Roger Sheker, the chief engineer at Audience and designer of that company’s power conditioners, power cords, signal cables, and loudspeakers, passed away at the age of 74 last week.
Born in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, on Christmas Day, 1942, Roger was a self-made man and a certified (Mensa card-carrying) genius. Though he never attended college, his diverse and comprehensive education came at the hands of both the U.S. Army and his time working at General Atomics, a defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California. He freely asserted that his being championed by some brilliant engineers over that period vastly enhanced his education.
After marrying and making the move to California in September of 1977, Roger crossed paths with the late Richard Smith, co-founder of Audience, LLC, along with current president, John McDonald (pictured above, with Roger, left). Richard found Roger to be someone who shared his somewhat distinct views on audio design, and immediately connected with Roger. This meeting would prove fortuitous, eventually leading to Roger joining Audience at its inception in 1997 as chief engineer, a position he would hold for the rest of his illustrious career.
Though Roger had a hand in everything Audience, among his most significant contributions were the complete design of the exceptional Adept Response power conditioners, the creation and ongoing development of the innovative A3S driver, which was instrumental to the entire ClairAudient line of crossover-less loudspeakers, and the creation of The One and 1+1 loudspeakers. He also designed the new balanced Au24 SX cable.
Another of Roger’s fortes was amplifier design, and while none of those designs have yet been put into production, just about every Audience show demo featured pre- and power amps that he had built. John McDonald has informed me that there are a number of Roger’s projects that are far enough along to enable them to be put into production for Audience. Roger also found time to contract his services to companies such as Virtue, for which he helped develop a line of affordable yet high-performance amplifiers in 2008.
I first met Roger at CES 2006, where Audience launched their ClairAudient loudspeaker line. We soon became friends after discovering we shared many passions beyond audio and music, including science fiction, particularly novels, and especially the classics. Roger had a quiet but authoritative demeanor, a convivial sense of humor, and a unique view of the world. If you’ve heard any of the products he created—in particular, the aforementioned Adept Response power conditioners, the ClairAudient line of loudspeakers, or the brand-new Au24 SX balanced cables (all three of which are in play in my systems and indispensable to my reviewing)—you’ll have some small sense of the significance and impact Roger’s extraordinary efforts have contributed to our industry. He was an amazingly gifted designer, a good and true friend, and will be sorely missed by his family, friends, and our industry.
Roger married Barbara Barrier in April of 1969, and is survived by Barbara, four children—Tisa Carpenter, James Kirby, Tina Banghart, and Steven Kirby—a brother Doug, a sister Sue Restar, as well as three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He had been struggling with health issues over the past few years, and succumbed to heart failure on February 24, 2016.