Gear designer and TEAC co-founder Yoshiharu Abe passed away on January 2, 2013. Abe was instrumental in ushering in the tools that led to the home/project studio revolution. Born in 1931, he was one of the five original founders of TEAC (Tokyo Electro-Acoustic Company) in 1957. The TASCAM (TEAC Audio Systems Corporation America) division was launched in the early ’70s to produce audio equipment for the professional and “semi-professional” markets.
Among the many products Abe designed for TEAC/TASCAM were the 80-8 1/2-inch reel-to-reel 8-track tape recorder (ca. 1976) and the original cassette-based Portastudio multitrack recorder/mixers (ca. 1979). These products were among the first affordable multitrack audio recording available on the market — the 80-8, for example came in at 1/3rd the price of its nearest competitor — and were extremely popular among musicians of the day, such as Boston, Kansas, and many others. Their designs were the basis for numerous subsequent TEAC/TASCAM products as well as for competing products from other manufacturers.
Later in his career, Abe worked for Fostex, where he was a member of the teams that designed the B-16 1/2-inch reel-to-reel multitrack recorder (ca. 1981) and the X-15 cassette multitracker (ca. 1983).