Portrait of Jay McKnight taken 1994

John G. (Jay) McKnight was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1931. He received his BS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1952, and worked for Ampex Corp from 1952 thru 1972, except for the years 1953...1956 when he served in the US Army, at the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) in New York City, where he also worked at the Gotham Recording studio. At Ampex, he served in the magnetic recording research group, the stereo tape division, and the professional audio division. At Ampex, in addition to research he also worked on the design of the CinemaScope reproducer system; the Models 350, PR-10, and MR-70; improvements in the high-speed duplication system and operating procedures at the Ampex Music (Stereo Tape) Division; and developed the "Ampex Master Equalization" (AME). He has published over 60 technical papers mostly in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society (AES), on the theory and practice of magnetic recording, and on audio engineering (see the bibliography of these papers, with many links to the papers). He received the Audio Engineering Society's Publication Award in 1982.

He is a co-founder of Magnetic Reference Laboratory (MRL) in Mountain View, California, where he was Engineering Vice-president from 1972 to 1975, and has been the president since 1975. He also develops new products and directs engineering at MRL.

From 1972 to 1974 he was also a consultant to Scully/Metrotech in Mountain View, CA, and to MCI in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, on audio systems and magnetic recording. In 1973 and1974 he was a member of Judge Sirica's "Advisory Panel on White House Tapes" (“The Watergate Tapes”), and in 1977...79 a member of the Committee on Evaluation of Sound Spectrograms of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jay is a Fellow of the AES (1960), received the AES Award (1971), was President of the Society the for the year 1978/1979, was made an Honorary Member in 1979, received the Board of Governors Award in 1990, and the Distinguished Service Medal Award in 2008, for extraordinary service to the Society and contributions to the advancement of knowledge in magnetic recording over a period of more than 50 years. He was a member of the AES Journal Review Board for the years 1960...2007; he has been a Governor four times (1962...1964, 1971...1973, 1976...1977, and 1980...1982), Chairman of the Standards Committee (1971...1974), Chairman of the Publications Policy Committee (1977...1978),  Chairman of the Historical Committee (1999...2006), and is now the Chair Emeritus of that Committee.

He has been a member of standards committees on audio engineering and magnetic recording of the AES, ANSI, CCIR, EIA, IEC, IEEE, NAB, RIAA, and SMPTE, and is presently Chair of the AES Standards Committee Working Group on Analog Recording, SC-03-01.

He is a senior member of the IEEE, was a member of the “IRE (IEEE) Professional Group on Audio” when it existed (about 1953...1970), and has been a member of the IEEE Magnetics Society since about 1968.

Jay and his wife Brigitte live in Cupertino, CA (95014). They have four adult sons, Ken, Jeff, Rick, and Mike.

His hobbies include hiking, camping and 4-wheel driving; programming in the Forth computer language; and playing viola in several amateur string quartets, in community orchestras, and in the orchestras of two Gilbert & Sullivan opera companies.

Magnetic Reference Laboratory
165 Wyandotte Dr
San Jose, CA  95123

Tel  & FAX  1408.227.8631

Updated 2009-02-14

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