncs to MIDI clock.

    Arpeggiator: up, down, up/down, and assignable modes, and latched operation.
  • Keyboard - 3-octave, semi-weighted action keyboard with velocity and aftertouch.
  • Effects - Digital delays: 3 separate, syncable, stereo delay lines.

    Dual (left and right channel) tunable feedback loops with "Grunge": use feedback as a pitched sound source.

    Distortion! Digital, one for each channel, can be placed before or after analog electronics; and "Output Hack."

    Separate Glide per oscillator.
  • Memory - 512 fully editable programs (four banks of 128).
  • Control - MIDI In, Out, and Thru, and Poly Chain.
    Pedal/CV1 and Pedal/CV2 inputs: responds to expression pedals or control voltages ranging from 0 to 5 VDC.
  • Date Produced - 2006
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

    Reviewed December 2007

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