John Eargle, 76; award-winning audio engineer and author

Times Staff Writer

John Eargle, an award-winning audio engineer who wrote technical books on sound recording and worked as a consultant for electroacoustical product development, was found dead May 9 at his home in the Hollywood Hills. He was 76.

Eargle apparently died peacefully, said a spokesman for JBL Professional, the Northridge-based speaker company where Eargle was a consultant for 31 years. The cause of death has not been determined.

For the record:

12:00 a.m. May 19, 2007 For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday May 19, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 35 words Type of Material: Correction
Eargle obituary: An obituary of audio engineer John Eargle that appeared in the Thursday’s California section misspelled the name of the parent company of JBL Professional as Harmon International Industries. It is Harman International Industries.

Considered an expert in the field of audio engineering and a leader in the development of multichannel surround sound, Eargle engineered or produced the recordings of more than 275 compact discs. Among the artists he recorded were Joe Williams, Ruth Brown, Etta James, the London Symphony and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

Eargle won a Grammy Award in 2001 for best engineered classical album for “Dvorak: Requiem and Symphony No. 9,” with Czech conductor Zdenek Macal leading the New Jersey Symphony and the Westminster Symphonic Choir for Delos International. He was director of recording for Delos, an independent music label known for its high-quality digital recordings.

The next year Eargle and two other engineers were given a scientific and technical award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for development of cinema loudspeaker systems.


He wrote several technical manuals, including “The Handbook of Recording Engineering,” “The Microphone Handbook,” “The Handbook of Sound System Design” and “The Loudspeaker Handbook,” as well as numerous technical articles.

John Morgan Eargle was born Jan. 6, 1931, in Tulsa, Okla., and played piano as a child. He earned degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and the University of Michigan and in engineering from the University of Texas and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

He worked as a recording engineer before joining JBL in 1976. He continued working with the company and its parent, Harmon International Industries, after establishing his own consulting firm.

Survivors include a brother and a sister. Funeral services will be private, but friends have set up a remembrance website at