Teenage Engineering OP-1 Accessories Review

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This video, via djthomaswhite, takes a look at the new accessories for the Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer:

I provide a brief overview of each item with as much detail as I have at this time. My focus is on packaging, quality and basic application. In depth use and techniques may be presented in future videos.

I love the bag! Get one now to protect your OP-1 from the elements.

The OP-1 accessories are one of the more divisive items we covered. This video won’t eliminate that, but, at nearly 23 minutes, should make clear what users get for their money.

Items Covered:

  • Brick Knobs
  • Antenna
  • Crank
  • Bender
  • Screen Protector
  • Accessory Bag
  • Unit Portables OP-1 Bag

35 thoughts on “Teenage Engineering OP-1 Accessories Review

  1. I don’t hate the Op-1, it’s a legit sampler/synth/beat whatever thing but this stuff is pretty fashion based. I also don’t hate fashion, but this seems like it would fit well next to a Holga camera and other miscellaneous plastic at Urban Outfitters. How many months did they spend developing lego pieces for this? I’m confused. This stuff maybe should just come with the OP-1. or maybe design it so you don’t have to use that silly crap to get those functions. Blah I’m not impressed T.E. do something better.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3
  2. The case is worthless, you’ll just end up putting it in a larger and more useful bag. The antenna isn’t necessary either if you already have a cord that you use to plug other devices into the line in socket. I think the major thing that makes the OP-1 and everything surrounding it a controversy is the debate around the topic “does design have value?” I think it’s generally agreed that if design leads to more functionality and/or greater efficiency (either in energy use or usability) then yes, there’s value in that, but the value comes directly from those gains and only indirectly from design. Design for its own sake doesn’t truly add value, but there’s companies like Apple that absolutely depend on people having the perception that design directly adds value. They can’t even make major leaps with their devices anymore, all they can do is throw their designers at it to make it more attractive. The OP-1 sits on a precarious fence. Most people who don’t know what it’s capable of point to its price. I have an OP-1 and I’d say its design/value tacks on an extra $300 to the price, though that’s shrinking as they make significant updates to their firmware– their updates are great btw, amazing. However, these accessories accentuate the argument that TE overvalues their own design.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 5
    • “Design for its own sake doesn’t truly add value, but there’s companies like Apple that absolutely depend on people having the perception that design directly adds value. They can’t even make major leaps with their devices anymore, all they can do is throw their designers at it to make it more attractive.”

      Your viewpoint – that Apple has become the most valuable company in the world by putting lipstick on a pig – has no correlation with reality. It’s the same thinking that is putting Apple’s competitors out of business.

      Apple has worked very hard to improve the design of all aspects of its business, not just the products. That’s the factory process to build its products, the supply chain to get products to markets, the stores, etc. If more companies worked as aggressively as Apple to improve their processes, the economy would be a lot better off.

      Not sure what this says about the OP-1, though. It’s always struck me as an elegant but unnecessary machine.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9
      • The comments above are really ignoring the reality of Apple’s business practice
        Apple Inc. has received criticism for the alleged use of sweatshop labor,[1][2][3] environmental destruction, and unethical business practices.
        Additionally, it has been criticized[4][5] for its litigious legal policy of suing before first gathering all the facts necessary to pursue a legitimate lawsuit.[6] Wiki.

        The defence of Apple absolutely comical. It is funny how these clever machines aren’t doing much to improve the consciousness of their users, who wan’t to look hip on one hand but remain just consumers of corporate programmes.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7
        • acid house

          What are some computer or synth companies that ARE “doing much to improve the consciousness of their users”?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
          • There are a lot of people, fucking about with diy synth production anc computers and want to make cheap accessible products, (adafruit,raspberry etc)
            There are schemes in inner cities in the uk , and also in the third world of getting cheap machines to people and for people getting fucked over , that computers social networking etc can help move forward their liberation.
            Egypt, Palestine, Amercian protest movements etc. Passive consummation whilst workers are getting f’cked over .
            From WIKI The article stated that one iPod factory, for instance, had over 200,000 workers that lived and worked in the factory, with workers regularly doing more than 60 hours of labor per week. The article also reported that workers made around $100 per month and were required to live on the premises and pay for rent and food from the company. Living expenses (required to keep the job) generally took up a little over half of the worker’s earnings. The article also said that workers were given buckets to wash their clothes.[2][3][49]
            Immediately after the allegation, Apple launched an investigation and worked with their manufacturers to ensure that conditions were acceptable to Apple.[50] In 2007, Apple started yearly audits of all its suppliers regarding Worker’s Rights, slowly raising standards and pruning suppliers that did not comply. Yearly progress reports have been published since 2008.[51] In 2010, workers in China planned to sue iPhone contractors over poisoning by a cleaner used to clean LCD screens. One worker claimed that they were not informed of possible occupational illnesses.[52]

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
      • I’d agree with you if Apple priced their computers accordingly, which they don’t. Since they moved to Intel, the internals are no different than any other computer, more than half their parts are sourced from other companies including Samsung for their retina displays. So when you look at a laptop with comparable computing power, RAM, and storage that’s $900 vs the same by Apple priced at $1800 and the only difference is the fashion of the thing (and the OS but operating systems are worthless things on their own). Their customers prove it every day too. I witnessed a guy styled in total grayscale style buy two original iPod Nanos, one black and one white, back when they had the stupid lanyard. The guy was totally going to wear them like that too. I don’t personally care how valuable the company is, they price their stuff far more than their brushed aluminum really calls for.

        Back to the OP-1 however, its greatest fault is that its fashion design influence obscures its actual functionality. Its tape styled multi-track recording is genius, it turns the idea of digital recording on its head and rediscovers the analog qualities of working with tape but with digital conveniences. It’s got an acoustic modeling string synthesizer and I’ve only ever seen one other hardware synth with one of those, it sounds beautiful. All its other synth engines appear to be somewhat standard except that they all do something funky, weird and unique. The effects are the same, they only recently added a traditional filter but the original Punch effect was this quirky and fun mashup between a resonant filter and an EQ. Its sequencers like the tombola, endless, and the new finger sequencer just don’t exist anywhere else. You might think the FM radio is no big deal but when you can seek with a knob twist and sample with a button press, you’ll find it’s a massive inspiration. Every single thing within the device is half familiar to people who have worked with synths before, but they all do something very different, even radically different to the point where it generates sounds that are unique among hardware and software. It’s not some cheapo standard synth smashed into a little unibody, it’s no toy for certain though the interface makes it look that way. Finally, now that it has far better MIDI support, it can be usefully integrated. I wouldn’t consider it “the only synth you’ll ever need”, I’d peg the Virus TI for that, but there’s no substitution for it either. There’s a lot of fun and unique things in it to discover in the OP-1, but alas TE has done kind of a poor job showing its capabilities in detail and the fashion aspect overshadows it to the point where it’s easy to believe that’s the best thing about it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  3. I love my OP-1, but I have pretty much no desire to buy the accessories or the bag. The crank is kinda cool, but totally unnecessary.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  4. I suspect the insane pricing is an attempt to ignite a community of people making their own accessories for it. Just a hunch.

    Other than that, everything except the bag could be torrented. Crikey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  5. by the way, who cares if its expensive? the dudes who made this put their life into it. you think theyre millionaires? let them charge whatever they want….if u dont wanna buy it, cool

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4
  6. It says on their site the first five hundred buyers of the $200 Accessory Ultimate Super Kit get a free pair of black frame eyeglasses with no lens to complete their hipster image

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
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