Meeting Recap - May 5, 2015
Richard Heyser - 28 Years Later
May 5, 2015
Shure Incorporated, Niles IL
WRITTEN BY: Ken Platz
The May 5, 2015, meeting of the Chicago AES Section was held at Shure Incorporated, located in Niles, Illinois. A combination of over forty members and non-members attended the meeting and presentation by Doug Jones. As the Professor of Acoustics Emeritus and the founder of the Audio Arts and Acoustics department at Columbia College in Chicago, Doug has been working on the Heyser archives at Columbia College, identifying un-published Heyser manuscripts and making them available for research. A video of the presentation can be found on YouTube here.
It was fitting to learn from Bob Schulein, as he introduced Doug Jones, that Bob was the 1986 President of AES before Richard Heyser became the new President-elect of AES in 1987.
Doug Jones began his presentation by asking our section to “think about our Audio DNA.” When we think about where we come from and look up at the stars, we are like those before us who asked the same questions and often challenged the norms of their times when seeking answers. Like other audio giants before him, Richard Heyser had ‘audio in his DNA’ and sought patterns in the chaos. Now we can benefit by standing on Richard’s shoulders in seeking answers to our questions.
Richard Heyser joined JPL (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in 1956 and soon realized that audio was not only a hobby but a passion. He could hear things that he could not measure. He is most prominent and known for coining and developing TDS – Time Delay Spectrometry. As referenced in our AES-library, “A new acoustical measurement technique has been developed that provides a solution for the conflicting requirements of anechoic spectral measurements in the presence of a reverberant environment. This technique, called time delay spectrometry, recognizes that a system-forcing function linearly relating frequency with time provides spatial discrimination of signals of variable path length when perceived by a frequency-tracking spectrum analyzer.” per author: Heyser, Richard C.; JAES Volume 15 Issue 4 pp. 370-382; October 1967.
Doug Jones presented copies of Heyser’s extensive lab notebooks, papers, and notes – all drafted before word-processors were available on home computers. His notes included the realization that he was often frustrated that others did not understand what he understood or tried to relay. In identifying new concepts and techniques in measuring audio, he said that he felt that he “had a tiger by the tail.” Heyser was fascinated by subjective perception and the duality between illusion and reality. He described the transitions between our senses to perceived images to the physical world as multi-dimensional. He continually asked questions related to the relationship between what can be measured and what is perceived…between the objective and the subjective. From Heyser’s notes, Doug Jones relayed various quotes or observations that characterized Heyser and his philosophies. Examples included a 1974 video about a New Paradigm (based on Thomas Kuhn) that will change the way we think of time, frequency, energy, and dimensionality; Heyser’s principle of alternatives; his philosophy of science relies or depends on observation; and the Energy ‘S’ Function or Energy ‘S” Curve [ESC].
Doug then opened the floor for questions:
Giles Davis asked about the different uses of the TEF12. Doug offered that TEF was valuable as a teaching tool in making measurements of loudspeakers in either the time or frequency domains. It offered ‘differencing schemes’ where noise would not be an issue (noise immune). In making audio measurements, you always have to grapple with the uncertainty principle and always have to trade something to get something
Bob Schulein asked about the various TEF tools. Doug described the products as the TEF10 (with lead acid battery), the TEF12 (with upgraded memory), the TEF12+ (a double floppy drive), and the TEF20 (single rack space on Windows 3.0). Crown eventually sold the line to Gold Line
Doug then spoke about being an archivist at Columbia College – Chicago. He has been organizing Richard Heyser’s unpublished articles and has created a link for access:here
The Chicago AES Section would like to extend a special thank you to Doug Jones for not only sharing with our group some of the insights and observations that he has gathered about Richard Heyser but for also preparing the unpublished papers and articles to be accessible to the public so that we can all benefit from his knowledge, insights, and experiences.