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Smith, Dave

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Dave Smith (1950?-) is an electronics engineer and musician responsible for several influential innovations and companies in electronic music. Smith founded Sequential Circuits in 1975, and in 1977 he and John Bowen designed the Prophet-5, the world's first polyphonic synth with proper patch memory. In 1981, several manufacturers including Sequential had had introduced communications interfaces that allowed for their synths to be remote controlled by external keyboards or sequencers. Smith met up with Roland's Ikutaro Kakehashi at an Audio Engineering Society conference and they laid out the concept of a manufacturer-independent control system, which resulted in the MIDI standard.

Smith and Sequential went on to develop innovative concepts such as multitimbral synths, some of the first affordable samplers, and vector synthesis. However, the company fell on hard times in 1986 and was acquired by Yamaha. Smith, along with a number of other Sequential engineers, went to work for Yamaha at that time; two years later, they transferred to Korg when Yamaha acquired a controlling interest in that company. At Korg, Smith developed the Wavestation, which proved to be the high-water mark for the vector synthesis concept.

Smith then got interested in soft synths and founded a company which wrote synthesis software which they licensed to Creative Labs. This led to an early soft-synth product named Reality, which became popular in the late 1990s. However, in 2002, Smith's interest returned to hardware, and he founded Dave Smith Instruments to produce new hardware synths. DSI's first product, the Evolver, was released that year.

Smith is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, and he maintains an informal collaboration with drum machine guru Roger Linn.

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