Barr is best remembered, however, for founding Alesis in 1984. The company quickly made a name for itself with its first product, the XT Reverb, an all-digital reverb released in 1985. Under Barr’s aegis, Alesis soon branched out into drum machines, keyboards, sequencers, studio monitors and other products, but arguably changed pro audio forever with its 1991 introduction of the Alesis ADAT. The machines became a cornerstone of home and project studios everywhere, arguably becoming the first step to the end of the large studio era.
After leaving Alesis in the early 2000s, Barr went on to found Spin Semiconductor, which produces signal integrated circuits for the consumer music and audio industries, and Exelys, a golf technology company. He leaves behind a wife and two children, and a pro audio industry that owes much to his creations and ingenuity.