Tom Erbe has had an important role in American experimental and electronic music of the last 20 years. In addition to his pioneering and widely used program SoundHack, he has become one of the most sought after and respected sound engineers for contemporary music.
He studied computer science and music at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and got his initial audio engineering experiences by volunteering at WEFT, WPGU, and Faithful Sound Studios.
After graduating Tom became the Technical Manager of the Computer Audio Research Laboratory at the University of California, San Diego. There he was involved in the development of an electronic violin, a DSP based sound processor and an early computer music production workstation.
In 1987 Tom became the Technical Director of the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College. At CCM he worked with composers Robert Ashley, David Rosenboom, Larry Polansky, James Tenney and Alvin Curran, as computer music and recording engineer. His research work at CCM included the program SoundHack, and the design of a DSP based sound processor for use with the language HMSL. During this time he also developed a 4-channel spatial audio processor for the NASA Ames Research Center.
In 1993 Tom joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts as Technical Director of the computer music studios. Here he continued his work with SoundHack and spectral techniques, teaching courses in computer music, programming and audio engineering. Tom also directed the design and construction of CalArts' Dizzy Gillespie Recording Studios.
In 2004 he rejoined the faculty of UCSD in the Department of Music and serves as Studio Director. Most recently Tom has released SoundHack Pvoc Kit, the second of a planned set of three plugin bundles to bring extreme spectral processing to the VST, AU and RTAS formats.