Teenage Engineering OP-1 Off The Vaporware List, Is Awesome, Pricey And A Work In Progress

teenage-engineering-op-1-synthesizer

The Teenage Engineering OP-1 is on show as a work in progress at NAMM.

While they’ve still got a lot of work to do on the OP-1, it’s off the vaporware list, as far as we’re concerned.

We were able to catch a brief demo of the OP-1 today at the NAMM Show and:

  • The hardware is already very polished;
  • The software is impressive and powerful; and
  • The user interface is pretty much what you’d get if you crossed Kate Beckinsale with Scarlett Johansson and added in a touch of Delia Derbyshire. Meow!

Not so hot, though:

  • There’s a lot of work to do on the OS. Teenage Engineering is looking at a end of 2010 to start of 2011 release date.
  • The price is expected to be around $700. They’re looking into engineering cheaper ways to manufacture the OP-1 to see if they can get the price down.

Check out the Teenage Engineering OP-1 demo videos and specs below and let us know what you think!

And let us know – are you ready to part with $700 for the OP-1?

http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=558CCC85DAA4041C

OP-1 Technology Specs

  • 400 MHz Processor Core (800 MMACS) performance
  • 64 MB Low-Power SDRAM (12ns)
  • 512 MB Nand Flash storage
  • 24-bit 96kHz ADC/DAC
  • USB 2.0 high speed (OTG)
  • 3.5 mm Input, Output
  • Built-in microphone
  • High output mini speaker 8 Ohm 1 Watt
  • 3-axis accelerometer (G-force) sensor
  • Worldwide FM band support (64-108 MHz)
  • Amoled display running in 60 fps
  • 320 x 160 pixel resolution
  • Color Depth: 16.7 M
  • Contrast: 10000:1 (good for outdoor use!)
  • Viewing Angle: 170°
  • Life Time: 30,000 hrs
  • 2500mAh li-ion Polymer Battery

Mechanical Specs:

  • Low profile keyboard module
  • Scissor-switch ultra low profile design
  • Expected lifespan of 10 million keystrokes per key
  • Industrial Grade Incremental Encoders
  • Rotational life: Up to 1,000,000 revolutions
  • Excellent indexing feel (remains consistent over life)
  • Zinc diecast and fiber enforced high performance plastic
  • Used in Avionics Operating temperature range: -40 to +85°C2.8
  • Advanced Aluminum Unibody design.

85 thoughts on “Teenage Engineering OP-1 Off The Vaporware List, Is Awesome, Pricey And A Work In Progress

  1. They need to add a camera and GPS to make it worth $700. I'm not able to buy one however unless they come out with a midlife engineering version.

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  2. $700?!?

    with that kinda dough I could see getting at least 2 different things like and Akai APC 40 and Korg Koas-something-or-others. Or a Korg MicroKORG/equiv. synthesizer & Korg Kaos-something or others.

    Or hell a nice Monome and as firewire sound card interface… There's just a NUMBER of things I could think of getting BEFORE plunking down $700 on some sort of suped up controller…

    Maybe I'm missing something that this can do SUPER well that you couldn't get from another option… Judging from the videos though I don't think I am missing much.

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  3. $700?!?

    with that kinda dough I could see getting at least 2 different things like and Akai APC 40 and Korg Koas-something-or-others. Or a Korg MicroKORG/equiv. synthesizer & Korg Kaos-something or others.

    Or hell a nice Monome and as firewire sound card interface… There's just a NUMBER of things I could think of getting BEFORE plunking down $700 on some sort of suped up controller…

    Maybe I'm missing something that this can do SUPER well that you couldn't get from another option… Judging from the videos though I don't think I am missing much.

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  4. I would part with $700 for the OP-1. Late 2010, early 2011 ?!!?? darn…..

    Release it early, tell every early owner that firmware upgrades are coming, and that they need to update as each FW upgrade comes out. It worked for the iPhone.

    How about a black version?

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  5. When I signed up for the beta testing of this thing a year or so ago, the projected price was about $250 from what I remember – it was an appealing prospect then. $700 is way overpriced – completely off the mark if they want to shift units. Regardless of how well it may perform, I'm not convinced they'll be able to market it as a "pro" bit of kit, which is what the pricing suggests. I'd go as far to say that even on a psychological level, the company name alone, "Teenage Engineering", suggests that they're targetting the wrong market before it's even released.

    Having said that, it does look like a very nice bit of kit.

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  6. When I signed up for the beta testing of this thing a year or so ago, the projected price was about $250 from what I remember – it was an appealing prospect then. $700 is way overpriced – completely off the mark if they want to shift units. Regardless of how well it may perform, I'm not convinced they'll be able to market it as a "pro" bit of kit, which is what the pricing suggests. I'd go as far to say that even on a psychological level, the company name alone, "Teenage Engineering", suggests that they're targetting the wrong market before it's even released.

    Having said that, it does look like a very nice bit of kit.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. They need to add a camera and GPS to make it worth $700. I'm not able to buy one however unless they come out with a midlife engineering version.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  8. They need to add a camera and GPS to make it worth $700. I'm not able to buy one however unless they come out with a midlife engineering version.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  9. $700 ?!

    You have got to be fscking kidding me, that is plain out ridiculous… That will buy me a Roland SH201 for example; no way is that comparable to this little critter. It doesn't even have a keyboard which at least looks /somewhat/ appealing.

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  10. $700 ?!

    You have got to be fscking kidding me, that is plain out ridiculous… That will buy me a Roland SH201 for example; no way is that comparable to this little critter. It doesn't even have a keyboard which at least looks /somewhat/ appealing.

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  11. I feel like I'm missing something here. That thing looks incredibly mediocre (and in my opinion very un-sexy). Is there something revolutionary going on that I'm not seeing in these videos or reading about in the specs? At this point I'd be hesitant to shell out $250 even.

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  12. I feel like I'm missing something here. That thing looks incredibly mediocre (and in my opinion very un-sexy). Is there something revolutionary going on that I'm not seeing in these videos or reading about in the specs? At this point I'd be hesitant to shell out $250 even.

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  13. Sounds to my ears a LOT like a old caisotone that has been circuit bent!
    This looks nicer but you loose all your hipster street cred.
    And the price. Just, wow.

    Who is going to buy this?

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  14. yes, i think too its too expensive; but i love this synth;
    i signed last year for beta testing, i never had response;
    and the delay , 2011, its too far! i think the price should be about 300 or 400; but its a beautiful object i think; i still expect to be a beta tester

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  15. @Quaisoir: Not me, I simply didn't consider it worth the money even though I will say its a very intriguing instrument. Not to say that with its I/O ports you can do quite a lot more with a tenori than with this critter.

    @tekkentool: Sorry to have hurt your feelings :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  16. Dude! I'm totally getting this to go along-side my Beat Kangz Beat Thang ® and will finally have the most badass non-budget 1989 mobile production station of all time!!

    All kidding aside, the price point is way too high, as most seem to agree. Looks like they went too far with that (admittedly sexy) display, and that's about the only really impressive feature they seem to be able to demonstrate so far. It is definitely a unique/original/interesting/kitchy little guy, but it really does just sound like a circuit-bent casio at this point.

    They did a great job on the hype for this thing, and it is 'neat', but not $700 neat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  17. Dude! I'm totally getting this to go along-side my Beat Kangz Beat Thang ® and will finally have the most badass non-budget 1989 mobile production station of all time!!

    All kidding aside, the price point is way too high, as most seem to agree. Looks like they went too far with that (admittedly sexy) display, and that's about the only really impressive feature they seem to be able to demonstrate so far. It is definitely a unique/original/interesting/kitchy little guy, but it really does just sound like a circuit-bent casio at this point.

    They did a great job on the hype for this thing, and it is 'neat', but not $700 neat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  18. I'm not the biggest fan of this but i'd go for one over the horrible abomination that is the sh-201.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  19. I'm not the biggest fan of this but i'd go for one over the horrible abomination that is the sh-201.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  20. @Quaisoir: Not me, I simply didn't consider it worth the money even though I will say its a very intriguing instrument. Not to say that with its I/O ports you can do quite a lot more with a tenori than with this critter.

    @tekkentool: Sorry to have hurt your feelings :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  21. @Quaisoir: Not me, I simply didn't consider it worth the money even though I will say its a very intriguing instrument. Not to say that with its I/O ports you can do quite a lot more with a tenori than with this critter.

    @tekkentool: Sorry to have hurt your feelings :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  22. I believe this thing does a whole lot more than an SH-201 to begin with. Sampler, FM, Physical modelling, sequencer etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  23. I was *really* looking forward to this piece of gear. But the suggested price point, if it's even close to accurate, is just way off the charts. I am delighted that they've taken into consideration things like encoders and keys with long life cycles, but perhaps they went a bit overboard? One has to wonder what's driving up the cost here. Is it the features? Or the operating temperature range: -40 to +85°C? Not sure if that was meant to apply to the whole thing or just some of the components but it feels like a bit of overkill.

    The other thing that is beginning to get a little old is the waiting. This thing was previewed months and months ago. Now it's in Beta testing (which is great) but still no date that they're willing to even hint at. Feels a bit like the X-files, years ago, and waiting for the truth to be revealed. Keeping your potential customers waiting so long runs the risk that they go off and find something else to buy in the meantime. Not that something like that will sink a product completely, but it doesn't help.

    Maybe during beta testing they can figure out a way to drop a few features (do we need FM radio or a 3-axis accelerometer?) or at least find some way to lower the cost by lowering what appear to be some of the near military-grade specs they've mandated for it.

    Great design. Fantastic looking little box. Looks like a blast to play with. But at that price, you're simply not going to reach a wide enough audience to achieve critical mass. Instead of becoming the Nintendo DS of the synth world, this appears more likely to become short run product that will eventually become valuable simply because few people could afford to buy it new. Sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  24. I was *really* looking forward to this piece of gear. But the suggested price point, if it's even close to accurate, is just way off the charts. I am delighted that they've taken into consideration things like encoders and keys with long life cycles, but perhaps they went a bit overboard? One has to wonder what's driving up the cost here. Is it the features? Or the operating temperature range: -40 to +85°C? Not sure if that was meant to apply to the whole thing or just some of the components but it feels like a bit of overkill.

    The other thing that is beginning to get a little old is the waiting. This thing was previewed months and months ago. Now it's in Beta testing (which is great) but still no date that they're willing to even hint at. Feels a bit like the X-files, years ago, and waiting for the truth to be revealed. Keeping your potential customers waiting so long runs the risk that they go off and find something else to buy in the meantime. Not that something like that will sink a product completely, but it doesn't help.

    Maybe during beta testing they can figure out a way to drop a few features (do we need FM radio or a 3-axis accelerometer?) or at least find some way to lower the cost by lowering what appear to be some of the near military-grade specs they've mandated for it.

    Great design. Fantastic looking little box. Looks like a blast to play with. But at that price, you're simply not going to reach a wide enough audience to achieve critical mass. Instead of becoming the Nintendo DS of the synth world, this appears more likely to become short run product that will eventually become valuable simply because few people could afford to buy it new. Sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  25. I was *really* looking forward to this piece of gear. But the suggested price point, if it's even close to accurate, is just way off the charts. I am delighted that they've taken into consideration things like encoders and keys with long life cycles, but perhaps they went a bit overboard? One has to wonder what's driving up the cost here. Is it the features? Or the operating temperature range: -40 to +85°C? Not sure if that was meant to apply to the whole thing or just some of the components but it feels like a bit of overkill.

    The other thing that is beginning to get a little old is the waiting. This thing was previewed months and months ago. Now it's in Beta testing (which is great) but still no date that they're willing to even hint at. Feels a bit like the X-files, years ago, and waiting for the truth to be revealed. Keeping your potential customers waiting so long runs the risk that they go off and find something else to buy in the meantime. Not that something like that will sink a product completely, but it doesn't help.

    Maybe during beta testing they can figure out a way to drop a few features (do we need FM radio or a 3-axis accelerometer?) or at least find some way to lower the cost by lowering what appear to be some of the near military-grade specs they've mandated for it.

    Great design. Fantastic looking little box. Looks like a blast to play with. But at that price, you're simply not going to reach a wide enough audience to achieve critical mass. Instead of becoming the Nintendo DS of the synth world, this appears more likely to become short run product that will eventually become valuable simply because few people could afford to buy it new. Sad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  26. I'm always the first person to complain about prices, software ad hardware. But I think $700 is pretty fair, I thought it was going to be over a thousand. The feature set puts it in line with something like the Elektron Monomachine, in some ways it does more, albeit with decidedly (and very intentional IMO) lofi twist.. The tenori'on was also a very good comparison. I simply think the vl-tone like casing for some reason just forces people to think of it as a boutique toy, regardless of it's capabilities.

    Can anyone here name 1 synth/groovebox that does multiple types of synthesis, sampling, sequencing for $700? Maybe I'm forgetting something obvious, but I can't think of anything.

    I do agree with some of Allan's assesments, those are some good points, especially the FM radio. Even considering those things I'm still comfortable with the price. That being said I'm annoyed about the late release, companies should not announce these products if they can't release them in a timely manner, its just lame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  27. I'm always the first person to complain about prices, software ad hardware. But I think $700 is pretty fair, I thought it was going to be over a thousand. The feature set puts it in line with something like the Elektron Monomachine, in some ways it does more, albeit with decidedly (and very intentional IMO) lofi twist.. The tenori'on was also a very good comparison. I simply think the vl-tone like casing for some reason just forces people to think of it as a boutique toy, regardless of it's capabilities.

    Can anyone here name 1 synth/groovebox that does multiple types of synthesis, sampling, sequencing for $700? Maybe I'm forgetting something obvious, but I can't think of anything.

    I do agree with some of Allan's assesments, those are some good points, especially the FM radio. Even considering those things I'm still comfortable with the price. That being said I'm annoyed about the late release, companies should not announce these products if they can't release them in a timely manner, its just lame.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  28. The Teenage Engineering team is a hodge podge of brilliant people (ex elektron, creator of lsdj, etc) so the OP1 will sound better than the machinedrum / monomachine and be more fun to use. Considering how much the elektron gear is selling for, $700 would be a deal.

    Matt, it takes a long time to develop a synthesizer and companies get business benefits from showing off their gear at trade shows and having information on the net. Especially valuable for smaller shops, which are the same shops that take a while to develop a new product.

    Also, having played with the first prototypes at NAMM 2010, I can say that OP1 is ahead of it's time even if the beta doesn't start until later this year. It was the most innovative product I saw on the floor and you could see the drool glands kicking into overdrive when synth designers and developers from big companies walked into the booth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  29. The Teenage Engineering team is a hodge podge of brilliant people (ex elektron, creator of lsdj, etc) so the OP1 will sound better than the machinedrum / monomachine and be more fun to use. Considering how much the elektron gear is selling for, $700 would be a deal.

    Matt, it takes a long time to develop a synthesizer and companies get business benefits from showing off their gear at trade shows and having information on the net. Especially valuable for smaller shops, which are the same shops that take a while to develop a new product.

    Also, having played with the first prototypes at NAMM 2010, I can say that OP1 is ahead of it's time even if the beta doesn't start until later this year. It was the most innovative product I saw on the floor and you could see the drool glands kicking into overdrive when synth designers and developers from big companies walked into the booth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  30. The Teenage Engineering team is a hodge podge of brilliant people (ex elektron, creator of lsdj, etc) so the OP1 will sound better than the machinedrum / monomachine and be more fun to use. Considering how much the elektron gear is selling for, $700 would be a deal.

    Matt, it takes a long time to develop a synthesizer and companies get business benefits from showing off their gear at trade shows and having information on the net. Especially valuable for smaller shops, which are the same shops that take a while to develop a new product.

    Also, having played with the first prototypes at NAMM 2010, I can say that OP1 is ahead of it's time even if the beta doesn't start until later this year. It was the most innovative product I saw on the floor and you could see the drool glands kicking into overdrive when synth designers and developers from big companies walked into the booth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  31. If they can get the price down to $400 without sacrificing quality, they have a guaranteed sale right here. I don't know if I can justify more than $400 when I can find a lot of software plugins that can do this and more in Logic. The appeal to me is that it is hardware, portable, and easy to use for ADD types like myself. Also the OLED is gorgeous. I want this thing but I certainly don't need it.

    I'm not too thrilled with the amount of on board memory available.. Being able to record FM radio on the fly sounds like fun.

    Also, they were originally predicting an early 2010 release date, makes me nervous that they are pushing it back almost an entire year. They better plan on upgrading the device if they are going to wait otherwise this synth could become obsolete, no one will want to pay big bucks for something with a weak CPU, etc.. Or they better plan on dropping the price a lot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  32. If they can get the price down to $400 without sacrificing quality, they have a guaranteed sale right here. I don't know if I can justify more than $400 when I can find a lot of software plugins that can do this and more in Logic. The appeal to me is that it is hardware, portable, and easy to use for ADD types like myself. Also the OLED is gorgeous. I want this thing but I certainly don't need it.

    I'm not too thrilled with the amount of on board memory available.. Being able to record FM radio on the fly sounds like fun.

    Also, they were originally predicting an early 2010 release date, makes me nervous that they are pushing it back almost an entire year. They better plan on upgrading the device if they are going to wait otherwise this synth could become obsolete, no one will want to pay big bucks for something with a weak CPU, etc.. Or they better plan on dropping the price a lot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  33. I think that $700 for something like this is great! The MPC 500, which looks awful compared to this, sells for $600 new. Comparing the specs for both, the OP1 blows it out of the water. I cant wait until it comes out!

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  34. Reasons this is different:

    Super portable/durable
    Internal battery
    4-track recording
    An actually useful display
    On-the-fly sampling
    Ability to sync wirelessly with other OP-1s
    Seemingly very intuitive
    Looks cool as hell

    I mean yeah, you could buy a microkorg and an apc or a portable recorder or some other combo of items for $700 but is that going to be anywhere near as simple and sleek? This is an all-in-one machine with the goal of being fun and intuitive. I would not expect OLED displays and all-aluminum construction to come cheap, so the price seems reasonable to me.

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  35. I guess the comments about price are right in terms of 'critical mass' as someone said. Again, comments about it looking (and sounding, overall) like a VL-tone don't recommend it to the pro-am musical mindset.
    Personally, I'd rather save up and concentrate on something of quality. And this is quality! I think it looks better than most keyboards out there. And they must keep in the accelerometer or whatever and the FM. These give it the 'on-the-fly' possibilities essential for it's on-stage potential. The real selling-point for me though is its combination of size, portability and multiple possibilities. I love the mini-kaoss pads for that reason. Musically, it's the equivalent of art painted outdoors instead of art painted in a studio. Freshness!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  36. holy pies we need the fm radio and the 3 axis accelerometer! those are awesome features! I mean, just imagine if you could take a beat from the radio, sample it, splice it with the internal synthesizer, and then shake it like a sword with a dead guy on it (inside joke)! __I think people aren't taking the op-1 in the right way. I think it's supposed to be like the new microkorg, but kind of more avant-garde. Remember when the micro came out? I don't know if you had the same reaction, but I was like"Holy crap! A full fledged synth with little mini keys and an interface that is a pain in the neck to sift through! Thats crazy! Who would buy it?" __but i was wrong, and it's one of the best selling synths out there. I think you shouldn't really comepare the op-1 to other synths, because it's not like other synths. It's the crazy little swedish monster-vl tone from hell! That being said, your right. 700$ is way to high to pay for an op-1. But i would buy one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  37. holy pies we need the fm radio and the 3 axis accelerometer! those are awesome features! I mean, just imagine if you could take a beat from the radio, sample it, splice it with the internal synthesizer, and then shake it like a sword with a dead guy on it (inside joke)! __I think people aren't taking the op-1 in the right way. I think it's supposed to be like the new microkorg, but kind of more avant-garde. Remember when the micro came out? I don't know if you had the same reaction, but I was like"Holy crap! A full fledged synth with little mini keys and an interface that is a pain in the neck to sift through! Thats crazy! Who would buy it?" __but i was wrong, and it's one of the best selling synths out there. I think you shouldn't really comepare the op-1 to other synths, because it's not like other synths. It's the crazy little swedish monster-vl tone from hell! That being said, your right. 700$ is way to high to pay for an op-1. But i would buy one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  38. I guess the comments about price are right in terms of 'critical mass' as someone said. Again, comments about it looking (and sounding, overall) like a VL-tone don't recommend it to the pro-am musical mindset.
    Personally, I'd rather save up and concentrate on something of quality. And this is quality! I think it looks better than most keyboards out there. And they must keep in the accelerometer or whatever and the FM. These give it the 'on-the-fly' possibilities essential for it's on-stage potential. The real selling-point for me though is its combination of size, portability and multiple possibilities. I love the mini-kaoss pads for that reason. Musically, it's the equivalent of art painted outdoors instead of art painted in a studio. Freshness!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  39. I guess the comments about price are right in terms of 'critical mass' as someone said. Again, comments about it looking (and sounding, overall) like a VL-tone don't recommend it to the pro-am musical mindset.
    Personally, I'd rather save up and concentrate on something of quality. And this is quality! I think it looks better than most keyboards out there. And they must keep in the accelerometer or whatever and the FM. These give it the 'on-the-fly' possibilities essential for it's on-stage potential. The real selling-point for me though is its combination of size, portability and multiple possibilities. I love the mini-kaoss pads for that reason. Musically, it's the equivalent of art painted outdoors instead of art painted in a studio. Freshness!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  40. Dfez, that WAS FUNNY! :)

    I wouldn't buy this based on what I heard in the video. It sounds crappy and there isn't a playable keyboard. (I don't consider little switches a keyboard)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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