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AES Section Meeting Reports

Toronto - December 18, 2012

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Summary

Tonight's meeting paid tribute to Neil A. Muncy. It was an opportunity for those who knew him as a friend, who worked with him as a colleague, to share their thoughts and memories.

"Neil Muncy was a friend, colleague, teacher, and mentor to several generations of audio practitioners. He died peacefully on Friday, August 10, 2012 at York Central Hospital in his 74th year after a long illness.

AES Life Fellow Member and Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient, teacher at Eastman School of Music Summer Advanced Recording Institute, and studio guru, Neil's love of jazz drew him to a life of getting the best sound out of the audio technology of the time.

Neil was a huge friend of the Toronto AES."

This meeting was generously sponsored by Neil's wife, Mary Muncy.

After the end of the presentations, the evening included refreshments, socializing and excerpts from the AES Oral History DVD: "An Interview with Neil Muncy".

At the evening's close it was noted that "we've only scratched the surface....Neil left us with a huge legacy".

This occasion was recorded for a future DVD. A tribute page for Neil Muncy is under development by the Toronto AES - http://torontoaes.org/Neil_Muncy-TRIBUTE.html

Rob DiVito, Chair of the AES Toronto Section, began with some introductory remarks.

He read a letter from Gary Osborne, the Chair of the AES Vancouver section. In it, he recalled Neil's friendly nature and brilliant mind.

Rob spoke of the need to celebrate Neil - for his genius; his courage; and his sheer steadfastness.

He then handed over the proceedings to the Master of Ceremonies for the evening: Mr. Phil Giddings, President of Engineering Harmonics. Phil noted the audience represented a who's who of the audio business. He outlined the evening's events.

Robert Breen, VP of the AES Eastern Section for Canada and USA, was the first speaker. He reflected on Neil's biography and accomplishments. He noted his patents.

He spoke about Neil's most enduring legacy: His contribution to reducing hum and EMI in audio systems. Neil coined the term "the Pin 1 problem" in his June 1995 paper entitled "Noise Susceptibility in Analog and Digital Signal Processing Systems".

Mr. Breen closed by saying that although Neil left a remarkable legacy in audio, he looked forward to the evening of recollections of those who knew him best.

These were the people who offered their remembrances of Mr. Muncy this evening:

John Harris, Harris Institute
Jim Norris, President Norris-Whitney Communications
Denis Tremblay, Senior Audio Systems Engineer IMAX
Alan Hardiman, ABC Buzz Creative
Shauna Kennedy, Editor and Journalist for Norris-Whitney and Neil's Editor
Pat Lynch, Powerline Systems
Arthur Skudra, Principal of Sightsound Consulting
Jim Hayward and Bill Whitlock (presented by Jeff Bamford)
Jim Cox, Professor, Sheridan College (Ret.)
John O'Keefe, Aercoustics

These were then followed by written tributes:

Paul Blakemore, Concord Music Group presented by Peter Cook, Governor of the AES
Brenda Brown, SynAudCon presented by Dan Mombourquette, DM Services
Roger Ginsely; Mike Starr; and Dave Moulton (of Moulton Labs) each presented by Sy Potma, Fanshawe College
Dr. Peter D'Antonio, RPG Diffusor Systems presented by Jeff Bamford, Engineering Harmonics

One facet of Neil Muncy that kept recurring during the recollections was his background in teaching. "One of the best teachers"; "Spectacular Communicator"; "Unparallelled"; "Genius for explaining things"; "One of the best teachers in the industry"; were some of the superlatives offered for Neil as an educator. John Harris, speaking on the early days of utilizing Skype (through which Neil's later classes at the Harris Institute were conducted), noted that the visiting Dean from the University of West Scotland was more transfixed by Neil's instruction than the then new two way internet streaming technologies! "Neil transcended technology" was John Harris' comment as a testament to Neil's power of communication.

Alan Hardiman, referring to that power, honored the memory of "Neil's Voice". He played an excerpt of an audio program they both worked on, intended as a pilot for Jazz FM (a Toronto Radio station) that was never completed. The audience heard Neil talk about what became the number one Bossa-Nova Billboard hit by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd "Jazz Samba", on which Neil was the tech on the session.

Neil's multi-media playback room, referred to by those who knew him, as "the fun room", came up in the talks not as often as expected (however the previous audio segment was recorded there). But, as Denis Tremblay noted: "How many basements can you go into that would have the vacuum tube electronics of an Ampex 350?!!"

Of his character, "determined" and "strong-willed" were among the words used to describe Neil. He was generous. He always provided support and encouragement for people's endeavors.

Neil always pushed for excellence.

When asked how he felt, Neil always responded "+/- 3 dB"! As Jim Norris reflected on that, philosophically, he offered that "while all of us have our ups and downs, regardless of that we just keep going and moving forward. And Neil certainly did".

John O'Keefe, the final speaker before the presentation of written tributes, closed eloquently by sharing the words he spoke of his father on a similar occasion:

"He lived a good life. He was a good man. When we reach the end of our days, may others say the same of us".

The evening ended with a short playback of 60Hz Buzz followed by 1 minute of silence.

Phil Giddings observed: "That silence was the excellence that Neil would have wanted".

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