By Graham Blyth
The Heyser Memorial lecture will be given by Graham Blyth, cofounder of Soundcraft. He will talk about how he became a design engineer in the audio industry, the development of the mixing console from a personal perspective during his 41 years in the business, and, in particular, his approach to mic preamp design with illustrated examples. He will also talk about the importance of the analog engineer in a mostly digital world and about the technical and musical challenges in designing high-quality digital classical organs, with audio examples.
Graham Blyth was born in 1948, began playing the piano aged 4 and received his early musical training as a Junior Exhibitioner at Trinity College of Music in London, England. Subsequently at Bristol University, where he read Electrical Engineering, he founded the University Music Society, conducting their Chamber Orchestra and Choir. He holds diplomas in Organ Performance from the Royal College of Organists, The Royal College of Music and Trinity College of Music.
In 1973 he founded Soundcraft with Phil Dudderidge, and has been Technical Director from the beginning. Soundcraft has since grown to be one of the most significant designers and manufacturers of audio mixing consoles in the world. In 1988, the company was bought by Harman, whose professional audio companies now include JBL, DBX, Lexicon, AKG and Studer.
In the late 1980s he renewed his musical studies with Sulemita Aronowsky for piano and Robert Munns for organ. He gives numerous concerts each year, principally as organist and pianist, but also as a conductor and harpsichord player. He made his international debut with an organ recital at St. Thomas Church, New York in 1993 and since then has given concerts on many of the finest organs in Europe, including the Madeleine and St. Etienne du Mont in Paris, and the Liebfrauen Dom in Munich, and in North America, including Grace Cathedral, San Francisco and St. Ignatius Loyola in New York.
He has lived in Wantage, Oxfordshire, since 1984 where he is currently Artistic Director of Wantage Chamber Concerts and Director of the Wantage Summer Festival. In 1995 he built the Challow Park Recital Hall, an 80 seat auditorium with completely variable acoustics, using the Lexicon LARES system, designed by his Harman colleague David Griesinger. This allows for performance and recording of music ranging from String Quartets through to Organ Recitals.
Today he divides his time between audio engineering and organ design activities. In 2003 he founded the Veritas Organ Company to address the top end of the digital classical organ market, specialising in creating new organs by adding digital voices to existing pipes. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Audio Engineering Society.