Focusrite buys Sequential, taking ownership of Dave Smith’s analogue synths

Sequential Prophet-5 and 10 desktop
(Image credit: Sequential)

In a significant music tech industry development, British audio company Focusrite has announced that it’s acquired Dave Smith’s highly respected Sequential synth brand.

Smith founded Sequential Circuits in 1974, designing the legendary Prophet-5 and many other influential synths and drum machines. He was also a key player in the development of the original MIDI spec, announced in 1981.

Smith returned to the hardware synth market in 2002, starting Dave Smith Instruments. Over the past two decades, his products have been a crucial part of the analogue revival.

Dave Smith Instruments was rebranded as Sequential in 2018, with Yamaha having returned the name to Smith in 2015. A rebooted Prophet-5 was released in 2020.

Sequential now joins the Focusrite Group’s family of brands, which includes Focusrite, Focusrite Pro, Martin Audio, Optimal Audio, ADAM Audio, Novation, and Ampify. The theory is that Sequential will now benefit from greater resources to expand its global markets and future R&D efforts.

There is, of course, some crossover with Novation, which has several synth products of its own. The acquisition opens up the possibility of tech being shared between Novation- and Sequential-branded instruments.

“With Focusrite, we’ve found an ideal home and a perfect cultural and technological fit,” says Dave Smith. “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.”

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.”

Although Sequential has become a wholly owned subsidiary of Focusrite plc, Sequential’s day-to-day operations and product development will remain unchanged, with Dave Smith remaining at the helm.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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