Sound Genius Ray Dolby Dead at 80
That's his name synonymous with 'surround sound'
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2013 6:50 PM CDT
Honoree Ray Dolby during the 2012 Hollywood Post Alliance awards in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Ryan Miller/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – You know the name, even if you didn't know the man behind it: Engineer and prolific inventor Ray Dolby—as in Dolby surround sound—has died at age 80, reports the Los Angeles Times. His namesake company pioneered technology still widely used in cinemas, the recording industry, and maybe even your home theater. As the AP puts it, "his work spanned helping to reduce the hiss in cassette recordings to bringing Star Wars to life on the big screen in Dolby Stereo."

The native of Portland, Ore., held more than 50 patents in audio technology, and Bloomberg notes that he was chief electronics designer of the "first practical videotape recording system" in the early 1960s, when he worked at Ampex Corp. President Clinton gave him the National Medal of Technology, and he also picked up two Oscars, a Grammy, and several Emmys. "We lost a friend, mentor, and true visionary," says the CEO of Dolby Laboratories.

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Sep 15, 2013 10:56 PM CDT
Using 7.1 where I work. The networks are the only ones using all 8 channels. But our system only processes 5.1 channels to the down line. So, if you want 7.1, you pretty much have to pick it up off satellite yourself. What Dish and Direct do to it is criminal. Better to get 5.1 off the air.
Sep 13, 2013 8:47 AM CDT
They played a recording of taps on an 8-track tape at his funeral
Sep 13, 2013 6:24 AM CDT
Rest in peace, Mr. Dolby. You've left us with a wonderful gift!