Our Story

Inspired by the depth of emotion he witnessed at vinyl listening sessions organised during his tenure at the Bridgestone Museum of Arts in Tokyo, Hideo Matsushita was determined to enable more people to experience the warmth of analogue listening. In a small Shinjuku apartment, he established Audio-Technica and began developing cartridges. His first two products, the AT-1 and AT-3, achieved success and enabled Hideo to expand his business. He opened a larger headquarters in Machida, where the company still operates today.

Building on our passion for listening we have grown to design critically acclaimed headphones, turntables and microphones, remaining a family business and retaining the belief that high-quality audio should be accessible to all. We still produce some of the world’s most popular cartridges and we will always retain our passion for analogue.

We believe that sound should be natural and we strive to reproduce true, accurate, representations of audio. We start every product with the pure vibration created when we capture sound, using this analogue transducer technology to create products that transcend everyday sensory experiences; heightening our sensibilities. Our quest to create pure, natural, audio is perpetual - it never stops, never ends.

Audio-Technica headphones, turntables and microphone systems are used across the globe in a wide variety of applications, from live concert tours and recording studios to theatres, educational facilities, and houses of worship. There are also millions of music enthusiasts, gamers and content creators who use our products every day.

1960s/ Audio-Technica is founded

Audio-Technica was founded in Japan on 17th April 1962 by Hideo Matsushita. After operating from a small flat above a ramen shop in Shinjuku, Audio-Technica opened a larger headquarters in Machida, Tokyo, where the company still operates today.

After witnessing the emotional connection we have to audio during his listening parties at the Bridgestone Museum of Art, Hideo Matsushita wanted to enable more people to experience quality audio at home. He established Audio-Technica in 1962, with his first product the AT-1 cartridge.

From the launch of our first cartridge, the AT-1, we continued to innovate and push the possibilities of cartridge technology. We invested heavily in research and development throughout the 1960s to launch products, such as the AT-3 MM and AT-5 MM phono cartridges, realising the potential of analogue audio.

We developed an elliptical diamond stylus which was incorporated into the AT-3X and AT-5X. These innovative new products made Audio-Technica a popular choice for audio enthusiasts.

The AT-1001 tone arm package won recognition from the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology, part of Japan’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, in 1965. 

The AT-35X was launched in 1967, as one of the very first VM-style stereo cartridges released. Today, the VM Series is one of our most popular cartridge ranges thanks to its innovative dual magnet design that provides superb tracking.

We provided technology for joint phono cartridge research with the NHK Technology Research Center in 1968 to inspire development of next-generation cartridges.

By the late 60s, Audio-Technica was also beginning to export phono cartridges to audio equipment manufacturers worldwide, further establishing the brand as a global manufacturer.

1970s/ Audio-Technica’s first headphones and microphones are released

Ten years after its inception, Audio-Technica wanted to share its passion for analogue audio throughout the world. The first international expansion was in America, with Audio-Technica U.S established in Ohio in 1972 and other divisions in Europe and Asia opening during the 1970s.

The 70s was a pivotal decade for our cartridges range. In 1971, just four years after its product launch, Audio-Technica obtained patents for the VM phono cartridge format in the United Kingdom and the United States and shipment of VM phono cartridges to European audio equipment manufacturers began.

The first international expansion was in America, with Audio-Technica U.S established in Ohio in 1972 and other divisions in Europe and Asia opening during the 1970s.

High-quality headphones, that made use of the transducer technology behind all of our products, arrived when our AT-700 headphone series were released in 1974. The AT-700 series headphones were released in sequence, helping us to broaden our reach and transition the business from predominantly manufacturing cartridges to crafting a wider range of audio equipment too.

The AT-15E VM phono cartridge was awarded the top prize in the phono cartridge category at the Stereo Components Grand Prix competition in 1974.

In our founding country of Japan we were pleased to secure a patent for the VM phono cartridge.

We also continued our creative partnership with design pioneer Endo-san, who represented the fragile beauty of analogue sound by merging natural scenes with his signature aesthetics.

Audio-Technica’s first series of microphones, the AT-800 series, was introduced in 1978. This affordable microphone range - which included eight models from handheld and lavalier to shotgun mics - proved particularly popular amongst musicians, paving the way for the development of future microphone series.

1980s/ Audio-Technica’s design and microphones gain critical acclaim 

A decade of innovation, we introduced the UniPoint®, ATW-8584 and shotgun microphones, all of which significantly helped shape the history of microphone technology. We also launched the iconic Soundburger - a portable turntable that became a cult classic.

Audio-Technica shotgun microphones were used on major worldwide television shows throughout the 1970s, further amplifying the brand and solidifying Audio-Technica as the microphone brand of choice for high-profile shows and events.

Our package designs won the Tokyo Art Directors’ ADC Award in 1980.

The Sound Burger was launched representing the playfulness of portable audio whilst also retaining our strong connection to vinyl.

1984 saw the launch of our UniPoint® series of ultra-compact installed sound microphones. Featuring five different models, UniPoint® microphones have always offered discreet and slimline design and an unrivalled audio experience for those delivering talks, speeches, business presentations or conferences. Today, our UniPoint® line is seen everywhere from local churches, theatres and council chambers right through to conference rooms in the United Nations. 

1986 saw Audio-Technica’s first wireless microphone systems go on sale and, by 1989, this technology had already developed dramatically. We developed and released the 800MHz band commercial wireless system ATW8584 which opened up new possibilities in the world of professional audio as it allowed for enhanced flexibility without compromise on audio quality.

Following the launch of the world’s first phono cartridge made with Pure Copper by Ohno Continuous Casting (PCOCC) materials in 1986, in 1987, we succeeded in incorporating Super PCOCC material into our products and began introducing Super PCOCC to the market as the highest quality digital cable.

1990s/ Audio solutions for global events

Though already well established, Audio-Technica began to grow in prominence throughout the 90’s as our business became known worldwide for providing quality audio solutions. People began seeing Audio-Technica products appearing more frequently at high-profile events, from our UniPoint mics being used at the Tokyo Declaration in 1992 and Gloria Estefan singing into an ATM63 during the half-time show of the 1992 Super Bowl to Audio-Technica partnering with the Summer Sonic festival in 1997.

We continued to explore new cartridge technology throughout the 90s, with products such as the AT-OC30 moving coil stereo cartridge launching in 1991.

Our 40 Series microphone was introduced with the launch of the AT4033 recording studio microphone in 1991 - it’s still a popular model today, though its most recent incarnation is the AT4033a. Coming in at under £1,000, it was the only studio condenser microphone in its class to dip below this price range. Legendary producer Phil Ramone consulted on the design process and was a strong advocate for the mic’s quality, which set new standards for the whole industry both in terms of price and performance.

The AT4033 impressed artists and audio engineers - and it was award-winning, too. In 1991 it was chosen as the best microphone of the year at the Audio Engineering Society (AES) convention.

Kazuo Matsushita, son of our original founder Hideo Matsushita, took over as president of Audio-Technica in 1993.

The launch of the AT4033 was another huge leap forward in establishing our brand, and high-profile artists began to use our products both on stage and in the studio. The 1994 release of the AT4050, which was endorsed by musician and engineer Alan Parsons, set yet another milestone and further established the 40 Series’ quality reputation.

1996 saw the launch of the ATH-W10VTG headphones with natural wood housing - the first of our critically-acclaimed W series. Many additional models within the W series launched throughout the 90s. The beautiful appearance of natural wood, plus the authentic sound quality, firmly established our W series as a winner for both critics and consumers.

2000s/ Launching iconic audio solutions

The 2000s saw the introduction of some of our most acclaimed products that become fan favourites throughout the world, including the ATH-M50 headphones, AT2020 microphone and AT-LP120-USB turntable.

Throughout the 2000s our Artist Elite 5000 series wireless system was used across several high-profile events including the 45th Grammy Awards Ceremony in 2003 and the 6th Summer Sonic in 2005.

To celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2002, Audio-Technica built the ‘Technica House’ in Tokyo, an inspiring new eight-storey office space complete with a recording studio.

Audio-Technica’s 20 Series was first released in 2004. Providing quality audio, reliability and durability - yet maintaining an extremely affordable price point - the 20 Series soon became one of our most popular microphone lines. The iconic AT2020 cardioid condenser microphone is engineered to capture crisp detail, while its rugged design ensures long-lasting durability - perfect for podcasters, musicians or content creators looking to step up their home studio setup.

We won the 2005 Design Excellent Company Award from the Japan Institute of Design Promotion.

Next up came the launch of our iconic M50 headphones in 2007. Originally designed as professional monitoring headphones delivering clear, natural sound, they have grown to become one of the go-to headphones for anyone looking to enhance their everyday listening experience. Designed to be durable yet comfortable, the M50 headphones are known for their well-balanced sound profile. Still known for quality audio today, they are perfect for anyone from musicians and content creators, to music listeners and gamers.

Despite the success of Audio-Technica’s microphones and headphones range, we never forgot our roots. In 2007, we released our first turntable, the LP120-USB which included USB and adapter cable, allowing users to digitise their LPs by plugging their turntable directly into a computer.

The first in our acclaimed line of QuietPoint® noise-cancelling headphones, ATH-ANC7, launches. Our exclusive QuietPoint® technology focuses on creating a natural-sounding audio experience with microphones measuring the level of noise in every environment.

2010s/ Merging Bluetooth® and analogue

We continued to grow our headphone and turntable selection - with the launch of our AT-LP60BT Bluetooth® turntable, our first ever gaming headsets and the introduction of the ATH-M50xBT. We also continued to innovate, with the AT5040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone representing a milestone in condenser design.

Throughout the 2010s, we updated our cartridge offering with an update to our legendary VM series. We introduced the popular VM95 Series of moving-magnet phono cartridges, offering vinyl enthusiasts an affordable way to enjoy high-quality record playback.

Audio-Technica’s new state-of-the-art Technica Fukui facility in Echizen City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan opened in 2010, allowing us to further develop our wireless technology through in-house research and product testing. The environmentally friendly laboratory is equipped with all the latest facilities such as a large-scale anechoic chamber.

In our 50th year, 2012, we launched our flagship 50 Series of elite studio microphones. The AT5040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone represents a milestone in condenser design, offering remarkably musical high-fidelity performance, with profound realism and depth, presence and purity of sound.

2013 was a particularly difficult year for the business as we mourned for our founder, Hideo Matsushita, who unfortunately passed away at the age of 93. As a business, we remain dedicated to continuing his legacy.

We launched our first gaming headsets in 2014 with our ATH-AG1 and ATH-ADG1. These headsets included audiophile technology, enabling users to immerse themselves in gaming soundscapes. We also employed our expertise in broadcast microphones to ensure gamers experienced clear in-game communication.

One year later, in 2015, we continued to enhance our gaming offering with the launch of the ATH-PDG1 and ATH-PG1. These headsets were popular with streamers and gaming teams, such as Team Kaliber.

Also in 2015 our art monitor headphones ATH-A2000Z won the Headphones Grand Prize at VGP2016 (sponsored by Ongen Publishing).

We released our first Bluetooth® turntable, the LP60BT, in 2016. The fully automatic Bluetooth® turntable brought Audio-Technica’s legendary quality and audio fidelity to the wireless realm, allowing listeners to connect their turntable to devices, such as headphones and powered speakers, wirelessly. This model was enhanced in 2019, as the AT-LP60XBT featured a fully automatic belt-drive stereo turntable with completely wireless connectivity to devices such as speakers and headphones.

The launch of our AT-ART1000 cartridge in 2017 showcased the art of analogue listening, signifying that we never lost sight of our original vision. Designed to truly elevate the listening experience, our AT-ART1000 cartridge uses a unique design that sees the coils located above the stylus to generate movement directly from the grooves in the vinyl record, producing a highly detailed sound and unsurpassed transient response. The cartridge is hand-assembled in Japan.

Bluetooth® technology was (and continues to be) a breakthrough technology. Recognising our customer’s passion for enjoying quality audio both at home and on their travels, we released the M50xBT, a wireless version of our flagship M50x, to the market in 2018. This combines the sound signature of our flagship M50x with the flexibility and convenience of wireless listening. 

We were appointed MotoGP Microphone Services Solutions Provider in 2019. Capturing the adrenaline of the sport with hundreds of microphones, we enabled fans to hear new details - connecting them closer to every thrilling moment.

2020s/ Always analogue

As we celebrate our 60th anniversary we reflect on our past whilst looking towards our future. We will continue to celebrate analogue culture whilst also providing quality audio equipment to all music lovers, audio enthusiasts and creators throughout the world.

Audio-Technica was recognised for achieving the highest number of sales of wired headphones and earphones in Japan for 11 consecutive years (according to BCN ranking). 

Our perpetual quest for quality audio never ends, we are always developing new technology that can enhance the listening experience. In 2020 we launched the AT-ART9XA and AT-ART9XI dual moving coil stereo cartridges as a continuation of our mission for an elevated analogue experience.

Our new podcasting microphone, the AT2040, was released alongside our new Creator Pack campaign in 2021 to celebrate the rise in content creators throughout the world. 

We also launched our ATH-M50xBT2 in 2021. We listened to feedback from fans of the original M50xBT to enhance the Bluetooth headphones - adding USB-C charging and an enhanced mic for improved clarity on calls. The ATH-M50xBT2 is part of our acclaimed M-series, providing a unique listening experience for millions of users across the world.

After their success in Japan, as one of the best-selling truly wireless earbuds in 2020, ATH-SQ1TW launched at the end of 2021. Their unique, pocket-sized, ‘kawaii’ design is paired with powerful features, including 19.5 hours of charge.

In May 2022 we launched the ATH-M20xBT - this is the second headphone in our M-series to go wireless. Based on the affordable audio quality of our best-selling ATH-M20x the M20xBT truly reflect our ‘audio for all’ philosophy - a go-to pair of headphones with a focus on the listening experience at an accessible price.

In 2022 we celebrate Audio-Technica’s 60th birthday. We are proud to have shared our joy and passion for analogue audio for six decades and we want to reaffirm our commitment to pursuing the purity of analogue sound. We are all analogue beings and the natural vibrations generated when we speak, play or sing can be transformed into something that transcends the physical world and heightens our connections.