One of the largest if not the largest synthesizer events just wrapped up in Germany. This would be Superbooth 2023, a huge showcase for companies that design and build synthesizer (and related) equipment. As the years have passed, it’s become easier and easier to experience Superbooth from afar (I’ve never been), thanks to the magical portal that is YouTube. I wanted to highlight one piece of gear in particular, and less so the gear than the manner in which it was presented.
Tatsuya Takahashi, founder of the Berlin spin-off of the Japanese firm Korg, unveiled an “acoustic synthesizer,” and while the device itself is quite interesting, I was particularly struck by the simple means by which he explained how its unique sound-producing technology functions: the Korg Berlin team printed up a bunch of paperback flip books, a page of which is shown above.
At about the 1:41 timecode in the video, Tats, as he’s called, compares the physical motion within this synthesizer to that of a ruler on the end of a desk being plucked and “bobbing up and down.” Each flip book shows a different frequency, beginning with the fundamental, the lowest one. When Tats shows the first overtone, the flip book displays how the “arms” of the element within the device move in a different way than they did for the fundamental, and so on. The synthesizer itself looks (and sounds) quite interesting, but the presentation is a testament to what a clear communicator Tats is. The interview is well worth watching. It’s just 12 minutes long.