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Roger Sheker, Chief Engineer, Audience LLC, dies at 74

03-01-2016 | By Greg Weaver | Issue 84

Roger Sheker-with John Mc

Roger Sheker, left, Chief Engineer for Audience LLC, with President John McDonald.

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.

Married, and after the move to California in September 1977, he crossed paths with the late Richard Smith, cofounder of Audience, LLC, (along with current President, John McDonald). Richard found Roger to be someone who shared his somewhat distinct views on audio design, and immediately latched on to Roger, who has been with Audience since its genesis in 1997 as its chief engineer.

Though Roger had a hand in everything Audience, among his most significant contributions were the complete design of the exceptional adeptResponse passive power conditioners, the creation and ongoing development of the innovative A3S driver, instrumental to the entire ClairAudient line of crossover-less loudspeakers, and the creation of the award winning The ONE and 1+1 loudspeakers. He also designed the new balanced Au24 SX cable, which I've had on hand since 2 days before Roger's 74th birthday.

One 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 built. John McDonald has shared with me that there are a number of Roger's projects that are far enough along that will allow them to be developed into production Audience products. Roger also found time to contract his services to companies like Virtue, whom 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 vantage of the world. If you've heard any of the products he created, in particular, the adeptResponse passive 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 (with whom he was estranged), a sister Sue Restar, as well as 3 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. He had been struggling with health issues over the past few years, and succumbed to heart failure February 24, 2016, at the age of 74.