From New York...
Linear Acoustic® Founder and President Tim Carroll grew up in the New York area with a passion for audio and a natural curiosity about broadcasting, in particular, audio processing. As the chief engineer of his high school and college radio stations, Tim utilized what he calls the "disassembly method" of learning - that is, taking stuff apart and sometimes getting it back together.
In 1995, Tim joined Dolby Laboratories and spent several years on the film stages of New York at a time when the market for digital sound in film was growing. His time there provided an in-depth experience with the production of matrix and discrete surround audio with the then brand-new DVD format which specified the Dolby Digital (AC-3) codec for multi-channel audio. Around the same time, the AC-3 codec was also mandated for use in the ATSC digital television standard and soon thereafter in the DVB specification. Having access to major market TV stations allowed Tim to experiment in the real world with early DTV audio products.
...to San Francisco...
Tim took on the role as Dolby's Professional Audio Product Manager at their San Francisco headquarters where a team of engineers and coding experts developed a set of products that laid the foundation for broadcasters to transition to digital video and audio from mono or stereo to 5.1 channel surround sound. The dream was to deliver Hollywood-quality audio to viewer's homes via broadcast without transmission methods getting in the way.
There were two problems with this dream: First, it required everything to be in place all at once, and second, there were so many places where things could go wrong that some sort of overall protection was necessary. Tim took his bag of tricks on the road as a consultant to try and help broadcasters and manufacturers take the next step, but it quickly became apparent that if a train wreck was to be avoided, it meant the technology would have to be homegrown.
...to a garage in New Jersey...
Technically, Linear Acoustic was started in the basement of the house in which Tim grew up, then expanded into the garage. And the dining room, living room, and at least one bedroom. It also overflowed into a house in California, where one Leif Claesson turned good ideas into algorithms. Before too long, the first Linear Acoustic product - the OCTiMAX 5.1 - was born. Tim and Leif showed the OCTiMAX 5.1 at the SMPTE convention in Pasadena where it caught the eye of Liberty Corporation's Steve Smith. Steve said that if Linear Acoustic could make digital television audio as hands-off as it was in the analog world and still preserve the quality of the sound, he would outfit all 16 of his stations with the products and become the first customer.
When the garage could no longer contain the operation, Linear Acoustic moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, an area which offered access to high-quality high-tech manufacturing vendors and additional engineering talent. As the era of analog over-the-air television came to an end and digital television took its place, loudness problems were rampant, as predicted. In response, Linear Acoustic continues to develop and release new and useful products that are the culmination of its work since the company began. Our approach supports industry efforts to solve loudness problems by working on each stage of the chain rather than just slapping a "cruncher" at the end. We also offer UPMAX™, the leading stereo-to-5.1 channel upmixing technology. Advanced file-based audio processing technology and multi-channel audio and metadata monitors round out the lineup of products led by our AERO series of audio loudness manager, which feature automatic upmixing, downmixing, multi-band audio processing, as well as available built-in Dolby Digital (AC-3) and Dolby E encoders and decoders.
We are humbled and honored to have received a Technical Emmy® in 2010 for "The Pioneering Development of an Audio/Metadata Processor for Conforming Audio to the ATSC Standard" (whew).
Part of The Telos Alliance
In 2008, Linear Acoustic became part of the Telos Alliance, makers of the Telos series of multi-line and broadcast telephone systems and hybrids, the Axia line of consoles and networking solutions for radio stations, the Omnia family of AM, FM, HD, and streaming broadcast audio processors, and 25-Seven line of broadcast delays, time management and processing products.