Avery Fisher

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Avery Fisher
Born Avery Robert Fisher
(1906-03-04)4 March 1906
Brooklyn, New York
Died 26 February 1994(1994-02-26) (aged 87)
New York City, New York
Known for transistorized amplifier, stereo radio-phonograph, philanthropy

Avery Robert Fisher (March 4, 1906 – February 26, 1994) was a violinist and audio specialist who made numerous contributions to the field of sound reproduction. Served on the board for the New York Philharmonic, Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center and the Marlboro Festival. Established the Avery Fisher Artist Program that includes the Avery Fisher Prize and Career Grants in 1974.

Early life[edit]

Avery Fisher was born in Brooklyn, New York. He attended DeWitt Clinton High School, graduated from New York University in 1929 and subsequently worked for two years in publishing. During this time, Fisher, an amateur violinist, began experimenting with audio design and acoustics. He wanted to make a radio that would sound like he was listening to a live orchestra. The goal of correctly reproducing sounds in an electronic device or a reproducing device (such as speaker or a CD) is called High Fidelity or Hi Fi. In 1937 he established his first company, Philharmonic Radio. In 1945, he sold the company and founded his second audio firm, Fisher Radio Company, which marketed products of extraordinary quality and performance under the name The Fisher.[1]

Fisher Radio accomplishments[edit]

The Fisher 500 (TA500), Fisher's first HiFi receiver (1957)

With the invention of FM by Edwin Armstrong, Fisher's desire to have a radio and amplifying device that could meet the goal of high fidelity (Hi Fi) became a reality. By the 1950s, the term receiver was used instead of radio for a unit that had a tuner, and amplifier that can switch in the tuner or a record player, tape recorder or any external audio device. Also receivers have no built-in speaker. Instead one must purchase them separately. In 1957, the Fisher Radio Company produced their first FM/AM receiver that that would be considered high fidelity, the Fisher 500 (TA500). It was a 14-tube receiver. However, an important part of high fidelity was still not available at that time. When an orchestra is heard by the human ear, each ear receives a portion of the sound. People listen to sound with two ears, or stereophonic. The Fisher 500 was monophonic, meaning the sound reproduced was high quality but not stereophonic.

In 1958, the first true stereophonic receiver came out by H. H. Scott using a stereo multiplex decoder. Fisher put out their first true stereo receiver, the Fisher 600 (TA600), in 1959. It was a 22-tube receiver (the multiplex option (Fisher MPX-200) would add four more tubes), with a cost of $349.[2]

Between 1963 and 1964, Fisher put out their first all-transistor stereophonic receiver, the Fisher 400T. Early transistor receivers were not highly regarded by Hi Fi enthusiasts, so manufacturers such as Fisher moved in very gradually, "keeping an eye" on technological advances. In the 1960s, Fisher made two major trend-setting breakthroughs. Before the 400T receiver, Fisher marketed the first all-transistor (solid state) amplifier. Later Fisher made the first receiver-phonograph combination, which was to be the forerunner of the compact stereo system and then the integrated component system. These products brought Fisher both fame and fortune. From 1959 to 1961, his firm also made important improvements in AM-FM stereo tuner design.[3]

Avery Fisher Sells Fisher Radio Company[edit]

In 1969 he sold the company to the Emerson Electric Company for US $31 million, which in turn sold the company to Sanyo of Japan. He was a consultant for both Emerson and Sanyo.[4] Early Fisher models under the Sanyo umbrella generally followed the high standards of Avery's Fisher. Over time Sanyo and Emerson made Fisher into a high volume and mass market operation. The quality that made Fisher a leader was pushed out in favor of quantity and styling. By the late 1970s Fisher products were sometimes called "Lo Fi" by Hi Fi enthusiasts. Today the Fisher name is no longer used.

Philanthropy Work[edit]

A lifelong philanthropist, he sat on the boards of the New York Philharmonic and The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

He died at age 87 in New York City on February 26, 1994 from complications of a stroke.

Today, Avery Fisher is best known for the auditorium in the Lincoln Center cultural complex in upper Manhattan that bears his name. Avery Fisher Hall houses the New York Philharmonic and is the site of various other musical and other cultural events featuring many musical ensembles. The hall was named for Fisher in 1973 after he donated $10.5 million (U.S.) to the Philharmonic.

Fisher had a reputation for modesty. John Mazzola, the general manager of Lincoln Center, had to persuade him to permit Philharmonic Hall to be renamed after him. He protested that no one paid attention to such things and quipped, "Who's Major Deegan?" (a reference to the Bronx Major Deegan Expressway).[5]

See also[edit]

Avery Fisher Prize

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fisher, Avery. "Avery Fisher". Created by N. Brewer 2008-08-13. IEEE Global History Network. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  2. ^ 600, Fisher, Fisher's First True Stereo Receiver, Ohio University, "(multiplex option would add four more tubes)" 
  3. ^ Fisher, Avery. "Avery Fisher". Created by N. Brewer 2008-08-13. IEEE Global History Network. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  4. ^ Fisher, Avery. "Avery Fisher". Created by N. Brewer 2008-08-13. IEEE Global History Network. Retrieved 2011-03-31. 
  5. ^ [The cost of putting footprints in sands of time,] by Tom Buckley, New York Times, Oct. 17, 1973

External links[edit]