The Cure, Bon Iver, Hot Chip, and Duran Duran have all paid respect to Sequential Synth and MIDI Pioneer pioneer Dave Smith, who passed away at the age of 72 last week.
The news was confirmed via a post on Sequential’s website. The news of Dave Smith’s death has left us with heavy hearts. A statement from the band said: “We are devastated, but we can take some tiny solace in knowing he was doing what he loved best with family, friends, and artists.”
Electronic artists throughout the 1980s, including Radiohead, used Smith’s synths, dubbed “Kid A,” to great effect. Smith is often referred to as “the king of MIDI.”
Roger O’Donnell, the lead singer of The Cure, shared the news of Dave Smith’s death on Twitter. It was he who founded Sequential Circuits, a company that produced some of the most recognizable synthesizers from the 1980s to the present day. He invented MIDI! The Prophet 5 will go down in history as one of the finest synthesizers ever created. He was a great man and a good friend.
Smith graduated from UC Berkeley with a BS in Computer Science and an MEng in Electronic Engineering. In 1972 he bought a Minimoog and in 1974 he founded Sequential Circuits and advertised his product for sale in Rolling Stone. He then created his own analog sequencer. For the first time, a microprocessor-based musical instrument was created in 1977, as well as the first programmable polyphonic synth, which signified a major leap forward in synthesizer design and functionality. After that, Sequential went on to become a major player in the music synthesizer industry.
As early as 1981 Smith set out to build a standard protocol for communication between electronic musical instruments manufactured by different companies. After conversations with Tom Oberheim and Roland inventor Ikutaro Kakehashi, he delivered a paper to the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in 1981 detailing the concept of a Universal Synthesizer Interface (USI). At the Winter NAMM Show in 1983, a Sequential Circuits Prophet-600 was successfully connected to a Roland Jupiter-6, and the new standard was launched as “Musical Instrument Digital Interface” (MIDI). In 1987, he was inducted into the AES Hall of Fame for his work in music synthesis.
What Caused the Death of Dave Smith?
The artist was well-known for his compositions, many of which drew inspiration from modern pop music of the time. As a musician and engineer from the United States, Dave built the iconic Sequential synth into what it is today.
For his contributions to the world of music, Dave is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the genre. For the Prophet 5, he created what is considered the world’s first industrial microprocessor and polyphonic synthesizer. His contributions to the development of the MIDI standard were significant as well. Sequential has officially confirmed Dave Smith’s tragic demise in the following statement:
At birth, Smith was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. San Jose, California was his home and workplace in the 1970s. He married a coworker, Denise M. Smith, and moved to St. Helena, California, in 1988, where they raised their three children. They reared their children in St. Helena, including Haley and Campbell, both of whom are now adults. At the end of high school, Haley went on to study computer science and became a software developer.
With his pals, Campbell played guitar and drums while attending Sonoma State University to pursue an engineering degree. In 2013, Smith’s entire family attended the Grammy Awards with him.
According to Sequential, Smith passed away at the age of 72 on June 2nd, the year of his birth in 2022.
The Impact of Dave Smith on The Music Industry
Due to his role in its development, Smith has been dubbed the “Father of MIDI” before his untimely demise.
UC Berkeley awarded computer science and electronic engineering degrees to musical talent.
Prior to founding Sequential Circuits, he purchased a Minimoog and created his own analog sequencer in 1972.
As a result of the Prophet-5’s microprocessor, Smith’s synthesizer quickly rose to prominence as one of the most significant in the industry.
Smith, who is widely regarded as the inventor of modern MIDI, made significant contributions to the field by introducing the concept of “instrument communication.” To make and control music in devices, the name “MIDI” (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was coined by him as well. In 1983, he was awarded a Technical Grammy for his ingenious creation. In 1983, he launched Prophet 600 with the help of Sequential. Before the establishment of the Korg R&D group, Smith served as the President of Yamaha’s R&D division, DSD. He was also president of Seer Systems at the time. It was only the beginning for Smith, who went on to build the first professional soft synth, Reality. In 2015, he renamed Dave Smith Instruments to Sequential, only months before his untimely demise.