Audio-Technica celebrates its analog roots at 60th anniversary 'Art of Analog' listening event in New York City

On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, Audio-Technica gathered together with several of its closest friends and associates at Turntable LP Bar in Midtown Manhattan for “Art of Analog,” an exclusive event in honor of Audio-Technica’s 60th Anniversary. The event was inspired by listening concerts hosted by A-T founder Hideo Matsushita in the early 1960s while he was a curator at Tokyo’s Bridgestone Museum of Art. These concerts grew in popularity and lit a spark in Hideo-san, leading to the establishment of Audio-Technica in 1962 and the development of the AT-1, the world's first truly affordable high-quality phono cartridge. As the company grew, it moved from a small rented flat to a proper office space in Machida, where it continues to be based today.

The “Art of Analog” celebrated A-T’s analog culture and heritage and the company’s passion for listening, while creating a sensory experience for the attendees. This session was part of a series of A-T events worldwide this year, celebrating the brand’s 60th anniversary and united in the theme of analog living.

Members of the hi-fi, consumer and pro audio press were in attendance, as were hi-fi influencers and other high-profile guests. The setting was more than appropriate: Turntable LP Bar features vintage hi-fi and analog audio gear as its central theme, with shelves of vinyl records and album covers lining the walls, as well as vintage radios and classic stereo equipment on display.


Turntable LP Bar in Midtown Manhattan

photo credit: Turntable LP Bar



The event began at 7:00pm, with Peter Baker (ATUS Director, Marketing Communications) sharing a brief history of the A-T brand, and highlighting that, while the brand creates some of the most sophisticated digital products on the market, the concept of analog remains at the core of everything the brand stands for – creating connections with each other and our world through sound.

A guided listening session with an expert panel took place after that, featuring the following acclaimed audio engineers:

  • Engineer, producer and educator Lenise Bent, who has led a groundbreaking career working with some of the biggest names in music (Blondie, Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp) and was the first woman ever to record an RIAA-certified Platinum album (Blondie’s Autoamerican).
  • Recording engineer Chris Mara (Pete Townshend, Brendan Benson, Chris Stapleton), the founder of Nashville’s multifaceted recording studio Welcome to 1979 – the only studio in the world where a record can be tracked, cut and plated all in the same day.
  • Engineer and producer Jimmy Douglass (Foreigner, Justin Timberlake, Missy Elliott), whose storied career has spanned decades, from his early days at Atlantic Records in the 1970s to his celebrated work with hip-hop producer Timbaland and as the owner of Magic Mix Room studio in Miami.

Serving as moderator was Justin Colletti, a mastering engineer, online educator and the author of hundreds of articles on the art, science and business of music and sound. He runs and works as a mastering engineer with Joe Lambert Mastering.


From Left to Right: Chris Mara, Justin Colletti, Manabu Aoki (CEO and President of Audio-Technica U.S.), Lenise Bent, Jimmy Douglass




Before the music started, Colletti set the stage for the discussion by spotlighting the differences between the analog and digital realms, and how an analog approach to workflow and listening fits more appropriately with real human connections, emotions and experiences. He expressed his wish that we all find a healthy balance in our lives to minimize screen time, reinforcing the event’s wider premise of “analog living.”


Moderator Justin Colletti


The panel touched on the challenges and benefits of analog recording, and discussed the ideal environments for – and the importance of – critical listening. While the crowd played close attention to tracks played on Audio-Technica analog gear (AT-LP7 manual belt-drive turntable and AT-VM760LC cartridge equipped with special line contact stylus), complemented by stereo pairs of Tannoy’s Westminster speaker and JBL Professional Model 4350 and Model 4612B speakers powered by a Crown XLS 602 amplifier, the panelists shared their perspective on the thought, techniques and process of recording the iconic and influential albums being played.


Lenise Bent agreed with Colletti on the seismic shift that the move from analog to digital recording brought about: “Back when we used tape, you only had so many tracks, and you had to commit to performances. Maybe you only kept the drums from a performance, and you could re-do things after that. But still, you were committing to something real. There was a vibe. The band played off each other. Moving to digital workstations, with unlimited tracks and editing possibilities, it changed how things felt to me. For me, the joy of recording and capturing performances involves the energy and the emotions and tears in my eyes when I hear the right take, even if it’s not technically perfect. The digital realm has opened up tons of possibilities for us, in terms of what we are capable of creating, but it is important to use analog tools where we can, and to not lose touch with all the special things that those methods of working made possible.”


Lenise Bent


Mara’s listening sample was from a record by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit that was recorded live to disc at Welcome to 1979. “To do that, you have to record the entire side in one take, and I mean everything,” he remarked. “This harkens back to a very old method of recording from before tape machines were invented. Inevitably someone will screw up a note, and the impulse is to track it again, but no – that would mean doing all four or five songs again in a row. That’s a commitment! So it ends up being a very pure document with a lot of authenticity.” Mara also stressed the importance of balance. He doesn’t treat digital as a dirty word, but rather believes that analog and digital tools are both useful in different ways, and they should be used appropriately depending on the needs of the project – a sentiment that the other panelists agreed with.


Chris Mara




Douglass also agreed, noting that when working digitally, it is important to not allow the tools to overwhelm the process and lead to overthinking and robbing a project of its emotional core and energy. He also talked about happy accidents. “I remember that Jimmy Page walked into the studio with 10 reels of quarter-inch tape and wanted to splice together a bunch of guitar bits. So, there we sat with the 10 reels, and we’re just cutting little guitar bits together. And he says ‘Oh, oh, now that one there, that one there, etc.’ And I’m putting them all together. And then we’re done and it’s great, and it’s on the actual record. But there's one bit with a little tick, which was a bad edit. And I remember I said, ‘Oh, I’ll fix it.’ And he goes, ‘Oh no, no. I like that. It’s really good.’ So the funny part is I hear guitarists trying to learn and emulate that solo, complete with the little tick, and I say, ‘you know you’re playing an edit!’ Analog recording and editing always brought about those kinds of quirks and happy accidents.”


Jimmy Douglass


Guests included award-winning producers and engineers Chris Lord-Alge, David Reitzas and David Hewitt; noted studio managers Paula Salvatore (Capitol Studios) and Candace Stewart (EastWest Studios); Maureen Droney (Vice President, Recording Academy® Producers & Engineers Wing®); and many others.



View a video of the whole session below:



Art of Analog