Fans and musicians have embraced the signature sound of the synthesizer since its inception. Dave Smith Instruments was the pioneer of this innovative apparatus in the mid 70s. His candid interest in microprocessors of music basically altered the course of music history permanently.
Back in 1977, Dave Smith designed the world’s first microprocessor-based instrument, the Prophet-5. You could easily program this synth, which was a completely new concept that allowed musicians to program their own settings with ease. It was like having a mini computer inside of your keyboard. In the 1980s, David was one of the premier innovators of these digital models and has gone on to grow the business, eventually dabbling in drum machines and other electronic instruments.
The Prophet is by far the most notable invention of this esteemed company. This original analog synth implemented memory into the unit itself, allowing the user settings to be stored easily. It also was one of the first polyphonic synths which gave the musician the ability to use up to five voices or notes simultaneously. This unit was mind-boggling to those who had only ever used a Minimoog synth. The company went on to develop this product, eventually releasing the Prophet-08, which instead of five voices, now had eight. The extra notes gave the musician added versatility as they could now incorporate more choral range into their compositions.
Everyone from Arcade Fire to Coldplay to Radiohead has played with Dave Smith’s legendary synths. The range of effects available from Dave Smith synths has always been an attractive feature to musicians. The iconic sound is easily apparent and if you listen to Radiohead’s ‘Staircase’, you’ll hear sailing synth notes of the Prophet-08 displayed proudly throughout the entire song. The ambient tone is hard to miss.
Today there are an incredible amount of ‘notes’ available from Dave Smith Instruments. How far you want to take your practice is up to you. The early history of MIDI was established by Dave Smith and that innovative legacy is sure to keep on creating cutting edge electronic instruments for years to come.
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