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We've lost one of the greats

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Nick Griffin
We've lost one of the greats
on May 6, 2006 at 9:25:54 pm

Audio giant Stephen St. Croix (AKA Steve Marshall) lost his four year battle with cancer this morning.

Steve first made a name for himself in the mid 70's by creating the Marshall Time Modulator, the near ubiqutous delay/doubler/phaser/flanging device. In a era when the latest and greatest "hot box" had a lifespan usually measured in months the Time Modulator remained one of the hotest boxes for more than a decade and was only discontinued when its chip set simply could no longer be sourced. Although eclipsed by digital, you can still find Marshall Time Modulators in use today. Oh, and it should be mentioned that he created the initial Time Modulator design over a holiday weekend to win a bet on whether or not such a device was possible.

In addition to making him wealthy, Steve's invention gave him entry and access to many of the world's finest studios. He knew and played with some of the biggest names of the day. Spend any time around Steve in the late seventies and you'd hear the name Stevie Wonder about twice an hour. And who was that guy with Steve in the sushi bar in Timonium, Maryland who looked just like Peter Frampton? Duh. It was Peter Frampton slumming it in the suburbs of Baltimore.

In the eighties (late eighties I believe?) Steve started the monthly column "The Fast Lane" in Mix Magazine. Sometimes controversial, frequently biting, often dead-on and always opinionated, The Fast Lane was a complete must read and remained so even with the last two issues featuring repeats from previous years.

The digital nineties witnessed Steve's co-creation of the P.A.R.I.S. Digital Audio Workstation. A stunning implementation of multi-track recording and automation that still outclasses most of what's on the market today. Unfortunately P.A.R.I.S. became the Betamax of its market due to a succession of corporate turn-overs and mistakes by the companies who licensed the technology and marketed it. (And speaking of Betamax, Steve and I were two of the only people I knew who had both Betamax and analog laser disc units in the mid seventies -- sure makes sense that we were both attracted to Macs in 1984.)

In recent years Steve and some of his friends developed products to help in the audio aspects of law enforcement and national defense. For obvious reasons his friends knew none of the details of what this stuff did, but let's just assume that given his track record for invention and creativity, it's probably saved lives and helped catch bad guys.

This just scratches the surface of Steve St. Croix and his contibutions to the world of audio. For 33 years he was one of my closest friends. He will always be one of the yardsticks by which I'll measure genius and talent. I will miss him greatly.

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Bob Cole
Re: We've lost one of the greats
on May 9, 2006 at 12:36:21 am

Thanks Nick for the very nice post. I wish I'd met Steve. I take it he was another "amiable Baltimorean?"

-- Bob C

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tony salgado
Re: We've lost one of the greats
on May 11, 2006 at 5:06:40 am


That was a very touching kind memorial to your dear friend. Your words made me understand who Steve was and helped change the world in his small way.

May he rest in peace.

Tony Salgado

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Re: We've lost one of the greats
on May 18, 2006 at 5:17:15 pm

Sorry to hear about your friend. It sounds like he really paved the way for alot of us. Please accept my condolences.

-Nicholas Bierzonski
Editor/DVD Author/Java Boy

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