Dolby, Ray Milton

Dolby, Ray Milton, 1933–2013, American inventor, audio engineer, and corporate executive, B.S. Stanford, 1957, Ph.D. Cambridge, 1961. While a teenager, he worked for Ampex Corp. (1949–57), helping to develop the first videotape recording system. In 1965 he opened Dolby Laboratories in London, and soon developed a system that greatly reduced the hiss created by analog tape recorders, making recorded sound clean and crisp. His system was soon adopted by major record companies, and was adopted by major film studios in the 1970s. In 1976 he moved his lab to San Francisco. Dolby introduced multichannel stereo to films in the 1970s and to home entertainment in the 80s, where it became known as surround sound. These innovations, which transformed cinema and home sound reproduction, making it an immersive experience, led to many other state-of-the-art inventions. Dolby received two Academy Awards, an Emmy, and numerous Grammys for his work, and his company won many more awards.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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