​Pioneering synth creator Dave Smith has died aged 72 - News - Mixmag
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​Pioneering synth creator Dave Smith has died aged 72

The Sequential-founder created Prophet synths and co-invented the MIDI

  • Words: Gemma Ross | Photo: Sequential
  • 6 June 2022
​Pioneering synth creator Dave Smith has died aged 72

Leading synth pioneer and creator of the iconic Prophet synthesiser, Dave Smith, has passed away at age 72.

Smith’s founding synth company Sequential announced the news of his passing on Instagram and the company’s website on June 1 adding that the team were “heartbroken”.

No cause of death has been given as of yet. “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,” Sequential stated.

Smith was known for his pioneering work with synthesisers and co-innovation of the MIDI. In 1974, Smith founded California-based tech company Sequential which was later acquired by Yamaha in 1987.

Under Sequential, Smith went on to create iconic and beloved gear including the Prophet-5, the first programmable polyphonic analog synth, and the MIDI interface which would be used globally and shape further innovation of electronic music equipment through the 1980s.

Smith worked closely with fellow engineer Chet Wood and Roland founder Ikutaro Kakehashi to create synths, drum machines, and MIDI synths such as the Prophet 600.

“Dave Smith has passed and I’m honestly devastated and speechless. What a genius pioneer and kind person. Total loss for synth tech and sound design. RIP Dave, you’ll live on forever in our hearts and our music,” said Maceo Plex in a tribute on Twitter.

Elsewhere, musicians and friends of Smith have paid homage to the late pioneer on social media, including Duran Duran, Flying Lotus, Kenny Larkin, Massive Attack and Hot Chip, as well as companies including Ableton and NTS.

Read a full list of tributes below.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

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