Tribute to Audio Revolutionary: Ray Dolby

Posted: September 13, 2013 by Dethfrequency in News
Tags: , , , , , ,

Some of us may remember the name Dolby from seeing it plastered on our screens as we started playing our now seriously archaic VHS tapes. For those that don’t remember VHS, put your iPhone away, it’s nap time. The man revolutionized audio and visual recording and was instrumental in the creation and application of stereo sound. One of the first and most notable innovations was his noise reduction system, Dolby A, released in 1966. He spent years trying to remove the “hiss” heard on cassette tapes and he greatly improved the quality of music recordings.

Born in Portland Oregon, he attended high school in San Francisco where even then he was fascinated by the recording field. He was a rambunctious member of his high school projection club. He later taught electronics for the Army and held patents for the Ampex video tape recorder before graduating college. He held 50 patents in his lifetime and was estimated to be worth 2.4 billion dollars.

His technology brought the classic blockbuster films A Clockwork Orange and Star Wars to a higher pinnacle of quality with the use of Dolby’s stereo surround sound. He and his company revolutionized the film industry with Dolby digital recording which enabled film producers to record analogue film while also using digital recording.

“Here, we have a scientist who invents tools for the artist. So you get the blend of the two important cornerstones of entertainment… The result is a whole new frontier is opened.”  – Ben Burtt : Sound Designer and Academy Award winner

The video, created by Dolby Technologies, really focuses on what an inspiration he was to his team and everyone he touched in his life. He’s described as a teacher who passionately encouraged creative thought to come to technological solutions.

His passing was announced this morning from his home in San Francisco. He had been living with Alzheimer’s but was taken by complications from leukemia, having only been diagnosed this past summer.

He left a monumental list of achievements Oscars, Emmys, Gammys, and even an Honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1986. Here is a list of all of his awards and achievements.

  • 1971 — AES Silver Medal
  • 1979 — 51st Academy Awards — Academy Award, Scientific or Technical
  • 1983 — SMPTE Progress Medal
  • 1985 — SMPTE Alexander M. Poniatoff Gold Medal
  • 1986 — honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • 1988 — Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation
  • 1989 — 61st Academy Awards — Academy Award, Scientific or Technical
  • 1989 — Emmy by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS)
  • 1992 — AES Gold Medal
  • 1995 — Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award
  • 1997 — U.S. National Medal of Technology
  • 1997 — IEEE Masaru Ibuka Consumer Electronics Award
  • 1999 — honorary Doctor degree by the University of York
  • 2000 — honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cambridge University
  • 2003 — Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 
  • 2004 — inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame
  • 2010 — IEEE Edison Medal
  • 2014 — Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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