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Author Topic: Historical audio engineers  (Read 35270 times)

Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Historical audio engineers
« on: March 11, 2008, 01:33:26 pm »

I've noticed that there isn't very much information "out there" about the people whose contribution to our business has been foundational. I have been editing Wikipedia as a means to counteract the shortfall but the effort needs a lot more than I have to offer. It would be great if LABsters could kick down some photos and facts to help flesh out the articles about audio industry pioneers. Especially photos!

Articles that need your help:
Acoustical engineers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Ballantine
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Bozak
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_D%27Appolito
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vance_Dickason
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Dudleston
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Fanger
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kenneth_Hilliard
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomlinson_Holman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_W._Kellogg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Wilbur_Klipsch
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Kloss
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vern_Oliver_Knudsen
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Bullough_Lansing
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siegfried_Linkwitz
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_Joseph_Lodge
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Marshall_%28New_Zealand_ acoustician%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_F._Olson
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudy_Bozak
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Raphael
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chester_W._Rice
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Shearer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Sibul

Electronic engineers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_E._Blackmer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Blumlein
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Dolby
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hafler
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Massenburg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_M._Poniatoff
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Putnam, Sr.

Live sound guys:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Healy_%28Soundman%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Mick Hughes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutch_%28sound_engineer%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Rat
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owsley_Stanley

Important engineers that don't yet have Wikipedia articles about them:
John F. Blackburn (Altec)
Herbert Keroes
Ed Laurent
Saul Marantz
Frank McIntosh
Roger Russell
Dan Dugan (once had an article but he deleted it)
Al Kahn (cofounder of EV)
Lou Burroughs (cofounder of EV)
Don Davis
Carolyn Davis
Edgar Villchur (cofounder of Acoustic Research Corp.)
Fritz Sennheiser
Georg Neumann
Carl Countryman
Dr. Don Pearson

And many more...

-Bink
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Lee Brenkman

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2008, 02:40:09 pm »

A worthy endeavor Binkster

One more that you left out - after all he did record AND do live sound for "The King"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Porter_(audio)

And Fred Catero and Abe Jacobs need to be added to the list as well

Fred, not only because he did great work, but because he was one of the first engineers at Columbia to insist that engineers get credits on liner notes.

Abe because he revolutionized theater sound and pretty much INVENTED the job description "sound designer.

And maybe Bob Cohen and Charlie Butten, if for no other reason that they made it easier for tech crews to actually TALK to each other at loud live shows.  Can you imagine a world WITHOUT ClearCom or the equivalent?

Cheers,
Lee
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2008, 03:41:23 pm »

Lee Brenkman wrote on Tue, 11 March 2008 11:40

A worthy endeavor Binkster

One more that you left out - after all he did record AND do live sound for "The King"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Porter_(audio)

And Fred Catero and Abe Jacobs need to be added to the list as well

Fred, not only because he did great work, but because he was one of the first engineers at Columbia to insist that engineers get credits on liner notes.

Abe because he revolutionized theater sound and pretty much INVENTED the job description "sound designer.

And maybe Bob Cohen and Charlie Butten, if for no other reason that they made it easier for tech crews to actually TALK to each other at loud live shows.  Can you imagine a world WITHOUT ClearCom or the equivalent?

Cheers,
Lee



Good ones, Lee. I've always like Fred Catero's blustery personality aside from his excellent work. And yeah, ClearCom can't be overlooked.

More:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Carver
Gordon Gow (McIntosh)
Ron Wickersham (Alembic)
Susan Wickersham (n
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Mike Butler (media)

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2008, 04:22:09 pm »

Quote:

There's still many more...

-Bink
Tru dat, Binkster.

Where's Greg Mackie? (I know, I know, but he put a bunch of us ankle biters in the game).
And Tony Hoffman, the "H" in KLH, and author of the eponymous "Iron Law."

Perhaps Uli gets "honorable" mention for reverse engineering.  Laughing
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Brad Nelson

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2008, 05:33:02 pm »

I would also include Stan Miller on that list. I think he was among the first if not the first to safely "fly" speaker cabinets, among many other accomplishments.
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Michael Prasuhn

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2008, 11:00:13 pm »

Michael 'Bink' Knowles wrote on Tue, 11 March 2008 13:41

[snip]
Bob Cavin (McCune, Apogee, Furman; console designer, digital amplifier control; first "blackbox" amp/crossover/limiter; first monitor mixer; first multi-angle stage wedge)



So is he the one responsible for that pair of prototype SM6s that everyone tried to hoard all the time?

They had a vertical orientation with the horn appearing above the woofer, instead of beside it. I don't believe they could pole mount. Probably number ASM6001 and ASM6002. Supposedly they sounded way way better than the standard SM6s.


Last time I was in the Anaheim they were trying to figure out how to keep 'em around and not ship them back to the main office.

-Mikey P
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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Bob Cavin and stage wedges
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2008, 12:01:35 am »

Michael Prasuhn wrote on Tue, 11 March 2008 20:00

So is he the one responsible for that pair of prototype SM6s that everyone tried to hoard all the time?

They had a vertical orientation with the horn appearing above the woofer, instead of beside it. I don't believe they could pole mount. Probably number ASM6001 and ASM6002. Supposedly they sounded way way better than the standard SM6s.


Last time I was in the Anaheim they were trying to figure out how to keep 'em around and not ship them back to the main office.

-Mikey P



Cool

Yeah, those ones rocked. I don't know if Bob designed them. I, too, think the wooden cabinet on that revision sounded better. In my memory, they were modified McCune SM5s, not SM6es. Last time I used those was on a Black and White Ball gig back in the early '90s. Jeez, that was a long time ago.  Rolling Eyes

Before the SM6 was the SM4... a multi-angle bi-amped monitor that used an Altec 604B co-axial. It sounded great at medium volume but it was big, its center of gravity was lopsided, it was awkward for one guy to lift, its seams tended to crack and leak air and it was not at all suited to the louder customers. Ernie Heckscher loved 'em.  Confused

The SM3 was a boxy lightweight mid-high bi-amped pup and the SM2 was a very compact passive design with a 10" and a piezo horn. Neither of them had monitor wedge pretensions apparent in their construction, though someone had fabbed a few collapsible wooden cradles that tilted them up for stage usage. I don't know what the SM1 was; I never saw one. Or if I did, I didn't know what I was seeing. There was a lot of dusty stuff in the way back.  Very Happy

You might want to write Bob Cavin and ask him if there was some multi-angle monitor speaker predating the SM4. Maybe the first multi-angle stage wedge was a single prototype. I sure don't know! Bob's website: http://bobcavin.com/

-Bink
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Chad Johnson

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2008, 12:22:29 am »

Back when I got into live sound I used a lot of Apogee, so Ken DeLoria would be worthy of a designer entry. The early Apogee stuff was cutting edge. Maybe Jeff Berryman for application? I'm sure there are lots of Japanese engineers that I've never heard of. The SPX crew? It would be an interesting thread to know the pedigree of specific designers, ie as they've changed companies over their careers what products are they reponsible for.
--Chad
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Historical audio engineers
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2008, 10:46:32 am »

I applaud this effort.

I don't think a few hour session at an AES show could do justice to even a small fraction of this list.

This strikes me as perhaps a good longer term project for local AES chapters. First to identify important contributions made by people in their region and then to document that. These local efforts could be consolidated into a larger whole. Certainly AES efforts could be cross linked to WIKI, etc.

I regret that some of these individuals are already gone so they can't be interviewed but associates and subordinates may still be findable. This should be an ongoing project, not just a one time deal. The IEEE from time to time published a historical overview along similar lines across the broader category of electronics.

There was (is?) an Audio Museum that IIRC was associated with the AES, but this was more old hardware than "engineer" organized. Perhaps a more logical organization of this is by tracing the progress of technology and people associated with those technology milestones can be cross linked. Many companies also have corporate museums either formal or informally, that could be documented by willing employees.

This is a potentially massive project and you will get different short lists from different people, but that's fine. It's better to have too many entries than not enough.

In many cases the historical individual will be associated with one major series of products or technology, like Dan Dugan with his automatic mixing invention, so this alternate organization may be academic, the people and what they do/did is inextricably linked together.

JR
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Michael 'Bink' Knowles

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AES Historical Committee
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2008, 01:11:19 pm »

John Roberts  {JR} wrote on Wed, 12 March 2008 07:46

I applaud this effort.

I don't think a few hour session at an AES show could do justice to even a small fraction of this list.

This strikes me as perhaps a good longer term project for local AES chapters. First to identify important contributions made by people in their region and then to document that. These local efforts could be consolidated into a larger whole. Certainly AES efforts could be cross linked to WIKI, etc.

I regret that some of these individuals are already gone so they can't be interviewed but associates and subordinates may still be findable. This should be an ongoing project, not just a one time deal. The IEEE from time to time published a historical overview along similar lines across the broader category of electronics.

There was (is?) an Audio Museum that IIRC was associated with the AES, but this was more old hardware than "engineer" organized. Perhaps a more logical organization of this is by tracing the progress of technology and people associated with those technology milestones can be cross linked. Many companies also have corporate museums either formal or informally, that could be documented by willing employees.

This is a potentially massive project and you will get different short lists from different people, but that's fine. It's better to have too many entries than not enough.

In many cases the historical individual will be associated with one major series of products or technology, like Dan Dugan with his automatic mixing invention, so this alternate organization may be academic, the people and what they do/did is inextricably linked together.

JR



AES has its Historical Committee; they do some mighty fine activities such as assembling vintage gear for demos.  In 2000, they hosted "When Vinyl Ruled" with a rotary-knob Putnam remote recording mixer, a pair of Ampex 300 tape recorders and three Altec 604s for playback. There was a vintage microphone demo in 2001. Before that, Jack Mullin would bring all the oldest gear he could find and demonstrate each one by itself.

AESHC also invests effort in organizing scraps of the past; they're improving digital online access to historic patents, for instance. They have a lot on their plate.  Smile

Bill Wray and Gene Radzik co-chair the AES Historical Committee and John G. "Jay" McKnight (Magnetic Reference Laboratory) is Chair Emeritus. Check it out here:
AES Historical Committee (AESHC) website. Volunteers don't have to be members!

I agree that this should be a long-term project. Our most important pioneer engineers are sometimes lauded in popular media but more frequently given only a few paragraphs of PR copy or a final "In Memoriam" in an industry publication. I would like to see more of a public face put to what we do and who we are.

JR, you mention people linked to their hardware inventions: in many cases, important new hardware developments were put forward by a team of clever cats who remained relatively nameless following the effort. My organization of this list by individuals will miss these stories but that doesn't mean the stories shouldn't be told. It would be great to read about the various team development efforts at Bell Labs, for instance.

Non-hardware conceptual and methodological developments are important, too. There's software pioneers, too. It's not just voicecoils and formers.  Very Happy

A big challenge moving forward will be to sort the classic EE engineers from the much larger list of recording and mixing engineers. At this point on Wikipedia they're all jumbled together.  Mad

I'm going to ping the AESHC guys and let them know we're mounting this effort. Perhaps they'll be interested in putting a generous helping of AES information out on Wikipedia; perhaps they'll opt to play it closer to the chest.

-Bink

P.S. More engineers worthy of an article or expansion:

William J Halligan (Hallicrafters)
Lincoln Walsh (Bozak) transmission-line loudspeaker
Harold Rhodes (electric piano)
James Edward Maceo West (electret mic)
Gerhard M. Sessler (electret mic)
Wally Heider (concert remote recording)
John M. Eargle (JBL)
Sidney Harman (JBL)
John G. "Jay" McKnight (MRL, AMPEX)
Myron Stolaroff (AMPEX)
John Leslie (AMPEX)
Jack Mullin (tape recorders)
John Herbert Orr (magnetic tape)
Walter Weber (1907-1944) (Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft (RRG)) or German Broadcasting Company. Bias implementation and stereophony in magnetic recording.
Hugh Knowles (miniaturized transducers)
Lee DeForest (triode "Audion")
Heinz K. Thiele
Willi Studer
Dick Heyser (TDS)
Avery Robert Fisher (hifi)
Herman Hosmer Scott (hifi)
Leo Fender (Stratocaster)
Tom Dowd (recording engineer and innovator)
Peter Baxandall (tone control)
Jim Gamble (mixing console)
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