Dave Smith: synth pioneer, Sequential founder and father of MIDI has died

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Synthesizer pioneer, Sequential founder, and father of MIDI Dave Smith (1950-2022) passed away at the age of 72, Rest In Peace.

Sequential announced today that Dave Smith has passed away at the age of 72 (1950-2022).

“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. Please visit our website If you’d like to share your thoughts and memories of Dave.” communicated Sequential.

Dave Smith

Dave Smith, The Pioneer

Dave Smith is a huge loss to the synth and electronic music scene. He was one of the most influential electronic music gear designers of all time. His success story began with the founding of Sequential Circuits in 1974. Here he released different iconic instruments including the legendary Prophet-5 polyphonic analog Synthesizer. The first Synthesizer that ever had this functionality. He also invented and developed the first MIDI-compatible sample-based drum machine Drumtraks in 1983.

DS not only worked on innovative instruments but also paved the way for digital music in the 80s. With the help of several other companies, Dave Smith developed MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and presented it to the big public demo at NAMM 1983. Here, too, he first presented the Sequential Prophet-600, the first synth with built-in MIDI there were connected to the Jupiter 6. The Japanese counterpart with MIDI.

After Sequential broke up, his path continued to Japanese companies such as Yamaha or Korg, where he helped to create the iconic Wavestation or developed the first software Synthesizer Reality. His next big thing was the foundation of the Dave Smith Instruments in 2002.

Dave Smith died

DSI – Sequential Comeback

In DSI, Dave Smith has developed with his team numerous modern analog, digital and hybrid synthesizers (Evolver, Poly Evolver, Pro-2, Prophet-6, OB-6…) including a collaboration with legendary synth pioneer Tom Oberheim. A partnership that should last until the end of his life.

Then, in 2018, the Sequential brand experienced a rebirth and comeback. Dave Smith Instruments became Sequential in which he developed other new synthesizers. Among the most recent are the Pro-3 (NAMM 2020) and the Take-5 (SB 2021), with which he wanted to appeal to a younger audience.

In 2021, Focusrite (Novation…) acquired Sequential where Dave Smith became lead engineer, head of product development, and mentor for the upcoming Sequential designers.

His last development will become another legendary one that goes for sure down in history. He revived the Oberheim brand with Tom Oberheim and Marcus Ryle and developed the OB-X8. A new polyphonic analog Synthesizer was introduced at Superbooth 22.

Synth Anatomy Dave Smith

Dave Smith, The Person

I am shocked. I spoke to Dave Smith at Superbooth 22. So not a month ago. I didn’t know Dave Smith personally, only from the shows like NAMM or Superbooth. But he was an absolute gentleman and personality like no other. He always had a smile on his face and was always ready for a joke.

His positive attitude was contagious and showed how passionate he was about his job. It wasn’t just a simple job for him. He lived his dream. We should take this as a role model and live out our passion. Dave had a final cameo appearance in my video with Marcus Ryle. Watching the video again today makes me sad but puts a small smile on my face that I had Dave on camera a very last time.

And let’s not forget his love for Margaritas. Dave Smith, you’ve been such a special person and important part of our Synthesizer world. I hope you meet Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, or Andy Fletcher in heaven for a drink. Rest In Peace, you legend.

Here are some more videos. He gave an interview to Gearspace at Superbooth 22 or to Sonicstate at Superbooth 19 whey they talked about music.

More information here: Sequential


  1. I’m sat in my studio next to my Rev 2 and OB6 feeling so sad at this news. Thanks Dave always a legend.

  2. I feel privileged,to own the OB6 & Rev2 modules.Truly Saddened me to hear of Dave Smith’s passing today.

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