Dave Smith & Tatsuya Takahashi Interview Each Other At NAMM

At the 2017 NAMM Show, Reverb.com hosted a conversation between synth designers Dave Smith (Sequential Circuits & DSI) & Tatsuya Takahashi (Korg). 

Video Description:

Dave Smith is a living legend of synthesizer design. Tatsuya Takahashi is a new kid on the block stirring things up with hits like the Korg Minilogue. We brought these two synth designers together at our NAMM booth this year to chat about design, influence, and the current synth landscape.

In the video, you’ll learn the unintended consequences of MIDI, where both synth designers start in the creative process, and the current synth landscape – as told by a living synth legend and the new kid on the block.

via Reverb’s Heather Farr

22 thoughts on “Dave Smith & Tatsuya Takahashi Interview Each Other At NAMM

  1. Here is a question for Tatsuya Takahashi:
    Why do you make mono and limited synths toys with SLIMKEYS or MINIKEYS? Why is there still NO full blown no compromise polyphonic synthesizer?

    Korg is absolutely sh*t compared to Dsi.

    1. Lots of reasons.

      1) modern “musicians” who rely heavily on plug-in synths, often pirated, are loath to spend more than $500 on a piece of hardware. Their marketing people know this. And many were complaining about too many workstations and ROMplers for years and years from Korg, so they are clearly paying attention to the consumer.

      2) I think they are embracing the idea that musical instruments should be FUN and accessible, and not just hugely complex beasts. Most people thought the TB303 was a “toy.” II think you’d admit it’s gone on to be quite a useable tool.

      3) Korg sound designers are some of the best in the industry, and big reason they dominated a good portion of the 90’s and 00’s. Dave Smith’s group, who I have great respect for, and own just about everything they have made, didn’t used to employ sound designers, and as a result, a lot of their presets did not demonstrate how good their synths are. That has all changed with the recent instruments; Most notably, the Rev2, which despite a near identical engine to the Prophet 08, sounds WAAAY better, and not just because of the FX. They are now using professional sound designers to create their factory presets. A lot of busy producers and composers for TV and film rely on high quality presets, and Korg has always been very inspiring.

      4) they have the full sized MS20 and Arp Odyssey, but I for one prefer the slim key Oddy at the going price. It is perfectly playable, takes up less realestate, and sounds … the same.

      5) I don’t know if you saw the DSI Pioneer AS-1 at NAMM, but it looks a lot like a toy. I can tell you it doesn’t sound like it. It’s easy to fetishize gear, and long for something classic and large and knob laden, and there are more choices now than there have bene in the last 25 years, so stop throwing shade.

      1. I once started out using pirated software, if the majority out there says they didnt you know you are lying. But when a company such as Korg start to make throw away consumer little synth and beat toys its just a waste of plastic and in the long term money. Its not about quantity in music creation. Dave Smith knows this (and yes I am aware that he makes new products fast and that some have them all) but he actually makes real instruments which aren’t plastic consumer throw away products. He makes true instruments like they did in the old days. There should be more instruments that focuses on the musician so that they can be better players. The instrument shouldn’t be a restriction to the player. Dr. R. Moog knows this and so does D. Smith. Havent seen any Korg products that has this vision at all.

  2. Kind of amusing that the founder of midi pretty much is there and someone mentions mini keys. As a Midi use for over 30 years , you can contact me and I will explain how you can midi up a small key synth to as big a keyboard as you want. Mini keys means cheaper priced equipment. It is not a barrier to anything. Master keyboards is something you need to look into . Hardly a serious thing to whine about. When teh cz101 came out a lot of us where over the moon.

    1. > As a Midi use for over 30 years , you can contact me and I will explain how you can midi up a small key synth to as big a keyboard as you want.

      = ). I love you.

      @synthhead can you add a script so that this info pops up whenever someone enters ‘mini keys’ into a comment field?

  3. I have been making music on my computer for 12 years and am not a player, a demonstrated computer bedroom producer, and when you are making music on a desk with limited space and are more a programmer than player, the last thing that appeals to you is a full sized keyboard with performance features. Sadly players don’t realize they are a disappearing demographic and often complain about mini keys, but at this point, to the average electronic musician who isn’t playing prog rock, we just want a full access synth with midi and editability , keys are just a bonus so you can fiddle around. When a computer guy or mobile producer person like myself buys a piece of gear, it’s generally table top, and below $700 that fills a unique need with unique features. Korg knows this. General music software buys don’t exceed $500 either.

    1. Funny that you mention players being a disappearing demographic. I work at a live music venue that hosts both national and local acts, and to be honest, I’ve never seen so many bands utilizing hardware instruments for a very long time. The recent releses of performance oriented instruments, from the wonderful array of analog synths, samplers, drum machines, modular, and sequencers that we can choose from today, is testament to the demand for these things.
      I’m a string player mostly, but have been incorporating electronic instruments into my sets and recording for a long time, almost never use a computer, and prefer a tactile and immediate interface for playing and editing sounds and performing. We all have different needs, and these companies could never survive without appealing to a wide base of users.

  4. It’s refreshing that people like Dave and Tats, who are rivals, are willing to be friendly with one another and give interviews.

    1. They are not rivals. They just (maybe) compete for the same market. They are passionate for what they do and understand colaboration and sharing is the best way to learn more. This is common ground for anyone working in research and developing.

  5. While i had only 2 real synths in my life…a Roland Juno 106 and currently a Yamaha mox8…i wouldnt spent 2000 euro’s other then on the REV2.
    In the interview Tatsuya Takahashi is often repeating what Dave Smith already mentioned. If you compare those 2 people its not a fair fight. Tatsuya lacks the amount of experience Dave has. He lacks also a bit knowledge of the English language (like i do :).

        1. His English is perfect and he speaks like a native speaker, he’s just lost for words sometimes in front of a crowd like we all are.

  6. Stop bashing Korg! What about sound? In my personal opinion no monosynth from DSI or Moog sounds by far as interesting/exciting/cool as the Monologue, and that’s the reason I’d rather buy one of those. To me that’s more important than key size or how it’s packaged etc. I’d like to think that the argument could be reversed: it seems reasonable to me to invest in a DSI instrument if you like how it sounds. If you like it for the fact that the keys are of a certain size and certain connections are available on the back, I’m sure you could get something cheaper with the same connections and key size instead.

    And the whole key thing is easy to work around anyway. They touch the subject in the video. It’s called MIDI.

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