We interviewed Mr. Tetsuya Sukehiro. He is the cartridge designer of his own brand “PLATANUS.”
– When did you get interested in analog record?
When I was a child, analog records were still prevalent. My father gave me the set of equipments when I’m about 10 years old and start to listen.
– What is the first record you bought?
The 1st album of Yumi Arai. I bought it in flea market.
– I hear you were DJ.
When I was young. I used to go to shibuya to buy record with my friends.
– How often do you listen to records?
Well, at least once in 3 days.
– How long do you listen in each listening?
For hours. I test many cartridges at one time.
– Is there difference between listening in work and private?
In the private I listen all day long, but perhaps no difference from my work. I do nothing else while I’m listening. I stay still in front of the speakers.
– Don’t you feel tired while you are listening?Yes.
– What are your favorite genres?
I listen to any genres, but relatively old music. Jazz, Pops, Classic… In the product development, I listen to every genres.
– What genre you listen mainly in the product development?
To be more precise, it doesn’t matter what genre. I listen to a certain part of the music and check whether it sounds as I planned. I use musics which easy to listen to the elements I want to check.
– How many records do you have?
I don’t know. I have only a part of my collection in this house. Most of that are in my parents’ house. I haven’t count before. Probably thousands.
– Where do you buy records?
At record stores and on the Internet.
– Please tell me about your work.
Making and designing phono cartridges and tone arms.
– When you start designing the tone arm, what you decide first? For example, its shape or performance.
– Did you start to develop cartridges as interest?
I work for the company manufacturing the parts of cartridge, so I made the parts but didn’t assemble them. I thought I should know the completed form, so designed and tested personally.
– What is the hardship on your work.
The cost. Parts cost much. I’m nervous till the stock is sold.
– Is there the customer who want you to make full custom-made?
– It costs so much.
Customers like that don’t care the cost. However much it costs, they want what they want.
– Is there a busy season?Before the famous audio show like in US or Germany. The parts are in short supply.
– In that season you work through the night?No. It causes the problem with products. If I waste the parts, lose not a little money.
– Where MC cartridge are popular in?
It’s US. And Asian people are getting intersted in records. Many Asian countries didn’t have the record culture originally, so people in there treats records as the new media.
– So do young people listen to records?
Yes. Many young and rich people are in the area.
– What feature do you want your products to have?
As for “PLATANUS,” the products reflect my own taste. I want the equipments to “disappear”.
– Disappear? What do you mean?
I know some people want to feel “I’m listening with good equipments,” but I want to feel music itself. I don’t like feel the audio equipments very much.
– What is your policy on the product development?
It’s usual, but thinking from user’s perspective. I think “Is this price reasonable for the customers?” Even low price one costs about 2,200$, so you can buy MacBook with same money. I always ask myself “The quality is adequate for the price?”
– How do you think about recent analog record fad?
I haven’t felt influence from it so much. I think people feel attraction from records because they are visible things. They have big jackets and people can touch them.
– How do you think about the future of records?
I think analog records will never extinct. They will keep living as hobby.
– What is the analog records to you?