Sequental Circuits & MIDI Founder Dave Smith Has Died At 72.

Engineer Dave Smith, who founded Sequential Circuits and developed MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) has died at 72-years-old.

Dave Smith, legendary engineer and founder of synthesizer company Sequential in 1974 has died. On Thursday, the Sequential website released an announcement about Smith’s passing.

“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,” the statement read.

Born in 1950, Smith went on to found Sequential Circuits in 1974, developing musical instrument Prophet-5, which had an embedded processor and featured the first fully programmable polyphonic synth. In 1981, Smith developed the MIDI specification (or Musical Instrument Digital Interface), later being honored in 1987 as a Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society. A synth pioneer, Smith continued his profession in technological instrumentation by founding Dave Smith Instruments in 2002, transitioning back to Sequential in 2018.

Prior to Smith’s death, Sequential was set to exhibit at 2022 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show from June 3-5, which the company has backed away from out of respect for Smith’s legacy.

Focusrite CEO Tim Carroll released a statement in tribute to Smith.

“Dave’s passing is a great loss to not only the music community and music technology, but to the world itself. To say that he changed music is no exaggeration. Dave’s legacy is one of creative passion and a deep and lifelong love for music, music technology, and the musicians that continue to enrich our world by using his instruments,” Caroll said.

“At 72 he was still actively designing his next generation of synths. At the same time, he had the foresight to mentor and build Sequential into a team that will continue his work and legacy without pause. Dave will be greatly missed, but his contributions to music will never be forgotten.”

Read other tributes to Smith below:


Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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