Philadelphia-based engineer Joe Tarsia's skills can be heard on an amazing number of classic pop music sides, earning him over 150 gold and platinum record awards. He's also the founder/owner of the legendary Sigma Sound Studios, which besides being a state-of-the-art recording studio, was the recording base of Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records. Listening to those recordings, one marvels at the clarity and aural definition that Tarsia achieved several decades before the digital era. Tarsia took technical courses in high school before taking a position with the research department of Philco Corporation that lasted for a decade. Later, he became a service technician for various Philadelphia recording studios. Hungry for knowledge,Tarsia would trek to New York City to schmooze with top audio engineers. Around 1961,he took an audio engineering position with Cameo Parkway Records, whose roster boasted such names as Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, the Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, the Dovells, and Bunny Sigler. In the fall of 1967, the aspiring studio owner sold his car, house, and other personal possessions and purchased a lease on the second floor of the 212 Building and built a studio. Operating as a one-man outfit, Sigma Sound opened its door for business on August 5, 1968. During the '70s gold and multi-platinum-laced heyday of "the Sound of Philadelphia," the facility became a 24-hour operation as "everybody" wanted to record there.The success prompted Tarsia to open another studio in nearby New York City; the client list of his Sigma Sound Studios of New York included Whitney Houston, Madonna, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Ashford & Simpson, and Paul Simon, among many others. In 1990, Tarsia's son Michael became president of Sigma. As the 20th century drew to a close, Joe Tarsia was sharing his vast wealth of knowledge and experience as lecturer and as a participant in such educational programs as Grammy in the Schools.
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