At fifteen Rob Roy started playing drums in a punk band, and by 19 was touring in the US and Europe, playing drums and guitar in various bands. One day in 1998 he randomly walked into Ian Schneller's Specimen Products
(recall our EARS meeting at Specimen in May 2011) and within ten minutes his life had changed forever. Prior to that he had no idea that making electronics was something that could be done on such a personal level and Ian's meticulously hand built guitar amps just blew his head off.
Within a month Rob Roy was assembling PAIA kits, and within a year he was building tube amp projects from Kevin O'Conner's books. He spent several years making everything that came to mind: guitar amps, bass amps, spring reverb units, and oddball plate reverbs. He taught himself a lot of other things like 3D modeling, welding, circuit board design, sheet metal fabricating, test & measurement techniques, etc.
Electronaut was incorporated in 2002. Rob Roy's long term goal was to phase out of his computer work day job and phase into electronics work full time. This transition was completed in late 2008, not entirely intentionally, as his main computer client went out of business.
Suddenly he was forced to try and make a living doing electronics, which he was nowhere near ready to do. This led to some freelance product design for other companies including an LA-2 style opto compressor, a 500-series preamp based on a vintage console design, a vari-mu compressor knockoff based on the Altec 436, and some console work. Electronaut finally overcame all of the logistical challenges and began producing its flagship product, the M63 tube mic/instrument preamp. As of today, there are 45 units in the world in twelve different countries. There are many other designs in the works that will become products in the near future.
Rob Roy is very knowledgeable about tubes as used in audio circuits and will speak on how thermionic emission was discovered and how influential Chicago was in the development of audio technology. (Most people don't even know that the vacuum tube was invented right here in Chicago!) There will be discussion about some of Chicago's early contributions to audio recording, something we can all be proud of.