15 thoughts on “How To Use A Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer

    1. I’m surprised you’d say that given how welcoming it is even to people new to synthesis… perhaps if you’ve got years of experience already with more ‘traditional’ synthesizers I can see how it might be difficult to adjust to its rather idiosyncratic approach. But people reading this should note that it’s not only a synth – it has a 4-track recorder and a neat sampler complete with factory drum kits (and you can of course also build your own), so you can basically lay down a whole track with it without ever touching a computer, hence also some complexity, although the Teenage Engineering team has done an admirable job at managing the complexity.

  1. Hah – Seriously. I had one and sold it because I couldn’t pick up on the workflow. Bass Station II took it’s place and fits in my studio much more nicely.

  2. Agree it’s a machine much more easily understood with some instruction. . .

    But hopefully they’ll go deeper than these rather superficial vids though– note that the “Drums” vid does not cover the dbox drum synth at all, nor does the “synth” vid cover the sampler

    Highly recommend the DJ Thomas White youtube vids for instruction for those having trouble.

  3. Before these videos I believed that the OP-1 was just a midi keyboard and I am now quite impressed with the ability of this synth. It is still way out of my price range but good to have these videos just to know.

    I’m curious about the screen though… when he adjusts the blue encoder, his thumb occasionally passes over the OLED screen. When this happens his thumb gets cutoff, doesn’t line up, or turns yellow. Is the screen edited on? Is it a video glitch? Could someone clue me in to what’s going on? (This happens especially in the 3rd video, “Drum Machine”).

  4. Over the last year, the OP-1 has become one of my favorite synths – it’s totally inspiring.

    These videos offer good basic overviews, but could also stand to go more in depth.

  5. I LOVE MY OP-1!!!
    You can take it anywhere and work on anything from sketches to complete productions.
    I use it on almost every project I do.
    It’s super fun to use the weird sequencers to control soft synths or external gear too.
    Sampling the radio is always fun.
    Hard to believe, but it’s worth the money… the only downfall is that it has a kind of high noisefloor, but there are workarounds.

  6. Despite the fact that I didn’t like it at all at first, the OP-1 is the most useful instrument I have ever owned. Because it combines 8 synth engines, Drum Machine, sequencer, sampler and a four track, there is almost nothing I cannot do with it, or at least start with it. I occasionally treat it as a four track with a sampler, rather than a synth in it’s own right. Other times, I create tracks using nothing but the onboard engines and effects. It is dozens of times better than I imagined it would be. It is difficult to use if you are used to traditional instruments and workflows, but once you manage the learning curve one is richly rewarded. After 20 years of making music with computers, it is refreshing to complete tracks without once opening up a DAW. Yes, my iPhone can do more too, but that’s why the OP-1 is better. The limits are a benefit, not a liability. It makes you more focused and forced to make choices earlier in the process, which speeds things later in the production. I cannot say enough good things about this machine.

    1. And I think it’s also worth noting that even if an iPhone can do ‘more’, the OP-1 is designed as an instrument that has a lot packed in and is very portable. It’s not a device designed to do everything and while useful lacks much of the physicality that musicians generally like from an instrument. I’m not knocking iPhones and iPads cause I use them too, but I think there’s some things that are inspiring about the OP-1 that unless you spend a little time with it you might not initially realize. It’s an inspiring and very portable piece of hardware. And I wasn’t into it until someone gave me one as a present.

      1. Very good points. The actual instrument interface of the OP-1 was one reason I wanted to give it a try. I have made lots of music using a touch screen and I’m generally not fond of touch screen for music making, but it’s so convenient, I will continue to do so. By contrast, the OP-1 is such an inspirational joy to play, iOS doesn’t hold a candle to it.

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