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Teenage Engineering OP-1: now 3 years after release, what's your thoughts?
Old 14th July 2015
  #1
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aligak's Avatar
Teenage Engineering OP-1: now 3 years after release, what's your thoughts?

I haven't seen much information or reviews of this in the past year. There was an initial buzz the first year this came out, but died out. The used prices are still going for $650-750. But, I don't know anyone with one of these. In fact, I've never seen one. What are your thoughts on this? Is it useful in the studio? Is it a pain in the azz to use? Does having an iPad make it obsolete or redundant? Love it? Hate it? Sold it? Indifferent to it? Why?
Old 14th July 2015
  #2
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Love it. I've had it for about 2 years, and still use it all the time. It's capable of so many interesting sounds.

It's my go-to thing for traveling, and one of my favorite albums was done almost entirely on the OP-1, and written almost entirely while on the bus commuting to and from work.

https://carlsagansghost.bandcamp.com...ity-volume-one
Old 14th July 2015
  #3
Lives for gear
 

I just got mine a few weeks ago and I have so much to explore. It is literally filled with things you can do with it. Rather than relying on technical synthesizer terminology, the majority of the user interface is quirky and intuitive. It is really easy to get an idea going, and this is what I am using it for. You can make full songs on it, but you have to remember it only has a "4-track" in it. So, if you go over 4 instruments at any point in the song, you will have to layer the 5th instrument on top of one of the ones that exist. And, printing to tape IS destructive, so you will want to first duplicate that section you are recording over, in case you screw up your recording. There is no post-recording-quantization. There is a simple 16 step sequencer that you can use for drums or samples. However, I don't feel impeded by the lack of undo-redo, it's actually refreshing. Overall, I find the OP-1 shortens the distance between inspiration and results, by providing enough to keep you interested for a long time, but not cluttering it up to where you feel overwhelmed.
Old 14th July 2015
  #4
Gear Head
You might find value in this similar & robust thread over at MuffWiggler

Last edited by SirDuB; 14th July 2015 at 11:41 PM.. Reason: Typo
Old 14th July 2015 | Show parent
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
Love it. I've had it for about 2 years, and still use it all the time. It's capable of so many interesting sounds.

It's my go-to thing for traveling, and one of my favorite albums was done almost entirely on the OP-1, and written almost entirely while on the bus commuting to and from work.

https://carlsagansghost.bandcamp.com...ity-volume-one
This is excellent and now I want an OP1.

:edit: I've been listening to your stuff all morning and it's all really good. I used to live in Seattle and spent a considerable amount of time on the 30 and the 43 -- if only I had been so productive!
Old 14th July 2015
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
Illustrious's Avatar
 

I bought one two months ago and I'm still deciding how I feel about it. The lack of a proper sequencer and the hissing/background noise issues are the two biggest cons for me. It's got plenty of quirks beyond that, I guess I need more time to decide if I can live with them.
Old 15th July 2015
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Got mine back in February or March to get away from the step sequenced Elektron workflow I was exclusively using for over four years, and it completely revitalized my creativity. I read that kinda thing quite a bit before getting it and was a bit disappointed when I didn't feel that happening within the first couple months of using it, but eventually it happened and now I wouldn't want to be without it. In fact I barely use my Elektrons to compose anymore; everything just gets sampled into the OP-1.

For me it was worth every penny and I don't think it's overpriced at all. It is a quality instrument and most importantly it's fun to work with.
Old 15th July 2015
  #8
Gear Guru
I think it's great ... just think they blew it by not including 5 pin MIDI at no extra cost.
Old 15th July 2015
  #9
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NuG3nda's Avatar
 

How is OP1 A/D conversion and audio quality as a sampler, does it lose allot of fidelity when sampling from the inputs? is the noise floor low on samples? .. does it incorporate any hiss or other artifacts when sampling? .. is the sampling from radio any good/ usable?

Always kept an eye on it,.. always waiting on the OP2 .. love the vision of the company ..
Old 15th July 2015 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NuG3nda View Post
is the sampling from radio any good/ usable?
Some of my favorite beats came from using the radio sampling function; I'd characterize it as highly usable. The built-in antenna has limited range though, but I believe there's one available as an accessory.
Old 15th July 2015
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onion View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by NuG3nda View Post
is the sampling from radio any good/ usable?
Some of my favorite beats came from using the radio sampling function; I'd characterize it as highly usable. The built-in antenna has limited range though, but I believe there's one available as an accessory.
the antenna made it worse for me. I was getting a lot of static and noise before but the antenna increased that. There seems to be interference between the headphone cable and the antenna. This is not a high fidelity machine, in regards to sampling. I have made some of my best music from random crap samples. Plus, with how many tools we have now, we can do almost anything with audio.
Old 15th July 2015
  #12
TBS
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I love mine and use it all the time after having it for a year.
It's the perfect thing for travel.
If the price seems reasonable to you then definitely get one...if the price seems high (after watching videos of everything it can do) then it might not be the best decision compared to some other options out there studio-wise.
I've seen several post from people deciding between an OP-1 and an Octatrack...if you can only get one...get the OT for sure.
I have my doubts about an OP-2 ever happening btw.
Old 15th July 2015 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by That Other Guy View Post
the antenna made it worse for me. I was getting a lot of static and noise before but the antenna increased that. There seems to be interference between the headphone cable and the antenna. This is not a high fidelity machine, in regards to sampling. I have made some of my best music from random crap samples. Plus, with how many tools we have now, we can do almost anything with audio.
OK, good to know. I fully agree: OP-1 isn't just lo-fi; it's proudly and defiantly lo-fi. Noisy hiss, static, and interference are around every corner. Its strengths lie elsewhere, but they're plentiful and compelling enough for me to love this little synth, warts and all.
Old 15th July 2015 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
Love it. I've had it for about 2 years, and still use it all the time. It's capable of so many interesting sounds.

It's my go-to thing for traveling, and one of my favorite albums was done almost entirely on the OP-1, and written almost entirely while on the bus commuting to and from work.

https://carlsagansghost.bandcamp.com...ity-volume-one
Thanks for the tip - enjoying this.

The OP-1 still very much ranks for me. Still inspirational and fun and sonically compelling (if noisy). I don't feel like I've reached it's far corners yet. Being able to sample directly thru the mic is plusplus. Also, using the built-in FM radio to grab random bits of broadcasts and cues is a weird something I've always dreamed of in a sampling instrument and I never get tired of it.

On the con side: A midi breakout cable would be cool, but life is fine without it. But the real tragedy I'm dreading is the inevitable rundown of the battery.
Old 15th July 2015 | Show parent
  #15
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Torn n Frayed's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by leMel42 View Post
Thanks for the tip - enjoying this.

The OP-1 still very much ranks for me. Still inspirational and fun and sonically compelling (if noisy). I don't feel like I've reached it's far corners yet. Being able to sample directly thru the mic is plusplus. Also, using the built-in FM radio to grab random bits of broadcasts and cues is a weird something I've always dreamed of in a sampling instrument and I never get tired of it.

On the con side: A midi breakout cable would be cool, but life is fine without it. But the real tragedy I'm dreading is the inevitable rundown of the battery.
That's why you flip them! Traded mine for a MDUW then traded it for a MM. Still want another OP1 tho, anyone got one for sell? Oh...wait....!
Old 15th July 2015
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Its a great machine - best if you think of the whole thing as an instrument rather than some sort of limited DAW. When you start using all the cool little tricks to make unique sounds, that's when it gets interesting - messing with tape speed, sampling the radio and creating your own drum kits, LFOing the CWO (really the CWO is almost worth the $800 on its own)!
Old 16th July 2015
  #17
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Jingles done on the OP-1



Old 16th July 2015 | Show parent
  #18
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Blackbelt Jones's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
Jingles done on the OP-1



Haha... those are fantastic. Sounds swiped off an old VHS tape. Now you need some early 80s broadcast design to go with them
Old 16th July 2015 | Show parent
  #19
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackbelt Jones View Post
Haha... those are fantastic. Sounds swiped off an old VHS tape. Now you need some early 80s broadcast design to go with them
Yeah - I was going for old VHS/Public Broadcasting jingles.

Had a lot of fun doing it.
Old 16th July 2015
  #20
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So the output of the OP-1 hisses, and the battery is going to inevitably run down? Is it not replaceable?
Old 16th July 2015
  #21
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

All batteries will eventually run down.

The OP-1 is a warts and all instrument. It's not a professional level workstation designed to create a soundtrack for the latest Network hit or super slick television commercial.

For a little digital think, it has a ton of character, and it needs to be approached based on what it is.
Old 16th July 2015
  #22
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Keep it plugged in a USB charger/in your computer while at home... maybe even buy a portable cell phone charger. If it can power your cell phone's bright screen for 24 hours, it can power the OP-1.

The less amount of cycles (full discharges) a battery has, the longer it will last when you do need to use it.
Old 16th July 2015 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by D_Davis View Post
All batteries will eventually run down.

The OP-1 is a warts and all instrument. It's not a professional level workstation designed to create a soundtrack for the latest Network hit or super slick television commercial.

For a little digital think, it has a ton of character, and it needs to be approached based on what it is.
I don't mean to sound like I'm criticizing, I'm interested in the OP-1. But the hiss, for instance, wasn't something I'd read about before this thread. I don't want any more instruments that are too noisy for the final mix (Korg). I thought the OP-1 was a step up?

So what's the deal with the battery? When it goes is the OP-1 toast?
Old 16th July 2015
  #24
My 2c-
Just sold mine after owning a year...
Pros: Sound. It sounds really great once you plug in to your system and listen with the monitors, but unplug the USB first. Easy to use, simple programming, great fx (when combined with LFO), and obviously how portable it is. I liked using it on the train, weather permitting (see below).

The cons were admittedly few-I wasn't too impressed with the sequencing options, and the Midi implementation was also a bit weird. The main dig was that I just didn't use it enough to justify owning it. Oh, and forget about using it in the sun.

Overall I think it's a really personal machine that some people really gravitate towards and others try and sell without too much regret, mostly. I bought mine through GC with a 20% off coupon, and it just sold on the bay for quite a bit more than I originally paid., so I'd say the risk is pretty low for anyone thinking about trying one out.
Old 16th July 2015
  #25
Here for the gear
 

I've never really noticed the hiss/noise that other people mention, maybe its worse on some units...mine is about a year old.

Here are a couple tracks OP1 tracks I've done:



And this one has some OP1, but also lots of other stuff (listen for the formant-esque sounds)
Old 16th July 2015
  #26
Lives for gear
I still see it as a gadget for hipsters and I haven't bought one second hand from a trendy thrift store.
Old 16th July 2015
  #27
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It definitely A hipster's gadget but it is also flexible enough to be just about anything to anyone into synths, writing or electronic music. It just needs to be understood it is what it is; a very cool looking little piece of hardware that can do a lot of things, is very portable, and sounds pretty good. I don't need one but I would love one and would use it til it died.
Old 16th July 2015
  #28
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Bad Machinery's Avatar
 

I have one and love it. My favorite is sampling from the radio--the antenna and carrying case are really the essential accessories for it, imo.

My only gripe is that I wish it had a more standard subtractive synth on board.
Old 16th July 2015 | Show parent
  #29
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coffee View Post
I still see it as a gadget for hipsters and I haven't bought one second hand from a trendy thrift store.
Then you you be dead wrong.

First of all - there is no such thing as a hipster.

Secondly, if there is such thing, then surely anyone into the super niche hobby of synthesizers would be a hipster, so any synthesizer then would be for hipsters.

Thirdly, I use an OP-1 and I haven't been hip in over 20 years, if ever.

Forthly, I got mine from Sweetwater, which is about the most unhip place anyone can buy anything.

Well, actually, you can buy them from Walmart as well.
Teenage Engineering OP1 Portable Synthesizer - Walmart.com

Fithly, listen to my album posted above for further evidence of what a fantastic instrument it is.

Like any instrument, the OP-1 is for musicians who want to make good music.
Old 16th July 2015 | Show parent
  #30
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D_Davis's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ljefe View Post
I don't mean to sound like I'm criticizing, I'm interested in the OP-1. But the hiss, for instance, wasn't something I'd read about before this thread. I don't want any more instruments that are too noisy for the final mix (Korg). I thought the OP-1 was a step up?

So what's the deal with the battery? When it goes is the OP-1 toast?
It's not so much as a hiss as it is a digital noise that can be heard sometimes. It's a noisy little, lo-fi unit - but sometimes it's best to accentuate the noise and lo-fi-ness, rather than try to hide it.

In this day of super clean and precise digital and analog gear, sometimes it's nice to have something that is a little dirty.

That said, though, I've never been troubled by the noise in a mix, and in listening to my album posted above I'm sure you'd agree. I spent absolutely zero time trying to hide anything about the OP-1's character.
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