Is The Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer ‘Only For Hipsters’? Or Should We Give The Developers Credit For Creating A Synth That’s Actually Unique?

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer

The Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer has never failed to inspire strong opinions:

We’re kind of amazed how polarizing this new synthesizer has been to synth fans.

It seems like half of our readers see the OP-1 as an ‘overpriced toy’. The other half, though, see it as something unique.

One reader had this to say about the OP-1:

The OP-1’s not designed to compete with a daw and a multitude of plug-ins. It’s meant to provide a new instrument that can help you map out ideas, and has some decent synthesis power, and a battery life and form factor better than any other synth on the market for composing on the go, something that might be important to someone who’s not yet making a living off of their producing.

This love it or hate it attitude seems to be everywhere. Peter Kirn put up a post about the new synth today at Create Digital Music today – and a reader immediately dismissed the OP-1 as “the ‘hipster’ of hardware synths”.


While I’m fascinated at the extreme responses to Teenage Engineering’s new synth, I’m also a bit surprised that so many people seem so ready to wholeheartedly reject it.

Teenage Engineering has created a very unique little synth in the OP-1.

If you look at what Korg, Yamaha or Roland are doing, you’re not going to find a synth comparable to the OP-1.

And if you look at what smaller synthmakers, like Dave Smith Instruments or Moog, are doing, you’re still not going to find a synth similar to the OP-1.

If you check out the OP-1 specs, you’ll see that it’s a quirky design that packs a lot of synth & sampling options into an extremely portable package. And, while devices like the iPad offer many choices for mobile music making, there’s still something very compelling about physical synths, all-in-one designs and dedicated hardware controls.

At $799, the Teenage Engineering OP-1 not a synth that I’ll be buying anytime soon. Realistically, though, I’m not going to be dropping $25k on a Buchla modular anytime soon, either.

How amazing is it, though, that we live in a time where so many niche synth options are actually viable products?


What do you think?

Is the Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer only for hipsters?

Or is it time to give the developers credit for coming up with a synth design that, if not inexpensive, is at least original?

112 thoughts on “Is The Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer ‘Only For Hipsters’? Or Should We Give The Developers Credit For Creating A Synth That’s Actually Unique?

  1. i pretty much agree with you…i would love to have one, but i'm not paying that much…though i hope people keep buying it, because the design is inspired but derivative of all of the best parts of electronic music…it looks like it sounds…and it look sintuitive…good design deserves to be rewarded…having never played one i realize my opinions mean squat…but there it is

  2. Jesus H. Christ.

    That fucking OP1 was hyped for WELL OVER A YEAR, lol. Those fuckers would show up at tradeshows and wouldn't even have a working fucking model with them. Just a case that 'maybe' lit up, lol. Oh my. Fuck me. It's like the great Hipster Synth Swindle. Step right up, kiddos! Get your *gasp* $800 synth. We've made it shiny and tiny and white! Just like *cough* Apple *cough*. lol.

    Me? I'm waiting on the iPad version.

    I mean, ffs.

  3. Kudos for producing a unique product. Takes guts. And vision.

    Pffft for the extremely long protracted gestation pediod and hype.

    The price was exactly what I expected. OLED display, many custom manufactured components that you can't just buy off the shelf. This stuff costs money, I don't know what other people were expecting. Because the form was evocative of the the Casio VL-1, they expected the price to be too. People who projected their expectations in this area set themselves up for disappointment.

    Having said all that, I surmised it was an interesting product that I'd have absolutely no use for. I couldn't imagine how it'd fit into my, for lack of a better term, workflow. I strained to see the utility of the product FOR ME. Therefore, I don't own one. It may very well offer utility to someone else.

    I suspect a good portion of the buyers of this product (as well as many other products, especially boutique products) are purchasing out of emotion or gear fetishism (rather than utility), which is perfectly fine by me. It goes all pear shaped when people aren't honest with themselves about what their motivation for owning a product is. Bottom line, if it people enjoy making music, you can't argue with that.

  4. The Idea of having this small synth where you are able to map out ideas on the go, but let's be honest. The Ipad 2, and with all those apps (GarageBand, Nanostudio,Rebirth, etc, etc, etc) It's never gonna sell for $800.

    1. some people can get around the lack of tactile feedback screens like the iPad present you with. For others, that doesn’t work well for them. I’d rather have a dedicated small synth/sampler. I couldn’t imagine trying to use an iPad in a live situation. I should disclose that I’m primarily a guitarist and the tape loop simulation is the main draw of this thing for my uses. I hate trying to use a laptop for the kind of live stage work I do. This product doesn’t make sense for a lot of people but for some, like myself, it does.

    2. I’ve got a bunch of small synths that I use for mapping ideas AND performing while on-the-go. Most of them cost less than $200…much less. At first glance I was excited by the OP-1’s superficial nod to the classic Casio VL-1. How cool would that be to have a programmable analogue synth with contemporary features and connectivity? I mean, yes, I’ll take two!!! But then I saw the price tag, Just over $1000 here in Canada. For that amount of money I can (and did) get a Microkorg, Microbrute, Volca Bass, Volca Beats, and a handful of $20 FM keyboards.

      I think it’d be fun to have an OP-1 but for me I can’t see spending more than $300 no matter how hip it is.

  5. I've really wanted 1 since I first saw it. But I am continually amazed at how polarizing it is. That simple YouTube beat vid you posted had over 70 comments last time I checked!

    What amazes me is all the negativity. If you don't think it's worth the money don't buy it. Why all the venom for such an interesting synth? As for the toy thing? All synths are toys unless you are a professional musician IMHO.

    @gruff – it wont sell for $800? Come again? They can't seem to keep steady stock, the thing sells out every time its available very quickly.

  6. Of course, that's the one thing that's not in their specs.

    Here's a link to the manual, though:

    You can choose for sounds to be monophonic or polyphonic, but I don't see any mention of voices. In practice, though, I can't see huge polyphony being especially useful on this, given the keyboard and built-in recorder.

  7. Matthew –

    Yes, yes and yes.

    Fetishism is such an important element of gear. If you're going to spend years of your life with something, it should have some special power over you.

  8. "f you don't have the money you might want to consider something else than blogging for a living 😉 "

    Yeah – like making music for a living!

    Good read at your site. "Never before was packed all in one a synth, drum machine, step sequencer, effect processor 4 track tape recorder and mastering tool, without mentioning the FM radio receiver and the g-force. All that in a portable, battery-powered (16 hours of life) beautifully design machine."

  9. kid versus chemical –

    Part of the negativity has to be because of the big gap between what people ideally want and what people are willing to pay for.

    There's a huge amount of interest in the idea of a powerful, state of the art, polyphonic analog synth. But does that translate into a lot of people that will buy a $3k synth?

  10. AHAH! The dude behind synthtopia quoted me (well one of them, i assume there's more than one)

    This fills a very weird, sentimental, small niche on my mantle.

    To expand on my views slightly, i think the people this polarizes are people and/or hobbyists who are more likely to have a room dedicated to some fine synths of their choosing , v.s the producers who, if it isn't a $25 plugin synth with 284 polyphony and 10 other buzzword features it's useless to them.

    Also, lets breakdown the cost of it, if it were individual hardware, chunk by chunk (because im bored)

    -Cost of a cheap (but not awful) sampler: $150
    -Cost of 6 synths (lets say used/cheap ones): $500
    -Cost of a sequencer/drum machine (cheap): $150
    -Cost of a mixer and recording device: $300
    -A multi-purpose effects pedal: $250

    Total cost: $1550

    Teenage OP-1: $800

    Now debate my pricing if you will, but considering there's all that in something the size of a casio keyboard (if casio keyboards where high quality/metal), it seems reasonable to me.

    P.S. If this angers anyone, dont expect a response, im usually to lazy to check the comments.

  11. "If you look at what Korg, Yamaha or Roland are doing, you’re not going to find a synth comparable to the OP-1."

    Sure you won't since they make instruments, no toys. And I hope that they will never produce such a dispensable sh*t. Well, concerning Yamaha, I'm not so sure.

    @some boy:
    your list of individual hardware stuff is a bit ridiculous. You won't tell me that this OP-1 thingy can replace a halfway decent studio setup, build even with the cheapest stuff, will you? It can't.

    My recommendation to everybody who need something to start with and who seriously think about buying this toy:

    go to ebay, look for a used 61 key synth workstation in good condition and you're set to go!
    I mean, just for the funny part of this discussion: compare a Yamaha MO 6 or a Korg TR or whatever with this OP-1 thing. Do I need to say more?

  12. I would love to own one of these. I think it would provide me with endless hours of fun. Hell, I just sold off my Tenori-On for about what this thing sells for. I have an iPad, but find making music on it unsatisfying for the most part. Give me actual hardware to tinker with. If I can sell off more of my unused toys, I might just drop the dime on this bad boy. I am not a serious musician, I barely have any talent at all…but I do love to play around and tinker. This device appeals to me on a visceral level…and I LOVE tiny gadgets. I own a Viliv N5 as my laptop, for crying out loud.

  13. That doesn't make me wonder. I guess that there's some cheap hardware build into that thing. You can get a complete "synth" hardware on a chip (single chip synthesizer) nowadays, including filters etc. Costs around $20 and sounds exactly like this thing. However, concerning the OP-1, it makes perfect sense: cheap inside, cheap outside.

    Why do somebody actually wan't to buy this? Is there one single reason? In a studio (I mean studio, not children's room) you most likely have much better stuff at your disposal and on a live gig your audience will piss in their pants when they see you picking on that toy.

  14. As a pianist I'd say a Steinway grand has this "special power" (although I can't afford one). As an electronic musician I'd name Moog or what. But this thing? You're kidding, aren't you? This thing is as special as a Casio keyboard from Toys "R" Us.

  15. That has about hit the nail on the head- I want to want one as it looks like FUN, I want one because I am NOT a pro musician, its just a hobby- if its fun im in…The only reason I have not bought one is that I don't like how it sounds (so far…); i'm pretty sure iof sonmeone did a killer demo I would be in 😉

  16. " What amazes me is all the negativity "

    It's called HAVING AN OPINION ! what ? do you want everyone to just praise this thing so you feel more comfortable about your feelings oif the darned thing ? this is the whole point of having a forum…so that people can discuss the PRO's and the CON's of the subject…so far, the ONLY negative thing I have said about the OP1 is the price tag….and I don't understand how the ( ahem ) " Negativity " amazes you.

  17. The thing lacks MIDI support. That's reason enough for me not to get it. It looks like a cool little device, but at that pricepoint there are several cheaper, more accessible things that can do a whole lot more, like an iPad with Garageband or with FL Studio Mobile for iPad (or whatever the heck it's called).

    If I had tons of cash lying around, I'd get one. Problem is, I don't have 800 bucks to drop ATM.

  18. Great review and inspiring. You mentioned it has a 'noise' issue that could be a problem when playing live. This could be a big drawback for me. To what extent do you think it's a problem when playing through a PA?

  19. any company that needs to use the female body to sell their products, as though women are little more than decor porn for others to make money off of, clearly doesn't want my money, or my respect.

  20. I would call this the ipad of synthesizers.
    I'm saying this because I think it is both a overhyped hipster toy, and a really interesting powerful instrument at the same time… which brings us straight to the ipad analogy.
    It must also be noted that the OP-1, while packing a lot of functionality, is also quite specific in it's target, and in how the functionality is organized and offered to the musician.
    So people who are into workstations don't like it, as well as people who are into vintage analogue stuff and it's really nothing for people who like to play keys.
    On the other hand, for people who are into looping, sampling, MPC style drum sequencing, I think it's a really interesting device.
    There remains a little problem, with devices like this, that at one point the aura it has becomes so big, that taking this to a concert will take away a lot of focus from the actual musician, since the instrument will get it all for itself 🙂

  21. I'd love to own one, but not for $800.

    It isn't worth that at this particular time in my life. For me, this product would be viable at $300.

    I determine value through my predilections. A 52" tv is worthless to me. I don't need a dryer because I hang my wet clothes outside, so the price tag seems absurd. To me.

  22. The first question is not "What is the price?" but "Is it 30 years better than the VL-Tone?" The second question is not "What is the price?" but "What will the price be in two year's time?"

    Time – and musical output – will tell.

  23. I see this one as a very interesting design study. It is something that I can imagine will be placed in museums that deal with the history of industrial design. There are probably some intriguing musical ideas in there as well, so overall I'd say the OP-1 could be a significant product. Perhaps it's going to show some of us that even if it does not have a real keyboard it is still haptically superior to a touchscreen. Or that playing with tape effects is really great fun. Or, well, I don't know. Perhaps we'll see a big synth with industrial design by Teenage Engineering in the future? People in the industry might be interested in having the guys behind the big hype working on their more mundane projects in order to have a piece of the cake. Who knows?

  24. Does it need to? The problem with the built-in FM receiver is that in countries like Germany you'll have to register this device the GEZ and pay a monthly fee because you now own a device that could receive the (state funded) public radio stations.

  25. To put some of the "it doesn't sound good" replies into context. I still haven't seen a video of the VIRUS that I have liked online, but when I have mine hooked up in the studio it makes some crucial tracks for me. I'm sure the OP-1 sounds great through a nice system. Like some others said above, put the OP-1 in the right hands and you'll be humming the hit track the musician/producer used it in all day long with out a complaint in world. The OP-1 is a beautiful addition to our pallet of tools, now who wants to give me $800?

  26. Despite feeling that it's over priced, I have one big problem with it. After I work on creating the start of some new 'master piece' with a portable setup, I like to take it into my studio and tweak and finalize the project. My laptop that has Reason/Record on it lets me do that. All the OP-1 exports is the raw wav files from the built in 4-track. That just doesn't jive with the way I work.

    Why did the feel the need to put in an FM radio into it? Why isn't the chassis made of metal so that it's more durable? I really can't look at the OP-1 and see anything more than a novelty item. I'd rather have an iPad or even a Korg Monotribe to throw into my backpack.

  27. it amazes you because you are identified with it and use it to define yourself as a person, therefore when someone disagrees with how "cool! and awesome!!" you think this thing is, you take it personally and feel that people are saying you yourself are not "cool! and awesome!!" and therefore you react defensively

    its called "psychology", and relates to that thing which you possess and rules over your life, but have never bothered to examined.. called a "psyche"

  28. You can mostly hear the noise in really low volume track. It's a general electronic noise that a lot of device has, like the KP3 or the Tenori on, in the studio it's not a bother but when composing with your headphone one, you definitely hear when you change setting on effect, of when there is a lot of display mouvement. (that is on low level)
    I think you can get away from that noise when you have your level high enough and you are not playing in the really low sounds

  29. Ahh, my mistake on that one. Unfortunately, that doesn't make me more interested in it. I think I'd rather have something of that size that does a few things really well than have everything but the kitchen sink.

  30. @ Lushr– I would agree with you except that I view it as “tongue in cheek”. I laughed when I saw their new ad campaign with the OP-1 cradled in the model’s airbrushed armpit. It’s their way of saying, “It’s sexy and hot and you want it…” and laughing because it’s poking fun at the synth geek gear lust visitors of this site often suffer from.

  31. – Korg microKORG…………………………………….. $399.99
    – M-Audio Venom ………………………………………..$499.99
    – Korg R3……………………………………………………. $599.00
    – Roland GAIA SH-01…………………………………..$699.00
    – Novation UltraNova …………………………………..$699.99
    – Dave Smith Instruments Mopho Keyboard $799.00

    1. creating false supply and demand or over valuing your item through gimmicks, in hope that others won't see it's true monetary value. which to some is more subjective then cynical.

      you can quote me on that.

  32. The differences between "toy" and "digital instrument" are these: sound features, connectivity, and price. The OP-1 crosses the line in sound features, it does things that other hardware synths don't do and presents everything in a way that's never been done before, which makes it extremely attractive. Its lack of connectivity though is frustrating. I want to like the OP-1, I want to consider it as a part of my arsenal, but it's just too isolated. Take the Kaossilator, it's a perfect example of a toy in sound features and price, plus it fits in my pocket, I don't care about its lack of connectivity. The Venom, UltraNova, Mopho KB, Tetra, Blofeld, and Juno are all $799 or less. Yeah, the OP-1 is unique, none of the others I listed can do the same things, but it's hard to not consider "value vs cost". The Venom is $500! I played with one, it sounds great, I'd suggest it to anyone looking for power for the price. However, good on Teenage Engineering for controlling the supply so they sell every OP-1, if it truly is a niche product and they control their supply, then they should be realistically successful without really competing with the others. That works for them, but the problem from the consumer side is that if they're a niche they won't inspire bigger manufacturers to make anything similar and compete. Niche can be good for companies, can't be great for consumers.

  33. Interesting comparison.

    The OP-1 will do more than any of these synths, but probably isn't as powerful a synth as any of them.

    None of these are anywhere near as mobile as the OP-1, though, and many of these have relatively cheap build quality.

  34. When it comes right down to it, who cares if it's a toy, overpriced, an awesome synth, etc etc.
    If that $799 you spend gets you something that inspires you, and you make some great music with it, then it's awesome.
    As tech musicians it's easy to shoot down or blast things that we wouldn't personally use, but that doesn't mean someone else wouldn't be inspired with it.

  35. I dont understand why this is so loved, an indie success story, and the beat kangz device is hated. They are both highly priced for obvious reasons.

    Yet I have people who don’t even make music sending me links to the op-1 (crappy name, even) as if it’s the greatest thing ever, because a hipster blogger promoted it like it was.

    And I question the judgement if anyone who thinks this design atrocity is pretty. It doesn’t even sync with midi? Jesus.

  36. buy an ipad 2 and wait for the applet?

    wait for the sample, loop and refills of the OP-1?

    buy a number of other synths and make music on a keyboard for adult sized hands?

  37. I feel much the same. I think it's really cool. I kind of want it. I have no idea what I'd actually do with it. I have only played with one for a couple of minutes. My general feeling is that if you mastered it's workflow/features, it could be a pretty cool instrument for live loop/beat/noise artists. Or not.

  38. I've been following (with slight amusement) a lot of the debates about this, and made my comments here and there. I think it's neat, seems well designed, etc. Not really useful for me, but I see the attraction. I've heard some good sounds.

    But what befuddles me is the heavy vitriol coming from a lot of the detractors. Does it really bother people that much? If it's not for you, then don't worry about it. So many people just seem straight-up *angered* by it. Everyone needs to relax. It's just a product, and you don't have to buy it.

  39. Any instrument or toy instrument in the hands of the right person is capable of producing amazing results. From a design point OP-1 is unique. Keep in mind that is not only a synth, but a controller, drum machine, radio and 4 track recorder. There is nothing on the market similar to it. Sure the Ipad exist and can do all of that, and perhaps more, bit is an Ipad, a totally different device and concept.

    Since the OP-1 is on a league of its own, it is difficult to compare. There are better and cheaper synths, controllers, drum machines, and even recorders. Some do multiple functions, but none yet the way the OP-1 does. Whether it suits your needs or not is a matter or personal choice. There is no need to trash or praise something you have not even touched.

    Regarding some missing capabilities:

    One can look at the lack of midi as a downfall or one can see it as a challenge to innovate and try new ways to create musik and change your workflow. in fact, the OP-1 is the perfect tool to "evolve". Some of the best records were done with limited technology, musicians and engineers where force to conceptualize their ideas ahead, no undos, no multiple takes, etc. This is why the OP-1 is great for ME. The device forces me to think and visualice ideas before recording.

    There are no limits when there is imagination and will. Sure not all have 800 to spare, but if you do and like the "limitations" of the OP-1 I suggest you give it a try. Just like I suggest to try any other device, only then you will know if is for you or not.

  40. it's the naive thinking of these companies that take advantage of their customers based purely on profit motive. using trickery, promises and smoke & mirrors.

    we have what we call customer awareness and the music community talks.

    so many kids are trick into buying something that they think is cool, instead of what they really need.

    if you give these companies the opportunity to market their hype, then you have to allow people voice their dispute to the hype too.

  41. if you like it and own it and feel that you got your money's worth, then more power to you.

    sad fact is we can do everything and more with free software now.

    it has nothing original about it. and it sounds just how it looks, tiny and unimpressive.

  42. One more vote for the "nice hardware but overpriced" camp. I like the aesthetic, but I don't get the small "keys." Just do midi control and give me more buttons/knobs and make the display/screen larger.

  43. blah

    Not sure what you're trying to say there.

    First you say that TE is naive, then you say that they're clever tricksters.

    Why are you complaining about getting tricked or promised something? How did they trick you and what did they promise you?

    They put out their product, they tell you the specs and you can take it or leave it.

    Also – why all the negative comments about the way it sounds? It's a synth and a sampler – so logically you could program sounds that you like or load it up with samples that you like.

    What you seem to see saying is that you're judging the sound of a synth by one preset and judging the sound of a sampler a sample. If you're stuck on presets, a workstation as deep as the OP-1 probably isn't for you.

  44. NOTE: Had to delete several comments on this post because they were personal attacks.

    Disagreements are fine – just communicate them respectfully.

  45. this isn't personal like you want to make it.

    they are naive to think the buying community is as stupid as 2010. the economy won't allow it.

  46. I think a lot of the vitriol aimed towards this thing (as well as perhaps the iPad and macs) comes from what it potentially represents – a shift from an increasingly affordable, accessable time in mainstream music technology, back to more boutiqe, expensive, "aesthetic" gear aimed at middle-class trust-funded college dropouts. While I think both types of gear can coexist, I think if this thing is successful, it might set a trendy precident for other manufacturers, who might realize there's a wealthy young market willing to pay a lot of money for little more than some shiny white casing.

    …and I dread to think of the sort of watery, stuttering, faux-retro, disposable hipster garbage music this thing will "inspire" 😛

  47. THIS JUST IN: Teenage Engineering announces a tiny shiny white plastic one knob filter. Price estimated to be $756. eMusic bloggers shit themselves in anticipation. lol.

  48. Seriously though. There wasn't a SHRED of journalistic integrity when it came to the OP-1. Writer after writer was declaring that fucker a MASTERPIECE before they even saw/heard a working model, lol.

  49. that thing wouldn't be overpriced if it had midi in/out, big jack output, and a sequencer allowing you to chain patterns like a Machinedrum, so it could be more like an actual instrument instead of being a musical notepad.

  50. Is The Ferrari 458 Italia ‘Only For Hipsters’? Or Should We Give The Developers Credit For Creating A car That’s Actually Unique?

    Is The Bombardier Global 8000 business jet ‘Only For Hipsters’? Or Should We Give The Developers Credit For Creating A plane That’s Actually Unique?


    1. No, those things a 'Only for very wealthy people'…the OP-1 is right at that Mommy and Daddy bankrolling my studio hipster price point.

  51. I know, right? At least have her playing the instrument. Really bad form.

    Other than that I don't understand why people get angry about the op1 if they don't like it. Why does it bother them how other people spend their money? It doesn't take food out of their mouth.

    The weird thing about hipster as an insult is that it's implying that the "hipster" is fake and attempting to be cool and the person calling the name is authentically cool. As has long been observed the only people that use the insult hipster are hipsters.

  52. I would buy the Op-1 at $300 not a penny higher, and the new Korg Keyboard sucks because it doesn't have rubber drum pads.

  53. yeah I totally agree.

    the only reason we're having this debate is because the OP-1 is extraordinarily expensive for something that looks like a toy. It's contradictory, and therefore will always make some people uncomfortable.

  54. ***Keep in mind that is not only a synth, but a controller, drum machine, radio and 4 track recorder. There is nothing on the market similar to it.***

    An MPC is all of those buy an FM radio, which you can buy at a 99 cent Only store. So is that Roland Juno…and the Korg workstations…theres pretty much A LOT of things similar to it, and all of the have MIDI.

  55. “Enjoy the limitations!”
    It’s the new motto

    “Comment but only with positive feedback!”
    Motto n.2

    Hipsters are like Nerds but without a grade
    Anyway, look at the other products the teenage engineers have in their store…
    A table lamp for 700$ or the “official OP-1 table stand” that costs about $500 !!!

    I don’t understand them 🙁

  56. The OP-1 is definitely not a synth for people that don’t like “designed” products. I am fully down with designed products, I love well designed products. I may not be able to afford many of them, but I’m also fine with that. I pick what I can afford, and if I really need something, I make it happen.

    Aside from that, I look at what went into designing and building this, and I want to see a documentary about their working process. Look elsewhere on their site about their bike frame they were/are working on. I don’t like the looks of the thing, but the design is very nicely done (you can absolutely love the design that went into something and not like the looks or the end product, it is possible). These guys are doing full-on design. They’re not just popping together a few pieces of material to make a buck. People have a problem with this because they don’t see or understand the design that goes into a crappy product, and they absolutely cannot fathom that a nice product with a very well thought out product will cost a bunch of money or why.

    As much as I will likely never own one of these, I think it was worth $800 well before they finished all the software. They could have sold out the first batch with only a few of the synth models working, no tape or any of the other in depth modules there at all. The fact that they didn’t sell any until it was a complete product that they were willing to let go is amazing in this day and age.

    If it’s a toy synthesizer, it’s the Buchla of toy synthesizers. I’m just happy it exists.

    1. "If it's a toy synthesizer, it's the Buchla of toy synthesizers. I'm just happy it exists."

      That about sums it up, doesn't it?

  57. i understand the criticism over price, the overtly public vaporware gestation period, and hipster market positioning, but i don't agree with it. i like the concept a lot, the clever simplicity of its interface. i haven't bought one, and i'm not sure i ever will, but i might, and i wish teenage success.

  58. I got one. Not a hipster. It's pretty awesome, definitely "works", and does a lot more than light up. They will never make an iPad version of this, it kind of defeats the point of creating an all in one hardware piece… there's plenty of good stuff on the iPad, though. I say, if you have $800 to burn, buy the iPad. If you already have an iPad…. then buy the OP-1.

  59. I got mine the other day and I'm surprised how intuitive it is. I expected – with such limited space – for access to – say – the synth to be buried deep into several button clicks but no… And the whole thing is beautifully, beautifully designed. It's been thought up from scratch and this includes the way it functions and how the parameters work. As for work-flow? Making music on the train / plane / hotel room / sunny field without resorting to one of those touch-screen devices. The little keys I find surprisingly playable. As for the fetishism bit well… it's nice also to fall in love slightly with devices one's spending a lot of time with ;p

  60. Clearly this is the greatest "art synth" since my favored Tenori-on! But with the OP1, we must ask ourselves two important questions: 1. Does it make music making easier / more intuitive, or actually more difficult? 2. Does it do anything uniquely better than similarly priced hardware / software solutions? From the demos I've watched so far, the answer seems to be no – The plethora of iPad and laptop softwares would seem to win out in both ease of use and sound quality.

    I would like an OP1 as an item for my collection! (Or to be disproved in the above analysis) but at this point I must spend my $800 in a more utilitarian manner.

    As always, see my video reviews on YouTube, as we pose similar questions to other new devices.

  61. New technology is often threatening and when folks feel threatened they lash out. It cannot be just the price tag that offends people, nor the fact that TE cannot keep them in stock, even at such a high price point. Technology of no value fades quickly (at any cost) – just look at the RIM Playbook. Hype alone cannot sustain a run like the OP-1 has seen, just as it did not boost sales of the Playbook, which noone wanted.

    People want this synth because it offers something that is not available from any other vendor at any price. Remember all the negativity surrounding the iPad’s release? I mean, really, why would someone ever want a big iPhone??!?

  62. For its live processing power alone, the Op 1 is worth the price of admission. It’s amazing for jamming with a guitarist, cutting samples and creating loops on the go. The tombola sequencer is a really cool feature for creating swarms of sound. Who needs Fennesz when you have an Op 1? The on board FM radio is pretty sweet, especially for the sort of musician who thrives on randomness as a collaborator in composition. Overall, I think it’s more appealing to the noise and glitch set. On the synth side, sure, there are thousands of deeper, more tweakable options out there, but it’s extremely intuitive, and it sounds great. For some people it’s an expensive toy, but for a few it’s as if the Lady of the Lake tossed you fucking Excalibur.

  63. This is a great machine. Although it is a bit limited synth-wise, it is meant to inspire as a stand alone instrument/ all reound device. It’s very fun and powerful considering its price. Before this machine, the closest you could get to a creative, intuitive devices were Korg machines and the Roland Gaia (i still love you korg). Teenage Engineering gets nothing but love from mysself, a guy who fell in love with sound machines just before thepopular rise of music software and laptop music making. BTW you should be slapped for using the word hipster in the same scentence as the OP-1 🙂

    1. The Gaia is a cool little synth, & the Korg Volcas are more performance based. A Yamaha QYs would be closer to the OP-1

  64. A well designed Product. I like the User Interface. The Animations and visual feedback via the OLED-Display is absolutely great. Kind of retro futuristic. It feels sturdy and it is well build. It encourages you to experiment and that’s a good thing. The weird sequencers are really nice but the sound of the synths is thin and digital. The build in Microphone is also a joke but I like the implementation of the Radio. You can go on with a lot of positive and negative features. Like on any other instrument. Overall I like it cause it’s a refreshing concept and looks lovely. You can create unique and great music with it – if you are talented and put your heart in it.

    The price is normal cause it’s an independent company. What do you expect?

    Please stop all this “Hipster” Bullshit. There is no Hipster term outside the USA. And if I’m right with the definition of what you call a hipster today…it is way too expensive to be a toy for indie kids. It’s a musical instrument with an appealing design and concept for a lot of people and that’s a good thing cause it proves the company did it right.

  65. Old thread, I know. But it’s heavily trafficked so I thought I’d add my two cents.

    Recent Os updates have added MIDI in and out via USB. I just spent the afternoon using the OP-1 as a controller for Ableton Live, as well as using Live to control the OP-1. MIDI-CC and everything. New sequencer, drum synth, and other stuff as well. I like that this thing will grow over time.

    If you’re stuck on needing big audio jacks, multiple voicings, and all that, then this isn’t for you, I’d guess. It’s a good synth, though there are better. It’s a really good sampler, though there are better. It’s got the tape machine, which I find limited, but I’m learning to work with its limitations in interesting ways. If what you want is a Korg workstation, go get a Korg workstation. I can’t sit on an airplane, or on a subway, or on my couch, or in the yard with a beer, or with my ukulele, with a Korg workstation. I can do that with this.

    Regarding the FM radio, that’s so far the most useful surprise. Recording 12 seconds of Mexican Christian talk radio and making drum samples of it is just great.

    It’ll work well with my serious modular set up, too. Rock on.

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