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Alesis and MXR Founder Keith Barr Dies at 61

Alesis and MXR Founder Keith Barr Dies at 61

Photo courtesy Spin Semiconductor
Vancouver, WA (August 31, 2010) -- Keith Barr, a pioneer in the pro audio industry, died of a heart attack at age 61 on August 24 at his home. Barr was best known for founding Alesis in 1984. A talented electronic engineer, he was instrumental in the development of many of the company's groundbreaking products that helped make professional recording accessible to more musicians. He also co-founded MXR in 1973.

Barr's innovations with Alesis include the ADAT, an eight-track studio tape recorder that recorded high-quality audio onto video tapes. The ADAT was announced in 1991 and allowed for small and home studios to attain professional-level recording at a much lower price for the first time. With Alesis, Barr also advanced digital effects, designing the first affordable all-digital reverb, the XT Reverb which retailed for $799 as the company's debut product in 1985, followed by the first sub-$1000, 16-bit effects processor, the MIDIverb, in 1986.

Most recently, Barr founded the company Spin Semiconductor, where he worked on the FV-1 processor chip, which was the company calls "a complete reverb solution in a single IC." He also had recently completed a book entitled, ASIC Design in the Silicon Sandbox, where he shared his knowledge of integrated circuits. He is survived by his wife and two children.

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