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Innovation Agents

Ray Dolby, The Man Who Took The Hiss Out Of Sound, Is Dead

Whether you're a music buff, couch potato, or cinephile, Ray Dolby will have changed the way you listen.

Ray Dolby, The Man Who Took The Hiss Out Of Sound, Is Dead

Ray Dolby, the sound engineer who revolutionized the music, TV, and film industries with his eponymous audio innovations lab, has died. Described as a "visionary," the 80-year-old sound engineer was a member of the elite EGO club—recipient of an Emmy, Grammy (he had two), and Oscar.

A Clockwork Orange was the first movie to use the Dolby noise reduction technique on all premixes and masters. A new generation of filmmakers, including Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, were swift to see the importance of the technology, using it for Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

A philanthropist, he gave over $35 million for stem cell research at the University of California, but regretted the fact that his engineering skills could not be put to making things go better. "All my life, I’ve loved everything that goes," he said. "I mean bicycles, motorcycles, cars, jeeps, boats, sail or power, airplanes, helicopters. I love all of these things, and I just regret that I was born in a time when most of those mechanical problems had already been solved and what remained were electronic problems."