By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Stow, Ohio – Audio-Technica founder Hideo Matsushita passed away March 5 at the age of 93 from natural causes, the company announced.
A private wake and funeral services were held on March 8 and 9.
Matsushita founded the company in 1962 as a maker of phono cartridges. The company now designs and manufactures products such as microphones, headphones, noise-cancelling headphones, wireless microphone systems, mixers, turntables and electronic products for home and professional use.
In 2002, as the company entered its 40th year in business, Matsushita reflected on the company’s beginnings by noting that he went to Tokyo at age 32 to work for the Bridgestone Museum of Art. “At the urging of the museum's director, I began organizing LP concerts. These were much more successful than anyone imagined,” he said. After a decade at the museum, Matsushita founded Audio-Technica in a rented one-story barracks in Shinjuku with three employees. Their first product was the AT-1 stereo cartridge. “We worked late each night, stopping only for dinner at the ramen shop in front of the premises," Matsushita recalled.
In 1993, Matsushita took the position of chairman, and his son, Kazuo Matsushita, became president. The son still holds that position.
"Hideo Matsushita was a wonderful person and a true visionary, laying the foundation for Audio-Technica to grow over the past 50 years,” said Phil Cajka, Audio-Technica U.S. President and CEO. “He exemplified true leadership with commitment to and passion for music and an unmatched work ethic. His loss is felt not only by everyone in the A-T family, but also by the entire music industry."
Under the founder’s leadership, cartridges were the company’s largest business segment through the 1970s and 1980s, though the company entered the pro audio market in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, it entered the consumer speaker market with the Signet and Design Acoustics brands. In the early 90s, the company refocused on pro products such as microphones and headphones while maintaining a small lineup of consumer cartridges and headphones.
About eight years ago, however, the company began to step up its consumer presence once again with the launch of turntables followed two years later by consumer headphones.
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