Ever since he first saw The Beatles on television, Timothy Powell was intrigued by the technical side of music. When he was 12, he blew up his parents’ General Electric combo phonograph while listening to The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black” single. His first recording session was taping Sly and the Family Stone on the Ed Sullivan Show by connecting clip leads from the television’s speakers to the family’s Awia mono reel-to-reel recorder.
Throughout high school, Timothy collected stacks of albums and caught the hi-fi bug. During his freshman year at the University of Notre Dame, Timothy realized that his eight-year attempt at playing the french horn had no future in rock & roll. He spent his free time taping Grateful Dead concerts and trading tapes with other Deadheads. While his college roommates were spending their vacations in Europe, Timothy worked his summers to fund a growing stereo habit.
After graduating from Notre Dame (with honors!) in 1977, Timothy enrolled part time at Columbia College in Chicago to follow his dream of working in broadcasting. After one week of classes in TV, radio and audio recording, he made his choice: a career in audio engineering. Columbia’s legendary Malcolm Chisholm was the major influence.
Seeing a job opening on Columbia’s bulletin board, Timothy applied for a part time position editing audio tapes of medical convention speeches. That led to a full time gig as a assistant engineer at Programming Technologies in Skokie. Timothy learned about all aspects of voice recording, tape editing, and signal processing from chief engineer Don
Druck. In 1978, Programming Technologies began a partnership with audio pioneer Jim Cunningham to build reverb plates. Under Jim’s guidance, Timothy built the first 50 Studio Technology
While attending a Devo concert in 1977, Timothy met Terry Nelson, a student DJ at Northeastern Illinois University’s WZRD radio station. Terry asked for help taping live punk rock concerts for later broadcast on his “Sunday Morning Nightmare” show. They recorded The
Buzzcocks, Gang of Four, Black Flag, DOA, The Cramps and many other punk shows on a Tascam 4-track.
In August of 1979, Timothy interviewed for a studio gig at Sound Impressions in Des Plaines and also a live recording job for WXRT’s Sunday Night Concert series. He got both gigs. For the next six years, he engineered A/V industrial sessions during the day and live concerts at night. In 1980, Timothy bought his first mobile truck - an old 1969 International Harvester Metro 1200 step van. Dubbed the “Vomit Comet” because of its toxic fumes, the truck was outfitted with a Tascam 38 eight-track recorder and a Neotek Series I console.
After the completion of his new Chevy G-30 mobile truck with a Neotek Series II mixer and two MCI 24-tracks, Timothy left Sound Impressions in 1985 to pursue Metro Mobile Recording full time. With the help of former assistant engineers like John
Groppi, Ma ærk Harder, Kathy Yore, Isa Helderman, and Lawrence Whipple, Metro Mobile has grown to three state of the art recording rigs with a national reputation.
Timothy is an original member of the Engineering and Recording Society of Chicago (EARS). With the encouragement of EARS founder Mike
Rasfeld, Timothy was the publisher of The Eardrum, the monthly newsletter of EARS from 1985 to 1998. Timothy has written many articles for audio publications, including In The Mix, Shure On Tour, and Mix Magazine. He is also a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences
Timothy is married to his high school sweetheart Betty Olivera. They have two sons, Matt and Charlie.
After 25 years in the recording business, Timothy Powell still loves the gig and looks forward to new challenges on location. His childhood dreams came true when Metro Mobile recorded dates for Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr’s
Allstarrs, and The Rolling Stones.
2 mobile audio trucks and
3 flight case rigs
Location Recording Specialists
Live concert broadcasts
Film and video productions
31 Grammy Nominated albums
4 Platinum and 4 Gold RIAA-certified albums