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Thursday, May 5, 2011
Apple Gets An Audio Boost
For those of you who don't know who Tom is, you certainly know a few of his creations. The famous THX standard that you see in most movie theaters today is his brainchild, and stands for Tom Holman eXperiment. Tom was the corporate technical director for LucasFilm when George Lucas asked him to create a spec to make the sound in theaters not only higher fidelity, but more consistent from theater to theater as well. You can thank him for the great sound we have the movies today as a result.
Tom was also the originator of the "5.1" surround sound concept and even coined the phrase (he later went on to 10.2). He was somewhat of a mentor to me during my years in surround sound. I can remember discussing some of the problems in surround calibration that I was having at a Grammy seminar during the early days when we were all searching for answers and tools, and generally being put down as not knowing what I was talking about. Tom was the only one who understood my problem, which lead to a number of standardized calibration test tapes that were vital in the early days of the medium.
Tom is truly an audio scientist (he's a professor at the film school at USC) and he's forgotten more than most people in the business have ever known. There are a few giants in the pro audio business (Rupert Neve and George Massenburg come to mind), but Tom stands shoulder to shoulder with them. We're all going to be better off with his association with Apple.
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