Bascom Holt King – The Santa Barbara Independent

Born in Duxbury Massachusetts on April 14, 1938 to Dr. Connie Holt King and Wilda Geneva Counts, Bascom Holt King passed on the afternoon of May 4th 2022 in Santa Barbara. He was a well-known and respected electronics and design engineer in the high-end audio industry.

After the early passing of his father, he moved to Santa Barbara with his mother and younger sister Carolyn in 1951. He gained an interest in electronics in middle school, where he took a radio and electricity shop class. While attending Santa Barbara High School, (when he wasn’t cruising his hot-rod on State street and hanging out at the Blue Onion), he was building his own amplifiers from pirated and scrounged components. At the same time, he began a life-long passion for the classical guitar, and once introduced the Romero’s, who briefly resided in Santa Barbara, to a composition by Fernando Sor that they were at the time unfamiliar with.

Following his graduating high school in 1955, he worked for Gordon Mercer, who had opened a hi-fi store in Montecito and who became a life-long mentor, before attending Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, where he was a member of Delta Sigma Phi, earning an Electronic Engineering degree in 1961. There he met and married his wife of 60 years, Nancy Louise Coffer.

After the birth of their son, Everett, they moved back to Santa Barbara in 1962, where their daughter Cassandra was born. He and Nancy purchased a house in the La Cumbre Road area in 1963, where he lived for the remainder of his life.

Upon leaving Cal Poly, he briefly worked for Mac Turner, another mentor, developing rocket telemetry systems before being hired as the first full-time engineer at Applied Magnetics in Goleta, where he worked designing magnetic recording heads.

In 1967 he was hired by Optron, to help the transition to a new location in New Haven, Connecticut for a few months. During this time, his wife from him had a laboratory built for him at their home from him, and when he returned he put out his shingle from him as BHK Electronics, consulting, designing and marketing testing and measuring equipment.

Over the span of six decades and up to the time of his passing, he worked as a consulting engineer for many high-end audio companies, including Marantz, Infiniti Systems, Great American Sound (GAS), Sumo, Genesis Technologies, BGW, Counterpoint Electronic systems, Conrad Johnson Design Inc., Audio Alchemy, Perpetual Technologies, Forssell Technologies, Constellation Audio, and PS Audio among others. His designs by him include the Marantz 1120 integrated amplifier, the Infinity HCA Hybrid Class A power amplifier, and the Conrad Johnson Design Premier 350 power amplifier, in addition to developing accelerometer woofer servo-systems that were used in Infinity and Genesis loudspeakers. It was with PS Audio that he designed products that bear his name, including the BHK Signature preamplifier and the BHK Signature 250 amplifier, which have been rated as amongst the best. Throughout this time he also wrote dozens of reviews for Audio Magazine and Sound Stage, reviewing and measuring amps, preamps and other digital equipment.

During his long career, Bascom mentored many individuals and was always generous with his engineering knowledge, He follows the passing of other luminaries in the audiophile world, such as Arnie Nudell and James Bongiorno, who were both very close friends over many decades.

Music was ever present in his life, and his home was always filled with high-end sound as various audio components were constantly being tested, measured, evaluated and listened to. A regular attendee at music performances, festivals and symposia, Bascom also loved playing his classical guitars every day of his life since a young age.

A voracious reader, Bascom consumed a dozen books every few weeks and also enjoyed taking long walks in Santa Barbara’s numerous beautiful outdoor spaces. Sailing was a favorite pastime during his middle years and he was an active member of the Santa Barbara Sailing Club, and later the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, racing first a BB-11 and then a Victory and advancing to his last boat, a J- 24 (The “Ariadne”, “Bad News”, and “Polaris”, respectively).

Bascom was an affable, open and generous person who touched many lives in his daily travels around town, from the post office clerk to the checker at the grocery. He especially enjoyed saying hello to strangers and getting positive energy back. He enjoyed being friendly and liked being around other upbeat people. His loss from him will be felt by many.

Preceded by his wife, he is survived by his sister, his son and daughter and two grandsons. There will be a Celebration of Life Memorial on June 25th. For more information phone (805) 687-2063.

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