Remembering "Dr. Don"
Meyer Sound has received many messages of condolence since the passing of Don Pearson. We are grateful for and heartened by these messages and feel a strong need to create a public forum in which members of the audio community and, indeed, anyone who wishes to, can post their thoughts about Dr. Don. His departure is a loss for us all and he and his work will always be remembered. This is a place to begin that remembrance.
I met Don in 1975 when I became Hot Tuna's lighting designer. I remain Don's friend forever.
Written at 2:28pm on Mar 01, 2006 by Larry Weinles
Perhaps no one in our little world epitomized "sound" more than Don. His passion for sound and his unerring focus on using every possible tool to achive a step above anything else is what made him such a force, and such a great loss to this industry. For those who never met him or spoke to him - you missed one of the true elemental powers in SR, for those who had the pleasure cherish the moment. Don, wherever you are now I know it sound terrific!
Written at 6:44pm on Feb 16, 2006 by Frederick Ampel
I had the great fortune to spend several years working for UltraSound in San Rafael. I owe so much to Don P. for my knowledge of audio engineering. I will always treasure the time I spent with all of the folks at UltraSound. The organization was/is of the highest integrity, and I always felt a strong sense of family with the incredibly talented friends and co-workers. I think that this was a direct reflection of Don's leadership and vision. I always had the utmost respect for Don, without question, he was the best boss I have ever had the pleasure of working for.
Written at 10:22am on Feb 08, 2006 by James Williams, Audio Precision, Inc.
An Attempt at Closure, ... of a sort.
Written at 11:58pm on Feb 06, 2006 by Mark Haynes
I came to barely know Don through my love for pure sound and the Grateful Dead, and as a friendly howdy-there connection with his wonderful wife Fran while I worked in San Anselmo. Later I got into promoting small shows, benefits mostly, or helping young bands break into the bar scene-nothing hard core. A few of those shows were held at the Fairfax Pavillion-a difficult place for sound. Somehow the universe gave me the HUGE blessing of having Ultrasound do the sound-almost gratis. Don and Howard were so infectiously willing to help a local underdog-all the guys I met were so full of respect and warmth and sheer humble talent-Don's genuine nature and joy at ultimate sound affected so many of us-may it continue!
Written at 8:21pm on Feb 03, 2006 by sshannon
A friend told me of Don's passing and I was deeply saddened. I got interested in audio by taping and watching Don as systems engineer for the Grateful Dead for some 15 years. I would say to myself as a teenager,
Written at 6:34pm on Feb 03, 2006 by Dave Brotman DBS Audio Systems, Inc.
I think that a fitting tribute, and something that Don Pearson would be proud of, was the knowledge and professionalism exhibited by Gavin and Steve while teaching the Meyer seminar at the Shrine Auditorium January 23rd and 24th.
Written at 2:11am on Feb 02, 2006 by Martin Oliver
Met Don when I was sixteen, my first and last deadshow,
Written at 11:59am on Feb 01, 2006 by Wes Middleton
Your droopy eyes, that way you walked, your warm smile, your large but peaceful presence, those are some of the things that seem to be missing. I'm trying to locate you, but you are not to be found. I think I know where you went, and Wavy Gravy spoke profoundly last night (possibly a paraphrase, can't remember exactly):
Written at 11:27am on Feb 01, 2006 by Nat Koren, San Francisco
Last night's tribute to Don was great, the cheers and the tears. Thanks to Meyer, Pro Media, the muscians and poets for their generosity. There was only one thing missing.
Written at 7:06am on Feb 01, 2006 by Julie Bowers
I had the great pleasure and honor to get advice and suggestions from Don over the past few years that I have redesigned and rebuilt the studios at the Plant. Don was so generous with his time and help, and did me the great favor of introducing me to Sam Berkow in connection with a proposed theater design for a live venue. I have read all of the letters herein and its all been said. Fran.....you had a great man and a great husband and I loved him very much; even though we never really got to spend alot of time together. I will always remember you Don, and I will always miss your great advice and kindness and great spirit.
Written at 2:47pm on Jan 31, 2006 by Arne Frager; The Plant Studios
Thank you for touching our lives with your friendship and wisdom Don. We miss you.
Written at 1:28am on Jan 31, 2006 by Bob Havlice
I met Don back in 1978 in Chicago at an Uptown Theater Dead show. From the moment we met and talked technology, I knew I'd met a genius, a pioneer, but most important, a perpetual teacher.
Written at 3:58pm on Jan 30, 2006 by Marc Sokol
There are no words that can describe the grief and sadness that I feel from the loss of my dearest friend, Donny. He was a true Renaissance man that embodied a spirit and zest for life and learning that remains unequalled. To me, Don Pearson was part Benjamin Franklin, part Leonardo DaVinci and part Albert Einstein. A true genius, visonary and scientist applying his theories and practices into a unique combination of art and science. His thirst for knowledge and his unbridled passion for openly sharing it shall always stand as a benchmark for a standard to which we all should aspire. He was a mentor to many, and an icon to all. His contributions to the Pro Sound Industry will be his professional legacy that will live forever.
Written at 6:56am on Jan 29, 2006 by Tom Bensen
I first met Dr. Don in Cinncinati in April of 1989. He and Dan Healey were very gracious and I got to watch set 2 from the Helm of the Good Ship Grateful Dead. I won't forget their warmth and graciousness in giving me space on the deck.
Written at 6:58pm on Jan 28, 2006 by Phil Garfinkel
donson most honorable one,man do i love you!!!!!! truely one of my gurus. i guess jerry, dick, and chub needed some help with the sound up there in heaven, we all will miss you soo much, whats gonna happen to the sound down here? your truely one of cosmic teachers of this planet, not only in sound ,but human behavier as well, a kinder,gentler,soul,is hard to find.you'll be missed so much.have a magic journey ole friend. peace & love Oley
Written at 12:17pm on Jan 28, 2006 by oley henrickson
Don was a close and dear personal friend. The morning of his passing, and my absolute shock of learning of it… will resonate in my mind and heart forever…. it is a visceral and deep anguish … and one that will only ebb slowly over time….
Written at 10:23pm on Jan 27, 2006 by Mark Haynes
Don worked for Hot Tuna & Jefferson Starship for about
Written at 6:20pm on Jan 27, 2006 by Bill Thompson
Dear Dr. Don,
Written at 5:30am on Jan 26, 2006 by Marc Nutter
Although I only met Don in November, he was such a knowledgeable and passionate man seeking understanding from all, for the fundamentals of system set up. Our thoughts are with Don's family and friends.
Written at 2:52am on Jan 26, 2006 by Dan Herbert - Autograph, London, UK
It was a shock to learn of Don Pearson’s passing and a huge blow to our world of creating and recreating music and sound. I feel very fortunate to have met this fun loving genius. He was unpretentious and humble. Don cemented in my mind what a great company Meyer’s Sound is for having such a wonderful character as part of their team. With Best Thoughts to Don’s family, friends/co-workers
Written at 11:52pm on Jan 25, 2006 by Bill Costigan - Poindexters - Bozeman, MT USA
As I write this I still can’t believe that you’re GONE, you were my friend, mentor and educator. I will never forget the time you had taken to educate me. Times such as when I was installing power at SRS (San Rafael Studios), how you explained proper grounding and your solution of salt water poured into the holes for having complete earth contact by the copper grounding rods. How to tap “The Pig” the transformer, for proper voltage at the end of long AC runs. Help with acoustic designs and your never-ending devotion to making it RIGHT! I miss you and Thank You,
Written at 9:10pm on Jan 25, 2006 by Daniel Polselli, SRS-Live Sound International-Telefunken USA.
There are not enough words to express the privilege of knowing Don and working beside him. He loved his work and he loved his family with great passion. Don was always there and willing to help and share his knowledge and experience any time of the day. Thank you for everything Don!
Written at 8:07am on Jan 25, 2006 by Michael Maxson
There is nothing I can say about Don that hasn't already been said by his many Friends and colleagues, except for his relentless passion and quest for perfection. May we all be so lucky to live a life filled with such passion for the endeavors we choose. I will miss our conversations. My condolences to his family. Dave Shadoan.
Written at 8:01pm on Jan 24, 2006 by Dave Shadoan President Sound Image
I would never call Don if i did not have at least have one hour per question for the answer.Davies Hall and i will remerber Don in the highest respect.
Written at 12:53pm on Jan 24, 2006 by Hal Harold Nishon Soogian/S F Symphony
The news of Don Pearson’s passing has opened a floodgate of amazing memories.
Written at 2:53pm on Jan 21, 2006 by Jan Driscoll VanDyke
I've enjoyed the audio fruits of Don's expertise at many a Dead concert from 1981 on and had the opportunity to be witness his genius at UltraSound on numerous occasions, having worked next door for Primus, and having my friend Drake as an UltraSound employee.
Written at 1:44pm on Jan 21, 2006 by Dave Hunter
I had the pleasure of working with Don and family throughout the 80's and 90's with Hot Tuna. Coming from a studio background to the world of venues was quite the challenge and his support, humor and willingness to mentor a rookie was greatly appreciated. I ran into Don and Fran at AES in October and he was as happy and relaxed as I ever remember. His passing is a real loss to the art of sound and we'll all miss him.
Written at 9:48pm on Jan 20, 2006 by Rick Sanchez
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Don.
Written at 2:12am on Jan 20, 2006 by Marc Kennedy
I worked for Don and Howard at UltraSound supporting the Dead. I found Don to be one of the most intelligent people I have ever met in my life and he was always willing to share that knowledge. Don was ready to carry on an in depth conversation about any Audio or Computer subject, and correct any misunderstanding you might be carrying around with you. He had a passion for knowledge and truth that is rarely found and the science to prove his assertions. What I learned from Don changed my life and I will miss him tremendously. I now manage Enterprise Tape Quality at Dell Computers, a job I would not have without Dr. Don's teachings. I learned more from Don in a the lab than I learned in College.......we will miss you my friend.
Written at 1:53pm on Jan 19, 2006 by Drake Carson, Austin Texas
Don was known to one and all as man unerringly dedicated to a single cause: good sound. He never stopped searching; left no stone unturned and never lost his enthusiasm for learning, and for freely sharing his vast experiences with others.
Written at 8:54am on Jan 19, 2006 by 6o6 McCarthy
Just thought I would pass on my sincere regrets. I didn't know Don well, but the few times I had the pleasure of listening to him speak it was incredibly informative and entertaining. I always felt like I needed a warm up to get my mind alert enough to digest the depth of information he would give out. He was obviously a really nice guy too with a passion for teaching, and it is a real shame for everybody else that he had just begun to share his knowledge on such a wider scale through Meyer.
Written at 5:37pm on Jan 18, 2006 by Ollie Morrish
I wanted to say that Don was my best resource for Sound advise. I was fortunate to have known him. I truly feel our
Written at 4:17pm on Jan 18, 2006 by Bob Sereno/Music Circus
Don's passing really knocked me for a loop. When I saw the e-mail from Helen Meyer, I gasped out loud.
Written at 2:56pm on Jan 18, 2006 by Larry the O
I was one of the very lucky ones. See, the first hundred times or so that I was in the same room as Don, we never said hello to each other. We were never even formally introduced to each other until many many years later. No, I was just one of those lucky young Deadheads who came along at the right time and just got to feast on the fruits of Don’s labor, his intelligence and his passion for what he did. And even more importantly, on the labor of the entire team and cast assembled around him, which includes many of you who are reading this. I cannot begin to thank Don and all of you enough.
Written at 6:52am on Jan 18, 2006 by Bob Buika
I met Dr. Don Pearson about 2 years ago as I was mixing monitors for Dark Star Orchestra at the Fillmore in S.F. Don was wiring up some AC cables and needed some tools. Ever since we became friends. Don was always gratuitous with his knowledge, even if you wanted it or not. All with the intentions of making things better. I remember once we were doing a 3 day recording of DSO in Bond Colorado. There were train tracks by the venue that trains would go up and down the mountain all day and night. At about 3AM Dr. Don, me and a couple other of us sound guys set up a couple of mic's and made some stereo recordings of these's trains going back and forth. Don knew the exact distance the mic's needed to be apart to make the recording sound like it was really passing you. The next day we used the recordings in the show. Don loved doing crazy things like this. As Don started working for John Meyer he made sure to give me a tour of Meyer sound labs and help me with seminars and making the most of my Meyer products.
Written at 9:41pm on Jan 17, 2006 by Mike Tomaskovic-Lisle, Illinois
I learned of Don’s passing from an audio forum just yesterday (January 17th 2006) and I am still in the state of disbelief. I worked with him when I was in the states for a couple of years. It was a privilege to call him my dear friend. During those years at Pro Media/Ultra Sound I managed to learn from his vast knowledge of audio. Being a newbie back then, this little Asian kid asked him many many silly questions, and Dr. Don always gave me the answer in his own unique way. He introduced me with “excellence in audio “. What a great experience that was….
Written at 6:03pm on Jan 17, 2006 by Toto Wibianto
Written at 3:32pm on Jan 17, 2006 by Stefanie
I spent two days during a Meyer Sound seminar with “Dr. Don” and I can honestly say that he left a lasting impression on me that I will never forget. I gained so much knowledge from this man in such a short time. He was a great wealth of knowledge and was all to willing to share it with everyone he came in contact with. Everyday day I spend working in the world of audio I will use parts of that valuable knowledge that he passed on to me.
Written at 6:48am on Jan 17, 2006 by Eric Thomas
I have lost quite a few friends over the last couple of years, both personal and professional, but this one is by far the closest and the hardest. I feel as though I have been walking around in a daze since I got the news. I have worked for Ultra Sound since it was acquired by Pro Media some years ago and I have had the honor of working with Don in many capacities since that time. He was perhaps the most open and free person that I have worked with in a business that is full of people who keep their cards held close to their chest. Don was never secretive or cagey when it came to his methods and practices. He was always willing to share with you how he did something (or how he thought you should do something). Whether working on a show, an installation, a system design, or a new method for measuring a system, he was always free with ideas and information, stories and examples, thoughts and theories. I first met Don in the early 80's at the Henry J. Kaiser arena in Oakland where the SF chapter of the AES was getting a tour of the sound system used by the Grateful Dead who were doing one of their fabled multi show runs their. Don was our tour guide and he was in full Dr. Don mode, explaining every detail of the sound system and it's operation from the power distribution to the mics used for measurement. I got a glimpse that day of the man who would become my friend, coworker and mentor many years later, and the way that he would share everything. No secrets! I never saw him happier than he was when he was teaching or explaining, whether it was in the structured environment of a seminar or the impromptu hallway discussion of an upcoming show. He would always give every project his all and expect the same of those around him. Nothing seemed to disappoint him more than somebody who just didn't seem to care.
Written at 6:14pm on Jan 16, 2006 by Michael Jackson
I think I speak for many a music fan who did not
Written at 12:59pm on Jan 16, 2006 by A Grateful Fan
In the past 10 months or so that I've known Don, he has become an integral part of both my professional and personal life. So much so that the distinctions between the two are blurred. Don's professional influence on me has been tremendous. Much of the work I am doing now is based directly on our conversations and meetings. I was a conduit for realizing some of his ideas and he was my mentor providing me with an education that would have taken me years to acquire on my own.
Written at 11:58am on Jan 16, 2006 by Dave Grossman
I first met Don in the 1970's, backstage at a GD and JA/JS free concert in the Panhandle. As a scrawny teenage musician working "security," I received more than my share of indifference at the hands of crew and attendees alike, most of whom were content to ignore the new kid. But Don saw me standing alone and struck up a conversation, continuing to include (and introduce) me as others joined us. He was that kind of person...empathic and sensitive to those around him. I never got to know him well, but he always had a smile and a greeting for me when we'd meet. I count him among those who showed me, by example, that it was possible to pursue a respectable life and career in our industry.
Written at 6:03pm on Jan 15, 2006 by Daniel Keller
Written at 5:54pm on Jan 15, 2006 by Sam Berkow
It is with great sadness I read about and reflect on Don's life.
Written at 11:32am on Jan 15, 2006 by Jason Brodsky
Since Monday morning after receiving word of Don's passing, I have been in disbelief that this has happened. I talked with Don a few times about the procedure the week prior to him going in this past Monday. I was planning on stopping by the hospital on my way home that day to visit Don, and was waiting word on how it went.
Written at 8:40am on Jan 15, 2006 by John Monitto
From the Jefferson Starship website late Monday evening
Written at 1:08am on Jan 15, 2006 by John Murray
Written at 1:00am on Jan 15, 2006 by Jafari Brothers
It was a real privilege to work with the good doctor in the Meyer Sound Seminars. I first met "Dr. Don" during a seminar taught by Mauricio Ramirez. After Mauricio completed his lesson about phase, Don turned around to Gavin and said, "That's the best I've ever someone teach phase." Mauricio was very flattered of course. At that time Don was attending the seminar, and shortly after he was part of our team. The Don and Gavin show was born and left me with some of the most memorable moments in my audio career. To watch others respond to him about power and grounding was priceless. He had the best jokes too. I regret not taking the time to ask more questions about the history, about all-pass filters, about clean power, and the daily inquiries that it seems only Don could answer. I'll never forget how he would always make the time to explain his techniques. He never turned anyone away who asked for his help.
Written at 12:35pm on Jan 14, 2006 by Todd Meier
I have learned a lot from Dr. Don since I started posting on the LAB in early 99. I later corresponded with him through email, and finally met him in late 2004 at one of the Meyer seminars Gavin put together with Mauricio. I was there early and managed to get a seat next to him. The 4 of us had dinner after the second day, and I for one had a great time listening to audio war stories. I'm certain Mauricio would agree. Don loved to talk, and we all loved to listen to what he had to say. I had the impression that Don enjoyed his life. I will miss him, and miss emailing him whenever I have a question. I consider myself fortunate to have known Dr. Don.
Written at 11:52pm on Jan 13, 2006 by Harry Brill Jr.
I feel grateful to have had such an opportunity to work with Don for several years before he left Ultra Sound. His interest in audio was infectious and inspirational, and that passion poured into other areas of his life too: good restaurants, gardening, coffee, and technology to name a few. I could only dream to have half the motivation that he had.
Written at 10:33pm on Jan 13, 2006 by Tom Lyon
I was fortunate enough to know Don Pearson for a number years and worked with him both at Ultra Sound and then at Meyer Sound. He was without a doubt one of the most unique, generous, and caring people I have ever known and likely will ever know. He had tremendous knowledge and experience and was always ready and willing to share with anyone no matter what their level of expertise. He was a walking encyclopedia of audio history with the experience to back it up and took pride in the fact that people referred to him as Dr. Don or simply “the Doctor.” In my years with Don I often witnessed the endless barrage of phone calls he would receive from people all over asking for his help. As Sam Berkow of SIA Acoustics noted in his post on the Live Audio Board, Don loved being the “audio guru” and willingly dispensed his guidance and advice to anyone who asked (and maybe even at times to people who didn’t ask).
Written at 11:49am on Jan 12, 2006 by Gavin Canaan