Midi Ancestors and Milestones

July 1, 2010
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1977

emu_audityE-MU 4060

Used to control the Audity (shown) and other synths, this was the first polyphonic digital keyboard with a built-in sequencer.

 

 

 

1982

Buchla_400BUCHLA 400
First synthesizer with a built-in digital sequencer whose events could be edited on a CRT video display.

 

 

 

 

 

1982

Roland_Jupiter8ROLAND DIGITAL CONTROL BUS
This direct precursor of MIDI debuted in the Juno-60 and Jupiter-8 synths and the JSQ-60 and MSQ-700 sequencers.

 

 

SeqprophetSEQUENTIAL PROPHET-600
First MIDI-equipped synth to go on sale. The Yamaha DX7 followed shortly thereafter.

 

 

1986

DrTAlgorithmicDR. T’S ALGORITHMIC COMPOSER
This precursor to KARMA, and Stylus RMX’s Chaos Generator, ran on the Commodore 64. Jan Hammer used it for Miami Vice soundtrack ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

1985

Hybrid_MIDItrackMULTITRACK SEQUENCING SOFTWARE
Hybrid Arts MIDITrack (shown) for Atari, Opcode MIDIMac for Mac, and Dr. T’s Keyboard Controlled Sequencer for Commodore 64.

 

 

 

 

1984

Casio_CZ101CASIO CZ-101
The first multitimbral MIDI synth featured 49 miniature keys and digital “phase distortion” synthesis.

 

 

1983

oberheim_systemOBERHEIM SYSTEM
A short-lived but capable MIDI competitor. You could record the OB-8 synth on the DSX sequencer (6,000 notes; ten tracks), and tempo sync to the DMX drum machine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1990

svpboothOPCODE MAX
Now a Cycling ’74 program, it introduced realtime, user-programmable MIDI processing.

 

 

 

 

 

1997

realityOPCODE STUDIO VISION
First MIDI sequencer to include audio tracks streaming directly through the computer’s CPU.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2002

touchosc_s01SEER SYSTEMS REALITY
First soft synth to run directly on your computer’s CPU. It required a Creative Labs sound card, which may have limited its popularity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OPEN SOUND CONTROL
OSC is introduced as a next-generation music control language, and is still making inroads thanks to apps like TouchOSC (shown).

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