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Tatsuya Takahashi: Synth Designer

Making Synthesis Engaging, Immediate And Affordable
Published February 2019
By Kim Bjørn

Tatsuya Takahashi: Synth DesignerPhoto: Dan Wilton

Former Chief Engineer at Korg, Tatsuya Takahashi is the man who brought analogue synthesis back into the mainstream.

In his time at Korg, Tatsuya Takahashi brought us the Monotrons, the Volcas, the Minilogue and much more. Now nearly 36 years old and searching for new ways to make synthesis engaging, immediate and affordable, his latest creation is the unique Granular Convolver.

Hearing Voltages

The first instrument that Tatsuya Takahashi can remember building was a simple square-wave oscillator with a potentiometer. "My pivotal moment in realising what circuits are capable of was this experience of electrons going from one place to the next, charging a capacitor and then discharging again really quickly. That, happening a thousand times a second, is creating sound. Rather than a circuit being just a conduit, a pipeline from one place to the next, it's a completely different thing when the circuit itself is the source of the sound. Being able to experience voltages and signals directly was an amazing thing.

"One of my favourite quotes is from Cyril Lance from Moog, who said that a circuit is an organisation of the universe. It's a beautiful thing, and like saying: all that engineers are doing is to put all this stuff happening around you together, and organising it in a way that humans can interact with. It resonates with a lot of the ideas I have about how technology can be interpreted in the way of using these instruments creatively."

He started soldering at the age of 11, and soon began hacking cheap keyboards. Tatsuya continued his electronic self-education all the way through school.

"At university, I did a Masters degree in Electrical and Information Sciences. It was a four-year general engineering course, which meant that before I could choose a specific field to study further, I was doing structural, mechanical, fluid dynamics and all the different disciplines in engineering. That was my formal training in...

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Published February 2019