People - Music Technology

Saul Walker

Saul WalkerSaul Walker, BEE, NYU, began his career at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory, where he studied advanced military electronics systems. Then the Navy assigned him to the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University to work on rocket telemetry. As a civilian, he worked at a recording studio in New York, where he devised an automated disk recording system for unattended broadcast air-checks. Then he was employed by the Research Division of NYU on government-sponsored projects, applying both analog and digital techniques to the study of electronic countermeasures.

At the Missile Systems Division of Republic Aviation Corp., he was responsible for the development of the first encapsulated digital logic modules qualified for military airborne applications. In 1963, with three associates from MSD, he founded and was VP, Engineering of Digiac Corp., a leading supplier of computer training equipment. Digiac also supplied automated audio spectrum analysers and other specialized electronics systems for NASA, NSA, US Army and Navy, and various financial and educational institutions.

In 1967 he designed the first 12 track recording console for Apistolic Studio in New York, used by Frank Zappa for many of his legendary recordings. The popular response to this project led to the founding of Automated Processes, Inc. (API) where, as Engineering V.P., he was responsible for the design of the company’s product line of audio components and consoles installed in major recording studios and broadcasting facilities worldwide. Clients included ABC, NBC, CBS, BBC, The Hit Factory, Sunset Sound, Eastman School of Music, The White House, National Cathedral, Marine Band, Les Paul, Jimmy Page, Leon Russell, Doobie Brothers, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and many others. His “API 500 Series” modular plug-in design has become an industry standard.

In 1985, Mitsubishi Pro Audio Group, formerly Quad Eight/Westrex, hired him to manage the company’s custom film product lines. In the late 1980s, he joined Anchor Audio as Technical Director of its ROH Broadcast Products Division, providing products such as the broadcast intercom system for Super Bowl coverage, and the paging and life-safety alert system linking all buildings of the McDonnell Douglas aircraft manufacturing facility.  Otari Corp had meanwhile acquired Sound Workshop, a console manufacturer run by some of Walker’s former employees who asked him to join the company in 1990. For the next ten years, he was Systems Development Manager and Senior Product Engineer for Otari’s film product line including the Premiere analog and Advanta digital consoles. Systems he designed were installed in audio mixing studios at Sony/Columbia, Universal Pictures, Skywalker Sound, and Todd-AO, as well as major studios in Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. Film and TV sound tracks mixed on these systems include The Godfather, Speed, Twister, JFK, The Simpsons, Northern Exposure, and Xena: Warrior Princess.

Saul Walker has lectured at Schulich School of Music, McGill University and Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University. He was awarded a Fellowship by the Audio Engineering Society in 1979 for his innovative console system designs and the AES Silver Medal in 2011 for decades of creative audio designs.