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A Tiny Audio Factory in Japan is Handcrafting Mics for Global Artists Justin Bieber, Dr. Dre, and More


Sony Taiyo is a tiny audio factory in Japan that specializes in handcrafting mics. With Taiyo being a Sony Group subsidiary, the audio products are nothing less but excellent, which is why it comes to no one’s surprise that among its list of clients are global recording artists Justin Bieber, Dr. Dre, and more.

However, what makes Taiyo more impressive is the fact that the company hires people with disabilities to give them a fair chance in the workplace. Co-founder Masaru Ibuka put up Taiyo as a passion project and statement to disprove the widespread prejudice about disabled people in Japan. Eiko Higuchi is one of the talented workers in Taiyo who single-handedly handles the production of C-38B microphones from raw parts to packaging.

“Every tiny component has slight deviations in texture, color, and weight, and needs to be adjusted by hand. Robots can’t take over my job”, Higuchi says in an interview. The $2,900 C-38B microphone that Higuchi handcrafts was first produced in 1965 and has been a highly sought-after mic by broadcasters and musicians alike.

Aside from the C-38B, Taiyo also handcrafts the C-800G Sony microphone which is worth $11,000. A whopping amount compared to the general cost of a microphone but plenty would say is well worth the price.

“The C-800G has become one of the most important parts of a contemporary vocal chain in pop, hip-hop, and R&B,” says Charlie Harding, host and producer of the Switched on Pop. The same sentiments were shared by Taku Takahashi, a member of acclaimed Japanese hip-hop ground M-Flo, “C-800G is a global standard that creators and engineers trust as it captures every little detailed vocal expression, on each note and breath, allowing us to convey emotion in our music in exactly the way we want”.

Higuchi is one of the many engineers at Taiyo who are formally called monozukuri (production) masters. It is through their skills, expertise, and meticulous craftsmanship that they are able to produce some of the world’s best microphones — each unique to their own. While handcrafting microphones may not be the fastest process, the results speak for themselves as Sony Taiyo’s revenues tripled when it adopted this method back in 1999.

Naomi Feller

Originally from the East Coast, Naomi started singing as young as 3 years old. In her early teens Naomi made some embarrassing YouTube videos before settling on a love for Podcast editing. When she's not pouring over endless amounts of audio, she lends her expertise to us here at Shout4Music with her crystal clear and finely tuned microphone reviews.

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