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Dave Smith, Founder Of Sequential Circuits, Has Died
Christian Eede , June 2nd, 2022 11:13

Responsible for co-inventing MIDI and designing the first ever programmable polyphonic synth, Smith was 72

Dave Smith, the founder of Sequential Circuits and an influential figure in the world of synths and electronic music equipment, has died, aged 72.

A statement shared by Smith's family, confirming his death, said: "It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Dave Smith has died. We're heartbroken, but take some small solace in knowing he was on the road doing what he loved best in the company of family, friends and artists."

Smith founded Sequential Circuits in 1974, and went on to design and release the first ever programmable polyphonic synth – the Prophet-5 – in 1977. A number of other influential synths followed through the company, including the DrumTraks drum machine and the mono synth Pro One, essentially a compacted, inexpensive version of the Prophet-5.

In 1981, Smith co-invented the MIDI interface alongside Sequential Circuits' Chet Wood. Having been debuted to the world at that year's Audio Engineering Society conference in New York, it has gone on to be one of the most influential systems for producing music today, as a means of allowing for easy communication between synths and other studio equipment.

Alongside his work with Sequential Circuits, which he rebranded to Sequential in 2016, Smith has worked alongside Yamaha and Korg, playing a role in the design of the latter's Wavestation synth before it was introduced to the world in the early 1990s.

More recently, Smith launched an updated version of the Prophet-5 in 2020, and entered into a deal with the Focusrite Group which saw the brand acquire the Sequential name.

Among those who've taken to social media to pay tribute to Smith following the news of his death are Flying Lotus, Richie Hawtin and Telefon Tel Aviv.