Dave Smith Instruments Mopho x4

Synthesiser

  • 4 Voice polyphony
  • 44 Semi-weighted velocity-sensitive keys
  • Aftertouch
  • 100% Analogue signal path
  • Two oscillators
  • 1 classic Curtis Low-Pass filter (switchable 2- or 4-pole)
  • Analogue VCAs
  • Three envelope generators (ADSR plus delay)
  • Two Sub-Octave generators
  • Four assignable performance controllers per program
  • Gated 16 x 4 step sequencer
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fully programmable (free software editor for Mac OS and Windows can be downloaded)
  • 1024 programs (512 factory presets + 512 user presets)
  • MIDI In / Out / Thru and Poly Chain
  • Left and Right Audio Out
  • Headphone output
  • USB (MIDI)
No JavaScript? No Audio Samples! :-(

Sound samples

 
0:00
  • Arp 1
  • Arp 2
  • Filtering

Further information

Number Of Keys 32
Touch-Sensitive Yes
Aftertouch Yes
Split Zones No
Modulation Wheel Yes
Amount of simultaneous tones 4
Sound Engine Analogue
MIDI interface 1x In, 1x Out, 1x Thru
Storage Medium None
USB-port No
Effects None
Arpeggiator Yes
Number of Analog Outputs 2
Digital Output No
Display Yes

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40 customer ratings:
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4.8 / 5.0
  • handling
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23 written ratings Read all reviews
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handling
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Great and versatile analog polysynth

Ben Z., 16.08.2013
I found this one while looking for an analog poysynth. I started out using softsynths and virtual analogs and wanted to expand my setup with analog hardware.
I quickly found out that it was easy to recreate the sounds I had made on softsynths on this one and it sounded much better.
I had for some time been interested in the Prophet 08 but the price point of this one and the added features such as the feedback loop and the sub oscillators made it an easy decision. The option to polychain this one with another Mopho or a Tetra for more voices or for layering is very compelling and is something I consider at a later point. However, so far I have had good results multitracking it for layering and it sounds really well.
The sound is clear and distinct so it is good for lead sounds, pads, effects, percussion and quite mellow all the way to harsher bass sounds. Do not expect deep, smooth Moog sounds from this but this is not what it is designed for and in my opinion the two characters complement each other really well in a mix with each having their own identity.


What is does really well:

Modulation. The modulation options for this are very good and with 4 LFO's, 3 envelopes, 4 track step sequencer, 4 additional modulation slots and probably more that I have forgotten to mention are plenty enough for creating complex and dynamic patches.

Sequencer. Although the manual states that each step will retrigger the envelopes, this can be easily disabled so you can use it to only modulate what you want which was a great surprise.

The Oscillators. They are very stable and good sounding. The available waveforms are good for this type of synth and the added Triangle-Sawtooth hybrid sounds cool. Only missing is a sine wave.

Sub oscillators. I use these mostly for pads actually and find that they work well for it if played quite high in the registers. They add a rich tone and full tone while the regular oscillators create nice overtones.

The Filter. I really like the sound of it. The option to switch between 2 and 4 pole is good to have. The resonance on the 2 pole mode is very subtle but the 4 pole can be driven to self oscillation with full resonance. This way it can be used as an oscillator to good effect for whistling sounds and similar. With filter modulation applied, you can get rather good FM-effects and create nice bells or just random weirdness. One thing I found out is with keytracking turned off, it does not open up fully but once turned up you can get really nice and buzzy sounds when desired so that could be something to look for.

The Keyboard. I like the 3 and a half octave size (F-C). The keys feel nice and the addition of aftertouch makes it very expressive to play.

The Controls. The layout is logical and the number of knobs are enough to control most thing so the hands-on experience is very good and although there is an editor available it is not a must have for sound creation. One thing the editor is really useful for is creating sequences since that is a little bit tricky on the unit itself. However I do not see how they can make it easier to do this on the hardware without adding dedicated controls for it, which would not be worth it in my opinion. Also, there is not much need for menu-diving and when you need to the menu is layed out pretty ok. The build quality seems very good as well and does not feel cheap in any way.

What could be improved:
The feedback is cool for weird effects, but it is difficult to use that for adding a good melodic overdrive. It goes quickly from subtle to too much and when it's too much, it looses pitch easily. Using it on quite static sound works well but with modulation of filter or amplitude it easily overdrives to a droning noise. It takes a while to get to know how to handle it well. It is still very useful, though.

In summary I would really recommend this to anyone who wants an all analog polysynth. The option to expand it makes it a good starting point. I like the sound of it a lot and I feel that it is easy the create your own sounds on it and it covers a lot of ground.
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Total
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Good bang for the buck

26.11.2015
In general it's a well designed, nice sounding 4-voice poly synth. If youre looking for a complex design enabling you to use massive signal/mod routing posibilities for a reasonable price it's a great option. Sound can get pretty big (squares are quite nice) with feedback and pwm you can create some really huge patches. Personally I didn't like triangles too much (for me they lack low end, but hey - you get 2 osc's + sub osc per voice, 4 voices in this price - so that's a bargain anyway). The real power of this synth are loads of modulation sources which can be set in almost any way you'd like to. Using the front panel controls is ok, you won't get a one-knob-per-function but that seems pretty fair - there are lot of options to acces and it would have to be 2-3 times bigger to enable you have that. Sequencers are kind of a different story - it's possible to set them using front panel encoders but really, to make the best use of them you need the software. And having to buy a software that will enable you to use the full functionality as a plugin for your DAW may seem a little funky, but thats the deal you get (there is a free soft but it won't let you use all features and it's a standalone only). Knobs are quite ok, keys are more than fine. The aftertouch is sensitive and adjustable, that actually made me quite fond of mopho. Overall a sturdy case, really. So in general - as for 4-voice poly analogue in this price - it's a great deal. Big mo***pho in a small package ;)
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