The year we made contact: photo evidence now proves that the first public MIDI connection was made between a Sequential Circuits Prophet 600 and a Roland Jupiter 6. Now, get those instruments and an Instagram filter and recreate this shot, if you like. Courtesy Dave Smith (personal collection).

Grammy for MIDI Creators Dave Smith, Ikutaro Kakehashi; First Connection Mystery Solved

It’s been almost 30 years since MIDI was first demonstrated at the winter NAMM show, 1983. Marking the anniversary, The Recording Academy is giving a coveted Technical Grammy to the two people most associated with its creation – so-called “father of MIDI” Dave Smith (then founder of Sequential Circuits, now Dave Smith Instruments) and Roland founder and engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi. Actually, it’s a bit interesting to me that Mr. Kakehashi is being left out of some of the news; it was the fact that MIDI could connect between two pieces of gear that demonstrated its value. In other words, it …

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The Linn Tools That Never Were: Roger Linn Shares Shelved Designs [Gallery]

Designer Roger Linn is beloved by producers for drum machines like the MPC, beloved by guitarists for AdrenaLinn, and now newly respected for the Tempest with Dave Smith. But for anyone who imagines design is a direct line from idea to product, it’s not. Whether Roger Linn or Apple, the process leaves the way littered with discarded creations. Of course, that doesn’t mean these are bad ideas. Now that we live in a world of DIY, some intrepid musical souls will make products for an audience of one. And where designs are discarded, ideas often survive. Roger Linn writes CDM …

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Dave Smith Mopho x4: All Analog, 4-Voice Synth For Just Over a Grand

Dave Smith may have just created the analog keyboard to beat. The Mopho x4 is a new, bigger sibling to the Mopho keyboard – itself a nice, cute, yellow analog monosynth. The x4 takes that synth, quadruples the voices so that you get polyphony, and adds more-playable controls and functionality. You get a nice complement of hands-on controls, but you also don’t break the bank: US$1299 is the list. Dave Smith himself shows off the creation in a video — he, the father of MIDI and some of the best-loved synths over the years (from Sequential to his own DSI). …

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Pictures at an Exhibition: Essential New Gear and Reflections from NAMM

Dewanatron’s Brian and Leon were on-hand with their unique inventions. Photos by Marsha Vdovin for CDM. For the lover of musical instruments and technology, southern California’s NAMM show is a giant toy shop. It’s work for many of its attendees, of course, but we know many of our readers dream of the objects that will make their next creations. And sure, inspiring lust is not our aim; on the contrary, there is some love that goes into these things. In the ideal, that’s the relationship of creator and consumer. These are things not to be bought and discarded, but kept …

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Reader Mail: Another Demo of the Analog Drum Machine, Tempest

Can’t get enough of the upcoming drum machine, Tempest, by Roger Linn and Dave Smith? Reader Josh Decker sends in this video by Josh’s friend Rob Baker, aka Redivider, tearing up the machine as a performance instrument. Also, follow the comment thread on our previous post for some follow-up from Dave Smith Instruments to reader questions. Dave tells us there will be more to say on the machine, and that we can expect a release date that should come very close to “the end of summer.” (Watch your calendar.) The Tempest may not be for everyone – and some of …

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Tempest Analog Drum Machine, in Action: Roger Linn Quick Start Video

Roger Linn, he of the MPC and AdrenaLinn and Linnstrument, sends us his friendly walk-through video showing you how to get started actually using the upcoming Linn/Dave Smith Tempest analog drum machine. We’re awaiting details on when this unit is actually shipping; I’ll update this post once we hear. What you get instead, though, is nearly twenty minutes of Roger walking you through every single function – this is as much a video manual as it is a “quick start.” It’s nice to see some clever workflow features in action, and you get some very in-depth looks at how the …

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The Father of Drum Machines and the Father of MIDI Talk About Design and the Tempest

In songwriting, there was Rodgers and Hart, Gilbert and Sullivan. In music gear design, it’s hard not to assign a similar degree of expectation to the pairing of Dave Smith and Roger Linn. Between them, these two designers have been a major part of what music technology is today. Dave Smith pioneered MIDI (even giving it its acronym), the first microprocessor-based instrument (the Prophet-5), the first programmable polyphonic synth, and other innovations at Sequential Circuits. Add to that landmarks in physical modeling research (at Yamaha) and the first PC soft synth. Roger Linn built the first programmable sampled-sound drum machine …

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Tempest, Roger Linn + Dave Smith Analog Drum Machine, is Official

Genuinely new drum machines don’t come along very often, but that’s precisely what the Tempest is. It has the analog soul of a classic Dave Smith synthesizer, with the user design of a modern drum machine conceived by Roger Linn, the man who many believe fathered the genre. After fits and starts in this collaboration, most importantly, it’s real – not an early, non-working prototype . A finished version will ship mid-year, with an expected list price of US$2000. (That’s steep, perhaps, for a drum machine in a recession, but it’s a very fair price indeed for one with six …

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NAMM Picks: Dave Smith Mopho Keyboard, $800; Video

Dave’s got a new keyboard, and the headline gives it all away: it’s a Mopho, but adding keys and more control, all for $800. There’s a myth out there that the computer music user and hardware synth lover are two different people. Au contraire, mon ami. Thanks, indeed, to Dave Smith himself, the computer and the synth get along just fine. But if you’ve got scant few dollars, which synth is really unique enough, elegant enough in use to justify those dollars? Dave Smith Instruments is on the top of the list. They’ve got personality, accessibility, and terrific sound. And …

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NAMM 2010 Preview, and Beyond: Get Your Latest Music Tech News Here

NAMM, the trade group that includes music manufacturers and vendors, holds its flagship conference every January in Anaheim, California. It’s the biggest music trade show in the world, and even the biggest trade show of the year in Anaheim, home to Disneyland. But, of course, we’re about more than just pre-packaged industry news. So, we’ll do things a little differently this year. As always, we won’t cover every last bit of news, just the stuff we really find important. And in a twist, we’re also looking to volunteer participants to help us cover the community around music technology, not just …

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