Inventor, researcher, author, and sound engineer, Gerhard Steinke was responsible for the introduction of stereophonic broadcasting in East Germany and, in 1962, set up an experimental electronic music studio with the new Subharchord synthesizer.
Steinke was born in Dresden in 1927. He worked as a sound engineer at the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk beginning in 1947, before studying electroacoustics at the TU (Technical University) in Dresden (1949–1953). He then joined Berlin’s Radio and Television Research Centre (RFZ) where he set up a laboratory for acoustic-musical boundary problems in broadcasting. From 1956 until its close in the mid-1970s, Steinke managed the newly established research lab for interdisciplinary problems in musical acoustics. In 1956, he set up the first subjective listening test group to assess sound recordings, studios, and impairments in the broadcasting chain. This concept and its associated findings are now included in various international standards and documents on listening tests and test rooms. In 1971 he became the director of the Research and Development Department of Sound and Video System Technology of RFZ, specifically heading research on Sound System Technology as of 1973. Under his chairmanship the first multichannel recording system, Stereo-Ambiophony, and the automation of sound studio equipment were developed.
A lecturer in sound technology and electronic music at Berlin's University of Music in the Tonmeister discipline for 27 years, he has published numerous papers and lectures, and contributed documents to the Surround Sound Forum of the Tonmeister Society (VDT) and to the Audio Engineering Society (AES). For his work in the field of standards he received the Honorary Gold Medal of the International Radio and Television Organization (OIRT), and was awarded the Bèkesy Medal for his contributions to audio by the Hungarian Acoustical Society. He is a Lifetime Fellow and gold medal recipient of the AES.