R.I.P. Ray Dolby, pioneering audio engineer

R.I.P. Ray Dolby, pioneering audio engineer

Ray Dolby, whose namesake recording technique represented a leap forward in audio quality for music and movies, has died at the age of 80, after battling Alzheimer's disease and, more recently, leukemia. Dr. Dolby, who had a background in electrical engineering and a PhD in physicis, founded Dolby Laboratories in 1965, which developed a method of electronically reducing hiss from an analog recording he named Dolby NR. Beginning with 1971's A Clockwork Orange, Dolby's system became widespread in films as well.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Dolby went on to create Dolby Stereo, which became an industry standard after being used to great effect in Star Wars and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. In the 1980s, Dolby gave Hollywood another major advancement by introducing digital surround sound.

Dolby has been recognized over the years with an Oscar, several Emmys, and a Grammy, he was named a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and is due to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year. The Kodak Theater,  home to the Academy Awards, was renamed the Dolby Theater in his honor in 2012. Before founding his namesake company, he worked at Ampex, where he also helped develop the VCR.