Background Summary


John is currently Chief Engineer at Elm Street Studios, working with studio owner Rob Hyman on various creative musical projects.

After playing guitar in various fledgling bands during his teenage years in the Philadelphia suburbs, John attended the University of Pennsylvania where he met, among others, Eric Bazilian and later Rob Hyman of The Hooters, who would become good friends and musical collaborators over the years. Since then, John has gone on on to pursue an interesting and varied career as a successful software and audio engineer, songwriter, musician, arranger and producer.

After graduating from college with a degree in biological science and a growing interest in electronic music and computers, John joined with another college friend, Bill McCutcheon III, to found Sensible Sound, Ltd. a regional sound company in the Philadelphia area specializing in sound reinforcement and live recording. They established long-term relationships with numerous band clients including Musica Orbis, Children, Spaces, Baby Grand, and The Hooters, and worked closely with many of them on recording projects as well as providing live sound and touring services. John and Bill also worked in many regional venues with a wide variety of musical artists, promoters, and other music business professsionals, meeting an amazing and diverse collection of people along the way. In the early Eighties, John provided sound systems for an innovative jazz concert series at Haverford College, and recorded many of the performances for worldwide broadcast by Voice of America.

 

Interspec Neurotrac EEG Monitor

In late 1982, John's interest in digital electronics led him to join a small but growing biomedical company called Interspec, Inc. as an R&D engineering technician where he worked on hardware and software support for the ground-breaking Neurotrac EEG monitoring system. This was a big change from the music business, but the experience was to prove very valuable later, and some of the people he met there were part of an intriguing new organization.

 

A strong interest in the creative applications of computer technology led him to become involved with Philadelphia-based Small Computers in the Arts Network (SCAN), and to actively participate in the organization of the group's annual Symposium, which over the years attracted a diverse group of talented artists including Todd Rundgren, Joel Chadabe and many others. Some interesting consulting projects later arose from these experiences and contacts, among which were an interactive music therapy system called "Inward Bound", the intriguing "DrumKey" programmable drum machine system for the Apple II computer, and one of the first Enhanced CD multimedia projects called "Key to Classics" for Angel Records.

In early 1984, after working on the "moonlight" DrumKey project for Peripheral Visions, Inc., John was asked to join the small team of former Commodore Computer veterans in starting up a new music company called ENSONIQ Corporation. The first product was the then revolutionary and now legendary Mirage digital sampling keyboard.


ENSONIQ DP/4+

Subsequently, John worked on the development of the ESQ-1, ESQ-M, SQ-80, VFX, VFX-SD, SD-1, and TS-10 families of digital synthesizers. After that, his interest in guitars and audio recording equipment led him to the development the DP-4, DP-4+, DP-2 and DP-Pro family of digital effects systems before serving as project manager for the development of the landmark PARIS digital audio workstation (DAW) system.

During his long tenure at ENSONIQ, John served on the Technical Standards Board of the MIDI Manufacturer's Association (MMA) and actively participated in the process of maintaining and extending the MIDI protocol. His software development experience and MIDI expertise has also led to software consulting projects for Korg USA, SoundTree, Aviom and others.

In 1998, John joined eCal Corporation, a Philadelphia-based Internet software company, and managed a group of engineers responsible for the development of software for large-scale database synchronization and mobile device connectivity for corporate clients including Nokia, AT&T, British Telecom, and many others.

In the fall of 2001, after a serendipitous call from Eric Bazilian, looking for some of the the original recordings of The Hooters for inclusion in the CD release of their first independent album Amore, John rejoined old friend Rob Hyman to complete the building of Elm Street Studios. The studio combines vintage analog gear

The studio project has provided a rare opportunity to combine and utilize many of the areas of interest and realms of experience gathered over the years, as well a a chance to work closely and creatively with many old and new friends.

The first major project completed at the new studio in 2002 was the mixing of the Dar Williams CD The Beauty of the Rain. The years since then have been filled with recording, mixing, and mastering for a wide variety of other album, stage, and film projects with a great cast of amazingly talented clients. The list of studio projects and clients is long and always growing, and more details may be found at Elm Street Studios - Projects.

Some highlights include engineering for the albums: Time Stand Still and Both Sides Live with The Hooters; The Beauty of the Rain, My Better Self, In the Time of the Gods, and Emerald with Dar Williams; Little Wild One with Joan Osborne; Mutlu and The Dream Book EP with Mutlu; Symphony in Bossa with Minas; Live in Europe and seven eleven echo with Jeffrey Gaines; Dark Horses with Billy Goodman; Truth with E. Clayton West; Trinity with jazz artist Barbara Montgomery; I'm a Stranger Here Myself; Crazy 61 (and four others) with Mark Nadler; This Here Neighborhood with Bob Loy and the Big Shots; Torch, and Foothills of Home with Bob Loy; as well as producing, recording, mixing, and performing on the Chronicles of Grace album.

In addition to his work in audio, John has also worked on graphics and web design, creating CD packages and publications, developing and maintaining websites for a wide variety of clients. He has also been involved in leadership and volunteer roles in the Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society, the Philadelphia Curling Club, and St. John's Presbyterian Church