Fostex

Last updated
Fostex
Native name
フォスター電機株式会社
TYO: 6794
Industry Electrical equipment
FoundedJune 1, 1948;73 years ago (1948-06-01) (as Foster Electric Company, Ltd.)
1973 (as Fostex)
Founders
  • Shigeaki Nishimura
  • Hiroaki Hagiwara
Headquarters,
Japan
Key people
Hirozo Yoshizawa (President and CEO) [1]
Products
Number of employees
50,000 (2019)
Parent Foster Electric Company
Website fostexinternational.com

Foster Denki KK (フォスター電機株式会社, Fosutā Denki kabushiki kaisha ) is an electronics company that manufactures loudspeakers and audio equipment for other companies or sells them under the trade name Fostex. It is traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. [2]

Contents

Overview

Foster Denki supplies audio equipment as an OEM:

History

Foster Denki was founded in 1948 and became one of the largest OEM manufacturer of loudspeakers and transducer products worldwide. Fostex was then established in June 1973 to brand components manufactured by Foster Electric.

In 1978, Fostex started to develop speakers for professional use, becoming very well known in both consumer hi-fi and professional fields. Fostex 6301B was the company's most small powered monitor speaker for broadcast and professional use. [2]

1980s: Analog multitrack recorders

From 1981, Fostex and TASCAM pioneered affordable multitrack recording equipment producing the A-2 and the A-4 reel-to-reel recorders; the A-8 was the first eight-track recorder that used affordable ¼ inch tape, becoming a popular choice in the freelance and home recording field.

Another popular product was the Fostex 250 four-track cassette multitracker: it used standard cassettes running at double speed (3¾ ips), which improved high frequency response and dynamic range. To obtain four tracks from a standard cassette, all the four tracks available were used in one direction (normally, two tracks are used in each direction). Dolby C noise reduction was used. [3]

In 1983, Fostex released the X-15, a portable, battery-powered, cassette-based four track recorder and the B-16, a very compact recorder which fitted 16 tracks onto ½ inch tape running at 15 ips speed. Dolby C was built into the machine as an option to overcome the technical limitations due to the narrow track format. [4]

The B-16 was followed by the E-16 in 1986 and the G-16S in 1990, being the first recorder implementing the Dolby S noise reduction system. The G-24S was the last analogue multitrack machine, which fitted 24 tracks onto 1 inch tape and included built-in SMPTE/MIDI synchronization and a removable front panel remote control and meter bridge.

1990s: Digital multitrack recorders

MR8 multitrack hard disk recorder (2003) Fostex mr8hd.jpg
MR8 multitrack hard disk recorder (2003)

As digital technology progressed in the audio field, Fostex moved from analogue tape-based recorders to digital, drive-based recorders.

The Fostex DMT-8, released in 1995, was the first portable and affordable digital recorder. It provided eight tracks of 16-bit, 44.1kHz audio recorded to hard disk, non-destructive editing capabilities, a built-in metronome and MIDI clock output for synchronization with other machines. [6] The FD-4 and FD-8 were variants which added support for Zip and SyQuest removable drives.

Present

D2424LV 24-track hard disk recorder (2001), DV824 8-track DVD recorder (2004), CR500 CD-R/RW master recorder, RM-2 stereo rack monitor Fostex D2424LV (24tr Hard Disk digital recorder), DV824 (8tr DVD multitrack recorder), CR500 (CD-R&RW master recorder), RM-2 (Stereo rack monitor) - IBC 2008.jpg
D2424LV 24-track hard disk recorder (2001), DV824 8-track DVD recorder (2004), CR500 CD-R/RW master recorder, RM-2 stereo rack monitor

Fostex's current product range includes digital multitrack recording equipment, loudspeaker drivers, studio monitors, microphones, and headphones.

Some production sound mixers for motion pictures use the Fostex Field Memory Recorder (FR-series and PD-series), which records audio and stores recordings as WAV files, as their recording device for sync sound.

Fostex has expanded its offering of hi-fi based products to include high-end headphones (TH-series), digital audio converters (HP series) and devices for portable listing. Fostex's T50RP model has become popular in headphone modification circles. [9]

Related Research Articles

Digital audio Technology that records, stores, and reproduces sound

Digital audio is a representation of sound recorded in, or converted into, digital form. In digital audio, the sound wave of the audio signal is typically encoded as numerical samples in a continuous sequence. For example, in CD audio, samples are taken 44,100 times per second, each with 16-bit sample depth. Digital audio is also the name for the entire technology of sound recording and reproduction using audio signals that have been encoded in digital form. Following significant advances in digital audio technology during the 1970s and 1980s, it gradually replaced analog audio technology in many areas of audio engineering and telecommunications in the 1990s and 2000s.

Tape recorder

An audio tape recorder, also known as a tape deck, tape player or tape machine or simply a tape recorder, is a sound recording and reproduction device that records and plays back sounds usually using magnetic tape for storage. In its present-day form, it records a fluctuating signal by moving the tape across a tape head that polarizes the magnetic domains in the tape in proportion to the audio signal. Tape-recording devices include the reel-to-reel tape deck and the cassette deck, which uses a cassette for storage.

Dolby noise-reduction system

A Dolby noise-reduction system, or Dolby NR, is one of a series of noise reduction systems developed by Dolby Laboratories for use in analog audio tape recording. The first was Dolby A, a professional broadband noise reduction system for recording studios in 1965, but the best-known is Dolby B, a sliding band system for the consumer market, which helped make high fidelity practical on cassette tapes, which used a relatively noisy tape size and speed. It is common on high fidelity stereo tape players and recorders to the present day. Of the noise reduction systems, Dolby A and Dolby SR were developed for professional use. Dolby B, C, and S were designed for the consumer market. Aside from Dolby HX, all the Dolby variants work by companding: compressing the dynamic range of the sound during recording, and expanding it during playback.

A cassette deck is a type of tape machine for playing and recording audio cassettes that does not have a built-in power amplifier or speakers, and serves primarily as a transport. It can be a part of an automotive entertainment system, a part of a portable mini system or a part of a home component system. In the latter case it is also called a component cassette deck or just a component deck.

Boombox Portable music player with tape recorders and radio with a carrying handle

A boombox is a transistorized portable music player featuring one or two cassette tape recorder/players and AM/FM radio, generally with a carrying handle. Beginning in the mid 1980s, a CD player was often included. Sound is delivered through an amplifier and two or more integrated loudspeakers. A boombox is a device typically capable of receiving radio stations and playing recorded music. Many models are also capable of recording onto cassette tapes from radio and other sources. In the 1990s, some boomboxes were available with minidisc recorders and players. Designed for portability, boomboxes can be powered by batteries as well as by line current. The boombox was introduced to the American market during the late 1970s. The desire for louder and heavier bass led to bigger and heavier boxes; by the 1980s, some boomboxes had reached the size of a suitcase. Some larger boomboxes even contained vertically mounted record turntables. Most boomboxes were battery-operated, leading to extremely heavy, bulky boxes.

Nagra Series of audio recorders produced by Kudelski SA

Nagra is a brand of portable audio recorders produced from 1951 in Switzerland. Beginning in 1997 a range of high-end equipment aimed at the audiophile community was introduced, and Nagra expanded the company’s product lines into a new marketplace.

Ampex American company that pioneered the use of videotape

Ampex is an American electronics company founded in 1944 by Alexander M. Poniatoff as a spin-off of Dalmo-Victor. The name AMPEX is a portmanteau, created by its founder, which stands for Alexander M. Poniatoff Excellence. Today, Ampex operates as Ampex Data Systems Corporation, a subsidiary of Delta Information Systems, and consists of two business units. The Silicon Valley unit, known internally as Ampex Data Systems (ADS), manufactures digital data storage systems capable of functioning in harsh environments. The Colorado Springs, Colorado unit, referred to as Ampex Intelligent Systems (AIS), serves as a laboratory and hub for the company's line of industrial control systems, cyber security products and services and its artificial intelligence/machine learning technology.

Multitrack recording

Multitrack recording (MTR), also known as multitracking or tracking, is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a cohesive whole. Multitracking became possible in the mid-1950s when the idea of simultaneously recording different audio channels to separate discrete "tracks" on the same reel-to-reel tape was developed. A "track" was simply a different channel recorded to its own discrete area on the tape whereby their relative sequence of recorded events would be preserved, and playback would be simultaneous or synchronized.

Reel-to-reel audio tape recording Audio recording using magnetic tape spooled on open reels

Reel-to-reel audio tape recording, also called open-reel recording, is magnetic tape audio recording in which the recording tape is spooled on a reel. To prepare for use, the supply reel containing the tape is placed on a spindle or hub. The end of the tape is manually pulled from the reel, threaded through mechanical guides and over a tape head assembly, and attached by friction to the hub of the second, initially empty takeup reel. Reel-to-reel systems use tape that is 1412, 1, or 2 inches wide, which normally moves at 3+347+12, 15 or 30 inches per second. All standard tape speeds are derived as a binary submultiple of 30 inches per second.

Nakamichi Corp., Ltd. is a Japanese consumer electronics brand that originated in Japan and gained a name from the 1970s onwards for innovative and high quality audio cassette decks. Nakamichi is a subsidiary of Chinese holding company Nimble Holdings.

Monaural

Monaural or monophonic sound reproduction is sound intended to be heard as if it were emanating from one position. This contrasts with stereophonic sound or stereo, which uses two separate audio channels to reproduce sound from two microphones on the right and left side, which is reproduced with two separate loudspeakers to give a sense of the direction of sound sources. In mono, only one loudspeaker is necessary, but, when played through multiple loudspeakers or headphones, identical signals are fed to each speaker, resulting in the perception of one-channel sound "imaging" in one sonic space between the speakers. Monaural recordings, like stereo ones, typically use multiple microphones fed into multiple channels on a recording console, but each channel is "panned" to the center. In the final stage, the various center-panned signal paths are usually mixed down to two identical tracks, which, because they are identical, are perceived upon playback as representing a single unified signal at a single place in the soundstage. In some cases, multitrack sources are mixed to a one-track tape, thus becoming one signal. In the mastering stage, particularly in the days of mono records, the one- or two-track mono master tape was then transferred to a one-track lathe intended to be used in the pressing of a monophonic record. Today, however, monaural recordings are usually mastered to be played on stereo and multi-track formats, yet retain their center-panned mono soundstage characteristics.

Dolby Laboratories American company specializing in audio noise reduction and audio encoding/compression.

Dolby Laboratories, Inc. is an American company specializing in audio noise reduction and audio encoding/compression. Dolby licenses its technologies to consumer electronics manufacturers.

Portable audio player

A portable audio player is a personal mobile device that allows the user to listen to recorded audio while mobile. Sometimes a distinction is made between a portable player, battery-powered and with one or more small loudspeakers, and a personal player, listened to with earphones.

TASCAM is the professional audio division of TEAC Corporation, headquartered in Santa Fe Springs, California. TASCAM established the Home Recording phenomenon by creating the "Project Studio" and is credited as the inventor of the Portastudio, the first cassette-based multi-track home studio recorders. TASCAM also introduced the first low-cost mass-produced multitrack recorders with Simul-Sync designed for recording musicians, and manufactured reel-to-reel tape machines and audio mixers for home recordists from the early 1970s through the mid-1990s. Since the early 00's, TASCAM has been an early innovator in the field-recording and audio accompaniment to video with their DR-series recording platforms. TASCAM celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021.

Portastudio Home recording studio equipment

The TASCAM Portastudio was the first four-track recorder based on a standard compact audio cassette tape. The term portastudio is exclusive to TASCAM, though it is generally used to describe all self-contained cassette-based multitrack recorders dedicated to music production. The Portastudio, and particularly its first iteration, the Teac 144, is credited with launching the home-recording wave, which allowed musicians to cheaply record and produce music at home, and is cited as one of the most significant innovations in music production technology.

Sound recording and reproduction Recording of sound and playing it back

Sound recording and reproduction is an electrical, mechanical, electronic, or digital inscription and re-creation of sound waves, such as spoken voice, singing, instrumental music, or sound effects. The two main classes of sound recording technology are analog recording and digital recording.

History of sound recording

The history of sound recording - which has progressed in waves, driven by the invention and commercial introduction of new technologies — can be roughly divided into four main periods:

History of multitrack recording

Multitrack recording of sound is the process in which sound and other electro-acoustic signals are captured on a recording medium such as magnetic tape, which is divided into two or more audio tracks that run parallel with each other. Because they are carried on the same medium, the tracks stay in perfect synchronisation, while allowing multiple sound sources to be recorded at different times.

Dolby Atmos Object-based surround sound technology

Dolby Atmos is a surround sound technology developed by Dolby Laboratories. It expands on existing surround sound systems by adding height channels, allowing sounds to be interpreted as three-dimensional objects. Following the release of Atmos for the cinema market, a variety of consumer technologies have been released under the Atmos brand, using in-ceiling and up-firing speakers.

Music technology (electric) Musical instruments and recording devices that use electrical circuits

Electric music technology refers to musical instruments and recording devices that use electrical circuits, which are often combined with mechanical technologies. Examples of electric musical instruments include the electro-mechanical electric piano, the electric guitar, the electro-mechanical Hammond organ and the electric bass. All of these electric instruments do not produce a sound that is audible by the performer or audience in a performance setting unless they are connected to instrument amplifiers and loudspeaker cabinets, which made them sound loud enough for performers and the audience to hear. Amplifiers and loudspeakers are separate from the instrument in the case of the electric guitar, electric bass and some electric organs and most electric pianos. Some electric organs and electric pianos include the amplifier and speaker cabinet within the main housing for the instrument.

References

  1. "フォスター電機[6794] - 役員 | Ullet(ユーレット)". www.ullet.com (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  2. 1 2 "Fostex Company History". Fostex International. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  3. "Fostex 250 Multitracker (HSR May 84)". www.muzines.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  4. "Fostex B16 Tape Recorder (HSR Jan 84)". www.muzines.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  5. "Fostex MR8". www.soundonsound.com. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  6. "The Fostex DMT-8 Digital Hard Disk Recorder/Editor". Sweetwater. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  7. "D2424 Hard Drive Recorder". tapeop.com. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  8. Staff, ProSoundNetwork Editorial. "Fostex Launches DV824 Digital Recorder". ProSoundNetwork.com. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  9. "How to Mod the Fostex T50RP MK3". Headphonesty. 2019-07-08. Retrieved 2019-08-10.

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