This Mopho is a Recession Buster: Synth Selling Briskly Despite Economy

In a season filled with dire predictions for retail, it might seem strange that a company is having great success selling synthesizers, but that is exactly what is happening with Dave Smith Instruments and Mopho. Mopho is a desktop monophonic analog synthesizer module based on the popular, multiple-award-winning Prophet ’08. Since it became available in September 2008, “Mopho has had greater initial sales in less time than any of our previous instruments,” said Joanne McGowan, DSI’s General Manager. “At this rate, it won’t take long to become our best-selling model.”
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Of course, with an MAP of only $399, much of Mopho’s success can be attributed to its affordability. “I wish I could say that it was planned, but it’s really just a matter of luck that we came out with the right product at the right time,” laughed Dave Smith, the company’s founder and chief designer. “But a real, hardware, analog synth at a great price point is just irresistable to some folks.”

In designing Mopho, the challenge was to deliver an affordable synth for a broader range of players, while maintaining the renowned sound quality of a single voice of the Prophet ’08. As a testament to Mopho’s capabilities, several high-profile artists are using it, including Nine Inch Nails, who got one for their touring recording setup, and Hot Chip’s Felix Martin, who has the distinction of being the first to buy one. “It certainly is a powerful little box with an incredibly immediate, rich sound,” said Martin. “The first time I got it hooked up and run through a big PA, I cranked up the sub oscillators and they sound absolutely amazing—gives [bandmate Joe Goddard’s] Voyager a run for its money! I really do like this little machine; it’s a great thing to have on the tour bus and on stage, as well.”

Mopho is shipping now. Visit Dave Smith Instruments at NAMM booth 6948.


  • 100% analog signal path
  • Two oscillators
  • One classic Curtis low-pass filter (switchable 2- or 4-pole)
  • Analog VCAs
  • Three envelope generators (ADSR plus delay)
  • Two sub-octave generators (one octave down and two octaves down)
  • External audio input with feedback
  • Four assignable performance controls per program
  • Gated 16 x 4 step sequencer (one sequence per program)
  • Arpeggiator
  • Fully programmable (includes software editor for Mac OS and Windows)
  • 384 programs
  • I/O: MIDI In, MIDI Out/Thru, Audio In, Left and Right Audio Out, Headphone Out
  • 7.5” L x 5” W x 1.4” H (19.05 cm x 12.7 cm x 3.56 cm)
  • 1.5 lb. (0.7 kg)

About Dave Smith Instruments

Launched in 2002, Dave Smith Instruments is helmed by legendary musical instrument designer Dave Smith. Dave’s many accomplishments include the creation of the Prophet-5—the world’s first fully programmable polyphonic synthesizer—and his legacy as the primary driving force behind MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). Dave Smith Instruments’ products are used by an ever-increasing roster of well-known musicians and are available from music retailers worldwide. Instruments include the versatile analog/digital hybrid Evolver synthesizers and the next-generation Prophet ’08. Dave Smith Instruments is based in Northern California, where the instruments are also manufactured. For more information, visit