Back in the day, all the A-list philosophers and scientists argued over the best method for tuning a musical instrument. The battles they fought were some of the fiercest intellectual scuffles the western world has ever seen. In 2003, Stuart Isacoff published a book about those scuffles. The book focused on the history of one particular tuning system called Equal Temperament and how it emerged from the tuning-wars more popular than ever. In a weird twist of historical irony, when Stuart Isacoff published his book about Equal Temperament he found himself caught in the middle of a tuning scuffle of his own.
In the aftermath of World War II, the United States Military assigned a tech savvy GI named Jack Mullin the mission of investigating secret inventions left behind by the Nazis. Mullin’s journeys around Germany led him to a makeshift radio studio that had a device called the Magnetophon, the first reel-to-reel tape recorder that realistically recorded sound. After overcoming numerous obstacles, Jack Mullin managed to ship two machines back home to San Francisco. When he was released from military service, he demonstrated the Magnetophons for all the movie studios in Hollywood, but faced rejection from each one. Eventually, a famous crooner gave him a shot and invited Mullin to a trial by fire audition that would change recorded sound forever.