Rise of the Synthesizer

A long post over at Collector’s Weekly titled Rise of the Synthesizer: How an Electronics Whiz Kid Gave the 1980s Its Signature Sound is a great synth history lesson and is full of pictures.

In Oakland, a musician named Lance Hill has opened a studio called the Vintage Synthesizer Museum, and in San Francisco, one of the biggest names in synthesizers of the 1970s and ’80s, Dave Smith, is once again selling instruments bearing the Sequential brand….

In a word, synthesizers in 1974 sucked. Sure, their vintage cred looks cool from 2015, but all synthesizers in 1974 were monophonic, which meant they could only produce one note at a time ….

In 1978 Sequential Circuits came out with the Prophet-5, the first polyphonic synthesizer, which meant it could play multiple notes (in this case, five) at the same time….

In 2013, Dave Smith, seen here near his company’s San Francisco headquarters, was awarded a Grammy for developing MIDI with Ikutaro Kakehashi of Roland. Kakehashi won an award, too.