AES New York 2009
Special Event

Saturday, October 10, 1:00 pm — 2:00 pm

Lunchtime Keynote: Dave Giovannoni of First Sounds

Dave Giovannoni

Before Edison, Part 2 – Recovering (and Reinterpreting) the World’s Earliest Sound Recordings

First Sounds rewrote history last year when it recovered one of mankind’s first recordings of its own voice, made in Paris in 1860—advancing by 17 years the invention of audio recording. Attendees at the 125th AES Convention were the first to hear what was then believed to be the world’s second-oldest retrievable sound. This year First Sounds founder David Giovannoni returns to AES to report the most recent discoveries and introduce even older sounds. He’ll tell of finding a seminal cache of documents that trace (literally) the development of the phonautograph from proof of concept to laboratory instrument. He’ll describe the technical challenges of evoking sound from primative recordings made to be seen, not heard. And he’ll recount how the inventor's own voice was revealed after posing for a year as the phantasm of a young woman.

First Sounds is an informal collaborative of sound historians, audio engineers, archeophonists, and other individuals who freely contribute their time, expertise, and resources to make mankind’s earliest audio recordings audible to all people for all time. For more information go to

David Giovannoni is the founder and President of AudiGraphics, Inc., a firm that provides management tools to National Public Radio, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and hundreds of public radio stations nationwide. In 2005 he turned over his operational responsibilities in order to pursue his avocation for historical sound recordings. In the last three years his historic CD reissues and liner notes on Archeophone Records have earned him five Grammy nominations and one Grammy. He is a principal at First Sounds, a collaboration of experts dedicated to making the earliest sound recordings available to all people for all time. First Sounds gained international attention last year when it identified and played back sound recordings made in Paris in 1860 – 17 years before Edison invented the phonograph.