Dolby Gear

An old draft that I found, checking the list of posts…


I bid on, and won, a Dolby CP200 cinema sound processor on eBay. The CP200, for those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, is the best and most versatile cinema sound processor Dolby ever made. It was first introduced in 1980, 36 years ago, but it’s still relevant today if you want to be able to run every sound format in commercial use during the last 50 years, instead of just the more common ones. It’s a brilliant piece of engineering.

So while waiting for the package to arrive, I decided to head over to to read up on the processor. Who better than Dolby to explain how it works, right?


Dolby Laboratories, by all appearances, is now nothing more than an anonymous licensor of digital technology providing endless platitudes about their intellectual property in HTML5 responsive design, equally dreary regardless of device. You might actually like the site if you are five and play Pokemon Go, but those of us who think of Dolby as the only true manufacturer of cinema sound equipment will feel old and lost. I did try the Search box (which was surprisingly hard to spot on the page), typing in “CP200”, hoping against hope that the glossy exterior hid actual substance, but, of course, the single hit returned was irrelevant and wrong.

It was as if the CP200 had been made by someone else.

It could have, actually, and I should have known. I emailed Dolby a few years ago, when trying to locate an extension card to another Dolby processor I own, the CP500. While helpful, the Dolby rep had no idea what I was talking about. He did forward my email to a tech who knew the card but said that they hadn’t had one in years, very few were ever made, and there were no schematics available.

Dolby, it seemed, had forgotten their roots.

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