Audio pioneer Ray Dolby dies aged 80

Ray Dolby in 2012 Ray Dolby's name become synonymous with cutting background hiss in tape recordings

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Ray Dolby, the US engineer who founded Dolby Laboratories and pioneered noise reduction in audio recordings, has died in San Francisco aged 80.

Mr Dolby had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for several years and was diagnosed with leukaemia this summer.

His name became synonymous with home sound systems and cinema, and his work won many awards.

Kevin Yeaman, president of Dolby Laboratories, described Ray Dolby as a "true visionary".

Mr Dolby was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in the San Francisco area.

He began his career in the Ampex Corporation, helping to develop early videotape recording systems while he was still a student.

Kevin Yeaman, president of Dolby Laboratories, says Ray Dolby was "committed to excellence"

He then went on to complete his PhD at Cambridge University in England and in 1965 founded Dolby Laboratories in London.

The company grew to be an industry leader in audio technology, cutting background hiss in tape recordings and later bringing out "surround sound".

Mr Dolby moved his company to San Francisco in 1976 and in 1989 was awarded an Oscar for his contributions to cinema. He shared the award with Dolby executive Ioan Allen.

He also received a Grammy award in 1995 and Emmy awards in 1989 and 2005.

Mr Dolby's son, filmmaker and novelist Tom Dolby, said: "Though he was an engineer at heart, my father's achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts.

Start Quote

Though he was an engineer at heart, my father's achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts”

End Quote Tom Dolby

"He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording."

Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, which hands out the Grammy Awards, said Mr Dolby's innovations had "changed the way we listen to music and movies for nearly 50 years".

"His technologies have become an essential part of the creative process for recording artists and filmmakers, ensuring his remarkable legacy for generations to come," he added.

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