Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Musical Prophets: The Rise of Sequential Circuits

Sequential Prophet 5
The Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 is one of the most famous musical synthesizers of all time. It was hard to find a pop record in the early 1980s that didn't feature a few Prophet sounds. It was also the first programmable polyphonic synthesizer, capable of playing a then-stunning five simultaneous notes. It pre-dated the MIDI communication standard by several years (the MIDI protocol was spearheaded by Dave Smith). Later versions came equipped with MIDI jacks, and a flourishing cottage industry sprang up to provide MIDI-mods for earlier models.

Sequential Circuits is a wonderful example of a Silicon Valley garage to riches story. Designer Dave Smith built the first prototype of the Prophet in his home (it had ten voices but ran too hot to be reliable. His solution? Cut out half of the voice circuitry).

Sequential went on to create a series of less expensive analog and digital synthesizers, along with several digital sampling modules and the Studio 440 sampling drum sequencer. Sadly, their instruments fell out of fashion and couldn't compete with a flood of less expensive devices from Japan. The company was eventually sold off to Yamaha in 1987.

Founder Dave Smith stayed with Yamaha for a short while before moving on to found Seer Systems, a software company that released one of the earliest all-software synthesizers.

SCI Prophet 5 Tribute Site
Dave Smith Instruments (the founder's current company)
Zarg Music (John Bowen's virtual synthesizer company)


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