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List of AES Honorary Members, compiled by Dan Mortensen


Mac Kerr:
There are many ideas, methods, and formulas that we use in our daily audio lives that have someone's name on them. In many cases, those ideas, methods, and formulas were recognized as being as important as they are and the creators/idea people received an award from a professional organization for those creations.

The Audio Engineering Society has several awards that it gives for high achievement; one of them has the mundane title of "Honorary Member", and is the only one that can be received by non-members, even though Members may also receive it.

A friend of the Pacific Northwest Section of the AES received this award in 2011, and when we were trying to put his reception in context of the other recipients ran into a confusing listing system which dilutes the relation to other recipients as well as provided no information about what those recipients did to receive the award. So one of our members decided to compile this list and put as much information into it, including links to further information.

We hope you enjoy learning about what some of the giants of our industry did to be recognized and to create and discover principles which are fundamental to our work.


COMPLETE LIST OF AES HONORARY MEMBERS (“A person of outstanding reputation and eminence in the science of audio engineering or its allied arts.” Open to AES members, and the only award open to non-members):

Harvey S. Fletcher “Father of Stereophonic Sound”; original research into Critical Bands; Fletcher-Munson Loudness Curves

Frederick V. Hunt Harvard physicist, proposed the idea of low-frequency sonar

Vern O. Knudsen  American acoustical physicist, author, UCLA Chancellor.

Edward C. Wente  The condenser microphone was invented in 1916 at Bell Laboratories by Edward Christopher 'E.C.' Wente; Patented in 1936 by Edward C. Wente of Western Electric,[8] multicell horns...

Harold S. Black  (1898–1983), invented the concept of negative feedback amplifiers in 1927. He managed to develop stable negative feedback amplifiers in the 1930s.

Leo L. Beranek Acoustician, author, MIT professor

William L. Everitt radar pioneer and author of basic texts on radio engineering and communication. He invented automatic telephone equipment, a "time compressor" to accelerate recorded speech, high-power radio amplification, a frequency modulation radio altimeter, and several antenna matching and feeding systems.

F.E. Terman Stanford professor, widely credited (along with William Shockley) as being the father of Silicon Valley

Walter S. Barrell unknown obit: JAES 9:3, p. 230 (1961)

J. Warren Horton Sonar.

Peter L. Jensen first practical application of moving-coil loudspeakers, along with Edwin S. Pridham. Founders of Magnavox

J.A. Pierce unknown

Edwin S. Pridham first practical application of moving-coil loudspeakers, along with Peter L. Jensen. Founders of Magnavox

H.J. von Braunmuhl With Walter Weber, invented Gefell M7 capsule used in U47 and M49, and AC high frequency bias for tape recording.

Loy E. Barton Set forth the principle of high-level Class B plate modulation

Warren P. Mason The most prolific inventor in the history of Bell Telephone Laboratories, having been granted 191 patents.

Harry Nyquist As an engineer at Bell Laboratories, Nyquist did important work on thermal noise ("Johnson–Nyquist noise"),[1] the stability of feedback amplifiers, telegraphy, facsimile, television, and other important communications problems. With Herbert E. Ives, he helped to develop AT&T's first facsimile machines that were made public in 1924. In 1932, he published a classical paper on stability of feedback amplifiers.[2] The Nyquist stability criterion can now be found in all textbooks on feedback control theory.
His early theoretical work on determining the bandwidth requirements for transmitting information laid the foundations for later advances by Claude Shannon, which led to the development of information theory. In particular, Nyquist determined that the number of independent pulses that could be put through a telegraph channel per unit time is limited to twice the bandwidth of the channel, and published his results in the paper Certain topics in Telegraph Transmission Theory (1924).[3] This rule is essentially a dual of what is now known as the Nyquist–Shannon sampling theorem.

Harry F. Olson
In1934, he was placed in charge of acoustical research at RCA. At RCA, Olson worked on a wide range of projects, which included developing microphones for the broadcasting and motion picture industries, improving loudspeakers, and making significant contributions to magnetic tape recording. Like many engineers of the World War II generation, Olson also made significant contributions to military technology as well, particularly to the fields of underwater sound and anti-submarine warfare. After the war Olson, along with Herbert Belar, developed the first modern electronic synthesizer. Equipped with electron tubes, the Mark II Sound Synthesizer was used to compose music, which was recorded and sold to the public.

A prolific inventor and engineer, Olson won more than 100 patents for the various types of microphones (including the widely used 44- and 77-series), cardioid (directional) microphones, loudspeaker baffles, air-suspension loudspeakers, isobaric loudspeakers, early video recording equipment, audio recording equipment, phonograph pickups, underwater sound equipment, noise reduction, sound technology in motion-pictures, and public-address systems he developed.

Hendrik W. Bode  Great engineering philosopher. widely known to modern engineering students mainly for developing the asymptotic magnitude and phase plot that bears his name, the Bode plot.

Gilbert F. Dutton  Head of Recording Research in EMI's Central Research Laboratories

Les Paul Guitarist, innovator, modern recording pioneer

Leopold Stokowski    Conductor

Leonard Bernstein  Conductor, composer

E. Power Biggs  Organist

F. Langford Smith   Radiotron Designers Handbook

Otto W. Kornei Assisted Chester Carlson in invention of Xerox copying

Miklos Rozsa One of the founding fathers of film music

W.W. Wetzel V-P of 3M magnetic tape

Frank C. McIntosh Possibly founder of McIntosh Laboratory, high end audio mfr.

C.J. LeBel Founding Chair of AES

Ernst A. Guillemin MIT professor, linear systems analysis and synthesis. Teacher of Thomas Stockham

Walt Disney Creator of Mickey Mouse and entertainment empire

Sherman M. Fairchild Inventor and serial entrepreneur. Held over 30 patents for products ranging from silicon semiconductor to 8mm home sound movie camera.

Erich Leinsdorf Conductor

Peter C. Goldmark Instrumental in development of LP record while at CBS

Marvin Camras Electrical engineer and inventor influential in magnetic recording

Edward H. Uecke  Capitol Records Chief Engineer 

Georg Neumann  Founder of Georg Neuman GmbH, maker of first commercially available condenser microphone

Benjamin B. Bauer AES President 1969, CBS Technology Center (Laboratories) stereo quadraphonic LP

Hugh S. Knowles Hearing Aid pioneer

Winston E. Kock Electronic organ researcher, inventor of Baldwin organ

Henry E. Roys RCA labs

Percy Wilson Technical Editor for Gramophone magazine, contributed to record player tone arm design, invented first record cleaning machine

William S. Bachman  Phono cartridge development

Murray G. Crosby  “For contributions to the technical advances in stereophonic FM multiplex broadcasting”

Cyril M. Harris  Acoustician (Benaroya Hall, among many others), author (with Vern O. Knudsen “Acoustical Designing in Architecture”)

Kenzo Nagai  Did research into AC tape bias in Japan, co-awarded Japanese patent in 1940.

J. Guy Woodward  Past President of AES; RCA Laboratories, worked on recording video onto magnetic tape.

Paul G.A.H. Voight British audio researcher and builder in 1920's and 30's, research into horn loaded loudspeakers  LINK

Gilbert A. Briggs Wharfdale loudspeakers

Avery Fisher Invented transistorized amplifier and stereo radio-phonograph. Fisher Radio.

Mark B. Gardner  Possibly invented ABX testing method
Bell Labs, localization effects

John T. Mullin  After WWII, brought German tape recorders to America. Worked with Ampex to refine tape-based recording.

Johan L. Ooms  (former chief engineer for electro acoustics at PPI) organized first European meeting of AES  (found in “1971” in  )

obit: JAES 49:11, p. 1120 (2001)

Eugene Ormandy  Conductor and violinist

Alexander M. Poniatoff  Founder of AMPEX

Per V. Bruel  Bruel & Kjaer

Duane H. Cooper  AES President 1975-76, did research into phonographic stylus-groove interface

W. Rex Isom  former chief engineer of RCA Records, guest edited the special issue of the JAES dedicated to the centennary of sound recording and reproduction. ( under “Sound Recording and Reproduction”) under “33 1/3”

Erik R. Madsen unknown

Lothar W. Cremer  His work has contributed significantly to the scientific foundations of structure-borne noise, impact noise isolation, sound radiation and sound excitation of structures, building acoustics, the physics of stringed musical instruments, the acoustical design of dissipative mufflers, and to physical acoustics.

Arthur C. Haddy  British Decca Records. Possible co-developer of “Decca Tree” microphone placement system (under “Technology developments” in , and on page 1 of Ron Streicher's article LINK


Stefan Kudelski  Creator of Nagra tape recorders

Donald J. Plunkett  AES Founding Member, President (1959). Worked for NBC, MGM Records, Capitol Records, Fairchild Recording Equipment.

Walter Reichart  German scientist, studied electro acoustics and building acoustics, advocate of international standards.

Herbert von Karajan  Conductor, very early advocate of compact disc technology.
John M. Eargle  Author, educator, recording engineer, AES President. JBL Senior Director, Product Development and Application

Walter L. Welch  Authority on early recordings and phonographs and founding director of the Belfer Audio Laboratory and Archive at Syracuse University. Author with Leah B. Stenzel Burt of a classic history book on the phonograph, "From Tin Foil to Stereo: The Acoustic Years of the Recording Industry." Authority on Thomas Edison.

Pierre Boulez    Composer, conductor, electronic music incubator

John G. McKnight    Co-founder of Magnetic Reference Laboratory (MRL), extensive magnetic tape research. Pic with Bob Moses

Donald W. Powers    unknown obit: JAES 41:9, p. 745 (1993)

Michael Rettinger    Acoustician, author

Emil L. Torick    AES President; VP-Audio Technology, CBS Laboratories.

Oskar Heil Developed concept of velocity-modulated tube, a significant milestone in development of microwave technology (particularly radar). Also invented “Heil Air Motion Transformer” audio speaker technology.

Leonard M. Marcus Author; Editor, High Fidelity Magazine

Walter L. Rand  unknown

Fritz Sennheiser Founder, Sennheiser Electronic

Kobert Reynierson Smith  Pioneer in the field of electroplating; coiner of word “Muzak” and perfected use of telephone lines for that purpose;  devised first high-speed copper electroforming process.

Jiri Struska unknown

William L. Robinson “For his technical leadership and pioneering in the fields of broadcast and recording operation.”   LINK

Hugh S. Allen, Jr. V-P, Gotham Audio  LINK

Eberhard Zwicker German psychoacoustics researcher and author

Wilhelm Franz German founder of Electro-Mess-Teknik (EMT), maker of turntables and plate reverb units

Rudolf Gorike Austrian founder of AKG Acoustics

Max Grundig German founder of Grundig AG electronics.

Milton T. (Bill) Putnam American founder of Universal Recording in Chicago, United and Western Recording inHollywood, Coast Recorders in San Francisco, and United Recording
Electronics Industries (UREI). Obit:

Peter K. Burkowitz Developer of the REDD mixing desk which the Beatles used during their recordings at Abbey Road Studios in London

Amar Bose Founder of Bose Corp.

Hermann Franz unknown

John G. Frayne With Robert Davis, developed the Westrex 3-A cutter head which truly launched the stereo LP record.    Obit: JAES 39:1, p. 103 (1991)

Friedrich Krones German “The Pope of Magnetic Tape” Agfa

Harry McCune  Californian, live sound reinforcement company pioneer.   

Douglas Sax  Mastering engineer

Masaru Ibuka  Co-founder (with Akio Morita) of Sony

Robert O. Fehr    Editor of JAES  Obit: JAES 46:9, p. 810 (1998)

Wolfgang Kraak For his career-long contributions to the field of acoustic engineering and education that have resulted in numerous celebrated concert halls, instrumental help for the hard of hearing, better understanding of the effects of noise on humans, and engineering advancements in room acoustics.

Tamas Tarnoczy Hungarian, in recognition of heading the ultrasonics research group at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences from 1950 to 1981, and for over 40 years of exemplary research output.

 Helmut Krueger For his outstanding contributions in the advancement of stereophonic recording and broadcasting.   Obit: JAES 45:1, p. 107 (1997)

Chet Atkins  American guitarist and producer

Lorin Maazel  American composer, conductor, violinist

Norio Ohga Japanese President and CEO of Sony

Sidney Harman  American, harman/kardon Inc., Harman International Industries Inc.

Patricia Macdonald  Managing Editor JAES  obit: JAES 51:9, p. 779 (2003)

Julius (Jay) Fouts  Lawyer and as legal advisor to the AES Board of Governors and Executive Committee.

Robert Sherwood Accountant and financial advisor to the AES Board of Governors and Executive Committee.

Sir George Martin  English record producer, arranger, composer and musician. He is sometimes referred to as "the Fifth Beatle"

Frank Laico Columbia Records Inc. (later CBS) staff recording engineer for nearly 40 years; the only engineer whose recording career spanned wax discs to 48 track digital. He generously shared his history and knowledge with the Pacific Northwest Section late in his life.

Ronald E. Uhlig  Presented with the AES Honorary Membership Award in recognition of his pioneering engineering achievements to enhance the film sound experience for the audience, including the development of international standard setting technology that allowed stereo variable area soundtracks to replace monaural film sound, and later, the development of digital data read/write capability for 35mm digital audio.

Steve Lillywhite  For over four decades of exemplary contributions to music and recording industry, involving many of the most revered and successful musicians of this time.

Compiled by the AES PNW Subcommittee for Informative Trivia, Dan Mortensen, Chair 5/4/11

Well, that seem to all fit.


Dan Mortensen:
Update 4/7/2021:

Since this list was posted in 2017, there has been only one addition:

2019: Grandmaster Flash

Also, Gary Louie and Rick Chinn contributed to the identifications on this list at the time it was assembled. Sorry for not naming them sooner, I thought this thread was locked.


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