Interview with Ken Hamann, November 21, 1995

Project: Chasing Sound Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Ken Hamann is an audio engineer and founder of Suma Recording Studios. In this interview Hamann talks briefly about his early days at Cleveland Recording. Because of his access to a radio station, Hamann began to experiment with building his own version of the three channel recorder on one half inch tape. After creating his version of the three channel recorder, he then went to Oberlin College and recorded music festivals as an experimental practice for future broadcasting purposes. During his time recording music at Oberlin, he met lots of contemporary musicians like Igor Stravinsky and Aaron Copland. He talks about Herb Heller who also developed a 3 channel recorder at this time. Hamann talks about how sound engineers improved their recording techniques by learning something new each time they made a recording. He talks about several people who worked at Cleveland Recording, including Fred Wolf and John Hanson. He talks about how Cleveland Recording got new equipment, remodeling the studio, and their clientele. He talks about how he and Hanson came to own the studio, but later split due to differences over clients and payment. Hamann talks about creating Suma Recording after his split from John Hanson at Cleveland Recording. He talks about building the studio, the trend of moving studios to remote locations, and the changes at the studio after the split from Cleveland Recording. Hamann talks about Beachwood Studio's practice of undercutting other Cleveland studios by charging far lower fees. He talks about the impact this had on other surrounding studios, and why Beachwood itself went out of business. Hamann gives his opinion on why there is not a "world class studio" located in Cleveland. He talks about the differences between studios and the music scene in Cleveland and those in New York or L.A.

Hamann talks about how he became interested in audio equipment and engineering from a young age through "teenage canteens," dances held at the local armory at which he played the role of disc jockey. He talks about building his own equipment, his work with local radio stations, and making improvements to his technology.

Interview Accession

2016oh170_chase002

Interviewee Name

Ken Hamann

Interviewer Name

Susan Schmidt Horning

Interview Date

1995-11-21

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Hamann, Ken Interview by Susan Schmidt Horning. 21 Nov. 1995. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Hamann, K. (1995, November 21). Interview by S. S. Horning. Chasing Sound Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Hamann, Ken, interview by Susan Schmidt Horning. November 21, 1995, Chasing Sound Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7cc24qnh33