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Encyclopedia > Jack Mullin

John T. "Jack" Mullin (19131999) was an American pioneer in the field of electronic audio and video recording using magnetic tape. 1913 (MCMXIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday. ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Old Farts by the Sometimes-United Nations. ... The field of electronics comprises the study and use of systems that operate by controlling the flow of electrons (or other charge carriers) in devices such as thermionic valves (vacuum tubes) and semiconductors. ... Sound reproduction is the electrical or mechanical re-creation and/or amplification of sound, often as music. ... Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images which represent scenes in motion. ... Compact audio cassette Magnetic tape is a non-volatile storage medium consisting of a magnetic coating on a thin plastic strip. ...


In the late 1920s, engineers of the German electronics company AEG, working with the chemical giant I.G. Farben, created the world's first practical magnetic tape recorder, the K1, which was first demonstrated in 1935. During WWII AEG engineers discovered the AC-biasing technique, which radically improved sound quality and enabled them to develop their recorders to new heights of technical excellence; by 1943 they had perfected stereo recording. AEG volt-metre designed by Peter Behrens AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft) (English Translation: General Electricity Company) was a German producer of electronics and electrical equipment. ... IG Farben (short for Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG) was a German conglomerate of companies formed in 1925 and even earlier during World War I. IG Farben held nearly a total monopoly on the chemical production, later during the time of Nazi Germany. ... Tape bias is a high-frequency signal (generally from 40 to 150 kHz) added to the audio signal recorded on an analog tape recorder. ...


From their monitoring of Nazi radio broadcasts the Allies knew that German radio studios had some new kind of recorder that could reproduce high-fidelity sound in segments of unheard-of length, up to 15 minutes duration. But for several years, they didn't know what these machines were or how they worked, and it was not until Germany fell to the Allies during 1944-45 that the victorious Americans discovered the new magnetic tape recorders. It was Jack Mullin who saw the future potential of the new technolgy and who developed it immediately after the war.


Mullin served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II. He was posted to Paris in the final months of the war, where his unit was assigned to find out everything they could about German radio and electronics. They found and collected hundreds of low-quality field dictating machines but the major discovery came when Mullin visited Germany just before the end of the war. He was sent to inspect a site near Frankfurt, where the Germans had reputedly been experimenting with using directed high-energy radio beams as means of disabling the ignition systems of flying aircraft. Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead... Main Station Frankfurt Frankfurt International Airport For other uses, see Frankfurt (disambiguation). ...


On his way home, Mullin made a chance stopover at a nearby German radio station at Bad Neuheim, which was already in American hands. Here he was given two suitcase-sized AEG 'Magnetophon' high-fidelity recorders and fifty reels of Farben recording tape. Mullin had them shipped home and over the next two years he worked on the machines constantly, modifying them and improving their performance. His main hope was to interest the Hollywood movie studios in using magnetic tape for movie sound recording. AEG volt-metre designed by Peter Behrens AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft) (English Translation: General Electricity Company) was a German producer of electronics and electrical equipment. ... Magnetophon was the brand or model name of the pioneering reel-to-reel tape recorder developed by engineers of the German electronics company AEG in the 1930s, based on the magnetic recording experiments of Valdemar Poulsen. ...


Mullin gave two public demonstrations of his machines in 1947, and they caused a sensation among American audio professionals -- many listeners literally could not believe that what they were hearing was not a live performance. By luck, Mullin's second demonstration was at MGM Studios in Hollywood and in the audience that day was Bing Crosby's technical director, Murdo Mackenzie. Mackenzie arranged for Mullin to meet Crosby, and in June 1947 Crosby was given a demonstration of Mullin's magnetic tape recorders. For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ... Harry Lillis Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ...


Crosby was impressed by the amazing sound quality and instantly saw the huge commercial potential of the new machines. Up to this time, most pre-recorded programming such as serial s and drama were produced on disc, but live music was the standard for American radio at the time and radio networks tightly restricted the use of music on disc because of the comparatively poor sound quality.


Crosby, who was arguably the biggest star on radio at the time, was very receptive to the idea of pre-recording his radio programs. He disliked the regimentation of live broadcasts, and much preferred the relaxed atmosphere of the recording studio. He had already asked the NBC network to let him pre-record his 1944-45 series on transcription discs, but the network refused, so Crosby had withdrawn from live radio for a year and returned for the 1946-47 season only reluctantly.


Crosby realised that Mullin's tape recording technology would enable him to pre-record his radio show with a sound quality that equalled live broadcasts, that these tapes could be edited precisely, and that they could be replayed many times with no appreciable loss of quality. Mullin was asked to tape one show as a test; it was a complete success and Mullin was immediately hired as Crosby's chief engineer to pre-record the rest of the series.


Crosby became the first major music star to master commercial recordings on tape, and the first to use tape to pre-record radio broadcasts. The shows were painstakingly edited to give them a pace and flow that was wholly unprecedented in radio. Mullin has claimed that he even pioneered the use of "canned laughter" -- at the insistence of Crosby's writer Bill Morrow, he inserted a segment of raucous laughter from an earlier show to follow a joke in a later show that hadn't worked well. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Keen to make use of the new recorders as soon as possible, Crosby invested $50,000 in a local electronics firm, Ampex, and the tiny six-man concern soon became the world leader in the development of tape recording. Ampex revolutionised the radio and recording industry with its famous Model 200 tape deck, developed directly from Mullin's modified Magnetophones. Crosby gave one of the first production models to musician Les Paul, which led directly to Paul's invention of multitrack recording. Ampex is based in Redwood City, California. ... Les Paul (born June 9, 1915) is an American jazz guitarist and as one of the most important figures in the development of modern electric instruments and recording techniques. ... The Tascam 85 16B analogue tape recorder can record 16 tracks of audio on 1 inch (2. ...


Working with Mullin, Ampex rapidly developed two-track stereo and then three-track recorders. Spurred on by Crosby's move into TV in the early Fifties, Mullin and Ampex developed a working monochrome videotape recorder by 1950 and a colour recorder by 1954, both created to tape Crosby's TV shows. A video tape recorder (VTR), is a tape recorder that can record video material. ...


Through the rest of his life, Mullin continued to follow new ideas. He also kept an impressive collection of early recording hardware, which is now at the Pavek Museum of Broadcasting. The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting is a museum in St. ...


External links

  • Santa Clara University Article
  • San Jose Mercury News Article

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  Results from FactBites:
 
John T. Mullin: THE MAN WHO PUT BING CROSBY ON TAPE (2425 words)
Mullin realized that those poor-sounding Magnetophons back in his lab in Paris could be modified simply by adding AC bias, using the same tape, transports, heads, power supplies, and most of the same record and reproduce electronics.
Mullin and the Crosby show were presented with serial numbers 1 and 2 of the Ampex machine in gratitude for their research and development support.
Mullin was a fellow and honorary member of AES, a recipient of the Emile Berliner Award, and an elected member of the 3M Carlton Society.
Jack Mullin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (935 words)
John T. "Jack" Mullin (1913–1999) was an American pioneer in the field of electronic audio and video recording using magnetic tape.
Mullin was asked to tape one show as a test; it was a complete success and Mullin was immediately hired as Crosby's chief engineer to pre-record the rest of the series.
Mullin has claimed that he even pioneered the use of "canned laughter" -- at the insistence of Crosby's writer Bill Morrow, he inserted a segment of raucous laughter from an earlier show to follow a joke in a later show that hadn't worked well.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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