Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer
Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer
Overview by GAK
The OP-1, designed by innovative Swedish design company Teenage Engineering, is truly an all-in-one “Wonder Synth”. The OP-1’s combination of synthesis engines, effects, sampling capabilities and virtual tape machine provides a unique and intuitive approach to making music in an ultra-portable package.
Don’t be fooled by its toy-like appearance – the Teenage Engineering OP-1 is built to an exceptionally high standard. The chassis is single piece milled aluminium, the scissor-style keys are designed to withstand over a million presses and the crisp, colourful AMOLED screen can be viewed in virtually any level of lighting at any angle. OP-1 has an integrated long-life lithium-ion battery (up to 16 hours), making OP-1 a truly portable beat-making machine. Most importantly, the sound output quality is fantastic.
Effortless Music Creation
The 13 inspiring synthesis engines built into the Teenage Engineering OP1 present a wide range of timbral possibilities for silky lead melodies, shimmering pads, smooth keys and squelching basses. There’s a healthy mix of conventional and unconventional synth engines, including FM (Yamaha DX-style), physical modelling string synthesis (String), multi-layered oscillators (Cluster) and 8-bit style (Dr Wave). A highlight is the DNA synthesis engine, which models itself on the unique ID of your OP1 and gives each unit its own unique sound.
Fresh Synth Engines
Each synth engine features 4 tweakable parameters and you can introduce modulation & movement with the dedicated ADSR envelope and a variety of LFOs. There’s even an internal G-force sensor that allows you to create modulation by physically moving the OP-1. Each sound can have its own effect, which ranges from classic types such as filtering, reverb & delay to far-out algorithms like Phone (perfect for lo-fi beats to chill/relax to) & CWO (an interesting pitch-shifted delay). Whether you’re a seasoned synthesist or a complete beginner, the OP1’s great presets, vast sound palette and ease of use make it an absolute joy to play with.
As an added bonus, Teenage Engineering have continued to enhance the OP-1 with extra synth engines, effect models and envelopes after launch. Keep your eyes peeled for more updates!
Not only does Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 comes with an impressive library of samples (including instruments & drum kits), you can also customise it with your own sample library. You can either import them from a computer (which is as simple as dragging in the files) or directly record them to the OP-1 with either the built-in high-definition microphone or the line-in input. The OP-1’s onboard FM radio is another source for sampling and it can even be used as a modulation source. The radio features worldwide FM band support so you can discover new signals to sample on your adventures.
Virtual Tape Recording
Once you’ve got your sounds set up, you can record them with the 4-track “tape” recorder. You can easily create full arrangements using this feature, with the ability to overdub and cut/paste to your heart’s content. A huge advantage of the OP 1’s recorder is that you can use it to create complex layers of sound and import them into the sampler. The master track can then be polished up using the mixer (which features pan & level controls), a master effect and compression. You can also export the files to your DAW of choice if you want deeper control over the mixing.
Part Of The Family
The OP-1 is part of a range of synthesisers and sound devices from TE. They also make the OP-Z, a smaller counterpart to the OP-1 with advanced sequencer capabilities and multimedia control. Then there’s Pocket Operators - tiny musical devices with huge sounds! There are 9 in the range, each with a different sound set such as drums, bass, lead or percussion. There’s even a vocoder!
When it comes to pure fun, portability and power - the Teenage Engineering OP-1 is an excellent choice. It’s not only a fantastic way to produce music on the go, it also delivers a highly tactile and intuitive workflow that encourages you to focus on creating.
- Multiple Synthesizer Engines with Exchangable Architecture
- Built-in 24 Voice Instant Live Sampler
- 4 track Tape Recorder with Variable Tape Speed
- 6 Minutes Recording Time. (Up to 24 Minutes)
- 4 track Mixer with EQ, Effect, Drive and Master Out
- Multiple Exchangable Effects
- Multiple Exchangable Sequencers
- USB MIDI Controller - MAC & PC Compatible
- 2-Way USB File Transfer - MAC & PC Compatible
- Colour Coded Vector Based User Interface
- Instant Reverse and variable Tape Speed Recording
- Full Classic Tape Editing Capabilities
- Master Tempo with Beat Matching to Tape Feature
No upgrades available
My first and probably last synthesizer. An unreal amount of functionality in such a tiny unit.
Great piece of kit - lots of creative options
It’s amazing. So inspiring to use and yet so deep I keep changing my mind about what I’m doing! I buy and sell lots of stuff but this will stay for good
First unit had a faulty headphone socket, so best to check this out as soon as you get one. However, once I got a replacement unit, this really lives up to the hype. I'm addicted to it! I've had it less than a week and I cannot spend enough time on it. YouTube is a great source of info for getting started. The depth of capability for such a portable unit is incredible and the graphics screen is really engaging. I'm only just starting with music production and the tactile, hands on feel of this unit and the ease at which you can start creating, is great for me. I wanted something that was portable and this is like a studio in your back pack!
Amazing piece of equipment, it's all about the practice now