Apple Reportedly Hires Audio Pioneer Tomlinson Holman

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 4, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Tomlinson Holman working at a Mac in 2007 (Source: Flickr)
    As noted by GigaOM, tech pundit Leo Laporte today tweeted that he has heard "on good authority" that Apple has hired audio pioneer Tomlinson Holman to head up the company's audio projects.
    Holman spent fifteen years at Lucasfilm, working to develop the THX sound system and related technologies. He has been serving as professor in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California while also pursuing development of advanced surround-sound technologies such as "10.2" for increased spatial sound perception through his own company. The technology focuses on creating a heightened level of immersion by utilizing an array of seven front speaker channels, including a pair of "height" channels installed at a 45-degree angle above the listening area.

    Holman received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 2001 for his contributions to the development of cinema sound systems.

    Article Link: Apple Reportedly Hires Audio Pioneer Tomlinson Holman
  2. mattydodgy macrumors member


    Jan 9, 2006
    Lancaster, UK
    Oh boy I hope this is true... Macs speakers are rubbish. :):):)
  3. -Ken- macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2011
    Oregon, USA
    10.2 surround sound must be spectacular. 5.1 in my car sounds amazing as it is.

    So will Apple be leading the way towards such systems for the home? Or merely the software for making such music? New audio devices and downloads through iTunes?

    So many questions.. :)
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Wow. I wonder what he's going to work on, because most audio professionals already use Apple computers.
  5. darbus69 macrumors regular


    Mar 3, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    quite the payroll our beloved company has, investments which pay off handsomely-10.2 built into an iMac sounds silly but delicious...
  6. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    I had the opportunity to audition a true 10.2 system at the Bjorn's in San Antonio. Needless to say it was quite amazing.

    I wonder what type of things he would lead for Apple's audio department. Perhaps better quality dacs and amps for their iPod lineup? It'd be nice to give their macbook/pros and iMacs higher quality speakers. As of current they have exactly no sub-bass reproduction-- basically making any pair of external speakers or headphones mandatory for music listening.
  7. eNcrypTioN macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2009
  8. JPark macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2006
    This would be beneath his talents, but I'm just hoping for better support for surround sound in apple hardware. "It just works" does not currently apply to surround sound.
  9. iansilv macrumors 65816

    Jun 2, 2007
  10. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    Interesting, I assume he would work on speakers and related stuff as opposed to software (itunes, GB, Logic etc)?
  11. shiseiryu1 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 30, 2007
    Audio Engineer Needed

    Good! Maybe they'll finally update the annoying startup noise that the Macs make when they power on. Especially with my 27" iMac my poor cats are freaked out every time I start my computer!
  12. Lesser Evets macrumors 68040

    Lesser Evets

    Jan 7, 2006
    Most people are not audiophiles. Yes, they listen to things, but they are not finely attuned to the quality of sound. Many audiophiles don't even realize they aren't really. However, being so progressive and perfectionist with sound shows how brilliant Apple is as a company. Does Dell, MS, or other computer companies give a ****? No. They crank out rubbish more often than not.
  13. Mad4WDW macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2010
    There's an app for that.
  14. AAPLaday Guest


    Aug 6, 2008
    Manchester UK
    If you have external speakers plugged into it then unplug them, turn the volume down to one bar, then plug them back in and set the volume to normal
  15. kiljoy616 macrumors 68000


    Apr 17, 2008
    Well this must have something to do with Thunderbolt.

    7.1 is sweet with blu-ray. Or maybe this is all more on the line of patents.

    Let him figure out and invent new things and Apple gets to patent it all up just in case. Not like they money would be wasted.

    I can't see this been about speaker because who cares there are so many good speakers for computers and home use already.
  16. kenliles macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2010
    Used to live in SA and visit Bjorn regularly- Introduced to Meridian there- love it; say Hello from ken if he's still around. Was the 10.2 sourced that way or processed into those channels?

    love this news from Apple

  17. Doug183 macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2009
    Spacial sound. He was a professor of mine at USC in the 1990's and he had developed the most amazing audio technology. By just using a pair of audio speakers (stereo) he was able to reproduce sound spatially. That is, in my mind I could swear I could locate where the drums were placed, locate where the guitars were placed, locate where the vocals were placed. It was like I was in the room with the musicians. He had applied this to some movies at the time was well and it was simply astounding. The sounds did not come out from the speakers but was in the room with you. You needed headphones or needed to sit one place to get this effect, so this technology appeared to me to most useful for military applications and gaming platforms. It would also be amazing for someone sitting at computer as well.

    This is all conjecture. But it was a piece of technology that was... magic... as I never experienced anything like it before. The effect on the mind was so much more powerful than the 3D visuals we have today, which are nice, but not to be repetitive, this audio technology was was jaw dropping.
  18. drewyboy macrumors 65816

    Jan 27, 2005
    Just mute your computer b4 you shut it down. Problem solved.
  19. -Ken- macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2011
    Oregon, USA

    I'm surprised how few 'lifelong' Apple people know that.
  20. talkingfuture macrumors 65816


    Dec 4, 2008
    The back of beyond.
    Maybe they'll get him working on iPod headphones! Though that might be overkill.

    Perhaps the rumours of an Apple branded TV set are true and they want someone to build an excellent sound system to go with it.

    Though he is probably just working on the pro audio software or something similar.
  21. SockRolid macrumors 68000


    Jan 5, 2010
    Almost Rock Solid
    Could be for the "real" Apple TV

    Sounds like the work Mr. Holman was doing was yet another gimmick (like 3D) designed to pry people away from their home entertainment systems and back into movie theaters. Good move to get away from all that, if he is in fact an Apple employee now.

    But adding surround sound to Macs would be drastic overkill in 99% of the user base. (Yes, I know that audio is one of the Mac's weak points.) And I doubt he'd come to Apple just to work on improving iPod / iPhone / iPad audio. My wild guess is that he could instead be working on the audio system for an actual Apple HDTV set and/or a surround sound accessory for it.

    The preamp / amp / receiver / speaker mix & match game has been played thousand of times by dozens if not hundreds of home electronics makers over many decades. And if there is any home electronics system screaming out for a wireless solution, it's surround sound speakers. The problem, of course, is maintaining audio quality without wires.

    Oh well, if the rumors are true, it'll be great to see what Mr. Holman can do for Apple.
  22. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Interesting.. can't imagine what he'd be working on. I wouldn't have thought his skills would be suited to Logic Studio... so what hardware/solutions could he be involved in?

    I'm voting for an Apple TV with unparalleled sound support as standard*. (*More what I want, than what I expect)
  23. Blakjack, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    Blakjack macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2009
    iTV with the best sound quality of any TV on the market, come on doooown.

    What else could he be working on, Mac speakers?!!

    Macs arent thirsting for that.

    Audio speaker accessories?!!

    Cant see Apple in that market.

    Speakers for a TV that would allow u to get away with buying a home theater system?!!!

    Thats what Im talking about!!

    iOS is nothing more than a way to sell entertainment content. Just like Apple does with its software, they create their own devices to ensure an enhanced experience compared to its competition. With Amazon, Google/android, Dish network/Blockbuster, Red Box, netflix, Hulu, Sony/Crackle, Comcast, etc all selling content, Apple will do their best to make sure they provide THE BEST experience.

    OS X-Creation
  24. Proph3T macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2010
    please bring lossless audio support to Mac OS. I hate booting into windows to watch blu-ray rips with DTS-HD MA or TrueHD
  25. steadysignal macrumors 6502a


    Dec 21, 2010

    10.2 must be double the sound quality!


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