At Zoom Corporation, digital signal processing, designing of analog electronic circuit, firmware, user interface, and voicing are defined as the most important fundamental technologies for differentiating our products from competitors’ products.
●Digital signal processing (DSP)
The IC chip dedicated for processing digitized audio. It is installed not only on musical instruments but also on mobile devices including smartphones. Our company has accumulated deep knowledge of DSP programming with many years of experience.
●Designing of analog electronic circuit
Even digitally processed audio passes through analog electronic circuits when input from a microphone or output to a speaker. The technology used on analog electronic circuits largely affects the quality and intensity of sounds.
Software incorporated into electronic devices. It has the various roles of processing signals and turning lamps on. Its development requires knowledge and techniques of both hardware and software.
The device components that are operated by users such as switches and displays. The superior design of the user interface is required to create easy-to-use devices.
●Voicing (sound creation)
Voicing is the technology unique to music devices. It is the core technology used on music devices and determines the final audio quality. Engineers make their utmost efforts to this part to create a sound unique to Zoom, which fascinates many users around the world.
At our company, internal engineers are in charge of planning and the designing of the above five core technologies, while we entrust excellent partners outside the company with other technology and production related work. By focusing on core technologies, we achieve the development of products with high added value, establish efficient development and production systems, and improve our core technologies even more.
The history of Zoom products began in 1990 with the release of a multi effector for processing sounds using digital effect (MFX) technology. Then, in addition to the MFX technology, with the acquisition of the multitrack recording (MTR) technology that can record individual sounds of musical instruments and vocals, we developed and released a multitrack recorder.
In 2006, we developed a handy audio recorder by combining high-resolution audio processing (HAR) technology with MFX and MTR. This has become our main product category occupying about half of total sales. In 2009, we developed a unique handy video recorder by newly combining the image processing (HVR) technology with the conventional three technologies. This allowed us to cultivate a new market as a pioneer.
Thereafter, we have developed new products with the introduction of a high-performance pre-amplifier (AIF), time code synchronization technology (PFR), and field mixer (DMX). Our strength is the strategy of making new sales profits by developing and selling products that make us step into new categories by adding new technology to a combination of technologies that we already have. Our competitiveness is solidified by multilayered technologies, which leads us to stable growth.
Until around 2010 after we released our first product multi effector Zoom 9002 in 1990, we had limited our target users to artists playing musical instruments. Then, our user segments gradually expanded as the handy audio recorder released in 2009 became our major product.
For example, in the field of video, our handy audio recorder came to be used in combination with single-lens reflex cameras for video recording as a means for recording lively high-resolution sound. In the field of news reporting, our microphones and recorders are used to catch clear sounds from noisy fields where incidents occur. Such usage was spread globally via word of mouth on SNSs, allowing Zoom brand products to cultivate niche markets in various fields.
Our products are used as recording devices by sound designers for creating new sound effects in the film industry, and in the broadcasting industry, they are used as audio equipment by professional sound crews. Recently, youtubers who upload videos in which they play or sing existing songs, as well as content production companies providing video distribution services (VOD), are attracted by our products, which are small in size and price while ensuring high performance.
We strive to develop our businesses while expanding our user segments by continually cultivating niche markets in various fields where particular attention is paid to sounds.
About half of the more than 80 employees in our company are engineers in charge of developing products. Almost all of them enjoy playing musical instruments, such as the guitar, bass guitar, drum, and piano, on a daily basis. In the first place, when we hire new engineers, we require them to have majored in electronics or software at university and to play a musical instrument. This is because we believe that only engineers with state-of-the-art expertise, an end user’s viewpoint, and musical sensibility can turn ideal products from the user’s viewpoint into reality.
What is developed by such engineers is proposal type products. While there are lots of copied products commercially available in the market that are actually different versions of hit products produced by other companies. If you sell copied products, we can expect a certain share of the existing market. Although some companies prefer to adopt such strategies, we do not agree.
To develop proposal type products providing users with new experiences by making use of our proprietary technologies accumulated over the years, state-of-the-art technologies, and innovative ideas—This is our way of doing business and the source of our growth.