Teenage Engineering Cancels Modular Orders

Teenage Engineering has cancelled orders for their 170 modular synth and 16 modular synth keyboard, citing a manufacturing problem.

People that had pre-orded the modular gear are receiving notification that their orders are being cancelled:

TE expects the first of the Pocket Operator 400 modular synthesizers in about a week, and they are offering impacted customers a discount on future purchases and ‘fast track’ in the queue for the 400 modular synthesizer. All the TE modular systems are currently listed as ‘out of stock’ at their online store.

27 thoughts on “Teenage Engineering Cancels Modular Orders

  1. Why even cancel the order? Dumb, just say there is a delay. I had a piece of gear delayed for many months by another manufacture and they did not cancel. If they would have canceled and made me re order I would have refused and they lost my business.

    1. Probably because the manufacturing problem is not trivial and they are not sure how fast or even if the can fix the problem without altering the end product. Just guessing here but that might be the reason.

    2. You are simply wrong! They are actually being ethical and professional by not retaining the funds they have received when they cannot deliver on the promised date. And clearly, this is an issue that will require some time to resolve. I am not a TE user, yet I applaud them for their action.

      1. even more responsible would be to ensure the product can be successfully run through manufacturing before even taking peoples money in the first place….

  2. Damned if you do or don’t. Canceling is bad but holding on to peoples money for an unknown period of time is probably worse. Let’s say they figure everything out a year from now, you’d have to keep an eye on that bank account or credit card for a year to see when that money was drafted. I’ve backed projects on kickstarter. Its a weird feeling knowing that you will be a couple hundred bucks poorer at some random time at some point in the future vs a solid date. Maybe they don’t have a production date and felt this was the right move.

    Pre-orders are weird anyways.

    1. “i heard the waiting period for an EMS can be something like 10 – 15 years and it didn’t exactly hurt their reputation.”

      It certainly didn’t help! The VCS3’s are worth what they are because they’re made the way they are, by hand and in extremely limited numbers.

      There’s a lost opportunity cost for companies that are slow to give customers what they want, because it opens the door for Behringer and others to come in and take over the market. I think that Behringer has actually already said that they’re going to do a VCS3, too. It’s probably going to take longer than their other knockoffs, because of the fact that the patch matrix is a completely weird part.

      1. point taken. the matrices are readily available at ghielmetti.ch, btw. (also if just for re-engineering, i presume, should that be the goal…)

  3. I applaud TE for canceling the orders along with offering 10% discounts to these affected customers. I think that it is much more respectful to the customer. And it is no small matter that they offered the 10% discount. Based on TE’s handling of this, I will pay closer attention to their product line.

  4. Seems like the right move ethically (and maybe legally). I bet a bunch of people are going to use those vouchers to order the 400 instead.

  5. If I Iearned anything in life, it’s not to preorder anything ever. You never know when or if the thing shows up, the firmware or OS (if there is any) is not quite there yet and the first batches sometimes suffer from quality control issues. It’s good to know TE takes care this doesn’t happen to their customers. I will lay back and wait how the POMS actually sounds like in a musical context before spending any serious thoughts on getting one anyway. After all, it’s an instrument.

    1. “I will lay back and wait how the POMS actually sounds like in a musical context before spending any serious thoughts on getting one anyway. After all, it’s an instrument.”


      They do look kind of cool, but they are also non-standard, so they won’t fit into a rack, and you can’t expand them with other people’s modules and put everything in a consistent cabinet.

      The other weakness I see is that there are other synths in the same general price range that offer more bang for the buck, without requiring you to DIY anything. I’m thinking Mother 32, which offers a lot of synth for the money, and even more so with the Crave, which seems to be a sort of Mother 32 knockoff.

  6. It was bullshit product from the beginning, but it’s only my humble opinion. They wanted to acquire a part of market share, but all this bargain and all similar “designed-to-seem-affordable” things like Modal Kraft etc are dead-born. I bet smart teenagers buy other synths for the same price…

    1. TBH I think they are beautiful and instant industrial design icons, especially the 400. These things will be sought collector’s items in no time.

  7. Well, they have new stock on OP-1’s now, and the price? €1399,-. I guess we now know who is going to pay for the 10% discount coupons….

  8. Too bad about the refunds but I will certainly be putting the 10% voucher towards a 400 system instead of the 160 system that I had preordered. All the slagging is easy, the haters should try making something.

  9. Based on how they are jacking up the price of the OP-1 to ridiculous levels, this item will have a price spike, if it comes back. Digital technology usually goes down in price over time. Analog is less expensive than it used to be. So what gives?

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