Sequential Founder and Synth Maestro Dave Smith Dead At 72

The ‘Father of MIDI’ has bid adieu. Sequential Circuits founder and synth maestro Dave Smith has died aged 72. A short announcement on the Sequential website says: “It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Dave Smith has died.”

Born in San Francisco, Smith obtained degrees in both Computer Science and Electronic Engineering from UC Berkeley. 1972 is the year that saw him buy a Minimoog after taking a keen interest in electronic music and synthesizers.

Smith founded Sequential Circuits in 1974. They introduced the Prophet-5, the first commercial polyphonic and microprocessor-controlled synthesizer, in late 1977. A host of other popular synths and drum machines followed that defined the complete concept of MIDI as we know today.

Later, in 1982, the company released the Prophet-600, the first instrument with MIDI. As a result, it is accept that Smith coined the term MIDI and the associated fundamentals. The 1983 Winter NAMM Show witnessed a successful link between the Prophet-600 and a Roland Jupiter-6. The result is Smith earning the nickname the “Father of MIDI”.

Korg’s classic Wavestation, has been recently re-branded as the Wavestate, is one of Smith’s innumerable contributions. Smith founded Dave Smith Instruments (DSI) in 2002 which is credited in the resurgence of the analog synth. Since then, Dave Smith Instruments rebranded to Sequential.

His unforeseen and abrupt passing will leave an irreplaceable vacuum in the world of synths and electronic music instrument design.

Rest in Power, Dave Smith