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Robert Schulein dies aged 76

Schulein was a distinguished audio engineer and inventor, as well as the fellow and past-president of the international Audio Engineering Society

Robert Schulein, renowned audio engineer, has passed away at aged 76.

Schulein died peacefully in his home on New Years’ day 2019 after a seven-year battle with cancer and is survived by his wife, Joyce and his two daughters, Heather Davis and Jennifer Yoder.

Schulein was the fellow and past-president of the Audio Engineering Society, where he received the Publications Award in 1977, the Board of Governors Award in 1990 and the Bronze Medal in 2013. He was also an established inventor in the fields of acoustics and electro-acoustics.

Born in 1942, Schulein was raised in Rockford, Illinois and received BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he conducted research on piezoresistive semiconductor transducers. Straight out of college in 1966, Schulein landed the position of staff VP and director of business communications and industrial products at Shure Brothers Inc., Illinois, marking the beginning of a thirty-year career at the company.

Schulein led the introduction of Shure’s first professional condenser microphone, the SM-81, and managed the home theatre sound (HTS) division, which pioneered the development of the first enhanced matrix decoders. This work led to the development of a complete line of processors, power amplifiers, and loudspeakers for high-end home theatre systems. He also introduced matrix surround-sound encoding to baseball television broadcasting, episodic television, Saturday Night Live, The Grammy Awards, and Super Bowl XXIV in 1990.

At the time of his death, Schulein was owner of RBS Consultants, an international consulting firm for the areas of acoustics, product research, product design and development, project management, and audio/video recording engineering and production. He was also serving as a vice-chair of the AES technical council, and as chair of the AES technical committee on hearing and hearing loss prevention.

From a young age, Schulein was passionate about solving engineering problems, developing, among other inventions, miniature directional microphones for hearing aids, acoustically transparent non-porous wax barrier for the hearing aid industry, and an advanced professional in-ear monitoring system used by many professional performers today. He established a project called ImmersAV Technology, a patent pending audio technology and high-definition video process to create “you-are-there” musical experiences, and became a music producer for many musicians in Chicago.

Schulein, notably, worked up until his decision to enter hospice care at his home. There will be no formal service at this time, but a celebration of his life will be held for him at a later date.