Ray Dolby, 19332013
We are saddened to learn of the passing of inventor and audio entrepreneur Ray Dolby. Other sites have published full obituaries; I'd like simply to offer my memory of interviewing Ray back in the spring of 1977 for the English magazine Hi-Fi News, when Dolby Laboratories were trying to get the BBC interested in using Dolby noise reduction in FM broadcasting. Despite my being a neophyte audio writer, I was treated with courtesy and respect by a man who had forgotten more about audio engineering than I knew.
It was Ray Dolby's invention of Dolby-A noise reduction that made the explosion in multitrack recording of rock music in the early 1970s possible. I vividly remember engineer Jerry Boys playing me all 24 tracks of the studio's new MCI tape recorder, which used 2" tape. Nothing had been recorded and all was quiet. Then Jerry turned off the Dolby-A noise reduction and we were overwhelmed with tape hiss!