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Thomas Stockham III

AES Live: Legends

Thomas Stockham III

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This enjoyable interview with Thomas Stockham III covers some fascinating recollections of his renowned father, teacher, and mentor to many, Thomas G. Stockham Junior. Marveling at the career of "the father of digital sound", he discusses his father’s pioneering development work on digital signal processing, recording digital audio and images, and founding Soundstream, the world’s first digital recording company. He attended the first digital recording session with his father, who used DEC 16-bit minicomputers and Ampex data storage recorders. Stockham made the first live digital recording, featuring the Santa Fe Opera, and demonstrated his recorder at the November 1976 AES Convention in New York. The demonstration caused a stir but produced its share of skeptics. Stockham later recalled that several attendees told him, "You can make a limited demonstration easily enough, but when you get it in the field, it will fail." Later, he and a team of engineers and technicians began perfecting the art of making digital master recordings with a computerized editing system and pioneered tapeless hard disk editing. For his role in the development of digital recording and editing, Thomas Stockham Jr. received Emmy, Grammy, and Academy awards as well as professional recognition. Along serving as past-President of the AES, Stockham has received the Fellowship and Gold Medal awards.

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