– 80 Years of History –
(From 1938 to 2018)
Static electricity is a very familiar and well-known electrical phenomenon and is used for many kinds of equipment (such as copiers).
STAX is the world’s leading electrostatic audio manufacturer which adopts the specialty of static electricity into recording and sound reproduction.
80 years ago, the founder who was fascinated by the technological advantages of static electricity and dedicated to the application and implication of static electricity into audio products established STAX. This is STAX’s 80 years history.
(Office building photo taken in 2017)
Chapter1 Foundation of STAX
Founder: Naotake Hayashi (from 1906 to 2000, passed away at the age of 94)
This photo is reprinted from the catalog in 1995 at the age of about 89.
Established in 1938.
Company name at the time of establishment: Showa-koon Kogyo
In 1963: The company name was changed to STAX Co., Ltd.
The birth of “STAX” brand
●The founder’s career and technical background
|14 years before the foundation (around 1924)|
|・At that time, electronic technology started being used. In the wireless communication, instead of longwave, the researches of shortwave which needs low electric power and enables long-distance telecommunication became popular mainly among universities. At that time, Notake Hayashi was a student of Waseda University. He researched shot wave in the university. |
・Around the same time as broadcasting and telecommunication, electrical recording technology was established in Western Electric and Bell Laboratories. After this, vinyl records enjoyed their golden age.
・Shortwave, broadcasting and electrical recording was the latest topic of the technology at that time.
・At that time, the electrical recording was called “new recording”. But carbon microphones was mainly used for recording. Highly-reproducible and large sound could be recorded, but the sound quality was low. The sound could not satisfy performers and engineers.
|7 years before the foundation (around 1931)|
|After Naotake Hayashi gained experience as recording engineer, he was invited to China as chief recording engineer of Chinese record label.|
In this label, he procured the facilities for recording and established recording technology to set up a recording department as a leader.
Master discs at the time were called wax discs. Wax discs were made of soft material such as wax and were directly cut.
Recording was a severe task because it could never be done again.
To monitor recording, 2 recording machines of the same condition must be used to simultaneously cut 2 wax discs. And master discs for monitoring were played with a pickup of 10 grams on it (mainly moving iron type). Because it was impossible to damage soft master discs, recording took time and effort.
Certificate of appreciation, Chinese company gave to Naotake Hayashi when he left the company (length 100cm, width 50cm)
Chapter 2 History
|Showa Kouon Co., Ltd. (he predecessor of STAX) was founded in Kudan, Chiyoda-ku|
Founder (the first president) Naotake Hayashi
The business was recording using wax discs (master discs for 78rpm records), production of metal masters (plated wax discs), providing recording technology such as soundtrack recording of talkies, developing related audio equipment etc.
|1944||Office relocation (from Kudan, Chiyoda-ku to Zoshigaya, Toshima-ku) |
Showa Kouon relocated to Zoshigaya Missionary House. (American missionary built in 1907 and lived until he was repatriated in 1941. It is a two-story wooden house with about 1000 square meter garden.) This building was used as a head office until 1982.
This missionary house was registered as a tangible cultural property of Tokyo when STAX (Showa Kouon) relocated to Miyoshi-cho, Saitama prefecture and is owned by Toshima-ku.
STAX brand launch
|Company name change (from Showa Kouon Co., Ltd. to STAX Co., Ltd.) |
“STAX” brand launched.
The brand name of high-frequency condenser microphones, “STAX” was used as the company name and “STAX” has been the symbol of the brand and products until today.
|1980||The local subsidiary, STAX kogyo inc.” was founded in Los Angeles, USA.|
|1982||Office relocation (to Kamitome, Miyoshi-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama)|
Both head office and the factory were combined into the former Technical research center building. STAX started the full-scale audio equipment manufacturing. STAX manufactured not only electrostatic equipment but also a full range of audio equipment (amplifiers, CD players, DAC etc.) as an audio comprehensive manufacturer.
In Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Tokyo office was established as a show room.
STAX was highly appreciated abroad (mainly in Europe) and 70% of sales was for export. STAX brand reached its peak.
Change of President
|Change of President |
The founder president, Naotake Hayashi was replaced by Takeshi Hayashi (his son).
In both Japan and USA, the audio boom was gone and Japanese government determined “audio industry is in structural recession”.
As Japanese yen went up against U.S. dollar, high export ratio became a burden on the management. STAX shifted to Japanese market.
Supported by many fans of condenser headphones, STAX developed condenser headphones SR-Ω and high-end driver unit SRM-T2.
|1995||STAX Co., Ltd. suspended the business. (In November) |
Because of the rapid appreciation of the yen and high export ratio, profitability suddenly went down. In November, STAX announced the suspension of business. The bankruptcy of the leading, old-established audio company had a big impact both domestically and internationally.
|1996||STAX Limited was founded (in January). |
Founder (the first president) Hikoya Takahashi
In the creditors’ meeting of STAX Limited, the foundation of the new company and the accession of the brand were approved.
The volunteers of former employees (10 members) re-started manufacturing in the same office building (paying rent to the creditors).
|1997||Office relocation (from Kamitome, Miyoshi-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama to Fujikubo in the same town)|
STAX Limited relocated from the office building of STAX Co., Ltd.
Change of President
|Change of President |
The founder president, Takahashi was replaced by Yozo Meguro (due to death).
|2004||Office relocation (from Fujikubo, Miyoshi-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama to Takemasawa-Higashi in the same town)|
Because of City Planning Act of Miyoshi-machi
|2011||STAX established a business and capital alliance with EDIFIER TECHNOLOGY.|
Because of the old age of resident Yozo Meguro, STAX Limited joined EDIFIER group.
EDIFIER TECHNOLOGY: Audio manufacturer in Shenzhen, China, listed with Shenzhen Stock Exchange, number of employees: about 3 thousand.
CEO: Wen Dong Zhang
|2015||Office relocation (from Takemasawa-Higashi, Miyoshi-machi, Iruma-gun, Saitama to Shimo-Nanbata, Fuhimi-shi, Saitama) |
STAX adopted the full-scale clean room and industrial robots and renewed the office building and production facilities.
Change of President
|Change of President in January|
Yozo Meguro was replaced by Yoshimoto Nakata.
STAX brand 80th anniversary
|3 types of 80th anniversary model were released. |
・SR-300 Limited ・SRM-353X BK ・SR-009BK