Here is the text of all the messages posted on the sursound surround sound mailing list, presented exactly as received, without editing. If you find errors or corrections are needed, please take it up directly with the authors. DGM
>From email@example.comWed May 29 14:58:07 1996 Date: 07 May 96 16:46:21 EDT From: John Whiting <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Sursound
Subject: Re: sursound: Michael Gerzon. It is indeed a sad day. I phoned the Guardian obit editor and convinced him, he assured me, that Michael should be honoured. I also convinced him that Barry Fox was the man to do it. I hope it happens. I'll never forget the dinner that three of us in this list (Dave, Jeff & I) had with him in London after the AES surround sound conference at the end of March. Frail as he was, shuffling a few steps at a time, he could still out-talk us all - not that we tried to stop him. He was as brilliant as ever, the topics ranging from ambisonics to the history of popular music to Middle English poetry. The world will be noticably less intelligent for his absence. John Whiting >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:58:13 1996 Date: Tue, 7 May 1996 16:08:32 -0700 From: William Sommerwerck To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: sursound: Michael Gerzon. The audio industry is a cesspool of meretricious stupidity. Michael Gerzon was one of the few people in the history of sound reproduction who actually advanced the art. He will be sorely missed. >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:58:18 1996 Date: Wed, 08 May 1996 10:41:42 +1000 From: Marcus Wigan To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: sursound: Michael Gerzon I would like to share with the list my long friendship with Mike. He and I were at Oxford together in the 1960's, and he spent many days at my flat in North Oxford, a few yards from Geoffrey Horns'shop. He had the most acute ear for distortion and clarity, and yet also greatly enjoyed the music itelf. This was long before he had gained any recognition of his ideas, and I introduced him to my father, Edmund Wigan (then the audio quality expert at the BBC Research labs) to encourage him. When he completed his degree, though sick at the time of his final examinations, I was able to help him get the postgraduate place he needed to continue his research, and had many notes and other memories of how his ideas developed over time from those many days in North Oxford. It was with enormous pleasure that I saw him gain (slow) recognition, and fight his health all the way. I am extremely glad that I was recently once again in telephone and email contact, able to exchange email messages with him for a short time (mainly on DVD and Ambio possibilities), having lost contact for some years while in Australia, and his communications reflected the same sustained intellectual excitement I have always remembered him by. As there in no other way at this distance from Oxford I can share my sorrow at his loss but with others who knew of his gifts and achievements, I somewhat hesitantly posting this message. In memoriam, Mike gerzon Marcus Wigan Marcus Wigan email@example.com PO Box 126 Heidelberg Victoria 3084 Australia Tel +61 3 9 459 9671 Mobile Tel +61 414 631 516 Fax +61 3 9 459 8663 >From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed May 29 14:58:24 1996 Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 10:29:57 +1000 (EST) From: Brett Crossley To: email@example.com Subject: sursound: Michael Gerzon I think it is fair to say that none of us would be on this mailing list, discussing this topic, were it not for Michael and his groundbreaking work. As Dave Malham says, we have now lost *the* major talent in this field. Unfortunately I never met Michael (my mental image of him remains that of the youngish-looking guy pictured in the 1977 AES papers). However his writing style always reflected nothing other than brilliance and humility combined. Our challenge now is to take Michaels work and build on it to further the boundaries as far as possible. I gather that Peter Craven was a close associate of Michaels and I hope he will be able to extend our heartfelt sympathies and best wishes to Michaels family. Kindest Regards to you all, Brett Crossley Director - Technology Pacific Advanced Media / ActiveAudio Pty Ptd 29 Albany Street, Crows Nest 2065 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Ph: 61-2-4398700; Fax: 61-2-4395486. Net: firstname.lastname@example.org; Applelink: PAMS ActiveAudio Web Page: http://quicktime.apple.com/aa_menu.htm >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:58:31 1996 Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 12:37:20 -0700 From: Jeffrey Silberman- Aural Adventures To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: sursound: Michael Gerzon. Well from my point of view, it was indeed a great privilege to dine with all of you considering how much each of you has further the ambisonic cause. However, on this sad occasion, it is only fitting that special praise be given to Michael. I must confess that I found him quite eccentric, most especially his incessant talking. Of course, given how rare the opportunity to hhear him speak was, and the intellect behind that discourse, this peccadillo was easily overlooked. In retrospect, I should have been grateful given how much he had to say. Apparently he had been living on borrowed time, and he no doubt realized how precious it was. He will be sorely missed. Jeff >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:58:49 1996 Date: Fri, 10 May 96 10:05:57 From: "Geoffrey J.Barton" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: sursound: Michael Gerzon In article: <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org writes: > For those on this list who knew Michael Gerzon well professionally > or personally, I have the following questions: > > 1. What was his precise contribution to the development of ambisonic > theory? Are there others who deserve as much or more credit? > Michael Gerzon and Peter Fellgett were working quite independently on something heading in the direction of Ambisonics. I think it really gelled when they got together. I do not think Peter F. would disagree if I said that MAG was the superior theorist (I think the first patent was a Fellgett though), but without Peter Fellgett's determination and dedication it would never have happened. The Soundfield Microphone was co-invented by MAG and Peter Craven. More recently MAG remarked to me that Duane Cooper really invented B-format. Cooper's work is often forgotten; remember it was significant enough for NRDC to want to acquire the patents. I claim a humble part in helping Michael get the theory into experimental and practical equipment. > 2. Was he bemused and/or distressed by the lack of acknowledgment of > ambisonics? > Being Michael, he seemed to regard it as a shortcoming of the world, but did not take it too personally. What did distress him was the politics surrounding Ambisonics. > 3. Are his published papers sufficiently understood so that his work > can be carried on or has he taken some secrets to his grave? > As far as Ambisonics is concerned, it is mostly there in the papers; as always we could do things better if we could ask him because of his unique insight. There are still some unpublished papers, some of which were distributed privately eg. 'non-linear models for auditory perception' (I do not think this has been published) and also a paper about the soundfield microphone which goes some way beyond the 1975 patent. Some of us are now trying to ensure that the unpublished work is not lost and becomes available for study. We are aware of unpublished work he did in quantum field theory and relativity which he told us about but, being humble audio engineers, we did not understand. He may have taken this with him. > 4. Was he collaborating with anyone with regard to future ambisonic > developments? > Yes, me. We had already filed a patent on 'Ambisonic' decoding using 5 speakers and different decoding algorithms appropriate for 'home cinema' applications. I put Ambisonic in quotes because strictly speaking it violates at least two of the cardinal rules of Ambisonic decoding; but then so does the assumption that the main sound sources are in front! There is also the work (published) on putting B-format type signals through a 5 or 5.1 channel medium in a 'compatible' way (i.e. you can play it without a decoder, but it is better with). -- Geoffrey Barton >From CT@division.co.ukWed May 29 14:58:55 1996 Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 10:23:13 GMT From: Chris Travis To: email@example.com Subject: sursound: Time and place of Michael Gerzon's funeral. ____________ For those of you who might be interested, the time and place of Michael Gerzon's funeral are as follows: 11.30 am on Wednesday 15th May Oxford Crematorium, Headington, Oxford, UK The crematorium is by the A40. The coach from London to Oxford makes a stop there before it reaches Oxford city centre. It is unclear as yet, but the funeral may be followed by some kind of special event at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford. This is Europe's oldest music room, and Michael made many of his recordings there. Chris Travis tel +44 1454-615-554 fax +44 1454-615-532 ____________ >From firstname.lastname@example.orgWed May 29 14:59:01 1996 Date: Fri, 10 May 1996 09:41:53 -0400 From: Jeff Bamford To: email@example.com Subject: Re: sursound: Michael Gerzon At 06:25 PM 96/5/9 -0700, tm wrote: > 3. Are his published papers sufficiently understood so that his work >can be carried on or has he taken some secrets to his grave? I certainly hope that there are not any secrets left out there. I certainly would be quite happy to do more work with Ambisonic theory. I am sure that there are still many areas to be explored. Jeff --- Jeff Bamford, M.Sc. Audio & Acoustical Consultant Voice: +1 905 570 0130 Fax: +1 905 570 1161 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://audiolab.uwaterloo.ca/~jeffb/consult/ >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:59:06 1996 Date: 10 May 96 16:19:12 EDT From: John Whiting <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Sursound Subject: sursound: Michael Gerzon A happy footnote re Michael Gerzon: At a scientific conference in Provence in 1983 I recorded a three-hour talk by Buckminster Fuller on the regular tetrahedron as the basic three-dimensional form in nature: the simplest structure whose frame would stand without reinforcement, and the building block of the geodesic dome. After the talk I told him that he had in fact been recorded by a regular tetrahedron - the capsules of a Soundfield microphone! He was fascinated to learn of yet another instance of the tetrahedron's fecundity and asked if I could send him any technical information. I promised I would photocopy Michael's article on the Soundfield's mathematics - the one which came as part of my Mark III manual - and did so after I got back to London. A few weeks later I got a letter from Fuller saying that he had been very impressed with Michael's paper and declaring that he intended to refer to it in subsequent lectures and papers. Unfortunately he died shortly thereafter and was unable to do so. At the end of May, after the AES surround sound conference, I finally remembered to tell Michael over dinner that Bucky Fuller had been one of his fans. He beamed with pleasure. I was glad to be able to give him what turned out to be a farewell present. John Whiting October Sound London >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:59:16 1996 Date: 13 May 96 04:12:41 EDT From: John Whiting <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: Sursound Subject: sursound: Michael Gerzon Obituary - Guardian The [London] Guardian May 13 1996 Obituaries Michael Gerzon: An insight on sound I FIRST came across Michael Gerzon, who has died aged 50 from complications from asthma, in the early 1970s. It was the time of the absurd quadraphonic sound battle. At least four companies had squeezed four hi-fi channels into a stereo LP groove for reproduction through four loudspeakers, one at each corner of the living room. The CBS record company - later bought by Sony - demonstrated its SQ system at a Park Lane hotel and provided a highly technical mathematical explanation of why SQ was better than their Japanese rivals' systems with talk of "vectors". It sailed right over our heads. A frail young man stood up, and, turning a flimsy square wire cage through angles, explained vectors in gloriously simple language. Michael Gerzon's point was that although SQ might sound good with some musical material - like that used for the demonstration - theory proved that there would always be more music that would sound wrong. Gerzon could make the most complicated concepts understandable, without ever sounding even slightly patronising. After a spell at Oxford's Mathematical Institute, Michael worked for 20 years as a consultant on digital audio, video and computer projects. His partner on many projects was Peter Craven. "What Michael has done," he said, explaining why few people outside the electronics industry will have heard of Gerzon, "the world will want in 30 years time." During the 1970s, relations between Gerzon and CBS worsened. At industry seminars, Michael kept popping up and asking questions which demolished their theories. He wasn't out to harm CBS, but he firmly believed - and had the maths to prove it - that none of the quadraphonics systems would be right for home hi-fi. His arguments carried special weight because he was not just a maths theorist. He loved music, of all types, and made many live recordings as a hobby. He also had very acute hearing. He could hear much higher frequencies - 23 KHz - than most people. Inevitably, Michael developed his own surround sound system, Ambisonics, which he worked on with other academics and recording engineers. The system was backed by the National Research Development Corporation - which later became the British Technology Group - but never took off. The NRDC never seemed to understand the consumer electronics market, and missed the opportunity to team up with Dolby Laboratories and offer the choice of Ambisonics for playing music CDs with subtle fidelity and Dolby surround for the blockbuster home cinema effects that are now all the rage. In the 1980s, Gerzon moved on to digital audio and video, laying the foundation for many of the contemporary systems. With Craven, he wrote the theory for noise shaping, which lets recording studios squeeze higher fidelity on to CDs. His last work was for a voluntary industry group, Acoustic Renaissance for Audio, which aims to persuade the Japanese industry to set standards for future variants of CD that will deliver super hi-fi that surround[s] the listener. The key to this is a digital technique, lossless coding, and Gerzon and Craven were at the final stages of research when he was rushed to hospital and died. The work will continue, and sometime around 2026 engineers will be trying to patent inventions that they think are new - and repeatedly finding that Michael Gerzon had got there first. Barry Fox Michael Gerzon, mathematician, audio expert, born December 4, 1945; died May 6, 1996 END >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:59:44 1996 Date: Fri, 17 May 1996 11:07:47 +0100 (BST) From: DG Malham To: 3-D Audio mailing list Subject: Re: sursound: Michael Gerzon. (fwd) I thought the group would like to see this, it was sent to me by an ex-student who did our Music Technology MSc then went on to do a DPhil with us. I knew Tim had known Michael whilst he (Tim) was an undergraduate at Oxford so I forwarded him the news. I think his comments encapsulate Michael far better than anything I have written..... Hi Dave I'm really upset to hear about Michael, and I had to write something down. I can see his face so clearly. Recording improvised music on an array of PCM / betamax equipment in a room above the Jericho Tavern in Oxford - he attended every concert of the Oxford Improvisors Coop, for the sheer love of the music. His collection of recordings was so huge and so meticulouly catalogued as to be stupifying. I remember him holding forth to me in the drizzle at midnight in the car park after one concert (oblivious to the weather or anything else) about quantum mechanics He was so clever it hurt. He was a unique person in every way; everyone who knew him personally had great regard for him - his infectious enthusiasm for everything audio and music - never mind his incredible technical and theoretical genius. It's helped to write this. Thanks for letting me know sadly Tim -- |-----------------------------------------------------------------------| | Dr. Tim Anderson | Phone: York (01904) 432 417 | | Drake Research Fellow | Fax: (01904) 432 335 | | Dept of Electronics | | | University of York | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | | YO1 5DD, England | | |-----------------------------------------------------------------------| >From email@example.comWed May 29 14:59:58 1996 Date: 18 May 96 07:02:37 EDT From: Duncan Foster <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: sursound Subject: Re: sursound: Testing 1...2...3... Geoffrey Barton wrote: >I have just become aware that I have not seen some messages posted to >the group in the last two weeks. At Michael Gerzon's funeral >some group postings which I have not seen were read out. It seems to >accept my postings, if you are reading this, that is! >Geoffrey I have only just subscribed to this list so I do not know know the range of tributes for Michael that appeared here. At MAGs funeral one of the most moving tributes was from Waves staffers Gilad Keren and Meir Shashua and there was another one from "seva". These tributes were originally posted in the Waves forum on CompuServe (part of the Midi D Vendor area, shared with the likes of Digidesign and Sonic Foundry). I had passed copies of these postings on to Peter Craven who was heavly involved in the organisation of the funeral (and in the the collection of the email tributes). If you wish I still have copies of these tributes and I can repost them to the sursound list. They are all the more poignant in that Gilad Keren had been in Oxford working with Michael for the week preceeding his death. Duncan Foster >From 75600.652@CompuServe.COMWed May 29 15:00:11 1996 Date: 21 May 96 02:06:28 EDT From: Duncan Foster <email@example.com> To: DG Malham Subject: Re: Tributes to MAG Dave, As you requested here are the postings from the Waves forum on CompuServe. I seem to remember talking with you at one APRS exhibition a couple of years ago after being introduced to some other Ambisonic enthusiasts (including, I believe, Mike Skeet and John Whiting) by Mike Beville at the Audio and Design Stand. Do you remember this or do I have you confused with someone else? The sadness of the loss of Michael whom I had known since 1972 has made me determined to help to keep the Ambisonic flag flying. To this end I have restarted my efforts to keep up to date with the work in the field, and I presume that the sursound list is one of the best ways to do this. Duncan Foster --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------- To All, Michael Gerzon was 50 years old, he suffered from severe asthma for many years. He would have been 51 this coming November. I visited him in Oxford last Week and saw him on Monday through Wednesday and did not realize just how serious and life threatening his condition was . We spent these days discussing our mutual research and development plans for the next few years and we had a great time. Thursday evening his condition worsened and he decided to go to the hospital, he called for an ambulance and made it into the emergency room walking. Shortly after that his hart stooped beating and he was treated with electric shock and connected to a breathing ventilator. His conditioned stabilized but he was under sedation and the doctors decided to keep the sedation for a few days. Monday night his condition deteriorated and he passed away during the night. Michael is now gone and as sad as this truly is, he left behind him INCREDIBLE amounts of papers, patents, ideas, poems and other works of art. Almost all of which have not gained any recognition. Many of these have not been published yet. Michael by training was a mathematician. He graduated Oxford University in 1967 and did postgraduate research in axiomatic quantum theory there. He has done extensive research in psychoacoustics and was awarded an AES Fellowship for work on directional psycoacoustics in 1978. He also had extensive practical live recording experience in classical, jazz, improvised and rock music areas - including several LP and CD issues. He is the main inventor of the Ambisonics technology for surround sound, done under the auspices of the British Technology Group and has had numerous patents and technical publications to his name. He was the co-inventor of the Soundfield microphone and was deeply involved in its development. Using his knowledge of fundamental mathematical techniques from functional analysis and quantum theory, he has over the last 30 years been developing new techniques for the design and analysis of linear and nonlinear systems. The technology of signal processing is now reaching the point where all full advantage of these methods can now be taken. In 1971 and 1976, he published papers on multichannel versions of the Schroder-Loagan algorithms for unitary networks, a methodology that permits the design of true stereo-in stereo-out reverb algorithms with complex directional patterns of echoes related to the Stereo position of individual input sounds. this was the basis for Waves TrueVerb product and other products that will be released in the future. Also in the 1970s he published papers on the design of subjectively well-behaved non-linear audio signal processors (using a new theory of harmonic nonlinear systems). this work was complimented by then unpublished work on subharmonic systems (e.g. octividers) and on bispectral models for auditory perception that incorporate many nonlinear aspects of auditory analysis ignored by conventional spectral analysis. Some of his papers are very abstract and I believe that it will take many years for all to realize how valuable these works are. He had a very rare talent of being able to see and design very practical devices like the surround field microphones and also formulate all mathematical and physical models of Ambisonics, for which he was awarded the AES award of excellence in 1992. Our list of his published papers has 121 entries, also these are many other works and unfinished works that he left behind.. Apart for the last few years during most of his life Michael lived in real poverty, a small one room flat in oxford. He usually had no money and when he did he would use it to buy records and CDs before food. From stories we heard he was really taken advantage by companies he worked with in the 70s and 80s. this included promising him money and things that where never delivered. During these years he had a reputation of being a non practical researched whose works are impractical and theoretical. We have been working with him during the last 5 years at Waves and if there is anything like a father to a company - this is what Michael was for Waves. Michael was present with us, in Israel, in the US, wherever we were. He knew, and was in touch, with almost all of us, weather it is the fresh engineer that just programmed his first delay-line, the graphic designers, the marketing people, the company management, beta testers, quality control, and products development team. His involvement, presence and influence were very vivid. It is incredible how Michael managed to transfer a huge amount of energy that stimulated every aspect of the company, all trough e-mail and some very few meetings. Only a man with great sensitivity to personalities and trends in the company, and a very deep honest truth and devotion, can listen and influence so much, from such a long distance. Michael had endless creativity, ideas and enthusiasm for the things he did. He did not need much for himself and truly worked out of enjoyment, together with a strong sense of mission. Even a simple thing like Q10 - a 10 bands equalizer, something that you would think be no more than a boring everyday tool for someone as experienced and knowledgeable as Michael - inspired him to create a library of 200! different setup files, each of which is useful and justified on it's own right. Michael knew so much, about so many things, and still he never stopped learning. He used every opportunity to experiment and to learn more. He was eager to learn. Each time we just got one tool ready, he would already use it, in very creative ways, to experiment how the next step will be like. He was never lazy to go on, and on and on, any achievement was for him just a step for the next one, a tool to explore things he could not before. Every now and than there would be a letter saying how he used a new tool to confirm a theory, or a speculation he did 10 or 20 years ago. He never neglected a thing. Michael really cared about every aspect of our work, weather pure technical, or marketing, PR text, or Graphics art and user interface. He insisted on the smallest details. And he did not spare the time to teach, and explain and educate. Waves mail-boxes are full with long letters from Michael explaining, and educating us on all of these aspects. What colors to use for a graph, what words to use in an advertisement, what marketing attitude we should take, how should we treat our customers, how should we treat our competitors, and what does the user expects from a certain product. Maybe above all, Michael was a free spirit. A free bird. His commitment was above all to the integrity of himself and what he felt was his mission for humanity. These are not just big words. There was a strong feeling that this was his driving force, to which he was obliged. This is why he educated, this is why he insisted on the details, this is why he did not gave up. Above all it was clear to me, that he did not work with Waves because of obligating agreements, nor because it was a convenient source of income, but only because he believed we make a good team, and if we would compromise this integrity, he would not hesitate to continue on his own. He has made a tremendous contribution to our company which includes: Increased Digital resolution -- IDR type-1 and type-2 and new types that have not been released yet. He had important input to L1 ultamaximizer and the new L2. S1 Stereo Imager is his brain child. TrueVerb is based on his distance patents and was subjectively optimized by him for minimal coloration and smoothens. He also created the setup library for it. He had very important inputs to the C1 and he also created the setup library. His favorite tool which he was obsessed with during the last few years was StereoMaker. This tool is just about to be released and is again his brain child. He left many ideas and papers for additional products and algorithms and these will be incorporated in products in the next few years. We loved him dearly and will truly miss him. May his soul rest in peace. Gilad Keren and Meir Shashua Waves --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------- i worked with michael during these past few years, with Waves, but our talks went far beyond the ones of mere business associates. except michael, i have known no one who was able to integrate so many fields in such simple terms, to see the connection between almost completely different disciplines, then to comment on it, work from it, and laugh about it. he and i laughed together as my brother and i did, as only brothers could. his knowledge of music was far more than any of my composition teachers, one of the few persons anywere who could speak of Xenakis, Zappa, Stockhausen, Sun Ra, Siouxsie and the Banshees, LaMonte Young, the Beatles, Harry Partch, obscure pop music, and some overlooked brilliance, and then not only see, but feel the connection, and write long about it, speak passionately to it, and share his thoughts without pretense. during conversations, he would sometimes excuse himself to make his way to a radio, to tape a show that he wanted to capture, leaving the radio up so i could hear it behind him, and, after returning, explain a related story of amazing detail about one member of the band, or of a related concert he recorded, always accompanied by an anecdote, followed by his splintered laughing, dissolving into coughs. there was a certain quantum spirituality to Michael that i hold so dear, that is so rare, that so few will know in their lives, that i hope that any of us who understand it will strive to incorporate that into our lives, so that we could emulate his greatest strengths: applied knowledge, with grace; honesty, with pure intent; selfless friendship. he was a poet, inventor, scientist, mathematician, and appreciator of all art. he suffered serious physical challenges and pain, but worked at staggering lengths. i never saw the gleam in his eye, but felt it. i never shook his hand, but i knew the man. i pray he is at complete peace. seva
Last updated; 29th May 1996 by Dave Malham.
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