For Release: October 19, 2017
The Audio Engineering Society is proud to announce that its Convention student design competition has been named the “Saul Walker AES Student Design Competition” in recognition of Mr. Walker’s tremendous impact on the audio industry, as an inventor and as an educator. The naming was formally announced during the AES New York 2017 Opening Ceremony, on Wednesday, October 18, with members of the late Mr. Walker’s family in attendance.
The Saul Walker AES Student Design Competition is an opportunity for aspiring hardware and software engineers to participate in a worldwide contest during AES Conventions and gain recognition for their hard work, technical creativity, and ingenuity, as well as advice and mentorship from the competition judges. Students are encouraged to submit entries, with few restrictions on the nature of the projects, except that designs must be for use with audio. The competition is one of many throughout AES Conventions that are coordinated by the Student Delegate Assembly. “Our student & career events are a cornerstone of the convention and fantastic opportunities for students to grow in their craft,” said Kyle P. Snyder, AES Education Committee Chair. “We’re honored to pay tribute to Saul Walker in the most fitting way possible, by connecting him to future hardware engineers through our educational initiatives.”
Saul Walker was a pioneer in the pro audio industry, an influential teacher and an exceptional man. He began his career as an Electronics Engineer for the U.S. Navy, where his successful designs prompted him to co-found API in 1968. He went on to transform the audio world with innovations including the API 312 mic preamp, the 325 line driver, the 512 mic preamp, the 550 EQ, the 1604 console, the world-renowned 2520 Op Amp and much more. Mr. Walker's incredible talent and creativity helped establish API as an industry mainstay, and after nearly 50 years, his groundbreaking designs are still the backbone of API.
In Mr. Walker’s own words: “In the late 60’s I co-founded API. Back then, we had a simple plan: build the best-sounding audio gear, use superior components, and give the customer the best warranty in the business. Four decades later, API is still faithful to my vision. The designs remain true to my original circuits. I’m still proud of it.”
After his time at API, Mr. Walker continued to lend his brilliance to companies including Otari, Mitsubishi Pro Audio Group, and Anchor Audio, before dedicating himself to teaching. As an educator, Mr. Walker began teaching electronics as an Adjunct Professor of Music Technology at New York University in 2006. He lectured at Schulich School of Music, McGill University, and the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and as a guest speaker at universities in Canada, USA, and Argentina. Mr. Walker served as a mentor to hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students.
The Audio Engineering Society awarded Mr. Walker a fellowship in 1979 for his innovative console system designs, and in 2011, he received the prestigious AES Silver Medal Award for “decades of innovative analog designs that have raised the bar on audio quality while offering solutions that empower the creative side of all audio engineers.” Mr. Walker engineered audio consoles for film production used at Sony, Skywalker, and Universal. In the broadcast and music production world, Mr. Walker’s products found a home at ABC, NBC, CBS, The Hit Factory, Sunset Sound, The White House, and in private studios for Les Paul, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, to name but a few.
“API is so pleased that the Audio Engineering Society is honoring our co-founder Saul Walker in this way,” remarked API president and owner Larry Droppa. “In addition to developing a large number of our products, Saul has had a significant impact on the audio industry at large, both as an inventor and as an educator.” When the AES shared its competition-naming plans with API, Mr. Droppa’s company stepped forward to further honor its co-founder by funding three “API Bootstrap Awards” to recognize the designs of a student engineer/designer in the spirit of Saul Walker.