New York, NY (October 25, 2016)—Saul Walker, co-founder of API and designer of numerous pro audio innovations including the 500 Series standard, died Wednesday, October 19, at the age of 89.
Born February 1, 1927, Walker was a lifelong engineer, with a career that started in the U.S. Navy, where he worked on military electronics systems and rocket telemetry. This eventually led to co-founding Digiac in the early 1960s, which developed electronic training equipment and audio spectrum analyzers for major institutions and the armed forces.
Walker’s route to co-founding API began when he built the first 12-track recording console for New York’s Apistolic Studio in 1967. The desk was instantly in demand and that in turn led to starting Automated Processes, Inc. with a neighbor the following year, where he was Engineering VP.
In 1969, Walker developed the “lunch box” 500 Series plug-in modular equipment system; his first module for the series—the 550A discrete 3-band EQ—is still produced today, nearly 50 years later. Pioneering the use of op-amp technology in pro audio, his 2520 all-discrete op-amp remains at the heart of many of API’s products, including his 512 microphone preamp and 560 graphic equalizer. Other API products of note that he created include the API 312 mic preamp, 325 line driver, the 550 EQ and 1604 console.
Walker joined Mitsubishi Pro Audio Group in 1985 to manage its custom film product lines, moving from there to Anchor Audio in the later 1980s to be the technical director of its ROH Broadcast Products Division, before landing at Otari Corp. in 1990, where he was systems development manager and senior product engineer for Otari’s film product line for the next decade.
Walker became a professor at New York University in 2006, teaching Music Technology Electronics, and lectured at both McGill University and Johns Hopkins University. He was recognized by the Audio Engineering Society in 1979 with a Fellowship for his “innovative console system designs” and later in 2011 with the AES Silver Medal.