Midi Ancestors and Milestones

E MU 4060 Used to control the Audity (shown) and other synths, this was the first polyphonic digital keyboard with a built in sequencer. BUCHLA 400 First synthesizer with a built in digital sequencer whose events could be edited on
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E MU 4060 Used to control the Audity (shown) and other synths, this was the first polyphonic digital keyboard with a built in sequencer. BUCHLA 400 First synthesizer with a built in digital sequencer whose events could be edited on

1977

E-MU 4060

emu_audity

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

1982

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

Buchla_400

1982

ROLAND 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.

Roland_Jupiter8

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

Seqprophet

1986

DR. 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.

DrTAlgorithmic

1985

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

Hybrid_MIDItrack

1984

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

Casio_CZ101

1983

OBERHEIM 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.

oberheim_system

1990

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

svpbooth

1997

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

reality

2002

SEER 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.

touchosc_s01

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