A series of synthesizers produced by Dave Smith Instruments. The Evolvers consist of a hybrid of analog and digital circuitry, and contain features oriented towards the production of dance and club music, with the ability to synchronize all of the onboard rhythmic elements (LFOs, envelope generators, and the onboard digital delay).
The original Evolver, introduced in 2002, was DSI's first product. It is a monophonic unit packaged in a tabletop configuration. All parameters are controlled by eight knobs, arranged in a visual presentation on the panel with the parameters in rows; buttons select which set of parameters are being controlled at any time. The voice architecture consist of two DCOs and two fully digital oscillators (loaded with the wave tables from the Prophet VS). Any oscillator can be assigned to either of two channels, each of which contains a VCF, VCA, and output jack. A wide variety of modulation sources can be routed to any element, including an onboard sequencer, and all modulations can be synchronized to MIDI clock or an internal clock. The MIDI implementation features MIDI overflow, so that multiple Evolvers can be chained for polyphonic operation.
DSI has since manufactured the Evolver in four versions:
- The original tabletop monophonic version
- A keyboard monophonic version, for performers desiring more control. This has a 3-octave keyboard and a full set of parameter knobs.
- The Poly Evolver, a 4-voice polyphonic version in a rackmount package.
- The Poly Evolver Keyboard, a 4-voice polyphonic unit with a 5-octave keyboard and a full set of parameter knobs. This was considered to be DSI's flagship product at the time it was introduced.
The mono and poly keyboard versions were originally made with rotary encoder controls for the variable parameters. These had the advantage that when editing a patch, the control always started with the current stored value of the parameter, instead of "jumping" to a potentiometer value. However, the rotary encoders used had reliability problems, and many perfomers disliked them. Hence, the keyboards were subsequently offered in a "PE" (for Potentiometer Edition) version, and some existing keyboards with the rotary encoders were converted by the factory to the PE version.
All four versions are now out of production. The mono keyboard and poly rack versions were discontinued in 2012; manufacturing of the poly keyboard version ended in 2013. The original desktop mono version finally went out of production in 2015.