Friday, September 13, 2013

Ray Dolby Dies; Sound Engineer, Innovator Was 80

Ray Dolby, a sound engineer who revolutionized noise reduction and whose name became synonymous with “surround” audio, has died at age 80.

The founder of Dolby Laboratories had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years and was diagnosed with leukaemia this summer.

Kevin Yeaman, president of Dolby, described Ray as a “true visionary.”


Born in Portland, Oregon, he began his career in the Ampex Corporation, helping to develop early video recording systems while he was still a student.

“Though he was an engineer at heart, my father’s achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts,” said his son Tom Dolby.

He went on found Dolby Laboratories in London in 1965.

The company grew to be an industry leader in audio technology, cutting background hiss in tape recordings and later bringing out “surround sound.”

Dolby moved his company to San Francisco in 1976.

In 1989, he was awarded an Oscar for his contributions to cinema. He also received a Grammy award in 1995 and Emmy awards in 1989 and 2005.

Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, said Dolby’s innovations had “changed the way we listen to music and movies for nearly 50 years.”

“His technologies have become an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers, ensuring his remarkable legacy for generations to come.”

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