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Audio Science Innovators

DSJR

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#41
From a UK perspective, what about the BBC greats? I'm going to miss people out, but Dudley Harwood, Spencer Hughes and colleague/boss D. E. L. Shorter (to my shame I know little to nothing about this latter man, but his name comes up so much on BBC research papers).

Did anyone mention Arthur Radford? His valve amp designs were the high end of the mid 60's. Tim de Paravicini is a current UK based designer who's 'done' some excellent work for Musical Fidelity and others and seems easily able to work with both solid state and valves to high level depending on the market need.

Another UK designer of note - John Wright, known mainly for his IMF/TDL transmission line cabinet designs and I think he also designed the Goldring G800 cartridge line in the late 60's (I need verification on this though)

What about the Schiit guys? They've shown they're now more than up to lifting their electronic design and product game to the highest level and going out on a limb with their novel turntable and arm which I hope gets production-sorted at some point if not already. (Wasn't at least one of the company owners a major part of Theta?) -

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sch...f-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/
 
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kn0ppers

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#42
Almost 2 pages in and nobody mentioned our member @scott wurcer yet? Lead-designer of the AD797, one of - if not the lowest input voltage noise integrated OpAmps available today (-> http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=6902). Author on Linear Audio (back when it was around - still working on my collection) and contributor to the audio community in general. Obviously I'm not doing his work justice by reducing it to these two points...

I am still kind of mad they screwed up the audio quality so bad on the recording of a presentation he held at Burning Amp Festival. What a waste. Half of the audience didn't seem to really listen, meanwhile I wish I could.
 

PaulD

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#43
Almost 2 pages in and nobody mentioned our member @scott wurcer yet? Lead-designer of the AD797, one of - if not the lowest input voltage noise integrated OpAmps available today (-> http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=6902). Author on Linear Audio (back when it was around - still working on my collection) and contributor to the audio community in general. Obviously I'm not doing his work justice by reducing it to these two points...

I am still kind of mad they screwed up the audio quality so bad on the recording of a presentation he held at Burning Amp Festival. What a waste. Half of the audience didn't seem to really listen, meanwhile I wish I could.
Not too mention that the LIGO engineers said that they could not have built such a machine (that measures to fraction of a width of a PROTON) without the AD797 - Nice work ScottW! (I have a 797 in my current signal chain, it's transparent ;))
 
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PaulD

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#44
Possibly the most significant “man that never was” within the entire canon. His work in the field of Ambisonics foresaw so much of what eventually became Dolby Surround (and other Dolby trademarks) but think how much better off we would have now been had this work, which remains largely in the public domain, not been picked up by the Dolby company (desperate to seek new fields of endeavour when it became apparent that the noise reduction gravy train would not survive the transition to digital technology) and lawyered-up so hard that it became largely their exclusive preserve.

My gripe with Dolby is not entirely commercial but rather that they simplified many of the Ambisonic concepts to the point where they could deliver something resembling surround sound (out of the funeral pyre of quadraphonics), but entirely missing the real point – the recording and reproduction of the entire soundfield.

Had Gerzon lived, I feel that Dolby's ownership of the surround space would have been a vastly less commercially dominant proposition.
You are right Pluto! Although I think Dolby controls enough of the distribution / playback systems that they can dictate how they make money out of it. The only benefit of Dolby's approach is that production workflows are well defined and playback is well defined. Recently with Atmos they have been able to take some of Gerzon's ideas (audio objects for positional placement) and implement them into a commercial system.

Gerzon was a savant mathematician, probably on the scale of Newton. He applied it to sound reproduction and took a completely original approach. Luckily it is growing in the VR and game audio fields. Properly reproducing the entire soundfield without a "sweet spot" or a "front", is a fantastic idea. It may yet make it's way to our familiar commercial 2-channel reproduction systems as the techniques become more commercially applicable - DAWs can now relatively easily be configured for Ambisonic production, even if you are running off a 2-channel final master.
 
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Pluto

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#45
From a UK perspective, what about the BBC greats? I'm going to miss people out, but Dudley Harwood, Spencer Hughes and colleague/boss D. E. L. Shorter
Of that list, Don Shorter was, beyond doubt, the most worthy for inclusion in the category “Audio Science Innovators”, with Harwood a close second. Both are widely remembered for their contribution to loudspeaker development yet a glance at their respective biographies will reveal that this work was just one small part of the day job with Shorter particularly having a wide track record, surprisingly including some pioneering work on digital audio. I'm afraid I would not include Hughes in this list; while he went on to become, possibly, the best know name amongst amateur enthusiasts on account of his founding of Spendor, his contribution to the science was secondary or tertiary compared to the the former two. In that respect, Hughes was very much standing on the shoulders of giants.

At the other extreme of your nominations, I would strongly contest the suggestion of Schiit as any kind of innovator. Love ’em or hate ’em, they are a manufacturer of well-established technology; I see nothing to support that company's inclusion within a hall of fame of real contributors to the art and science.
 

PaulD

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#47
I am also surprised we have not yet seen Harry Nyquist https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Nyquist

I was always amazed that he came up with his most famous "theory" in 1928, well before digital audio. But he was concerned with telegraph transmission theory (which may have been a precursor of some sort of modern "information theory" - which Shannon published in 1948 - still remarkably "early"!).
 

sergeauckland

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#48
What I find interesting about all these names, is that they are all from the more or less distant past. It shows me that little original work in audio has been done in the past 40 years with a very few exceptions. Since the early 1980s, it's all been bigger and better and cheaper, but nothing new or original.

Since then, all the emphasis, as it affects audio, is in data transmission and data reduction, portability and low power consumption (of value in itself, but not leading to improvements in sound quality). It's all become very commodified, where brand values have taken over from engineering innovation.

It's no wonder to me that many of us who lived through the change from AM to FM, from mono to stereo, from LP to CD don't see much of interest in current hifi, and are still happy to use tape, LPs or whatever alongside CD and streaming.

S.
 

PaulD

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#49
What I find interesting about all these names, is that they are all from the more or less distant past. It shows me that little original work in audio has been done in the past 40 years with a very few exceptions. Since the early 1980s, it's all been bigger and better and cheaper, but nothing new or original.

Since then, all the emphasis, as it affects audio, is in data transmission and data reduction, portability and low power consumption (of value in itself, but not leading to improvements in sound quality). It's all become very commodified, where brand values have taken over from engineering innovation.

It's no wonder to me that many of us who lived through the change from AM to FM, from mono to stereo, from LP to CD don't see much of interest in current hifi, and are still happy to use tape, LPs or whatever alongside CD and streaming.

S.
Not "all", Toole and Olive (and Amir) are recent additions to this cannon. We could also probably add Bruno Putzeys (http://www.brunoputzeys.be) - they are all alive and kicking! :D
 

sergeauckland

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#52
Not "all", Toole and Olive (and Amir) are recent additions to this cannon. We could also probably add Bruno Putzeys (http://www.brunoputzeys.be) - they are all alive and kicking! :D
Both Toole and Olive are working in /worked in mature fields. Their understanding of the issues may be second to none, but the issues are not new. Similarly, amplification was a solved problem when Mr Putzeys was in short trousers. He has undoubtedly made them better, and certainly more efficient, and I don't belittle the achievement at all, but audibly, they were no better than what was around in the 1980s. Even the Class D technique isn't anything new, it was around in the 1960s, just limited by the speed of the devices available then.

One name I would add is Mike Albinson, who together with Peter Walker invented Current Dumping amplifiers. Mike was a quiet retiring man, letting Peter Walker do the 'up front' bit, but he was by no means just an assistant.

S.
 

CDMC

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#53
What about the Schiit guys? They've shown they're now more than up to lifting their electronic design and product game to the highest level and going out on a limb with their novel turntable and arm which I hope gets production-sorted at some point if not already. (Wasn't at least one of the company owners a major part of Theta?) -

https://www.head-fi.org/threads/sch...f-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.701900/
I believe Mike Moffatt and Jason Stoddard belong here, mostly because they have helped pave the way back to fun affordable audio.
 

North_Sky

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#54
Thomas Edison, for starting it all...

View attachment 76071
The guy's also behind the light bulb ^

Other illuminaries ...

• Benjamin Franklin
• William Gilbert
• Thomas Browne
• Alessandro Volta
• Michael Faraday
• Joseph Swan
• Nikola Tesla
• Guglielmo Marconi
• George Westinghouse
• James Watt
• Andre Ampere
• George Ohm
 

Blumlein 88

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#55
I believe Mike Moffatt and Jason Stoddard belong here, mostly because they have helped pave the way back to fun affordable audio.
I disagree. Another pair whose main achievement is telling a good story.
 

scott wurcer

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#56
Not too mention that the LIGO engineers said that they could not have built such a machine (that measures to fraction of a width of a PROTON) without the AD797 - Nice work ScottW! (I have a 797 in my current signal chain, it's transparent ;))
Thanks for the kind thoughts, there were 4 laser power controllers designed by different teams and the one they used had the 797. We met after the first couple of science runs and I could not figure out why though I had a few ideas. The improvements today like squeezed light and strange mirror coatings have less to do with the electronics (and I have no idea what they are doing).

Unfortunately the Burning Amp talk, which was a presentation of discrete op-amps reverse engineered over the years by a good friend, was lost in a malware attack. One interesting slide was an amplifier by Dick Burwen from 1966 which used the same trick as the JE990. I think Dick belongs on your list along with Les Tyler and the guys from THAT Corp.
 

Pluto

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#57
The guy's [Edison] also behind the light bulb
While Edison's commercial exploitation of the incandescent light bulb is unmistakable, there are several others who could, more appropriately, be credited as its inventor, not least Joseph Swan. Much the same as the suggestion that Guglielmo Marconi invented radio!
 

Kal Rubinson

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#58
One interesting slide was an amplifier by Dick Burwen from 1966 which used the same trick as the JE990. I think Dick belongs on your list along with Les Tyler and the guys from THAT Corp.
The UM201 Universal Mixing Amplifier? I built some stuff with that and I still have a pair around somewhere. It was a pleasure to work with.
 

scott wurcer

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#59
The UM201 Universal Mixing Amplifier? I built some stuff with that and I still have a pair around somewhere. It was a pleasure to work with.
No, that circuit had coupling caps in the module. It might have used the same trick but the part I talked about was a standard ADI op-amp module.
 

CDMC

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#60
I disagree. Another pair whose main achievement is telling a good story.
I see them as no different than Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, not inventing, but identifying and applying. Their background (Theta, Sumo) combined with their storytelling somehow allowed the highly subjective audiophile groups to 1) start to accept that SOTA didn’t have to cost 6 figures, and 2) that internet direct audio companies were legitimate and could make high quality products.
 
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