Any DSI Evolver love?

Due to financial reasons, I’ve been reduced to a Rytm & Evolver. I recently purchased the Evolver (desktop) & have yet to receive it. Now, I am starting to have doubts? A lot of the demos I hear absolutely suck horribly (as usual with any gear). It seems a bit harsh? But at the same time softness is attainable? Clips easily? Aliasing / clicking in the oscillators?

I produce (Detroit) techno for the most part… but I like to use ambient soundscapes and such… I bought this machine thinking it’s a vibe box…. can easily & nicely create a vibe in a track?

I’m really hoping this synth delivers…

Now its not the same, but I almost bought a Minitaur (already owned one) but realized that as great as Minitaur’s bass is, that’s all it can really do…

but, then again, maybe a Minitaur is all I needed?

I just like the idea of an analog machine that creates “evolving” sounds… I really enjoy that & have always seeked that in a synth… waldorf microwave xt is as close as i ever came to that idea, but that thing is too complex / digital…

evolved is warm? cold? harsh? easily tamable?



Plenty of love for the Evolver here. I have an Evolver (desktop) poly-chained to a PolyEvolver (Rack), although if I had more patch bay space I would use them separately for the multiple audio inputs and outputs.

You’re right that anyone who wants Moog bass sounds should get a Minitaur. The Evolver has a very different design philosophy than a Minitaur.
It was designed to be a very experimental machine, mixing analogue and digital oscillators and adding feedback paths, tuned delays, four-track modulation sequencer, and all kinds of noisy digital tricks. The tentative model name was “Noise”.

Evolver is for those people who like to experiment with putting sound through all kinds of unexpected signal paths with loads of modulation options for surprising results. It has all kinds of cool features like quarter-tone tuning, envelope follower on the input, Prophet VS waveforms on two oscillators, splittable filter pair etc, that you just wouldn’t see on a typical mono synth.

It has a reputation for being wild because there are so many ways to make it wild, but you don’t have to go that way if you don’t want to. You can decent bass sounds, and you could spend all day making cool evolving VS-like sounds if you wanted.

Spend some time learning the front-panel layout, or get editor software if you like that kind of thing, and you will be capable of amazing things.
I imagine that it would be really cool to put individual outs from the AR through the Evolver for effects, and I look forward to hearing what you come up with. Of course, in the end, it’s all about personal taste, but I think that if you like complexity then you will have fun with Evolver.


I think the early demonstrations and the preset list that came with the desktop Evolvers pushed the digital hybrid side a little too hard and created a perception that Evolvers were only harsh and weird sounding.

The presets that came about with the keyboard Evolvers showed a little more balance: there are great dance music sequences, classic Prophet type leads and the harsh and sometimes disturbing stuff mixed in.

Some very beautiful, etherial sounds can be had. It can do warm and you can program it with patches that do not use the digital side of the synth.

Compared to the Minitaur? I’d say that the Minitaur does what it does extremely well. The Moog sound deserves its reputation. It may be the cheapest and easiest way to get that sound. But the sounds are limited (and unless you use a CV trigger, you have a short scale range). The Evolver will give you a much broader and more unpredictable range of sounds. It is perfect for ambient soundscapes.

I’ve paired an Evolver to a MachineDrum. The MachineDrum’s sequencer can do a few things that the Evolver cannot such as slides. I’d expect the Rytm do do likewise.

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The Rytm cannot sequence external gear like the MD, unfortunately.

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The Rytm cannot sequence external gear like the MD, unfortunately.[/quote]
Yep, that’s a big downside. If you plan to use rytm and evolver together, you’ll have to use the evolver’s internal sequencer.
The evolver sounds great, the presets all use the terrible output hack and distortion which makes it harsh, but without it it can be really nice and smooth. It does clip easily which is annoying.
The interface is not good. The 3 digit display has all kinds of codes you need to learn to understand it, and the matrix just doesn’t work well enough. For instance, the cutoff is in the same row as changing the patch. So when the wrong row is selected, you loose all your work. It doesn’t remember the patch you were working on. I’ve cursed the thing several times for that.
Then there is the internal sequencer, which works in quarter steps, not notes, so alot of calculation is needed to figure out what note goes with number 54.

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I am an Evolver lover. I don’t have one anymore because, as usual, I sold mine to fund Elektron new gear. In my case, it was sold to fund brand new Analog Four thinking that what Evolver does the A4 can do better… I’m happy with A4 interface, plocks, sequencer, etc… but I found Evolver sound brighter, madder, more “scifi vintage” and I adore it. I had more fun with Evolver for soundscapes, Arps, Sequences and basses than with my A4 (I know you hate me Elektronauts)
The sounds presets are horrible but better free soundbanks can be found on the web with sound examples:

Regarding the quarter step of the sequencer, I think that notes can be recorded step by step with an external midi keyboard.

Evolver is not an easy synth at all. Its interface is much more “stone age” than A4 one and I can’t imagine to make a complete song using the sequencer of Evolver only. This is why IMO, you MUST have a sequencer with Evolver to save time. As Elektron ones are the best, the killer couple can be OT + Evolver or MnM + Evolver.

At present my conf is: OT + A4 + Nord Drum 2.

My project is to have: OT + MnM + Evolver + Nord Drum 2. I think these machines can complement each other very well in a fully exploited way and offer the best sonic possibilities.

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Rytm doesn’t sequence? Ouch…looks like Alex needs a little OT lust in the future.

In all seriousity, that shouldn’t pose much of a problem. The DEVO’s sequencer is clunkier than the typical Elektron box but it having 4 parallel sequencers is similar to P-locking.


Like SB-SIX said: the interface will make you gnash your teeth a bit. Once you get into it you’ll realize that programming is not all that much fun but it is very fast and efficient. The layout of the MEK on the other hand is one of my favorites.

Get a MIDI controller.

There is a patch on the MEK, preset 1 of bank 3 ( or 2) that nails the entire main sequence for the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”. When I find myself thinking I need a new synth I play it over and over and ask myself: “Can I do something like that?” (Hint: hells no")

Track down “The Definitive Guide to the Evolver” by Carbon111. I don’t know if his website is still up but it’s available at the Prophet forum and the Yahoo Evolver group (if that’s still around). It’s the manual that Dave Smith should have bundled and I personally think they owe him for inspiring some sales and owner loyalty.

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Nah, I know that rytm doesn’t sequence external gear… thats why I bought an evolver (built-in sequencer)…. I’m a big fan of limiting myself…
anyway… i did find the guide pdf… thanks for the advice


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MD & Evolver is a nice, nice, double nice combo.
MD plocks & Evolver sequencer offer many ways to make evolutives sounds.
Must say also that OT & Evolver offers more possibilities, but we lost programchanges abilities of MD midi instruments…

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it can sound nice, just turn the cut off down. :slight_smile:

there’s so much it can do you can make it sound bad, but a lot of it is just not turning everything on in a given patch.

i read that the synths in this were from the poly evolver:

but imo you have to bring the vibes. i’d delete most of presets. :slight_smile:

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Evolver is a good synth ( I have a poly ). It has a wide range of synthesis capabilities which makes it both very versatile but sometimes frustrating to build intentional patches because of its wide range. I think it has a colder bright sound despites it’s analog ocillators. The routing possibilities and the delay lines allow you to create really dirty vintage sounds if you choose to do so. The DSI stuff are about as modular as you can get without getting an actual modular system. It’s digital ocillators have aliasing but that was intentional in the design. ( analog is passe. Vintage digital is the next “cool”:thinking: )
Sequencer on it is 2nd only to elektron. You have a nice pair there.

sorry for nekro’ing this thread but I just bought an evolver desktop and wanted to ask a quick question.

How come I can hear constant clicking sound from the outputs? I’ve muted all the oscs, inputs and the noise source, and still I hear odd clicking coming out from the outputs… already checked that filter res is 0, no hacks are enabled. The clicking is making me wonder if I have bought a defective unit?

I tried looking for answers on the official DSI forum, but DSI seems to have “sacked” the DEVO subforum entirely? All that I found were a coupla stickies and one speculation thread about the future of DSI’s product range…

TIA for any insight you might have on the matter!

Is this happening across all patches? With the amount of mod sources/destinations, there is a strong chance it’s something being modulated that you aren’t aware of. Try to turn off all mod/lfo amounts if it’s a specific pacth with the issue. Also, google anu kirk’s definteive guide to the evolver. It is the ultimate evolver resource and provides an excellent “basic patch” that should put you at a good starting point with no weird mods happening.

Also, just email dsi support through their website if you think it’s a defect. They are very easy to communicate with. The forums are very muddy with a mix of complaints and other bad info so going straight to the source is usually the best bet if you think something is seriously wrong.

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big thanks kind sir! Will check all these and contact DSI if the problem persists.

The box is lovely otherwise - the sequencer is great for bleepy tek stuff :alien:

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Make sure the internal sequencer isn’t running and triggering these odd sounds.

sussed it out. everything’s peachy now! thanks again.

Guess making that init patch is a good idea with this one :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I owned 2 Evolvers, sold them both time and still regret it.
I love my A4, but I’m thinking about trading it for a Tempest just to have 6 Evolver engines…

So much love.

Try hard-panning the 2 filters (osc 1+3 go thru left filter, 2+4 go thru right, or you can flip them around) for big & wide sounds, a very nice effect. Also the digital oscillators are super fun and they can FM each other and the filter. Then you can sequence the digital oscillators to play a different waveform for each step… it’s easy to get weird.

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You make me want to get an Evolver again. It was one of my first synths, and I didn’t properly mess with the 8-bit digital oscillators. Just trying all the different combinations FMing one another sounds like a load of fun.

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Arghhh…you guys remind me that I want to try one really bad!!! :sob:
The curtis filter is the only thing that hold me back.

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