１．Business expansion focusing on sound and music
We are a global company selling musical electronic devices developed for a wide range of customers, including professionals and amateurs in about 130 countries. Our Japanese headquarters focuses on product development and marketing while overseas sales activities are performed via group companies and sales agencies. We adopt a fabless system in which production is entrusted to overseas EMS companies*.
Our products are intended for markets and customers in various fields, including not only musicians who play musical instruments and artists who produce music, but also photographers, journalists, youtubers, podcasters, and content creators in the broadcasting and film industries. Although individual markets are huge and spread globally, there are niche users who pay particular attention to good quality sound in some segments of each market. While the size of such global and niche markets are large enough for us to expand our business, it is difficult for big enterprises to enter such markets because they would not be able to generate profit. Although our products are intended for users in such markets with relatively fewer competitors, our main focus is on the music and musical instrument markets. This attitude is the reason we have continually received support from users who pay particular attention to sound.
As a fabless company with a low ratio of fixed assets, we strive to develop our businesses while expanding our user segments by continually cultivating global niche markets related to sound and music by concentrating our business resources on product development.
*EMS companies：Companies contracting production of electronic devices
２．Global Development, Production, Sales Systems
About half of our employees are development engineers, and most of them play some musical instruments on a daily basis, allowing them to develop products from the user’s viewpoints. Our development system is characterized in that internal engineers are focusing on core technologies, including DSP programming, design of user interfaces, firmware design, design of analog electronic circuits, and voicing (creation of sounds), while making use of the excellent resources of external companies for other design-related work.
Without our own factories, we outsource the manufacturing process to EMS companies in China and Southeast Asia. We attach great importance to maintaining good cooperative relationships with EMS companies, because cost reduction enabled by efficient production systems and implementation of state-of-the-art technology enabled by downsizing of parts is closely related to product planning. However, with regard to quality control, we adopt strict in-line and delivery inspection systems administered by our subsidiary Zoom DC to place priority on consistent internal standards. As stated here, we build an optimum production system to flexibly respond to market needs and seasonal demand fluctuations while suppressing production-related fixed costs, aiming to providing users with products ensuring high quality products and excellent cost performance.
Our products are initially sold to overseas import and sales agencies and then resold to regional retailers (musical instrument stores, industrial equipment stores, consumer electronics stores, and online retailers). Subsidiaries and affiliated companies represented by Zoom North America in North America, and Mogar Music in South Europe build a flexible sales system unique to their region by following a consistent branding strategy, while more than 50 import and sales agencies, including those in other regions are encompassing our global logistics networks. In Japan, our Japanese headquarters serve as an import and sales agency, directly selling our products to musical instrument stores, wholesalers, consumer electronics stores, and online retailers.
３．Our Brand Name is Bigger Overseas than in Japan
Our overseas sales occupy about 80 percent all sales, which means our brand is known more overseas than in Japan. The biggest market is the United States with sales for Zoom North America in charge of sales in North America reaching 38% of consolidated sales. This is followed by 21% from Japan 16% from South Europe; the region includes Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, 11% from Central Europe; the region includes Germany, the three Benelux states, Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, the three Baltic states and others. While sales from China currently occupy only 2%, the market is rapidly growing as Western culture disseminates more than ever. Note that, while sales networks in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East included in Others, 12% still rely on the conventional method centered on musical instrument stores with the gradual emergence of Western-style consumer electronics stores and online retailers; these markets are becoming potential growing markets along with the increase of disposable incomes in middle-class families in these regions.
４．Various Product Categories
Although the segment information is omitted because our group operates in a single segment of the electronic musical device business, the main products of our group are classified into the following categories.
● Handy Audio Recorder (HAR)
The handy audio recorders of our group are the high-quality linear PCM recorders (Note 3) that record uncompressed audio, rather than the compressed digital audio, such as MP3 (Note 2), used for music distribution. The product was developed for musicians playing rock music by applying the recording technology cultivated in Multi Track recorders, but in addition to musicians, it is also used among the creators in the video and broadcasting fields as an audio recorder. The H8 is an easy-to-operate flagship model with a 2.4" color touchscreen.
● Digital Mixer/ Multi Track Recorder (DMX/MTR)
The digital mixer is an electronic device that converts multiple input audio signals into digital signals, adjusts volume and sound quality, and mixes multiple audio sounds. The Multi Track recorder is a recording device that provides freedom of choosing multiple tracks (units of recorded data) for recording and playback and allows multiple recordings, such as creating a base musical composition, recording a song on another track, and further recording a song with a different scale on another track. In September 2022, the new generation Multi Track recorder R12 with a 2.4" touchscreen was launched.
● Multi-Effects (MFX)
The effectors (Note 4) of our group are Multi-effects that incorporate multiple effects using digital processing. The free combination of the built-in effect types is available, and the created tones are recorded on the main unit and recalled for use by stepping on a footswitch.
Since the release of the 9002 based on the concept of compact Multi-effects attachable to guitar straps in 1990, we released a variety of products that include models for bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and models per their price levels, as well as models that are widely compatible across a variety of acoustic instruments, such as saxophone and harmonica. In December 2022, we launched the G2 FOUR and G2X FOUR Multi-effects processors loaded with the newly developed multilayer-IR (Note 5) function.
● Professional Field Recorder (PFR)
The professional field recorder is for creators in video-related industries and sound designers and is intended for outdoor use offering such features as 32-bit float recording (Note 7) with an overwhelmingly vast dynamic range (Note 6) and timecode (Note 8) for high-precision synchronization with video. In January 2022, we launched the 32-bit float field recorder, F3, in a compact and robust palm-size body, followed by the highest-end model, the F8n PRO, in February.
● MicTrak Recorders
We launched the MicTrak Series (M Series) as a new product category in December 2022, integrating the microphone sound collection technology that we cultivated in our handy audio recorders and the 32-bit float recording technology that we developed in our professional field recorders. An unprecedented microphone-type recorder series allows single shot recording without rehearsal, eliminating the need for input gain (Note 9) adjustment, and is equipped with a microphone and high-performance preamp (Note 10) that can withstand high sound volumes. For more information, in the sales shown by category, MicTrak recorders are included in professional field recorders due to the small share in consolidated sales in the current fiscal year.
● Handy Video Recorder (HVR)
The handy video recorder of our group is for music designed for recording in high-resolution audio (Note 11) quality. Currently available products support 4K video quality, allowing the uploading of high video and audio quality movies to video posting sites, such as YouTube provided by YouTube LLC, and SNS. The flagship product Q8n-4K is compatible with the latest V2 standard for interchangeable mic capsule systems; in addition, the 2CH mic input terminals allow it to be used not only for recording band practice or taking selfies of singing while playing but also for live streaming and Web conferencing as a high-quality sound webcam for PCs and Macs.
● Microphones (MIC)
The lineup of the iQ series and Am7 are recording microphones that can be connected to the iOS devices provided by Apple Inc. and the Android OS devices provided by Google LLC to allow CD-quality stereo recordings. At the same time, we provide the HandyRecorder App with high-quality sound recording and editing functions, and the Mobile HandyShare App that allows high-quality image and high-quality sound movie capturing using the smartphone’s camera image and our microphone. We are also upgrading our lineup of the ZPC-1, a matched pair of pencil stereo mics that allows for full-scale stereo recording.
● Vocal Processor (VCP)
A lineup of effectors that can add musical harmonies to the human voice, such as vocals and voices, convert it into a robotic machine voice, and even integrate a voice changer to control voice quality characteristics that vary with gender and age. The desktop vocal processor, V3, is a typical product that is helpful for podcasters and video distributors.
● Audio Interface (AIF)
The audio interface is a product that serves as the audio entry/exit point to the computer. Since only digital signals are accepted by the computer, the audio interface is responsible for the conversion from analog to digital when inputting audio into the computer and from digital to analog when listening to the audio from the computer. In June 2022, our group launched the AMS series, a new audio interface that can be utilized for both music production and live distribution in addition to the existing lineup.
● Brands Offered by Mogar
A sales agent in southern Europe of our group and the consolidated subsidiary Mogar Music S.r.l. handles product brands other than those of our company as well. Brands other than those of our company imported and sold by Mogar Music S.r.l. as a sales agent are classified as the independent category Mogar Brands.
● BrandsBrands Offeed by HookUp
HookUp Inc., which became a consolidated subsidiary in January 2021 as a result of share acquisition, handles product brands other than those of our company. Brands other than those of our company imported and sold by HookUp Inc. as a sales agent are classified as the independent category HookUp Brands.
1. EMS Companies
EMS refers to Electronics Manufacturing Service, and an EMS company is a subcontracted manufacturer of electronic devices.
One of the technologies used to compress audio files and the file format created with it.
3. Linear PCM Recorder
IC recorder records audio data in linear PCM format without compression. Linear PCM is one of the formats for converting analog signals, such as audio, into digital data but without the compression that can cause degradation of sound quality.
This device adds variety to the tone of guitar, bass, and other instruments and is classified into a single effect pedal with built-in Multi-effects in a single body.
5. Multilayer IR
A signal processing technology that can naturally vary characteristics based on three impulse responses captured at different volume levels (loud, medium, and soft) aiming at reproducing the characteristics of a speaker cabinet, which dynamically vary in response to input volume.
6. Dynamic Range
The ratio of the minimum to the maximum value of processed audio signals, representing the amount of volume control information.
7. 32-bit Float Recording
A recording method that adds an 8-bit exponential multiplier to 24-bit linear. Has an advantage that the sound does not deteriorate when turned up for editing from a low sound volume (gain) recording.
8. Time Code
The electrical signal that encodes time and time information required in the production sites of image products, such as motion pictures and TV programs.
9. Input Gain
The amplification of electrical signal through an amplifier in an electric circuit or the amplification value.
A type of amplifier used primarily to regulate the output signal from audio devices.
11. High Reso Audio
According to the definition by JEITA, any audio with either a sampling frequency (kHz) or quantization bit rate (bit) higher than the CD specification is referred to as high-resolution audio, where the CD specification here is 16-bit/44.1 kHz, or 48 kHz.