Audio Pioneer Ray Dolby Dies at 80

Ray Dolby, an innovator and inventor closely associated with audio and surround, died at the age of 80 at his home in San Francisco yesterday according to family sources. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for years and was recently diagnosed with acute leukemia.

His contributions to higher fidelity audio and the sound of feature films won him recognition from a wide variety of organizations including the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. President Clinton awarded Dolby the National Medal of Technology and he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the U.S. and the Royal Academy of Engineers in the UK.

Dolby Laboratories was founded in 1965. One of the company’s first consumer products, Dolby B, was designed to reduce the high frequency hiss that was part of the cassette listening experience. In the professional audio world, Dolby’s company produced products that improved the fidelity of analog tape. The company employed an exceptionally large percentage of engineers, which results in a continuous stream of innovative products for consumers and professionals. Many of Dolby’s developments are still in use today.

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