Tech Features

MOPHO X4 By Gavin Herlihy

29 January 2013
  • Tech
  • Tech Features

Dave Smith’s synth, The Prophet, may just be one of dance music’s most revered polyphonic synths. The monophonic Mopho followed it, but for his next creation Dave Smith has bundled the power of four Mopho engines into one neatly designed analogue monster, the Mopho X4.

What can it do?
For a mid-priced synth it makes very full and raw analogue poly sounds, and to our ears it may be even fatter than The Prophet. The X4 contains four voices each comprising two oscillators, two sub octave generators, a two- or four-poled Curtis low-pass filter, three five-stage envelopes, four LFOs, a relatchable arpegiattor and a sequencer. It’s also possible to use the filter to create metallic FM styles. The pots are a mix of mostly fixed and some endless rotaries, and are intuitively laid out.

Anything else to write home about?
The X4’s layout is all about an efficiently maximised space to make it more attractive to live artists wanting to travel with it, as well as studio-based producers. There are no effects present but when every DAW is crammed full of them and outboard effects are back in fashion that’s no big loss. The semi-weighted keyboard is a joy to play with. The wooden cheeks and sturdy, stylish design quality give it the feel of an instant classic that’s made to last, and the presets are crammed with useful sounds for dance music producers. It’s also possible to link up other Dave Smith synths to make the sound even bigger.

Any weaknesses?
The lack of space means jumping between control modes – for example, to change the amplitude envelope to the filter envelope – is a little fiddly.





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