A talented electronic engineer, Barr was instrumental in the development of many groundbreaking products that helped make professional recording accessible to more musicians.


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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