Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, October 17, 2006

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10/17/06 Meeting Highlights
by Nick Kettman

On October 17, members of the Chicago section had the rare opportunity to meet the pioneer of surround sound at a meeting entitled "An Evening with Peter Scheiber."  Mr. Scheiber, a life fellow of the AES, spoke of his early career as a professional bassoonist and his subsequent work as the developer of the first matrix surround-sound encoders and logic decoders, as well as improvements recently incorporated in current surround systems.  For example, the 1977 "360-Degree Spatial Decoder" [photo?] introduced continuously-variable-speed logic and two modes of operation providing surround presentation of conventional stereo program.  At the end of the meeting, Mr. Scheiber entertained questions from the audience.  The meeting was moderated by Bob Schulein, committee member of the Chicago section.

A graduate in music of Oberlin College, Mr. Scheiber received a full scholarship to study with first-chair players of the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood.  At 22, he came to Chicago to study with the first bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony and play first chair in the Chicago Chamber Orchestra.  As a professional musician, he played in the Ottawa Philharmonic and Dallas Symphony orchestras.  

In 1969, after receiving publicity in Time Magazine, Stereo Review and other publications, Mr. Scheiber gave private demonstrations of "the four-channel disc" to industry leaders including Ben Bauer of CBS Laboratories and Ray Dolby.  Ultimately, Dolby would sublicense every significant audio/video manufacturer in the world under the Scheiber patents.  In 1997, the Los Angeles section held "An Afternoon with Peter Scheiber."  In 2003, he received an Emmy Award "for development of surround sound for television."  

In conclusion, Mr. Scheiber talked briefly on his thoughts about the future of multichannel audio.  He believes that convergence (including formats, media, etc.) is the ongoing challenge.  He is currently working toward that goal.