24 September 2013

Ray Dolby 1933-2013

"...Walter Murch lauded him, commenting that film sound could be divided into 'Before Dolby and After Dolby.' The 'Before Dolby' era – from the beginning of recorded sound – was characterized by a constant background hiss, an underlying and irritating noise that was especially noticeable in quiet moments."

As someone who came up in the industry as it evolved from its analog origins into digital, I remember the logistical gymnastics of minimizing both generation loss and noise accumulation. Solving a persistent issue with a push of a button seemed like magic. The point of any recording medium is not the carrier, but the information itself. Dolby NR helped make the carrier disappear, and let the information, whether music or film dialogue, speak for itself.

The name Dolby of course became synonymous with consumers as a marker of quality. To wit: