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The inventor of MIDI and the Prophet-5 synthesizer, Dave Smith, dies

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The man behind the invention of the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) and the Prophet-5 analog synthesizer, technology engineer Dave Smith, has died at the age of 72.

His death has been announced on the Sequential website, a company specialized in the manufacture of synthesizers founded by Smith himself in the early 1970s under the name of Sequential Circuits (SCI), now owned by Yamaha Corporation.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news that Dave Smith has passed away. We are devastated, but take some comfort in knowing that he was on tour doing what he loved most, in the company of his family, his friends and artists,” it can be read in this website.

Dave Smith is part of the history of technology and the music industry thanks to the invention of MIDI, the language that allows computers, musical instruments and ‘hardware’ elements to communicate with each other.

Thanks to this invention, the engineer was awarded with a Grammy award in 2013 for his contributions to the music world in the technical aspect, recognition he collected alongside Omukaro Kakehashi, founder of Roland.

Musician and pianist member of The Cure Roger O’Donnell has recalled via Twitter that Smith “made some of the most iconic synthesizers from the early 80’s until now”.

Likewise, he has pointed out that, among these creations, the Prophet-5 stands out, in his opinion “one of the best synthesizers ever created”, a device that has also been highlighted by the Duran Duran group in a statement.

This analog synthesizer, the first to be made by SCI, was one of the first to implement patch memory, a feature that kept the user’s preferences for all of their parameters in an internal memory.

Prophet-5 was also the first programmable synthesizer and, among other inventions of the deceased, the Prophet X, Prophet-6 and OB-6 stand out, launched with the company Dave Smith Instruments, created in 2002.

Some of his synthesizers have been used by influential music bands, including Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Hot Chip, Bon Iver, and the aforementioned groups.

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