George Massenburg

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George Massenburg Labs's booth on the AES Convention GML - George Massenburg Labs (AES 124).jpg
George Massenburg Labs's booth on the AES Convention

George Y. Massenburg (born Baltimore, Maryland) is a recording engineer and inventor. Working principally in Baltimore, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Macon, Georgia, Massenburg is widely known for submitting a paper to the Audio Engineering Society in 1972 regarding the parametric equalizer. [1]

An inventor is a person who creates or discovers a new method, form, device or other useful means that becomes known as an invention. The word inventor comes from the Latin verb invenire, invent-, to find. The system of patents was established to encourage inventors by granting limited-term, limited monopoly on inventions determined to be sufficiently novel, non-obvious, and useful. Although inventing is closely associated with science and engineering, inventors are not necessarily engineers nor scientists.

Macon, Georgia Consolidated city–county in Georgia, United States

Macon, officially Macon–Bibb County, is a consolidated city-county located in the state of Georgia, United States. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city's nickname "The Heart of Georgia."



At 15, Massenburg worked part-time both in the recording studio and in an electronics laboratory. He attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Johns Hopkins University, majoring in electrical engineering. As a sophomore, he left the University and never returned.

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

The Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, colloquially referred to as BPI, Poly, and The Institute, is a U.S. public high school founded in 1883. Though established as an all-male manual trade / vocational school by the Baltimore City Council and the Baltimore City Public Schools, it is now a coeducational academic institution that emphasizes sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It is located on a 53-acre (21 ha) tract of land in North Baltimore on the east bank of the Jones Falls stream which runs from the north near the "Mason-Dixon Line" border between Maryland and Pennsylvania to the south emptying in the Northwest Branch of the lower Patapsco River/Inner Harbor between downtown and Fells Point. Also running parallel to the extensive Poly campus is the Jones Falls Expressway. The Institute is located at the northwest intersection of Falls Road and West Cold Spring Lane, in northwestern Baltimore City, bordering the neighborhoods of Cross Keys to the north, Roland Park to the east, Hampden to the south, Woodberry to the southwest and I-83 /Jones Falls to the west and Park Heights and Pimlico further northwest. BPI and the adjacent Western High School are located on the same campus, share several amenities including a cafeteria, auditorium, center courtyard and athletic fields, as well as a collaborative marching band recently united, now known as the Marching Flock. BPI is a "Maryland Blue Ribbon School of Excellence" cited by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Johns Hopkins University Private research university in Baltimore, Maryland

Johns Hopkins University is a private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest —of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the United States up to that time. Daniel Coit Gilman, who was inaugurated as the institution's first president on February 22, 1876, led the university to revolutionize higher education in the U.S. by integrating teaching and research. Adopting the concept of a graduate school from Germany's ancient Heidelberg University, Johns Hopkins University is considered the first research university in the United States. Over the course of several decades, the university has led all U.S. universities in annual research and development expenditures. In fiscal year 2016, Johns Hopkins spent nearly $2.5 billion on research.

Massenburg authored a technical paper entitled "parametric equalization" which was presented at the 42nd convention of the Audio Engineering Society in 1972. [1] He is regularly published in professional journals and trade magazines worldwide. In 1973 and 1974, he was chief engineer of Studio Europa-Sonor in Paris, France, and helped Gerhard Lehner install the expanded Neve 80-series console at Barclay Records studio on Avenue Hoche. During those years, Massenburg also did freelance engineering and equipment design in Europe.

Established in 1948, the Audio Engineering Society (AES) draws its membership from engineers, scientists, other individuals with an interest or involvement in the professional audio industry. The membership largely comprises engineers developing devices or products for audio, and persons working in audio content production. It also includes acousticians, audiologists, academics, and those in other disciplines related to audio. The AES is the only worldwide professional society devoted exclusively to audio technology.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris is one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Massenburg participated (individually and collaboratively) in over four hundred record albums over the past 45 years. His work includes recordings of Earth, Wind & Fire, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Toto, Dixie Chicks, Journey, Madeleine Peyroux, Little Feat, Weather Report, Randy Newman, Lyle Lovett, Aaron Neville, Kenny Loggins, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Linda Ronstadt, Herbie Hancock, The Seldom Scene, and many more. He has designed, built and managed several recording studios, notably ITI Studios in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Blue Seas Recording in Baltimore, and The Complex in Los Angeles. In addition, he has contributed to the acoustical and architectural design of many other studios, including Skywalker Sound and The Site in Marin County, California. [2]

Earth, Wind & Fire American band

Earth, Wind & Fire is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R&B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock, dance, Latin, and Afro pop. They have been described as one of the most innovative and commercially successful acts of all time. Rolling Stone called them "innovative, precise yet sensual, calculated yet galvanizing" and declared that the band "changed the sound of black pop". VH1 has also described EWF as "one of the greatest bands" ever.

James Taylor American singer-songwriter and guitarist

James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Billy Joel American singer-songwriter and pianist

William Martin Joel is an American singer-songwriter, composer and pianist. Commonly nicknamed the "Piano Man", he has been making music since the 1960s, releasing popular albums throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

In 1982, he founded George Massenburg Labs, a pioneering audio electronics company that has released an extensive range of innovative console automation devices, analog signal processors, microphone preamplifiers and power supplies, all based on his original circuit designs. Among GML’s most venerable products is the GML8200 Parametric Equalizer and the GML8900 Dynamic Range Controller, which reacts to loudness like our ears do, rather than to voltage levels.

Massenburg is also an Associate Professor of Sound Recording at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Southern California, the Berklee College Of Music in Boston, and the University of Memphis in Memphis, TN.

Schulich School of Music

The Schulich School of Music is one of the constituent faculties of McGill University in Montréal, Canada. The faculty was named after benefactor Seymour Schulich.

University of California, Los Angeles Public research university in Los Angeles, California

The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) is a public research university in Los Angeles. It became the Southern Branch of the University of California in 1919, making it the third-oldest undergraduate campus of the 10-campus University of California system. It offers 337 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a wide range of disciplines. UCLA enrolls about 31,000 undergraduate and 13,000 graduate students and had 119,000 applicants for Fall 2016, including transfer applicants, making the school the most applied-to of any American university.

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Awards and honors

He won the Academy of Country Music award for record of the year in 1988, the Mix Magazine TEC Awards for Producer and Engineer of the year in 1989, [3] the TEC Awards Hall of Fame in 1990 [4] and the Engineer of the year award in 1992. [5] He won a Grammy in 1996, and the Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award in 1998. In 2005, Massenburg was inducted into the TECnology Hall of Fame for his 1969 invention of the ITI ME-230 Parametric Equalizer. [6] In 2009, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music by Boston’s Berklee College of Music. In 2008 he received the AES Gold Medal.

Academy of Country Music organization

The Academy of Country Music(ACM) was founded in 1964 in Los Angeles, California as the Country & Western Music Academy. Among the founders were Eddie Miller, Tommy Wiggins, and Mickey and Chris Christensen. They wanted to promote country music in the western 13 states with the support of artists based on the West Coast. Artists such as Johnny Bond, Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard, Roger Miller and others influenced them. A board of directors was formed to govern the academy in 1965.

<i>Mix</i> (magazine)

Mix magazine is a periodical, billing itself as "the world's leading magazine for the professional recording and sound production technology industry". The magazine is headquartered in New York City and distributed in 94 countries. Its Korean version, Mix Korea, was started in 2007.

The TEC Awards is an annual program recognizing the achievements of audio professionals. The awards are given to honor technically innovative products as well as companies and individuals who have excelled in sound for television, film, recordings, and concerts. TEC is an acronym for Technical Excellence and Creativity.


In 1982, Massenburg founded GML, Inc., which produces equipment for specific recording applications. [2] They have recently introduced the GML 2032 Mic Pre and Parametric EQ, which have been in development for twenty years, along with the GML Automation System, the High Resolution Topology Line-Level Mixing Console and the GML Microphone Pre-Amplifier. GML also consults and does independent design for several major audio electronics manufacturers.

Personal life

Massenburg married Carol "Cookie" Rankin in Mabou, Nova Scotia on July 27, 2001, when he was 54 and she 36. [7] Rankin is one of the founding members of the Rankin Family, a Celtic folk/country band from Cape Breton who were very popular in Canada during the 1990s. She and Massenburg live in Montreal, Quebec, Franklin, Tennessee and Mabou, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He has one son, Sam, an electronic musician and performer.

See also

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  1. 1 2 George Massenburg, May 1972. Parametric Equalization. Retrieved on Aug 26, 2015.
  2. 1 2 George Massenburg Labs. About George. Retrieved on May 26, 2015.
  3. Mix Foundation 1989 TEC Awards Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on April 23, 2009.
  4. Mix Foundation TEC Awards Hall of Fame Inductees Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on April 23, 2009.
  5. Mix Foundation 1992 TEC Awards Archived 2008-08-20 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on April 23, 2009.
  6. Mix Foundation TECnology Hall of Fame 2005 Archived 2006-04-17 at the Wayback Machine . Retrieved on April 23, 2009.
  7. National Post , Graeme Hamilton, July 28, 2001. This is a great day for the Rankin Family. Retrieved on April 23, 2009.