While most people can appreciate superior sound quality, it takes an entirely different type of person to be able to create it. That’s the job of Sony’s sound engineers. Crafting headphones, speakers and portable music players with passion, extensive audio knowledge and countless hours of testing, you can count on these engineers to deliver natural sound with High-Resolution Audio quality.
If you’ve ever wanted to know what goes on behind the scenes to create Sony’s High-Resolution Audio gadgets, keep reading. We’ve rounded up some exclusive sound engineer interviews that highlight the inspiration behind Sony’s music gadgets. You’ll have an opportunity to get to know the Sony sound engineers on a more personal level and learn more about the technical aspects of creating audiophile equipment.
The Creation of Hi-Fi Speakers
When Yoshiyuki Kaku set out to create the SS-NA5ES Bookshelf Speakers, he wanted to deliver what he called "satisfying sound" to listeners. For him, satisfying sound is the same feeling that you experience when you are listening to live music and the artist is only a few feet away from you. It's the moment of silence right after the musician has finished playing before the thundering applause from the crowd.
One of the ways that Kaku achieved this superb sound quality is through the I-Array™ tweeter system. The system helps the speakers recreate the wide dispersion and atmosphere of a live recording without using unnatural sounds. Read the full sound engineer interview to learn more about how the hi-fi speaker system was created.
Sony's Chief Art Director Takes Inventing to a Whole New Level
Balancing the high-tech elements of Sony’s High-Resolution Audio line and the stylish, sleek design that consumers have come to expect is one of the main challenges that Tomoaki Takuma, chief art director of audio products, deals with. Bringing the best possible music experience to listeners is Takuma’s goal. He pays attention to the small details that bring texture and color to both the music being played and the overall product design. In fact, Takuma’s work on the h.ear on Headphones was recognized by the 2016 iF design awards for successfully blending different materials of the same color in a sophisticated way without sacrificing sound quality.
To identify what consumers care about most, Takuma does his research by going directly to the scene and attending all kinds of live music concerts and festivals. For example, to create the h.ear on Headphones, Takuma and his team went to electronic dance music concerts to immerse themselves in the experience and create a product that people want to use. For more on Takuma’s design process, read his full Q&A.
Behind the Design of Sony Headphones
Sometimes musicians make the best sound engineers, and Shunsuke Shiomi is living proof of that. Shiomi is Sony’s acoustic engineer for headphones. As a guitar player himself, Shiomi knows all about the passion that musicians put into creating their music, and he uses that to fuel the creation of Sony headphones. Wherever Shiomi goes, whether it’s to a music venue or recording studio, he thinks about how the different sounds balance themselves out and how that music would translate to headphones.
The MDR-1A headphones in particular were created when Shiomi and his team visited the Sony mastering studio. By speaking to the audio engineers at the studio and listening to a live session being recorded, the team found the inspiration for the MDR-1A. Learn more about Shiomi’s craftsmanship in his complete interview.
The Brains Behind the Walkman®
ZX2 Walkman® project leader Tomoaki Sato literally grew up on the Sony Walkman®. Sato first purchased a Walkman® when he was in high school. While he had always been fascinated with sound quality, he couldn’t afford an entire home audio system at the time. This love of sound eventually evolved into a job opportunity for Sato when he was chosen to lead the ZX2 Walkman® project.
Sato wanted to be able to give listeners the same experience he had in high school: to escape to their own world from the music that they love. But this time with the ZX2 Walkman®, that experience is intensified with the superior sound quality of High-Resolution Audio. Read Sato’s entire Q&A to learn about the new breed of Walkman® that he and his team created.
The Inside Story Behind Home Theater AV Receiver
Not everyone’s taste in music and movies is the same, a fact that was not lost on electrical manager Tadatoshi Watanabe when he was designing the STR-DN1070 Home Theater AV Receiver. Tirelessly testing different music and movie genres in the listening room, Watanabe was able to create an addition that’s perfect for those wanting to build out their home theater collection.
Another detail that Watanabe noted when designing the AV Receiver is that the average living room layout is very different from a recording studio, which is typically optimized to produce the best sound quality. One of Watanabe’s favorite features of the AV receiver is the Advanced Digital Cinema Auto Calibration that automates the speaker setup process by mapping out the best places to set the speakers in your home theater. Discover more about this feature and others in the complete interview with Watanabe.
How Sony Brought Vinyl Records Back
As a child, sound engineer Kazuo Nada enjoyed exploring “Akihabara Electric Town,” a district in Tokyo that is known for household electronics. His passion for technology and sound has only evolved since then, paving the way for him to become one of the engineers responsible for spinning Sony back into retro technology, but this time with a modern twist. Nada and his team created the sleek PS-HX500 turntable that has the ability to both play your favorite records from the ’70s as well as turn that music into High-Res Audio digital files.
This turntable will appeal to those with a history of collecting records as well as lovers of new technology. Learn more about Nada's creation process in his in-depth sound engineer interview.
The Passion Behind the Sound System
Audio engineer Kasumi Miyamoto’s passion for sound is a trait she has held all of her life, whether we’re talking about her love of playing the piano or her curiosity about how her father’s audio equipment worked. She translated her natural passion for music into developing Sony’s CAS-1 compact audio system.
Despite the CAS-1’s size, it produces powerful sound and was created for music lovers who want to listen to high-resolution music at their desks. Miyamoto was proud to be part of a project that could delight casual music lovers as well as hardcore audiophiles. Read Miyamoto’s complete Q&A to get the whole story on the CAS-1’s creation.