Joseph Tarsia  

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Joseph Tarsia (1934 – 2022) was an American audio engineer from Philadelphia, owner of the Sigma Sound Studios.

He is credited on many pop music tracks, earning him over 150 gold and platinum record awards.

Sigma Sound Studios was the recording base of Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International Records.

Tarsia's recordings between the 1960s and 1980s were noteworthy for their clarity and aural definition, achieved years before the digital era.


Tarsia took technical courses in high school before taking a position with the research department of Philco Corporation, which lasted for a decade. Later, he became a service technician for various Philadelphia recording studios. He traveled to New York City to mix with top audio engineers. Around 1961, he took an audio engineering position with Cameo Parkway Records. Cameo Parkway's artists included Chubby Checker, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, The Orlons, Dee Dee Sharp, The Dovells and Bunny Sigler. Tarsia became the record label's chief engineer.

In the fall of 1967, Tarsia sold his car, house and other personal possessions, purchased a lease on the second floor of the 212 North 12th Street Building (formerly Sound Plus Studios), and upgraded the studio equipment from 2-track to 8-track. Operating as a one-man operation, Sigma Sound opened its doors for business on August 5, 1968. During the 1970s' gold and multi-platinum-laced heyday of 'The Sound Of Philadelphia', the facility became a 24-hour operation, in order to meet the great demand for its services. Sigma won awards for recordings by Jerry Butler, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the O'Jays, the Stylistics, and many others, and musicians who recorded there also included Stevie Wonder, B.B. King, David Bowie, and the Four Tops.

The Philadelphia studio's success prompted Tarsia to open, in 1976, three studios in New York, named Sigma Sound Studios of New York. Their client list included Whitney Houston, Madonna, Billy Joel, Steely Dan, Ashford and Simpson and Paul Simon.

In 1990, Tarsia's son Michael Tarsia became president of Sigma. Later, Joe Tarsia became a lecturer and participant in educational programs including GRAMMY In The Schools.

Tarsia closed the New York studio in the early 1990s and sold the original Philadelphia studio in 2003.

Linking in at time of death

All Things in Time, Arabian Nights (album), Back Stabbers (album), Bad Luck (Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes song), Be Yourself (Patti LaBelle album), Blue Magic (album), Brazil (The Ritchie Family album), Friends (B.B. King album), I'm Coming Home (album), I'm Doin' Fine Now (album), Kevin T. Anderson, List of Italian-American entertainers, Patti (album), Philadelphia International Records, Philly Groove Records, Sigma Sound Studios, Soulful Road, Spinners (album), The Electric Indian, The Magic of the Blue, The Spirit's in It, The Stylistics (album)

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