Charlie Richmond (inventor)

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Charlie Richmond (inventor) : biography

January 5, 1950 –

Charlie Richmond (born January 5, 1950) is an entrepreneur and inventor, instrumental in the early development of sound design in the 1960s and 1970s.

Involvement with non-profit organization

Richmond was the first United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Sound Design Commissioner, serving from 1980 through 1988 and on the USITT Board of Directors from 1989 through 1991. He was the sound design editor for USITT’s quarterly publication, Theatre Design & Technology, in the late 1980s, and its show control editor in the early 1990s.

Richmond headed the USITT MIDI Forum on their Callboard Network in 1990, which created the MIDI Show Control (MSC) standard in 1990.

The USITT inducted Richmond as a Fellow of the Institute in 1995 and presented him with a Harold Burris-Meyer Distinguished Career in Sound Award for his work in that field and the show control field in 2000.

Inventions and commercial achievements

Richmond incorporated Richmond Sound Design (RSD) in 1972, the first company to produce an off-the-shelf theatre sound design console (the Model 816) in 1973. In 1975, Richmond wrote an engineering brief for the Audio Engineering Society, entitled "A Practical Theatrical Sound Console", about a solution for mixing more than 100 inputs for a theatrical production. RSD produced the first off-the-shelf computerized modular theatre sound design control system (Command/Cue) in 1985. He received a US Patent for his invention, the "Automatic Cross-fading Circuit" which was trademarked Auto-Pan on February 25, 1975.

Richmond designed and produced a show control tool called the AudioBox, intended for complex show control functions for interfacing a wide variety of theatrical equipment such as intelligent lighting. The AudioBox won a Thea Award in 2000, given by the Themed Entertainment Association.

Recording studio ownership and credits

Jack Herschborn brought Richmond on board at Mushroom Studios as Head Technical Advisor.

Due to his success with RSD, Richmond was able to purchase Mushroom Studios in 1980 and embarked on a major redevelopment of the facility the following year. Artists such as Skinny Puppy, Sarah McLachlan, Tom Cochrane, and Fear Factory recorded albums there. Richmond successfully adapted the studio to accommodate over 50 musicians in semi-isolated concert format to do film scores for dozens of feature films and movies of the week from Chuck Norris to a redo of The Dirty Dozen. Mushroom was sold to John Wozniak of the group Marcy Playground in 2000.