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This profile was last updated on 2/23/15  and contains information from public web pages.

Prof. Keith O. Johnson

Wrong Prof. Keith O. Johnson?

Director of Engineering

Phone: (408) ***-****  HQ Phone
Spectral Audio Inc
442 Oakmead Parkway
Sunnyvale , California 94086
United States

Company Description: Spectral Audio occupies a unique position in the high-performance audio industry. The company isn't obsessed by the need for growth, to introduce products at every...   more
Background

Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations

Education

  • surround mastering engineer
200 Total References
Web References
The SDR-4000SL Reference CD Processor is ...
www.spectralaudio.com, 23 Feb 2015 [cached]
The SDR-4000SL Reference CD Processor is a limited edition reference instrument crafted in the Spectral engineering department and individually programmed and calibrated by its designer Keith Johnson. Relatively unlimited time and resources have been utilized to achieve our ultimate objective: Engineer the most sophisticated and sonically accurate CD player in the audio industry. Those that are familiar with Keith Johnson's credentials and previous achievements in digital design know this objective is not taken casually or an idle boast.
As with previous editions of our SDR components from the 1980s and 1990s, such as the SDR-1000 and SDR-2000 reference digital components, it takes our engineers multiple design generations to arrive at the final and ultimate model. The SDR-4000SL has been previously produced in two highly regarded versions, the original SDR-4000 and the revised SDR-4000 Pro which incorporates the exclusive HDCD "Long Filter" technology. It has taken Spectral engineers four years more to develop the final and most uncompromising generation, the SDR-4000SL. In the SDR-4000SL, Keith Johnson and the design team address their remaining performance objectives to create the ultimate SDR-4000 and redefine the possibilities of the redbook CD medium in the finest music systems.
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In the SDR-4000SL CD Processor, Keith Johnson set out to redefine the performance of the 16 bit compact disc with the most advanced components and circuit topologies yet devised for CD reproduction. At the same time, a parallel effort by Keith Johnson and Michael 'Pflash' Pflaumer was launched to develop a very advanced digital playback filter based on the sophisticated Pacific Microsonics HDCD software.
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The original HDCD filter correction strategy was designed by 'Pflash' Pflaumer around Keith Johnson's psycho acoustic models and implemented in the fastest processors of the mid-1990s.
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The vastly higher sampling rate and memory storage of the 'Long Filter' make possible a much more extended version of Keith Johnson's sonic model and more precise corrections.
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Keith Johnson's experience in evaluating and testing optical disc drives for video and audio use has few equals. In the 1970s Keith Johnson and Paul Greg joined development work which resulted in optical tracking servo systems used in the original laser disc systems, the forerunner to the compact disc drive.
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Later Keith worked intensively with Philips and Teac/Esoteric to develop the modified premium CD drives used in Spectral SDR components built in the 1980s and 1990s. Keith's extensive experience with optical drives and servos continued as he evaluted CD drive performance in HDCD licensees throughout the audio industry. Finally, Keith has spent the better part of a decade evaluating manufacturer prototypes for a custom, high-performance drive exclusively for Spectral. Now, after years of development by Keith and our manufacturing partner, the new Spectral UltraDrive is finally here.
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Our new Spectralock Master Clock architecture is Keith Johnson's most ambitious assult yet on jitter and its sonic consequences.
Spectral Incorporated
www.spectralaudio.com, 23 Feb 2015 [cached]
Indeed, Reference's internationally honored recording engineer, Dr. Keith O. Johnson, is also Spectral's Director of Engineering.
Spectral Incorporated
www.spectralaudio.com, 23 Feb 2015 [cached]
Keith Johnson doesn't use three-pin IC regulators because he feels they have too much of a propensity to generate noise.
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While at Pacific Microsonics to interview the inventors of HDCD (including Spectral designer Keith Johnson; see interview elsewhere in this issue).
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According to Keith, this section of a digital processor is critical to sound quality.
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The analog output stage is based on the circuits Keith Johnson has been refining for more than 20 years.
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I connected all this Spectral and MIT equipment to get it working and warmed up, but didn't tweak the system until Spectral's Rick Fryer and Keith Johnson visited my listening room two days later.
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This experience was repeated with different tweaks as Keith, Rick, and I spent the day listening and adjusting.
Goodwin's High End - Keith O. Johnson Bio
www.goodwinshighend.com, 21 Dec 2014 [cached]
here | Keith Johnson | Keith O. Johnson: Recording and Audio Engineer Extraordinaire
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here | Keith Johnson | Keith O. Johnson: Recording and Audio Engineer Extraordinaire
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Keith O. Johnson: Recording and Audio Engineer Extraordinaire
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Keith O. Johnson is a recording engineer whose more than 150 releases in classical and jazz include two Grammy winners and seven nominated for Best Engineered Classical Recording. Keith co-founded Gauss, Microsonics, and Reference Recordings, and holds any number of patents. He recently received a Silver Medal from the Audio Engineering Society at the 125th AES convention in San Francisco, California "for outstanding contributions sustained over 40 years, to the advancement of audio quality of recordings through innovation in the areas of analog and digital recording technology, transducers and music recording techniques. In addition he is a fellow and a Lifetime Member of the Audio Engineering Society.
KOJ studied computer science, biology, and music at UCLA, and did his graduate studies in electronics at Stanford University. For most of his life, for good and sufficient reason, his name has been prefaced by the honorific "Professor"; most of the high end community knows KOJ as Prof. Keith O. Johnson.
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"It literally revolutionized the whole field overnight," according to Prof. Johnson.
Of particular interest to audiophiles and music lovers, while at Stanford University in the 1960s, Prof. Johnson created a solid-state 3-channel recorder that he used on more than 100 recordings. "It has 3.5-megahertz bias and still runs," he says. "I thought that if I could focus the magnetic field onto the tape, I could get rid of some losses that normally occurred in recording. And it worked."
Prof. Johnson went on to contribute his knowledge to the MCA DiscoVision video disc, engineered orchestral works for the Armed Forces Radio and conceived an optical CCD scanner, the Colortek system, which removes noise from damaged motion picture soundtracks. In the 1970s, he worked with rock band Ambrosia and partnered with producer Alan Parsons to develop the Projectron, one of the first tools to incorporate expressive polyphonic sampling.
In 1976, he joined producer Tam Henderson and Marcia Martin to form Reference Recordings, launching a legacy of high-end/half-speed mastered LPs and high-definition CDs (DDD). Prof. Johnson co-invented the HDCD technology with Pflash Pflaumer, and in 1996, they formed Pacific Microsonics to introduce the concept of high-resolution audio. In 2000, Microsoft purchased Pacific Microsonics and continues to incorporate HDCD technology into its PC offerings. Prof. Johnson subsequently consulted with Microsoft; one project, Speaker-Correction, uses modeled correction of speakers to improve computer sound and can be found in XP software.
In addition, as Director of Engineering for Spectral Audio Inc. for over 25 years, KOJ created the Vertical Dimension Topology, in which the electrical audio signal "drops down" into the amplifier circuitry along the Z axis to reduce to an absolute minimum noise-causing electromagnetic-field interaction. He also developed the Focused Power Geometry circuit architecture, a distributed array in which a separate power supply is physically located next to each output device of a Spectral power amplifier.
Most Notable Achievements
Renowned for his more than 50 pioneering years of recording and equipment design, Keith Johnson has always been at the forefront of high resolution audio. He has engineered nearly 150 classical and jazz albums including the aforementioned Grammys for Best Engineered Classical Recording.
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Prof. Johnson is a unique combination of:
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According to Robert Harley, editor of The Absolute Sound, "Keith Johnson is the co-inventor of HDCD, recording engineer of all the Reference Recordings projects, designer for Spectral, and has perhaps the most insightful audio mind of anyone working today."
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Recordings by Grammy winner & 11-time Grammy nominated classical recording engineer Prof. Keith O. Johnson
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GRAMMY WINNERS engineered by Keith O. Johnson
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GRAMMY® NOMINATIONS ("Best Engineered, Classical") engineered by Keith O. Johnson:
Information about Reference Recordings, "Prof" Keith O. Johnson and HDCD Recordings
www.referencerecordings.com, 27 July 2014 [cached]
Keith O. Johnson, our chief engineer and Technical Director, is a true audio legend, having designed and patented many innovative products in the professional and consumer fields. The RR Sound comes from his singular methods and equipment, hand-built or extensively modified by him. Microphone techniques range from single-point Blumlein to spaced omnis to complex studio mixes, depending on the musical forces and the performing space involved. Our goal is to recreate the sound of real musicians making music in real space.
"Prof. Keith Johnson has spent over 30 years developing a reputation for innovative thinking, technical achievement and musicianship which has elevated him to a position in the audio industry occupied by only a handful of visionaries. His intensive investigation of electronic behavior and acoustic perception have led most recently to his development (with digital engineer Michael Pflaumer) of the revolutionary High Definition Compatible Digital encoding process, produced and marketed by Pacific Microsonics (recently acquired by Microsoft). HDCD is widely considered to be the most accurate recording process ever invented.
For more than 30 years, Keith O. Johnson has served as Technical Director, Recording Engineer and partner in Reference Recordings. His 100-plus recordings for the label have long been considered the standard for high fidelity, and include three GRAMMY award-winners and eight additional GRAMMY nominations.
-------- Keith O. Johnson and David Frost won the Grammy® for Best Surround Sound Album: "Britten's Orchestra" (RR-120SACD) at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards. more Information
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Keith O. Johnson tells the story of his early electronic developments. (5:10) video------------------------
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Johnson.
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Keith O. Johnson, surround mix engineer;
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Keith O. Johnson, surround mastering engineer
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Prof. Johnson's seventh nomination for a Grammy® engineering award!
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RACHMANINOFF ( RR-96) was engineered by Keith O. Johnson using HDCD (High Definition Compatible Digital) technology, which he co-invented. It was produced by J. Tamblyn Henderson, Jr., 1998 Grammy nominee for Best Classical Producer.
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R ESPIGHI ( RR-95) was engineered by Keith O. Johnson using HDCD (High Definition Compatible Digital) technology, which he co-invented. It was produced by J. Tamblyn Henderson, Jr., 1998 Grammy nominee for Best Classical Producer.
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"Supremely wide-ranging and dynamic, with powerful bass-drum thwacks and climaxes that open out gloriously, this may be Keith Johnson's best recording of a symphony orchestra (which is saying a lot). -Paul Seydor
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MORE AWARDS for RR Technical Director Keith Johnson:
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It is with great pleasure and admiration that the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles and Orange County Audio Society, America's largest audio society with over 600 members, announces the winner of the Founder's Award for 2010, the Society's highest honor, to Keith O. Johnson. As the leading recording engineer in the world for truly fine music and the torch bearer for audiophile recordings at renowned Reference Recordings, we recognize his continuing passion for the high-end. As technical director for Spectral Audio, he continues to design and develop ever more important resources for our enjoyment of great music. Therefore, we declare "Professor" Keith O. Johnson the winner of the Society's Founder's Award and 2010 the Year of Reference Recordings.
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