Meet The Maker: Tatsuya Takahashi, Chief Engineer of Analog Synthesizers at KORG

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Tatsuya Takahashi


Tats is the one of the engineers who worked with us on developing our Synth Kit and the Synth Pro Pack. He’s also a musician, performing with fellow KORG engineer in the band SETH.


My name is Tatsuya Takahashi. I work at Korg in Tokyo where there are four “Tatsuya”s and four “Takahashi”s. The name wasn’t so common in London where I grew up, earning nicknames such as Tats, Twix Bar, Tatty… most did not make it through to adulthood so now I’m left with simply “Tats”.


My maker superpower is analog electronics. I’ve worked on all the recent analog synths by Korg in various capacities starting from the monotron back in 2010 to the more recent volcas and the ARP ODYSSEY. Making a few humble transistors generate pleasing sounds is completely against the times and utterly fascinating. In fact this minimalist design approach was the biggest fun factor in co-designing the Synth Kit with littleBits.



I am inspired by when you smell something that reminds you of your mum’s old car of hear a sound that tricks you into thinking you’re hungry. Good musical instruments tend to have this cross stimulus thing going on too.


The most exciting project I have worked on the ARP ODYSSEY. It’s a synth that was discontinued a year before I was born and we have recently put it out on the market again. Peeling back the layers of history, deciphering the schematics and working with David, the original designer, was one of the most fascinating things I have experienced.


I have used littleBits to play gigs.



I want to use littleBits to make a soundscape installation using lots of speaker modules. A sprawling mesh of synth bits on the floor. Using the LFO module for slow sweeping changes. The LFO would be great for this.


littleBits has taught me about the importance of chance discovery. I’ve done Synth Kit workshops with kids as young as two, who have found their favourite sound with nothing trial and error and chance to guide them.



My dream bit is…well, for me as a hardware designer the proto module. But that’s already a reality.
So…how about the “right-angle bit”? I know the point about littleBits is all about quickly snapping together a circuit to use in your craftsy project, but the bits themselves are beautiful as constructions. The right-angle bit is simply a wire bit that connects bits at a right-angle and it would allow you to make a three dimensional scaffolding of a circuit.



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