John Polito made his reputation restoring the sound of vintage tapes, but he also harbored an ambition to be a recording artist himself. He first showed musical talent at age four, picking out tunes on a small electric organ, and he began taking piano lessons at 12. During his high school and college years, he played in bands that covered the music of progressive rock bands such as Yes and Genesis. Concurrent with his interest in playing music was an interest in music as a scientific phenomenon. In high school, he won a competition at a science fair with a project involving sound waves, and he entered Stanford University as an engineering major. He switched his major to music when he came under the tutelage of John Cowning, a leading figure in synthesized music. Polito graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in music with honors for musical composition and digital signal processing. He was immediately hired by Sonic Solutions as one of its first employees. The company used a "NoNoise" system to clean up the sound of old tapes and discs and became a standard in the record industry. Polito eventually launched his own firm, Audio Mechanics. But he also continued to play music, performing at clubs in Los Angeles and producing demos for developing musicians. In April 2001, he released his first album, Crossing the Line.