Howard A. Chinn

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Howard A. Chinn
Howard A. Chinn in 1945
Born January 5, 1906
New York, New York
Residence New York City
Occupation Engineer, Author
Employer Columbia Broadcasting System

Howard Allen Chinn was an American broadcasting engineer who pioneered techniques of analog audio recording as well as radio and television broadcasting practices. Chinn served as chief audio engineer at Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) beginning in the 1940s, and authored many magazine articles and books on the technical aspects of audio engineering and broadcasting.

Early life[edit]

Chinn was born in New York, New York January 5, 1906, to David L. Chinn from China and Ethel Whinton of New York.[1]


Chinn attended Polytechnic Institute of New York University, later moving to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1927, and a master's degree in 1929. From 1927 to 1932 he served as a research associate at MIT.[2]


In 1932, Chinn returned to New York to join Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) as assistant to the director of engineering. From 1936 forward he was the chief audio engineer.[2] From 1939 to 1941, Chinn appeared as a special lecturer at New York University for graduate studies in electrical engineering.[2]

During World War II, Chinn devoted his energies primarily to war research. For nearly all of 1942 and 1943, he was technical coordinator for the Radio Research Laboratory of Harvard University, funded by the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD). Chinn published a classified report called Enemy Radar Characteristics.[3] From 1944, Chinn served as technical aide then consultant to OSRD.[2]


Chinn joined the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) in the 1930s and wrote technical papers for publication in the organization's journal. Chinn often wrote for Audio Engineering, a magazine that published technical reports on audio subjects.

Chinn was originally against the founding of the Audio Engineering Society (AES) in 1948. He wrote a letter to the editor of Audio Engineering to say that the proposed formation of AES was unnecessary, as IRE had already formed an Audio and Video Technical Committee.[4] Others did not agree, and when AES did form, Chinn immediately joined. Chinn served on the AES board of governors in 1951.[5] The office was to be held for two years, but Chinn resigned after one "because of the press of work."[6]

Published works[edit]


  • (1950) John H. Potts Award (now the Gold Medal), the highest accolade from the AES, "for outstanding achievement in the field of audio engineering".[7]
  • (1968) NAB Engineering Achievement Award, awarded by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to Howard A. Chinn, director, general engineering; CBS Television Network; New York, New York.[8]


  1. ^ Chinese Surname Queries. Re: Allan Young or Chin, posted by Alvin Chinn on March 7, 1999. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d IEEE Explore. Contributors. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  3. ^ Defense Technical Information Center. Howard A. Chin, Enemy Radar Characteristics, Harvard University, 1943. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  4. ^ Audio Engineering Society. How It All Began. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  5. ^ Audio Engineering Society. Officers/Governors/Editors, 1949–1998. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Audio Engineering Society. Third Annual Convention. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  7. ^ Audio Engineering Society. Second Convention Report. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.
  8. ^ NAB. NAB Engineering Achievement Award Winners. Retrieved on April 13, 2009.