Ray Dolby, the sound pioneer who founded Dolby Laboratories, revolutionised the recording industry with the invention of the Dolby noise-reduction system, and transformed cinema and home entertainment with the development of Dolby digital surround sound, died on Thursday at his home in San Francisco. He was 80.
He developed Alzheimer’s disease several years ago and last July received a diagnosis of acute leukemia, according to a company statement.
Film industry executives credit him with developing sophisticated technologies that enabled directors like Steven Spielberg to endow sound with the same emotional intensity as pictures.
For his pioneering contributions to audio engineering, he received an Oscar, several Emmy Awards and a Grammy. He was also awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by former US president Bill Clinton and was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
Trained in engineering and physics, Dolby started Dolby Labs in London in 1965 and soon after introduced technology that produced cleaner, crisper sound by electronically reducing the hiss generated by analog tape recording.
New York Times