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A MAN AND HIS STEREO: SETTING OUT TO SOLVE THE GREAT PUZZLE OF BETTER SOUND

* In 1956, after nine years studying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Amar Bose joined the faculty as an electrical-engineering professor.

As a reward, he bought himself a new hi-fi.

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But having studied violin for seven years, Dr. Bose was embarrassed when, after inviting some friends to listen to his new loudspeakers, shrill violin sounds came out.

Bose knew the hi-fi speakers could be better.

"Science says one thing and your ears say another," he remembers thinking. He was determined, he says, to recreate in his own living room the tremendous sounds he heard in concert halls.

Though teaching during the day, Bose decided to spend his evenings trying to solve the puzzle of better sound.

His research in psychoacoustics later became an official university project. This project investigated the relationship between reproduced sound as perceived by people and sound as measured by electronic equipment.

His findings eventually led to the development of new audio technologies which MIT allowed him to patent.

He was trying to license these patents to the industry, but not succeeding. Then a university colleague told him he should recognize the value of his findings.

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So, eight years after buying the disappointing loudspeakers, Bose founded his company at the age of 34.

Bose still puts in long hours of work at Bose Corporation. And he is still a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, teaching acoustics to graduate and undergraduate students.

Sherwin Greenblatt, a former student and Bose's first paid employee, is now president and chief operating officer of Bose Corporation. He works at the company headquarters here, a modern facility located on top of what is called "The Mountain." It offers employees a spectacular view of the surrounding lakes and forests.