Dave Smith sold his legendary synthesizer company Sequential to Focusrite and is now part of the British music tech company (Novation, Adam Audio …)
Well-known synthesizer companies are Moog, Roland but also Sequential. The latter is run by none other than Dave Smith, co-inventor of the MIDI standard. Sequential is one of the top addresses today when it comes to premium analog synthesizers. The road to this fame was far from easy for Dave Smith. Starting out as Sequential and its then-unknown Prophet-5 Synthesizer, now a legend, the company was sold to Yamaha a few years later in 1987.
This step doesn’t hold up the developer. After a few years with Yamaha / Korg and the development of the Wavestation, he created a new synth brand called Dave Smith Instruments. Among other things, the OB-6 with Tom Oberheim, the affordable Mopho and Tetra synthesizers, and others. In 2015, Yamaha returned the Sequential Circuits trademark to Dave Smith Instruments, which rebranded as Sequential in 2018.
Today, three years after this step, Dave Smith is making another one, arguably the final one in his career. He hands over his company to Focusrite but will continue to work on new instruments with his team. Here is what both companies have to say about this deal.
Official Press Release
San Francisco, CA and High Wycombe, UK — April 27th 2021 — In a joint statement, Focusrite Group and Sequential LLC today announced that Focusrite plc, a leading global creator of music and audio hardware and software products, has acquired Sequential LLC, the respected American synthesizer manufacturer led by legendary electronic instrument designer and Grammy® winner Dave Smith.
Both companies stand to benefit from the synergy created by the acquisition. The Focusrite Group will add the venerable Sequential line of instruments to its already-impressive portfolio of products, which includes the acclaimed Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Martin Audio, Optimal Audio, ADAM Audio, Novation, and Ampify brands. Sequential will benefit from greater resources to expand its global markets and future R&D efforts.
Sequential’s Dave Smith said,
“With Focusrite, we’ve found an ideal home and a perfect cultural and technological fit. Phil Dudderidge and his team have a long history of quality, vision, and focus on what musicians and audio professionals really want. We’re excited to join such an industry powerhouse and contribute to our mutual success. I expect great things.”
Sequential has been a leading force in the resurgent popularity of analog synthesizers over the last decade. Its instruments, which include the Prophet® 5 Rev4 polyphonic synth, Pro 3® hybrid monosynth, and Prophet X Samples + Synthesis keyboard, are known for their versatility, ease of use, and excellence of sound. They are a mainstay of performing and recording artists and can be seen and heard on countless stages and recordings.
Focusrite Founder Phil Dudderidge commented:
“We’re excited and pleased to add Sequential’s instruments and pedigree to Focusrite Group’s portfolio of world-class audio and music production tools. Dave Smith’s history as an innovator speaks for itself. From his creation of the world’s first fully programmable polysynth, the Prophet 5, to his co-invention of MIDI, Dave has literally changed the world of music several times. We’re looking forward to continuing his history of innovation and expanding the global market for Sequential’s instruments.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Sequential has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Focusrite plc. Sequential’s day-to-day operations and product development remain unchanged and will continue to be guided by Dave Smith and his team.
Tim Carroll, CEO of Focusrite Group, remarked,
“Sequential is a premium analogue synth brand with a big stake in music creation. The products are exceptional and the company is run extremely well, and the passion of the people at Sequential aligns perfectly with our Focusrite Group ethos. It’s tremendously exciting to be able to bring Sequential into the Focusrite family, further the incredible journey that Dave Smith started, and keep growing together.”
The future will be very exciting, especially how both companies will work together. A Novation Sequential Synthesizer with technology from both companies would be exciting. After the Sequential has completely withdrawn from the “affordable” segment (Mopho, Tetra…), it will be interesting to see if they will re-enter the market with a new affordable synth. They now have the power and the financial means to make it happen.
I very much welcome this move by Dave Smith and Sequential. Often companies end up badly and are continued by other companies that have absolutely nothing to do with their history. This is a much better way Dave Smith is going here. I wish Dave you, and the Sequential team all the best.
More information here: Sequential