Always strive to aim for the highest peak of the goals in life you have set, this way if you manage to reach even half way toward a goal, landing in the middle is not such a bad place to end up.
Name: Jeniver
Subject: Quotes

April 25, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjeniver

Malcolm was one of my most influential teachers during my time as a student at Columbia. He would ride his motorcycle to work, which seriously increased his 'cool' factor among the students, and always had a quick but slightly salty response to most of the 'green horn' questions. He was very gracious in many ways but never missed an opportunity to give correction when we needed it. He taught me to read a schematic and how to tune a room, and never allowed us to listen to music at SPL's of less than 100 decibels! Thanks for this page- he was an impressive man.

March 31, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDan Shilson


I worked with your dad at Chess (aka Ter Mar) in 1974. The relationship that we developed continued on a professional level for many years. I used to take masters down to him to cut lacquers when he worked at Chicago Stereo Mastering. I used to call him frequently back in the 1980s when I was building my own studio, because he knew every aspect of a recording studio from layout and construction to wiring and electronic design.

You and I have met, as well. My wife and son accompanied me on a visit to your family home (which I believe was in Rogers Park) when you were still in elementary school. I think my son bought an action figure from you when we visited. I have a much valued photo that I took with your dad and mom with my wife sitting behind your house on a picnic table. That is the only photo I have of your father.

I've got a book's worth of stories based on working with your dad and the stories he told me when we worked together at Chess.

Jamie Goldsmith

December 30, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Goldsmith

I will go to your blog repeatedly for some latest post because this is awesome article, I am a big believer in placing comments on blogs to inform the blog writers know that they have added something useful to the world wide web!
by Phlebotomy

October 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhlebotomy

I audited Malcolm's class at Zenith/DB in the very late 80s or maybe 1990. I learned more in the dozen or so hours I spent with him than in the preceding three years of education and practice in recording. Other instructors held perspectives on the craft that stopped at the gear. Malcolm's great gift was that he situated the art and craft of recording *in the world*, a world that included the student, the performer, the client, the listeners, broadcast networks, himself, and, of course, the gear.

When I teach -- no matter what I teach -- I try to do it like Malcolm did. He was a giant and we miss him very much. Thanks for putting up this site, Colin.

July 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRob Warmowski

Hey Colin, Thanks for putting this page up.

I remember the first day of class from about 1983 or so at Columbia. We all gathered slowly into a classroom down on South Michigan Avenue and there was Malcolm sitting at the desk at the front of the room. He was wearing his cowboy boots, smoking a cigarette and reading a paper. Every once in awhile he would look at his watch.

At 6:10 pm (I guess he was kind enough to wait for the late comers), he folded his paper, sniffed out the cigarette and stood up.

The first words we heard from him were (roughly cause it was so long ago):

"This is Sound Recording 101. I'm Malcolm Chisholm. If you are easily offended then you should leave now, because a swear a lot."

Then he broke out one of his patented manic grins with a tilt of the head.

Another time a year or so later, down at ZenithDB, we were all sitting around listening to a lecture about how hearing works. Malcolm needed a volunteer to demonstrate how we can localize the direction a sound was coming from. He wanted to snap his fingers from different directions while the volunteer had their eyes closed and the point in the direction of the sound.

He picked me because I had a short haircut at the time. He said you can't hear when you have long hair over your ears.

We all miss him.

April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

Thank you Colin for putting up this page. I was a student of Malcolm's in the early 80's and it was one of the most educational and lighter experiences of my life. I still have the notes (somewhere) that I took in his class and I remember his dedication and passion for the craft. He was a true pioneer and he was truly appreciated and will be dearly missed. RIP old friend and thank you for sharing your generous wisdom.

Amedee Jones

December 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmedee Jones

Malcolm was my favorite teacher.

A little background: I was ahead in credits and a frustrated Junior in high school. I hated most of my teachers because they did not seem to care. I dropped out of high school (my Father, also a teacher wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing) and immediately signed up for Sound Engineering at Columbia College. From a cruddy, crowded, uncaring high school, I walked into Zenith/DB studios and felt like I was home. The teacher (Malcolm) was smoking(!) a Kool cigarette and proceeded to talk about "Real-world shit!".

Over the course of the three segments of the class, I learned about mics and their placement, how to read a schematic, how to build a control room, heard original master tapes of Nat King Cole that Malcolm had engineered, started hearing about the new technology of digital, but of all the experiences I had, none was greater to me than the day we were set in front of a console with a mix to sort out. Malcolm went into the next room to chat with an engineer and we proceeded to try our hands at the mix. When I got my turn, Malcolm reared his head into the room, eyes wide, with a Kool cigarette in his hand and said "Nice, now that's a mix, not too much guitar". That was a giant affirmation for me and I remember the other students gathering around to see what I had done.

Malcolm was often blunt, and that is exactly what I wanted. Someone who would give me the lowdown, not the usual B.S. About ten years after my first class with Malcolm I was working as a senior audio engineer at Viacom New Media and was about to build a studio, so i was amazed to see that Malcolm was still teaching and took his acoustics class. Not much had changed, other than he couldn't smoke in class anymore. I continued to learn about acoustic treatments and more importantly, real-world knowledge and logic when it came to making decisions. One great anecdote he had about determining what a surface was made out of was (as best as I recall) I am driving by a barn and see that it is painted red, so I say "The barn is red" - well, did you look at the other side? I remember Mata Hari having something to do with this story... This was an abject lesson in presumption that I carry with me today.

I was so sad to hear of Malcolm passing - I can still picture his grizzled beard, bright eyes, and cocky smile with a Kool cigarette between his fingers.

Great man - Thanks Colin for putting this page up


Rob Herman

May 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRob Herman

I just bought my first ribbon microphone. It was Malcolm who showed me the differences between all of the microphone types by simply pluging them into a PA and talking. He showed us the differences in a hands on approach that was basic, fun , and informative. I remeber he would always say " recording is not rocket science " I took his recording class at the old Zentih studios (Columbia College) in 1997. He left a lasting impression on me, and I feel fortunate to have been able to take his class.

Thank you for posting this wonderful tribute. I googled his name after my microphone arrived, and this was really nice to find.


April 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Peterson

Hi Colin!

This is a great page you've created. Not sure why I googled your Dad's name today, but I'm glad I did. I was a student of his from 1978 to 1980 and we would sometime have lunch in the little diner by Columbia that was on west Harrison (now the Travelodge). We talked electronics and how you could get 64k of RAM on a single chip!

A few times when he was particularly grumpy, I remember him telling me he was beat because his young son was wearing him out! :-)

He drummed into me the importance of knowing your gear and because of him I can read a schematic and solder.

The man cast a long shadow!


June 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Coyle

I worked with Malcolm at Media International, a tape duplicating house that was managed under constant chaos. Malcolm didn't suffer fools lightly, if at all, but if you were really interested in learning what he knew he was a patient teacher.

Several years ago, I came into possession of a boxed set, "The Cobra Records Story," which contained several tracks Malcolm engineered. I also have a live recording of Ahmad Jamal at the Pershing Lounge from 1959 that he engineered for Argo.

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob Beamesderfer

Nice job.


August 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen

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