Dave Smith Mopho analog synthesizer review


It’s no secret I use hardware and software in my music making.

A lot of times during my videos viewers catch a glimpse of my hardware and ask me what the devices are.

Some of you may know and some may not. As always the stuff I show on this site is the stuff I like and use or have used myself.

I actually use my hardware often in terms of sound creation, and many have asked me what the “little yellow box” is.

For those that don’t know, it’s the Mopho analog synthesizer from Dave Smith Instruments.

I’ve had it for about a year and still love this thing

So let’s check it out!

So what’ is the Mopho?

It’s a 100% analog synthesizer, monophonic…which means one note at a time.

Has 2 oscillators, and 2 sub oscillators, as well as a low pass filter, multiple envelopes, arps, lfos, and 4 sequencers that can be sent to modulate whatever you wish.

It’s a small tabletop unit that doesn’t take up much space at all, with 9 knobs for tweaking and a couple others for volume/browsing.

You can think of it as a single voice from the prophet 08 or tetra, moreso the tetra than the prophet since it has the sub oscillators.

But at the end of the day, it’s a very affordable analog synthesizer.

Quick Specs

  • synthesis type: analog
  • oscillators: 2 osc and 2 sub osc
  • price: $399 (can find it for around 250-300 second hand)

How does it sound?

Now this is what it all comes down to, how does it sound?

This synth has a fat, raw, aggressive analog sound to it. I can really get some nice thick bass and lead sounds out of it.

I personally dig the sound so much, I immediately wished I had more voices….nothing a tetra can’t solve

Seriously, there’s not much to say about it other than it sounds thick and analog and has more of an edgy modern sound to it compared to some other analog synths

I like that it has a feedback circuit built in so you can apply some feedback/distortion type dressing to your sounds based on how you route the feedback.

Being monophonic you’re not gonna be playing any chords, though the big thick sound definitely gives me the desire to do just that!

Like any synth or instrument, it’s going to be a matter of if this is your “type” of sound or not. Especially when it comes to analog, people like different things, I will say, I like this sound quite a bit for specific things.

So what’s the bottom line?

It’s hard not to like this little box of awesomeness, the price brand new is the same as many high to mid range vst plugins, and the price second hand is the same as many low to mid range plugins.

For that price, to get this sound, it’s really something to consider if you’re looking into your first analog or just want a change of pace from your software and other hardware.

I give the Mopho 4.5 out of 5 subs, after using it for over a year I still find myself smiling when I play sounds out of this thing.

The editor is decent, but requires midi connectivity between the mopho and your computer, one reason you may possibly consider a tetra or mopho keyboard, which have usb connectivity for midi.

Me personally I don’t use the editor much at all, I find myself content just tweaking it from the synth itself, it’s not as hard to edit as some would have you believe, once you figure out how it all works, you can move through it fairly quick.

I can’t lie, having the Mopho for a while makes me want a tetra, so I can play some nice fat chords!

But as it stands, the Mopho is really a nice synthesizer with great sound and aΒ usableΒ interface.

Check it out:Β http://davesmithinstruments.com/products/mopho

Leave a comment below, let me know what you think!


  1. this thing sounds nasty…nice to see a hardware review here…..you didn’t cover the red button though….ive been wondering what the “push it” can do….is it a secret only for mopho owners?

    • It’s just like a little demo button lol, I use it sometimes when sound designing but not much since it’s right here by my keyboard. I don’t use it to assign sequences to though you can do that as well.

      As for the synth, man I love it, I want to get a tetra, over the prophet, because they have the same exact sound engine, prophet lacks the sub oscillators, which I want. But I will say, the new Mopho x4 sounds nice too!

  2. Michael Parson-McNamara · Edit

    Great timing as usual! I just watched some Keyboard vids of Dave Smith’s “best of synths” and interview. Your vid has got me remembering how much fun my first Roland SH101 was to just play around with! I imagine my new Virus Ti2 will be once I learn to use it a little! Thanks Michael

  3. Thanks Man, I always appreciate your videos. and how you always putting me down on something. You look like you enjoy your job. Best to you Bro. Oh by the way what kind of camera are you using to shoot your video? They are so clear and sounds great. Thanks again.

  4. Did it to me again.
    Another good detailed review and frank commentary … and I ran out and copped a used one.
    Huge cajones for a small guy, eh?
    I use it to produce a nice fat analog voice for my guitar (since I am not a keyboardist) … MIDI-Enabled Godin -> Axon USB -> MoPho. Nice and fat.
    And gotta love the name. πŸ˜‰
    Thanks again, Bro.

  5. what would be a good midi keyboard to accompany with it? i am making a switch from a microkorg and looking for a good solid bass sound. polyphonic would be nice but unless its the microkorg i see no alternative unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a polyphonic. i was considering he bass station but not a fan of the key range for the the price. new to desktop synths, but i would like to give it a shot. i am into something that is easy to transport and can deliver a wide variety of sound. any information will be of help based on your experience with this synth.

    • You can use pretty much any keyboard you wish, just personal preference. Also, if you’re looking for small and poly you may want to consider a used tetra, 4 voices, same size as the mopho.

      • what is your opinion on the bass station II? i know it wont compare to the scale of the mopho, but i am a fan of travel sized synthesizers since m home studio is space limited and i travel a lot. My only grife about the mikro korg was the keys felt to small for me other than that it is a great machine. But i like to keep my synthesizer selection like my guitars (vast and expansive). i have tried it and dug the sound, but I am sill unsure to get the bass station or the mopho for monophonic style synthesizers. my budget has me lean to the nnovation side but the sound i am hearing from this are just great. a desktop synthesizer is new to me, and i am just curious how it felt to maneuver compared to more keyboard style.


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