Reno, NV, October 20, 2014 - Soundmatters www.soundmatters.com announced today with great sorrow the passing of its founder, NASA engineer and audio legend Dr. Godehard Guenther, on October 16th following an inspiring battle with gastric cancer. Born on April 9, 1939 in Bochum, Germany, Dr. Guenther earned his undergraduate degree in physics at the University of Göttingen and a PhD in astrophysics at the University of Heidelberg. He funded his studies with freelance photography and geological survey work for clients around Germany. Dr. Guenther joined the National Academy of Sciences as a fellow in 1968. A year later, recruited by Dr. Wernher von Braun, Dr. Guenther emigrated to the United States where he worked with a group of scientists at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to develop an experiment that was part of America's first space station. He left NASA in 1972 to pursue his growing interest in acoustics, dedicating himself to pushing the size and performance boundaries of existing audio equipment.
Dr. Guenther was a pioneer in American high fidelity consumer electronics, initially importing Braun loudspeakers to the US, then founding Analog + Digital Systems (a/d/s/) of Wilmington, MA, which later acquired Braun Audio. There he led the development of such innovations as the use of rare earth metals, including samarium cobalt and neodymium in loudspeakers, the first fully digital surround sound system, and the first in-wall loudspeaker.
Having early-on identified the importance of multimedia, Dr. Guenther founded Soundmatters in 1998 (Reno, NV) with the desire to shrink both the size and cost of true hi-fi audio. Under the Soundmatters brand, he introduced the first hi-fi quality all-in-one surround system, and in 2008, the first pocket-sized Bluetooth stereo loudspeaker widely acclaimed good enough for audio purists -- a product that was soon named, along with the iPhone, as one of the Top Ten Gadgets of the Year by TIME magazine. His innovative work at Soundmatters also included projects for such companies as Logitech, Viewsonic, Roku, IGT and most recently Jawbone, to name a few. Dr. Guenther was truly an engineer's engineer. Brent Butterworth, writing for Sound & Vision, noted that he "enjoys a reputation among audio manufacturers as a sort of mysterious wizard of sound. Honest-to-goodness, I've actually heard his name mentioned by speaker-company presidents in hushed, awed tones."
Dr. Guenther was a lover of music from every era, a gifted pianist, a refined oenophile, and an aficionado of Chinese and Japanese culture, cuisine, and art. He will be remembered for his unique combination of brilliance and humor. He inspired his family, friends and colleagues with his zest for life, his wanderlust, his imagination, and his seemingly inexhaustible output of innovative, often groundbreaking audio designs. He will be missed by many, but his legacy lives on through the inspiration he provided and through his remarkable engineering achievements -- including many yet to be announced. He is survived by his wife, his three children and seven grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Social Service Fund for Needy Patients, Massachusetts General Hospital, 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1310, Boston, MA 02114. For online guestbook, please visit http://www.deefuneralhome.com.
Photos Dr. Godehard Guenther: