Dolby Slays Hiss

23 Nov 2014

One of the inherent problems with magnetic tape is the audible hiss that’s generated as the tape is drawn past the recording and playback heads.

This was a problem that perplexed engineers in the 1950s and 60s.  In 1965, Dolby Laboratories was founded in London with the purpose of eliminating (or at least reducing) tape hiss.

Ray Dolby’s first product was Type A Dolby Noise Reduction, which helped bring out quiet sounds that normally would be drowned up by tape hiss.  After successfully marketing this technology to recording studios and record labels, Type B Dolby Noise Reduction was licensed to manufacturers of consumer electronics products in 1968.

Within two years, audio companies like Fisher, Advent and Harmon Kardon were offering Dolby-B in their gear, turning the cassette from a lo-fi medium best suited for portable machines to a viable audiophile device.

Dolby is also responsible for improving the sound capabilities of motion pictures, DVDs and Blu-ray discs through Dolby Surround, Dolby Pro Logic, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital 7.1 and Dolby Atmos.

Back to Blog List