Meridian co-founder J. Robert Stuart was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) at a ceremony in Dallas in October. I had the honor of attending the dinner and award ceremony, as well as appearing in the video celebrating Bob’s accomplishments. You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQQ7cA0EcQI&feature=youtu.be
According to the CEDIA press release, “the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual who has exhibited outstanding, creative, innovative, and visionary leadership in the growth and advancement of the residential electronic systems industry. Nominations are submitted by industry professionals and are evaluated on the basis of achievement and service within the industry.
“J. Robert Stuart, known by his friends as Bob, started his career as a consultant for the audio industry. Since those early years Bob has maintained a unique impact on the custom integration market in two ways, his products and concepts with the Meridian brand as well as his work establishing new technologies and formats which continue to shape the world of entertainment, including the revolutionary new British technology Master Quality Authenticated (MQA).
“Bob’s involvement in the industry also goes far beyond the extensive list of products and concepts of which he has been a part of. He is actively involved in several organizations that have pushed the performance boundaries of performance of new audio formats that have been pivotal in the industry. Bob is an active member of the DVD Forum, and a Fellow of AES, a member of ASA and a visiting Fellow at Essex University.”
I was happy that CEDIA recognized the unique contribution that Bob Stuart has made to audio. He’s more than a company founder (Meridian, with Allen Boothroyd), and designer; he’s a technology innovator and conceptual thinker who isn’t afraid to aim high in the pursuit of high-quality music reproduction. Bob is one of the very few designers who comfortably straddles the often-opposing worlds of high-end audio and the Audio Engineering Society. He has written (or co-written) many significant AES papers, including the landmark two-part “Predicting the Audibility, Detectability, and Loudness of Errors in Audio Systems” and “Estimating the Significance of Errors in Audio Systems,” for which he was made a Fellow of the AES. What’s so different about Bob Stuart is that he approaches audio from the perspective of how humans hear, not from a purely acoustic or electrical engineering viewpoint.
Lifetime achievement awards are often given toward the end of someone’s career, but Bob Stuart’s most significant impact on high-quality music distribution and reproduction is on the verge of being fully realized. I’m referring to Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), the new digital encoding/decoding system that delivers better-than-high-res sound quality at a bit-rate that can be streamed to any device, from a phone to a high-resolution DAC in a home system. MQA is on the threshold of becoming a reality. If MQA becomes the standard for music distribution, CEDIA’s lifetime achievement award won’t be the last honor for Bob Stuart.