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Roy F. Allison: 1927–2016

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tysontom    0

Tom-Tyson_Roy-F-Allison_Sarasota-Florida

Tom Tyson and Roy F. Allison, Sarasota, Florida, June 13, 1997

 

A Tribute to Roy F. Allison

1927-2016

By Tom Tyson

 

Acoustics researcher, writer and loudspeaker designer, Roy Allison, age 88, died March 1 in Manchester, New Hampshire after a long illness.  

Allison was born in Milford, Connecticut on May 6,1927.  He was the oldest in family of 12 children.  Upon graduation from high school, Allison enlisted in the US Navy Reserve and served from 1944-1946; he spent his first year of duty in intensive electronics training and for the remaining year and a half, he was a a radar-electronics instructor.

Following his service, he attended the University of Connecticut from 1946-1949, majoring in electrical engineering, leaving one year shy of a degree in order to support his wife and new baby.  He was subsequently recalled to the Navy in 1951 to serve for eight months during the Korean conflict.   

In 1949, Allison became a draftsman and staff writer for Radio Communications (Radiocom, Inc.) and was named editor in 1951.  Radiocom changed to "Audiocom, Inc" and began publishing High Fidelity magazine in 1953.  He became a contributing editor to High Fidelity while continuing to be editor to other trade publications, including TV and Radio Engineering, and Communications Engineering, and beginning in 1955, Audiocraft  magazine.  By 1954, Allison had become associate editor of High Fidelity and audio editor in 1957.  By 1959, however, High Fidelity magazine moved on to new owners and was sold to Billboard Publishing, but Allison had elected to stay with his original publishing company, Audiocom, Inc.

Allison's writing clarity and electronics knowledge led to a meeting with Acoustic Research co-founder and president, Edgar Villchur; in March, 1959, Allison joined AR as "assistant to the president."  This position was to be as public-relations assistant to Villchur, but soon after working in AR's repair department, customer service and production engineering, he solved several large production/shipping issues that developed with the AR-2 speaker, and he became chief engineer in 1961.  After plant manager Harry Rubenstein left AR to return to teaching in the fall of 1964, Allison assumed this position.   Abe Hoffman, former AR president and Allison Acoustics Vice President, commented in 1962 that Roy Allison and Gerald Landau (sales and marketing) were brought into Acoustic Research as understudies who could step into management at the appropriate time, and this proved to be forward thinking on the part of Edgar Villchur. 

In 1967, at the time of AR's acquisition by Teledyne, Inc., Allison was made vice president of engineering and manufacturing, a position he held until he resigned from the company in 1972.  During these years, Allison established AR's renowned quality-control program, warranty policies and designed (or managed the development of) the AR-3a, AR-4, AR-4x, AR-2x, AR-2ax, AR-5, AR-6, AR-7 and AR-LST loudspeakers in addition to the line of electronics products, including the AR Amplifier, FM Tuner and Receiver and the hugely successful AR-XA Turntable.  

In late 1972, Allison left Acoustic Research and spent approximately a year studying the interaction of loudspeakers and rooms.  With new-found knowledge of the effects of room boundaries on loudspeakers—now well-known as the Allison "boundary dip"—he  felt that he could use this knowledge in the design of a new line of loudspeakers that would address these issues, and co-founded—and became president of—Allison Acoustics, Inc. in March, 1974.   He subsequently filed for a patent on his design, US Patent 3,983,333 and published disclosure articles on his research and findings. During this time, Allison also designed a new midrange and tweeter unit with exceptionally wide dispersion, and a patent was applied for this design as well.  Allison was responsible for the development and production of Allison Acoustics loudspeakers that were considered to be among the highest-quality products available at that time, including such models as the Allison: One, Two, Three and Four, and subsequent models of that range.  Leading high-fidelity publications, as well as consumer-testing organizations such as Consumer Guide and Consumer Reports, consistently rated Allison speakers at or near the top in performance and quality.  In the late 1980s, Allison's new flagship model, the IC20, received France's Dispason d'Or top award for excellence.  Allison Acoustics closed in 1990.

Roy Allison continued with speaker design into the early 1990s, forming RDL (Room-Designed Loudspeakers) and subsequently RAL (Roy Allison Labs), a mail-order organization.  By 1993, Allison retired from the day-to-day grind of loudspeaker engineering and production, and he began outside consulting work in the loudspeaker industry with clients such as JBL, Cambridge Acoustics and BIC. 

Allison was intelligent, clear-thinking and largely self-taught in acoustics and mathematics.  He was an excellent and precise writer, and during his career, he authored over 100 articles in audio trade magazines and papers in peer-reviewed audio and engineering journals, such as the Journal of Audio Engineering Society (JAES) and the Journal of Acoustical Society of America (JASA).   In 1962, he wrote a fine book, High Fidelity Systems: A User's Guide, first published by Acoustic Research and later reprinted by Dover Publications in 1965.  In 1973, Allison was elected a life Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society for his contributions to the understanding of interaction of loudspeakers and room acoustics.  As well, Allison was an IEEE member.

Through the years, Mr. Allison was highly regarded in his industry and characterized by a kind, soft-spoken and self-effacing demeanor—always thoughtful and generous.  He put the customer first, always, and he will be missed in the high-fidelity loudspeaker industry as one of the premiere designers of the formative audio years.

—Tom Tyson  March 4, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

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xmas111    0

tysontom,  

   That was an absolutely beautiful tribute......  thank you for posting it.

John

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owlsplace    0

Yes, very nice tribute, Tom. It is good to remember men like Roy and their niche in time. History fades so quickly and younger people need to tap into their inspiration...

Roger

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kkantor    0

I am very sorry to hear this.  Roy was a fine human being, and one of the pillars of loudspeaker theory and design.   I will always remember him for his brilliance, kindness and support.   

-k

 

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ra.ra    0

Thank you, Tom, for the fine summary on Roy's life and accomplishments.

For anyone unfamiliar with this publication, attached is the cover of the 1965 Dover reprint of Roy's fine 90-page booklet.

 

RA Hi-fi.jpg

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RoyC    0

A classy CSP post for a great man. Thanks, and well said (as always), Tom.

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tysontom    0
On 3/4/2016 at 5:46 PM, tysontom said:

Tom-Tyson_Roy-F-Allison_Sarasota-Florida

Tom Tyson and Roy F. Allison, Sarasota, Florida, June 13, 1997

 

A Tribute to Roy F. Allison

 

1927-2016

 

By Tom Tyson

 

 

 

Acoustics researcher, writer and loudspeaker designer, Roy Allison, age 88, died March 1 in Manchester, New Hampshire after a long illness.  

 

Allison was born in Milford, Connecticut on May 6,1927.  He was the oldest in family of 12 children.  Upon graduation from high school, Allison enlisted in the US Navy Reserve and served from 1944-1946; he spent his first year of duty in intensive electronics training and for the remaining year and a half, he was a a radar-electronics instructor.

 

Following his service, he attended the University of Connecticut from 1946-1949, majoring in electrical engineering, leaving one year shy of a degree in order to support his wife and new baby.  He was subsequently recalled to the Navy in 1951 to serve for eight months during the Korean conflict.   

 

In 1949, Allison became a draftsman and staff writer for Radio Communications (Radiocom, Inc.) and was named editor in 1951.  Radiocom changed to "Audiocom, Inc" and began publishing High Fidelity magazine in 1953.  He became a contributing editor to High Fidelity while continuing to be editor to other trade publications, including TV and Radio Engineering, and Communications Engineering, and beginning in 1955, Audiocraft  magazine.  By 1954, Allison had become associate editor of High Fidelity and audio editor in 1957.  By 1959, however, High Fidelity magazine moved on to new owners and was sold to Billboard Publishing, but Allison had elected to stay with his original publishing company, Audiocom, Inc.

 

Allison's writing clarity and electronics knowledge led to a meeting with Acoustic Research co-founder and president, Edgar Villchur; in March, 1959, Allison joined AR as "assistant to the president."  This position was to be as public-relations assistant to Villchur, but soon after working in AR's repair department, customer service and production engineering, he solved several large production/shipping issues that developed with the AR-2 speaker, and he became chief engineer in 1961.  After plant manager Harry Rubenstein left AR to return to teaching in the fall of 1964, Allison assumed this position.   Abe Hoffman, former AR president and Allison Acoustics Vice President, commented in 1962 that Roy Allison and Gerald Landau (sales and marketing) were brought into Acoustic Research as understudies who could step into management at the appropriate time, and this proved to be forward thinking on the part of Edgar Villchur. 

 

In 1967, at the time of AR's acquisition by Teledyne, Inc., Allison was made vice president of engineering and manufacturing, a position he held until he resigned from the company in 1972.  During these years, Allison established AR's renowned quality-control program, warranty policies and designed (or managed the development of) the AR-3a, AR-4, AR-4x, AR-2x, AR-2ax, AR-5, AR-6, AR-7 and AR-LST loudspeakers in addition to the line of electronics products, including the AR Amplifier, FM Tuner and Receiver and the hugely successful AR-XA Turntable.  

 

In late 1972, Allison left Acoustic Research and spent approximately a year studying the interaction of loudspeakers and rooms.  With new-found knowledge of the effects of room boundaries on loudspeakers—now well-known as the Allison "boundary dip"—he  felt that he could use this knowledge in the design of a new line of loudspeakers that would address these issues, and co-founded—and became president of—Allison Acoustics, Inc. in March, 1974.   He subsequently filed for a patent on his design, US Patent 3,983,333 and published disclosure articles on his research and findings. During this time, Allison also designed a new midrange and tweeter unit with exceptionally wide dispersion, and a patent was applied for this design as well.  Allison was responsible for the development and production of Allison Acoustics loudspeakers that were considered to be among the highest-quality products available at that time, including such models as the Allison: One, Two, Three and Four, and subsequent models of that range.  Leading high-fidelity publications, as well as consumer-testing organizations such as Consumer Guide and Consumer Reports, consistently rated Allison speakers at or near the top in performance and quality.  In the late 1980s, Allison's new flagship model, the IC20, received France's Dispason d'Or top award for excellence.  Allison Acoustics closed in 1990.

 

Roy Allison continued with speaker design into the early 1990s, forming RDL (Room-Designed Loudspeakers) and subsequently RAL (Roy Allison Labs), a mail-order organization.  By 1993, Allison retired from the day-to-day grind of loudspeaker engineering and production, and he began outside consulting work in the loudspeaker industry with clients such as JBL, Cambridge Acoustics and BIC. 

 

Allison was intelligent, clear-thinking and largely self-taught in acoustics and mathematics.  He was an excellent and precise writer, and during his career, he authored over 100 articles in audio trade magazines and papers in peer-reviewed audio and engineering journals, such as the Journal of Audio Engineering Society (JAES) and the Journal of Acoustical Society of America (JASA).   In 1962, he wrote a fine book, High Fidelity Systems: A User's Guide, first published by Acoustic Research and later reprinted by Dover Publications in 1965.  In 1973, Allison was elected a life Fellow of the Audio Engineering Society for his contributions to the understanding of interaction of loudspeakers and room acoustics.  As well, Allison was an IEEE member.

 

Through the years, Mr. Allison was highly regarded in his industry and characterized by a kind, soft-spoken and self-effacing demeanor—always thoughtful and generous.  He put the customer first, always, and he will be missed in the high-fidelity loudspeaker industry as one of the premiere designers of the formative audio years.

 

—Tom Tyson  March 4, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks, everyone, for those nice comments regarding this tribute!  I really appreciate it very much.  

A great friend and audio-industry veteran, Steve F, suggested that we submit the tribute to Audioholics, a widely distributed, on-line audio publication.  We added some additional comments and information to this original, and it was placed on-line today.  By the way, Steve has authored several excellent articles on the subject of loudspeakers and audio electronics, and readers here might want to scan through some previous issues of that on-line publication to read those articles.

http://www.audioholics.com/news/a-tribute-to-roy-f.-allison

--Tom Tyson

 

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lakecat    0

Allison was intelligent, clear-thinking and largely self-taught in acoustics and mathematics. 

 

That right there makes me bow to the man. Just amazing.

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