Charlie Richmond (inventor)

Charlie Richmond (born January 5, 1950) is an entrepreneur and inventor, instrumental in the early development of sound design in the 1960s and 1970s.[1]

Charlie Richmond
Born (1950-01-05) January 5, 1950 (age 70)
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley, 1967–1970
OccupationAudio engineer, inventor, sound designer, entrepreneur, writer

Inventions and commercial achievementsEdit

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.[citation needed] 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.[2] RSD produced the first off-the-shelf computerized modular theatre sound design control system (Command/Cue) in 1985.[3] He received US Patent 3,868,585 for his invention, the "Automatic Crossfading Device" 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.[4]

Recording studio ownership and creditsEdit

Jack Herschborn brought Richmond on board at Mushroom Studios as Head Technical Advisor.[5] 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.[5] 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.[5]

Involvement with non-profit organizationEdit

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.[citation needed]

Richmond headed the USITT MIDI Forum on their Callboard Network in 1990, which created the MIDI Show Control (MSC) standard in 1990.[6]

The USITT inducted Richmond as a Fellow of the Institute[7] 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.[8]


  1. ^ John, Leonard (April 2003). "Show Control Systems for Theatre". UK 18th Conference: Live Sound. Audio Engineering Society. At the forefront of this group were Andy Meldrum of Vari*Lite and Charlie Richmond of Richmond Sound Design
  2. ^ "A Practical Theatrical Sound Console". AES E-Library. Audio Engineering Society. February 1975. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Theatre crafts. 25. Theatre Crafts Associates. 1991-01-01. p. 172. Show control has existed for quite some time; theme parks such as Disney and Universal have made extensive use of ... The Command/Cue, manufactured by Charlie Richmond's Vancouver- based Richmond Sound Design, started as
  4. ^ "2000 Thea Award Winners". Themed Entertainment Association. October 5, 2000. Archived from the original on November 29, 2001. Retrieved September 27, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Mainprize, Julian (April 2003). "Mushroom Studios: in the late 1990s, Mushroom Studios, one of Canada's oldest recording studios, was on the Vancouver real estate market". Professional Sound.
  6. ^ Huntington, John (2007-08-07). Control Systems for Live Entertainment. Focal Press. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-240-80937-3. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Charlie Richmond, Fellow of the Institute". United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  8. ^ "Sound Related Awards". United States Institute for Theatre Technology. Archived from the original on 8 September 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.

External linksEdit