Sound Man - WWII to MP3

Thursday, December 14th, 2006 | 11:46 am and filed in AES.

I attended the San Francisco AES meeting earlier this week at Meyer Sound Labs in Berkeley. After signing a NDA, members we’re welcomed into the Pearson Theater where we were given a presentation of about the facility from Larry the “O”. Obviously this cozy little theater sounded fantastic - duh, i did say it was at Meyer Sound Labs - and it was quite comfortable with a very elegant modern style. After the presentation we relaxed to screen the documentary film by Don Hardy titled, “Sound Man - WWII to MP3″.

The film focuses on the life of Jack Mullin , a radio engineer assigned to the army signal core during WWII. During a mission through germany, procured a couple of German Magnetophon tape recording devices and shipped them back to his home in San Francisco. Upon his return from his tour of duty in Europe, he worked to restore and improve the magnetophon units. This eventually led to the start of the American Tape Recording manufacturing industry started at the AMPEX corporation.

Apparently Mullin was also handy with a film camera as well, and he was assigned to film his activities through europe, so this documentary featured some fantastic old images of his missions. While the interviews were interesting and in some cases very funny, the old footage and Mr. Mullins and the interview with Mr. Mullin was by far the highlight of the film.

Check the Trailer posted on YouTube:

3 Responses to “Sound Man - WWII to MP3”

  1. mark tarlton Says:

    sounds like a great time!

    rip off the enemy… grab a couple girls, and a steak or two!

  2. Peff Says:

    hehe… did you recognize that guy? It’s Greg Kinh!

    I know how much you like the Tom Dowd Documentary, Mark. This isn’t quite as good, but it’s still very interesting.

  3. Peff Says:

    The story of the magnetic tape recorder is not something new, and I think that many professionals in the audio industry hold german technology in highest esteem regardless of the politics involved in the course of development. I love my telefunken tubes. I never met a neumann I didn’t like…. and I will always love wagner. I can’t exactly say the same about the Bush administration, but let’s hope things will change for the better. The film is a fantastic resource for people who know nothing about the history of tape. I thought it would be more interesting if they went into the history of tape development in Germany, but I guess that’s another story waiting to be documented.

    BTW, the film does not talk about how Great Britain also claimed certain spoils of war from Germany. The British also developed their own tape recording systems based on the same machines found during WWII. From that you can draw your own assumptions about other governments :-)