Thomas Greenway Stockham was an American scientist who developed the first practical digital audio recording system, and pioneered techniques for digital audio recording and processing as well.
Professor Stockham was born in Passaic, New Jersey. Stockham attended Montclair Kimberley Academy, graduating in the class of 1951. Known as the "father of digital recording", he earned an Sc.D. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959 and was appointed Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering. Early in his academic career at MIT, Stockham worked closely with Amar Bose, founder of Bose Corporation, on the use of digital computers for measurement and simulation of room acoustics and for audio recording and enhancement. While at MIT, he noticed several of the students using an MIT Lincoln Laboratory TX-0 mainframe computer installed at the campus to record their voices digitally into the computer's memory, using a microphone and a loudspeaker connected to an A/D-D/A converter attached to the TX-0. This expensive tape recorder led Stockham to his own digital audio experiments on this same computer in 1962.
In 1968 he left MIT for the University of Utah, and in 1975 founded Soundstream, Inc. The company developed a 16-bit digital audio recording system using a 16-track Honeywell instrumentation tape recorder as a transport, connected to digital audio recording and playback hardware of Stockham's design. It ran at a sampling rate of 50 kHz, as opposed to the audio CD sampling rate of 44.1 kHz.