Audio’s Ray Dolby’s Creativity
from IEEE [Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers & Computers+++] Global History Network 12 Sep 13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Overview: Ray Dolby invented several important technologies related to the recording & reproduction of sound for the studio, home, & theater during his lifetime – which just ended recently.
Early Beginnings: Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon in 1933, but move to Redwood City, CA as a Teen. As a child he showed an early pre-occupation with sound. He started playing the piano at 10, and then took up the clarinet. He was fascinated by how reeds vibrated and why things sounded the way they did. For a while he nurtured an ambition to become a Hollywood cameraman and in 1948 took a job as a projectionist. In was at this job that he met the founder of the Ampex Corp [Audio & Video Recording Machines]. Impressed by the young Dolby, invited the teenager to work with him. Dolby went to High School three hours a day and worked five at Ampex. After HS, he obtained an engineering degree from Stanford and earned a doctorate from Cambridge University in England in 1961. After completing his formal education Dolby spent two years in India setting up a scientific instrumentation laboratory as a UN Adviser.
The Founding: By 1965, the inventor set up Dolby Labs in London, to market his noise-reducing Audio Equipment that he had invented. His first customer was Decca Records. Dolby’s name was becoming virtually synonymous with the anti-hiss process, and he continually developed better ways to banish background noise. When the Audio Cassette became popular in the late 1960s, it was Dolby who helped make it a truly high fidelity format by introducing the Dolby B system of noise reduction, made especially for cassettes. When the new “Chrome” & “Metal” types appeared, Dolby Labs designed Dolby C noise reduction for them.
On to the Movies: Meanwhile, Dolby noise reduction began to be used for the making & playing of motion pictures. The company moved more & more into motion picture technology, and designed a new kind of high fidelity optical & magnetic soundtrack system called Dolby Stereo in 1974. The system’s features included “surround sound” channels. The 1977 films “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” & “Star Wars“ helped raise the public’s awareness of Dolby Stereo in theaters. Dolby also became a part of FM broadcasts about the same time, and by 1975 more than 100 stations in the United States used it. Now it’s almost mandatory.
In recent years, Dolby technology has been used for hundreds of motion pictures, television programs, video recordings, and audio recordings. Today the company remains a leader in developing digital audio and video technology. In 2010, Dolby was awarded the IEEE [Thomas] Edison Medal for leadership & pioneering applications in audio recording & playback equipment for both professional & consumer electronics.” In the last few years, Ray developed Alzheimer’s disease and passed away on 12 Sep 13 at 80 years of age. [We will miss his creativity, but we will hear his work at the movies & many other places. Wiz4biz]
Comments: Do you have any about Ray?