Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver

Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver Image

In 2005 Dave Smith Instruments released their third Evolver - The Poly Evolver. Their flagship instrument, it's a four-voice synthesizer (essentially four complete Evolvers) with a 5-octave keyboard, pitch and mod wheels, and a ton of knobs and switches in a clean, clear, easy-to-navigate layout. It can be a four-voice poly synth, four mono synths (each with its own sequencer), or any combination in between. The Evolver series resurrects some of the oscillator, filter and other component technologies from the classic Sequential Circuits Prophet-VS and Pro-One synths. The Evolver was a huge hit the moment it appeared and this is the super-hands-on-real-time-programmable-polyphonic version of the little beast.

Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver Image

Each voice is a complete Evolver with four oscillators per voice: two analog 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 Prophet VS wavetables plus 32 user wavetables (loaded via MIDI only). Each voice 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.). One of its best features is the MIDI-syncable 16-step 4-parameter analog-style sequencer (with each patch having its own sequence) which really brings things to life with 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 Evolver is its true stereo signal path. For each Evolver voice, the left and right channels get their own independent analog oscillator, lowpass filter, highpass filter, VCA and effects. This allows for pretty nice stereo imaging effects.

The Poly Evolver essentially quadruples all those Evolver specs! In Program mode, all four voices play the same sound. In Combo mode, voices can be allocated however desired: stack all 4 for a huge unison sound, split or layer the keyboard in any configuration, and/or play one or all sequences at the same time. Each voice can also respond to a different MIDI channel. Each voice has its own stereo output jacks in addition to the mix output. Stereo audio input can be routed to any or all of the voices, enabling parallel audio processing of external stereo or mono signals. The output of one voice can be routed to the input of another for interesting double-processing effects. And multiple Poly Evolvers can be daisy-chained for increased polyphony!

Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver Image

Full of hundreds of jaw-dropping preset patches, the Poly Evolver offers four times the punch of the original Evolver. The Poly Evolver finally answered prayers for a truly hands-on, programmable synthesizer version of the Evolver, and Dave Smith went all out on this one. The keyboard is semi-weighted with velocity and aftertouch, the wood end caps and overall design make for a great, classic look. The Pitch/Mod wheels are back-lit. With 77 endless-turn knobs and 59 switches, pretty much all parameters are within easy reach. There is a Poly Evolver Rack version of this keyboard, but where is the fun in that? Unless, of course, you "Poly Chain" one or more Poly Evolver Rack models to a master Poly Evolver keyboard for tons more polyphony and Evolver madness! The Poly Evolver would soon be followed up by the much less expensive Mono Evolver, a monophonic keyboard version of the original Evolver.

Lookup Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics

Comments

Are you looking to buy or sell a Dave Smith Instruments Poly Evolver? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

51 Visitor comments
Dewann Davis
March 26, 2009 @ 10:56 pm
This has all the magic I grew to love in the Prophet VS but with endless routing possibilities and a very metallic sound, not in a harsh way but a very lush way especially when using the wave sequencing programs. The filters are beautiful at first the low bass cutoff frequency reminded of the PPG Wave but can hold its own against the 24db Moog filter as well. This is really a space ship of a synth, you could go around the galaxy and back with this thing. Amazing in every sense of the word.
Paul Michael
February 21, 2009 @ 9:38 pm
Could anyone who has experience with both of these synths ( The Polyevolver & the Prophet 08) help me out with your opinions on the sound of the oscillators & VCFs between these synths. ,
I have a Prophet VS, so I know & love that synth , which is part of the reason whY I am interested in the Polyevolver.
What I want to know is what it is like to play, for example specifically, with just its analogue oscillators..just as a basic synth.(soloing /riffing etc) Does it sound as good as the Prophet 08. I want a synth that is a pleasure to play & that sounds good in its analogue oscillators. I know it only has 4 voices & that is a restriction, but I think I can live with that. I know that Dave Smith designed the Prophet 08 based on the analogue oscillators & filters of the Polyevolver. Do they in fact sound similar, ( as in the analogue only section of the Polyevolver & the Prophet 08?)
Michael
December 22, 2008 @ 1:43 am
After having given this nearly 2 years of heavy attention utilizing almost every feature with the software and hands on controls I have come to conclusion this may possibly be one of the best synthesizers invented. I only wish it had more wavetables, you can still utilize the software to send midi dumps of your own hand crafted wavetables but this is time consuming and a bit restricting in knowing what is there. The software could also use a little more development, why not make a Wave import option to import wavetables from other instruments? Then this would be the best synthesizer ever made in my book.
pepe
October 31, 2008 @ 4:14 am
This is a marvelous and extremely unusual synth. A great balance of the traditional oscillator-filter architecture and very original ideas including hybrid analog/digital signal processing within a feedback loop. It can create extremely bizzare experimental and rocking sounds, though it is very easy to get very dirty. Otoh, the traditional sounds are very lively charming. One may spend years in diving into the synthesis capabilities of this beast.

The keyboard action is semi-weighted and one of the best currently available.
stone
October 7, 2008 @ 2:13 am
what are all the knobs for?
 
Post Comment!
VSE Rating

Awesome!

User Rating

Rated 4.22 (850 Votes)

  • 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 - 4 voices
  • Oscillators - 16 (4 per voice):
    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 - 16 total:
    4 LFOs per voice, 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 per voice: 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 per voice.
  • VCA - 1 analog VCA per voice with ADSR envelope generator
  • Arpeg/Seq - Four 16 x 4 analog-style step sequencers that syncs to MIDI clock.
  • Keyboard - 5-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 (4 banks of 128) and 384 Combos (3 banks of 128).
  • Control - MIDI In, Out, and Thru; Poly Chain; Pedal/CV1 and Pedal/CV2 inputs: responds to expression pedals or control voltages ranging from 0 to 5 VDC
  • Date Produced - 2005

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.