Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia was responsible for a huge number of hit records, starting in the 1960s and continuing into the 21st century. Eventually Sigma had two studios in Philadelphia and three in New York.
Joe Tarsia founded Sigma in 1968 but his career as an engineer goes back to the 1950s at Cameo Parkway Records. He started in a mono studio, using very few microphones, hardly any outboard gear, and recording to tape. He has lived through the evolution to stereo and multitrack tape and from mono vinyl records through the CD and into the digital age.
I sat down with Joe in January of 2019 at his home and recorded our conversation using a Flea M49 in the bidirectional position, to a Tascam DR-100 portable recorder.
A slightly longer version of this interview is available on my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMwTQ8XhY9c
The video includes many still photos taken at Sigma, thanks to former Sigma engineer Arthur Stoppe.
This is an important part of our recording heritage, and I urge any of you who have access to pioneers like Joe Tarsia to take the time to capture their history.
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