KORG Berlin Embraces Creative Experimentation in the Music Equipment Industry

Pooria Sohi Pooria Sohi April 29, 2022

2 min read

We recently sat down with KORG Berlin CEO Tatsuya Takahashi and designer Samantha Melnyk to learn more about how Autodesk Fusion 360 plays a role in their work.

Image courtesy of KORG Berlin. A non-product-related internal project.

Whether you play, produce, or just love music, chances are you’ve heard of the Japanese company KORG. KORG produces musical instruments, audio processors, guitar pedals, electronic tuners, and most recently, DIY hackable kits for those interested in audio. For decades, KORG has led the way for music technology with innovative synthesizers, rhythm devices, and more.

In 2020, KORG opened a studio in Berlin headed by Tatsuya Takahashi, the brain behind KORG’s volca line, the Monotron, and the Aphex Twin-approved Monologue. KORG Berlin is a small cohort of designers, engineers, instrumentalists, and creatives working together to innovate the next generation of music equipment.

Image courtesy of KORG Berlin. A non-product-related internal project.

The studio’s focus is internal prototyping — creating design iterations and experimenting with digital and analog processes. “The core idea is it’s a place where we build stuff,” Takahashi says. “There are so many products out there already, and it’s very easy to reissue a vintage synth. You really need to assess if what you’re creating is truly worth producing, even if you think it’s good.”

Image courtesy of KORG Berlin. A non-product-related internal project.

Takahashi emphasizes that it’s important for his team to be intimate with the fabrication process, instead of just designing products and sending them to another department for manufacturing. “Fusion 360 has been instrumental for creating models, getting direct control of CAM functionality, and in product development,” he explains. 

A process-driven approach

KORG Berlin’s emphasis on prototyping initially posed a challenge for Takahashi. He has a background in electric engineering, but he had never created a 3D model before.

Enter Samantha Melnyk, a designer with substantial experience in robotics and digital fabrication who helped unlock the studio’s vision. Using Fusion 360, she built a team of designers of various disciplines to fabricate on the in-house milling machine, laser cutter, SLA and FDM printers. They’re able to bring prototypes to life quickly and cost-effectively.

Image courtesy of KORG Berlin. A non-product-related internal project.

“Fusion 360 has reduced the barriers of entering fabrication, learning, and execution for the team,” Melnyk told us. “Its simplicity allows someone without a more traditional engineering background to work on mechanical designs for new products, opening up possibilities and allowing us to focus on creation.”

Image courtesy of KORG Berlin. A non-product-related internal project.

KORG Berlin can’t share what their next product will be yet. However, they did divulge that it will combine mechanical and electronic methods of synthesizing sound. As you might assume, creating such a product necessitates both mechanical and electrical engineers to work together and to enable fluidity between the two disciplines.

While patiently waiting for KORG Berlin’s next project, you can learn more about the studio here.

Interested in seeing how Fusion 360 can transform your design for manufacture workflow? Try it today for free:

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