PAR Contributor of the Month Tom Jung

In 1969, TJ co-founded and built Sound 80 Inc., a five-room, world-class recording studio
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Recording and Mastering Engineer/Digital Audio Pioneer
Coastal North Carolina

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In the early 1960s, Tom Jung (or TJ) began his recording career at Kay Bank Recording Corp. in Minneapolis doing remote recording and disc mastering in addition to studio recording; this is how he would spend the next 40+ years.

In 1969, TJ co-founded and built (from the ground up, no less) Sound 80 Inc., a five-room, world-class recording studio to host and work with artists including Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Leo Kottke, the Minnesota Orchestra, and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; the latter of which won a Grammy for its work with TJ and Sound 80 Inc. Now a historical landmark, the Sound 80 Inc. building is considered the birthplace of digital recording due to pioneering involvement with 3M and its digital audio recorder project.

In 1979, TJ moved to New York City, where he worked as a freelance engineer recording movie scores such as Dressed to Kill, The Cotton Club, Star 80, Annie, and The Muppet Movie, to name a few, as well as countless jazz records.

While working with some of the best musicians in New York, TJ got the idea to start a small audiophile jazz label called Digital Music Products (DMP). In 1983, DMP released the first jazz CDs in the world and, in 2001, won a Grammy for Bob Mintzer Big Band’s Homage to Count Basie.

Continuing to push the digital envelope by upgrading from 16-bit to 20-bit and, ultimately, 24-bit, TJ was introduced to DSD in the late 1990s, and he hasn’t made another PCM recording since.