The Teenage Engineering Choir: WTF or Take My Money? You Make The Call!

In case you wondering if Teenage Engineering is all out of f*cks to give, they’ve introduced the teenage engineering choir, a collection of eight ‘singing’ wooden dolls, each with a characteristic vocal range, that can be played via MIDI over BLE.

Here’s what they have to say about the choir:

“made to serenade you with a repertoire of choral classics, as well as perform your own original compositions through midi over ble.

each member has their own characteristic vocal range. individually one can sing a dynamic solo, together they perform an immersive a cappella concert.

the choir is inspired by the original absolut choir, our very first project.”

The dolls come with a pre-programmed repertoire of classic songs that have been created and performed using an algorithm-based on counterpoint melody, a compositional technique that refers to the independent but complementary relationship between two or more lines of melody played at the same time.

Tap, Tilt or Smack Them

To get the choir started, they need a helping hand. A sensor inside the speaker module reacts to vibration and movement, so controlling the choir is a playful experience in itself.

Gently tap the doll on its head or on the table to trigger play or pause, or tilt the doll left or right to decrease or increase the volume accordingly. If it gets annoying, it can handle a little smack to turn it off.

The Ensemble

Based on cultures and characters from across the world, each doll is unique and has it’s own vocal tonality. While each is given their own voice type, a single doll can customize their vocal range to sing a dynamic solo performance. When more than one member of the choir are placed together, in any combination, they communicate with each other, and recognize the choral members in range, to create a full choral experience.

The choir comes with a collection of preset compositions, ranging from baroque to folk.

Each doll is handcrafted from solid beech and individually polished with hard wax oil. The speaker modules inside are removable, as well as rechargeable. At the center of each doll is a speaker module, which also functions as the CPU and BLE transmitter, Rechargable with up to 4 hours of performance time.

MIDI Compatibility

You can conduct your choir with OP–1 field, OP–Z, or any MIDI keyboard with Bluetooth connectivity. Connecting one doll pairs the whole choir.

Pricing and Availability

Each of the Teenage Engineering Choir members are available now for $249 USD.

106 thoughts on “The Teenage Engineering Choir: WTF or Take My Money? You Make The Call!

  1. Seriously? $2k for all eight of them. The people at TE have really studied up on Leon Festinger’s work. Cognitive Dissonance the only explanation that makes any sense for people to shell out the kind of money that this company charges for “toys” that cost tens of times their actual worth, claim that they are worth every penny, continue to purchase more, and insist that others are being unfair to these wonderful products when the truth is pointed out to them.

        1. or maybe more than one opinion is valid in this space? personally, they look interesting, but would appear to sound boxy and midrangy; they’re too small for more than a ukulele sound. the shapes leave quite a bit to be desired too… welp, it could be worse.

          woooo! I spelled ukulele right the first time!

            1. These things are fun.

              Some people can appreciate that. Others just want to complain or pretend that they’re superior to everybody else. Get over it!

      1. You are correct! But, this blog is named “Synthtopia”, and if you read its charter, it would appear that discussion here pertains to all things synth and electronic music. So, since we don’t see articles here with titles like “How to build dance tracks by beating on precious Dutch masters… Does the quality of the canvas really make a difference?”, one would assume that we would be constraining opinions based on the thing’s relationship to the charter. The company, TE, makes electronic music production tools, and these things do make noises. My comments, at least, are aimed at expressing my opinions of the things I “review” here based on my viewpoints of how these things relate to synths and electronic music from my perspective, and that is true for these pieces of “art”. There should be no more- or less-correctness associated with an opinion, since it reflects the way its author “personally” feels about a thing. An opinion is just that. So, while it is true that you could probably get lots opinions concerning all the interesting sounds you could get by performing all kinds of sadistic mutilations of a van Gogh masterpiece, the name of this blog is “Synthtopia” and not “Arttopia”.

    1. Or maybe you just own one or more of their products, and actually love them. I love my OP-Z indeed. And/or maybe even if you are not interested in their products, or cannot afford them, you can appreciate the design and creativity involved. Which is certainly how I feel about these dolls. Or maybe you can just assume that some other people have different tastes, interests, and, well, tons of money, also.

      1. I’m kind of amazed at how long it took to get a response that is almost completely synonymous with the behavioral expectations of cognitive dissonance theory.

        1. im kind of amazed at how defensive you are of this retail product from this ridiculous corporation

          just kidding

          its entirely expected from the likes of you

          1. Oook, two comments after I don’t know how many years (and no, I wasn’t motivated for to talk about this dolls, my first comment after many years was about the Circuit: firmware updates, MIDI routing…you know, features-the real stuff!) and here these two know me already better than my mother. My biggest cognitive dissonance is to expect more of the internet, I guess. Hello Synthopia, bye Synthopia.

    2. These are called Veblen Goods, after economist Theodor Veblen. They’re not meant to embody value for money, but status due to expense and scarcity, like a designer handbag or very expensive suits and cars.

      TE’s target customer is a wealthy person who enjoys music as a hobby. These things are meant to serve as a conversation piece in a beautiful home, a way for the owners to demonstrate their good taste to visitors. And it is nicely made. Once you understand that the main purpose is social status rather than unique musicality, you can see where the value is and understand that it is being sold for a different purpose to the one you are interested in.

      It is kind of expensive but less than I expected, many well-off people think nothing of spending $2000 on a bag or a watch. If you care about a flexible and useful musical instrument, just move on. This is for people with money to amuse and impress their friends with money.

      1. Thank you (seriously) for that information! I didn’t know about Veblin goods nor Theodor Velbin before you mentioned them/him. He sounds like my kind of economist. I have no practical knowledge about anything that Teenage Engineering makes apart from what I see/hear/watch in their advertising or YouTube videos, or read about in various blogs like this one, true forums, or synth user group lists. This new information sheds some additional light on TE and what I am referring to as “Cognitive Dissonance Theory”.

        Truth be told, I am really about as far as you can get in psychology from most social psychologists’ theories. Apart from the fact that I teach in a Psychology Department, I really have little interest in most psychology theories. Any “claim to fame” that I might have is totally due to my neuroscience (especially neuropsychopharmacology and neurotoxicology) research past. Once I discovered radical behaviorism (i.e., Skinnerian Behaviorism) when I was a sophomore in college, little in psychological theory has impressed me much. That is, except for how well Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Theory fits a lot of behavior that isn’t otherwise accounted for by other psychological theories (except in terms of radical behaviorist constructs, of course).

        Envy (social or otherwise), as a motivational construct is almost antithetical to cognitive dissonance, and seeing what you wrote about the purpose for obtaining Velbin goods, does, I’m guessing, fit pretty well for at least some subsets of people who purchase Teenage Engineering products (especially ones like these in the current discussion). My impression that Cognitive Dissonance explains much of the TE discussion (not necessarily the reason for an initial purchase, but for almost all of the accolades the products receive in the media I see or hear them in, that seem to be more of justifications for the initial purchases than anything else), may have little to do with initial purchase of the products. In that regard, social envy might explain quite a bit. However, my guess is that most people who participate in blogs and forums, such as this one, are not “wealthy”. Also, without knowing more about Velbin’s views other than what you related, I can’t say whether he would lump purchases in response to “an overwhelmingly favorable plethora of positive comments by people who own TE stuff” as being examples of what I’m calling “social envy”.

        Given that I haven’t attributed people’s responses in defense of other EM gear that I consider outrageously expensive, but usually comments exclusively defending TE products (especially those that appear to be directed toward more than those with more than a casual interest in making music, like the OP-1), it may be that the commentary may reflect the influence of something else, and it is possible that Velbin may have explained at least some if it. Thank you, again!

        1. You might enjoy reading the work of behavioral economists, such as Amos Tversky, Daniel Kahneman and others. Fantastic stuff. Homo economicus, it turns out, is subject to a panopoly of psychological pressures that shape his/her perception of what the classical economists called “self-interest”.

      2. it seems clear to me that teenage engineering are products designed for people that are too dumb to know that there’s better products at the same price range- but they’re more concerned with looking cool than the the ability of a sound tool to make music-

        1. Tim Gross

          You seem to equate purchasing power with stupidity, which is not a very intuitive supposition.

          But do tell us more about the products like this, but better, that are in the same price range.

        2. I only have a PO-33 that I bought to replace my old SP-202 and it rocks. For its size, it’s really powerful. It’s good for generating ideas but it s toy-ish. I don’t really care about the rest of their gear, they seam to care more about design than function.

  2. I’m sitting here like “should I even say anything” since im pretty sure this post will become an echo chamber of disapproval… on price as usual. BUT! I kinda like them, whether I’ll buy one or not, thats besides the point. Whether TE is overcharging for products, making stupid decisions, etc, who cares. I always think, if someone gave me one for free would I want it? On the merits, these are kind of cool. My PS5 is a “toy” and so is this, and I’d have fun with both.

    1. If somebody gave me one for free, I’d regift it. For me, that would be about the only thing I could think to do with it. I guess if didn’t have heat, burning it would also be an option.

      1. I like how you think. There always needs to be opposition to make it feel that much better to oppose. I’m going to stick with my first impression, these look cool. That price tag can kiss my ass though.

    2. I also kinda like them, and there is some skill in the manufacture (eg knowing where to drill holes to get good acoustics, how to finish the wood nicely. If I had woodworking skills/equipment I would be into copying this.

      Electronics-wise, the parts you need are available for about $20 and happily require only rudimentary technical knowledge – a battery, an ESP32 board, and a small speaker will be sufficient. If you use micropython the code can be just 50-100 lines depending on whether you decide to use samples or analog PWM. is a good site for amateur techno-art projects like this.

    1. lol!
      Once again I spit my TE beer all over the keyboard.

      That one with the round head kind of weirds me out for some reason lol.

      I dunno, people can buy what they want, whatever makes you happy.
      Maybe if they had made them based on classic Universal monsters?
      Or like big PEZ dispensers … ok no more edibles for me today.

    1. THIS! I kept thinking where have I seen this concept? I thought TE ripped the idea off someone else or bought the concept. Thanks for sharing this. I was pulling my hair out.

  3. There’s a crowd for almost every product. Whether it’s enough of a buying crowd to sustain the business? That’s the more critical question, assuming the company actually wants to stay in business.

    1. If you like the sound and would buy these, you probably also own some good quality microphones and could just record acoustically.

  4. Hi everyone, look up Absolute Choir. I think that was TE’s first project, in 2007. I think this is a nod to where they’ve come from. I’m not sure it’s supposed to be judged as a mass market thing.

  5. To me, these dolls add quite an interesting physical aspect of synths. I could actually see myself organizing a couple of dolls into a choir, mic’ing them up in various places and then composing for them while moving them around and trying various combinations. It adds a new dimension to the creative process, and it would be really fun to see where it would lead.

    This is also why I think TE is an important company; they constantly push envelopes and they are not afraid of following through on their ideas. It’s a hit and miss game, but I’m quite sure they love playing it.

    1. if they were bigger with a larger resonance range, and they spun around like a Leslie, it could be interesting. who was that other company with custom resonator’s?

  6. They’re free to do whatever dumb thing they want, but I find it telling that like 30% of the tunes they’re programmed to do are out of the American songbook but none of the voices are meant to emulate a timbre from that hemisphere of the planet. Clueless.

  7. I don’t love the price, but I do love these and would welcome them into my studio. I think they could be quite interesting in various ways.

  8. These are clever and unique. As with most boutique custom-made things, they are also expensive.

    The angry guys in this thread are unable to see outside their little mental boxes; they’re the same ones who argue that vinyl sounds best and all new releases should be on cassette.

    1. funny how it’s OK to disparage everyone, but if you direct it at one person. boop! post edited.

      ‘less is more’ logic strikes again.

      I think recordings should stay on the media it was released on. song order and production are important to preserve – except Phil Spector’s Let It Be work. I only truly enjoy all my old Beatles and XTC albums with the scratches, pops and skips of vinyl. the new streaming versions sound a bit plastic. there’s just something familiar about flipping the record between sides. I like different media for different styles as well. Katzenjammer could be played on anything; even the Pinocchio and still sound great!

      as I mentioned above – a larger resonator would be better i think. these seem too small to really be useful to me.

      1. “funny how it’s OK to disparage everyone, but if you direct it at one person. boop! post edited. ”

        That’s the way it works.

        “People are idiots” = you’re expressing that you’re a misanthrope
        “Italians are idiots” = hate speech
        “John is an idiot” = personal attack

        It’s the hate speech and personal attacks that will get your comment deleted.

          1. Because you have a history of leaving comments with personal attacks, which means your comments are more likely to get flagged for moderation.

  9. For folks with large amounts of disposable income, and a faltering ability to entertain oneself, this is a perfectly valid kitch product/activity. In a world of increasingly “virtual” objects and experiences, here’s one where they chop down an actual tree, carve it into shapes and make something truly useless. I don’t judge; and let’s not count the number of times people have wanted wooden end-cheeks for their keyboards so they could throw the plastic ones into the landfill.

    In the end, it’s all landfill.

    BTW, the products are all setups for the punchline which is their company name. (I mean that in a good way). To be clear, I’m not a hater. I think the OP-1 looks like a brilliant thingy.

  10. I’m more interested in the tech behind it to create something that would be more compatible with my own aesthetic/work flow. Love the concept, meh on the implementation.

  11. The opening sentence of the article is pure gold. Well done, Synthhead.

    I guess this is intended to ask, is it a musical tool, or is it art? I think most folks at this site are looking at it more like a musical tool so the price seems absurd. Art on the other hand is not usually priced in a way that makes sense to a person who does not like the art piece. Personally this has no real value as a musical tool to me, and I have better uses for $2k for art. But that is just for me. I’m not offended if someone else thinks this looks like a lot of fun and has amazing value to them.

  12. The hate here is sadly exactly what I would expect from this crowd. Through anonymity, everyone’s worst attributes are magnified. Unsure if it’s FOMO, jealously, or something more sinister, but I personally think they look super cool. Half art / Half techy-music toy; It checks all my boxes. Hell, people collect all sorts of stupid shit – these are just Scandinavian Funko Pops. Chillll

  13. These just help make the case that TE is a lifestyle brand company, not a musical instrument company. Which is fine, but let us all stop pretending.

  14. If only there were hundreds of other companies who make endless cheap, midrange, and expensive synthesizers, I would not need to complain endlessly about this one company!

  15. somehow manages to trivialize both the art of design and the craft of musical creation all at the same time. good job bringing the nihilism, TE. statement made.

  16. It’s funny how those that like these things immediately assume those that don’t are just tasteless plebs that can’t afford them and are jealous. If people want to spend their money on something they’ll probably only use 3 times, that is their business, and if you let these little abominations serenade you to sleep every night, more power to you, but assuming a position of class because they do not agree with I think says more about the image you are trying to project about yourself. Honestly, some of the most frugal people I know are the most wealthy…and why they are wealthy.

  17. The Teenage Engineering logo is a screw with nut. I assume the concept of the logo is that if you’re nuts enough to buy TE products that TE will gladly screw you. I watched the video and it ends with the TE logo.

  18. i guess many are concluding TE designs and makes hi-end toys, the fact that a few of them ended up having overlap into ‘pro’ music creation situations (OP’s) is why they even have a presence in the synth and music creation community. always lots of entertainment surrounding those teenage engineers!


    These are really beautiful hugely endearing objects! What a beautifully creative idea that allows people to play/engage with music and creativity in a highly interactive and innovative way. As people who ‘create’ things should know (especially on this platform), it’s sooo easy to sit on the sidelines and viciously tear apart someones new ideas or efforts to bring something new/original or innovative into the world.

    Regarding the vicious comments above, the people who will buy these are not ‘clueless’ or ‘sad rich losers with nothing better’ or even ‘people who desperately need to impress their friends’. They will be people who just appreciate and enjoy creative experiences and ideas.

      1. Sitting quietly above us, the wise owl waits for the opportunity to dazzle those below him with his superior intellect ; ) unfortunately poor old Teenage Engineering is for dinner tonight!

  20. Wood is a good look. Pop a couple of 3 of these in the corner of the home studio would undoubtedly add to the esthetic, if these vibe with your style. Any artist could make use of them in a song or as a stunt on stage, with ease… iMaGiNe with me, band stops on the drummers crash of the cymbal, stage goes black, spotlight hits quirky position in venue where a 3-piece TE Wood Choir sings the intro to an instantly recognizable melody… short drum fill, splash cymbal, band picks up into the song. Every fan walks away remembering that moment. Annnnnnd I digress, these are actually cheaper than I would expect from TE.

  21. Insta-buy for me. One of these on the mantel at the holidays will be lots of fun and my grandson will love it.

    They cost about the same as a typical Eurorack module, but they’re fun for the entire family.

  22. Beautiful. Quirky. Ridiculously impractical. Would never, absolutely NEVER pass muster in an MBA case study. I just love that this company exists.

  23. I ordered all of them for my nephew, he and i received our two OP–1 field on his 8 year old birthday and we couldnt be happier, Big thx Teenage Engineering

  24. Teenage Engineering‘s designs continue to be highly polarizing and get a lot of attention, so they are clearly doing something right. You don’t attract opposition on that level if your work doesn’t strike a nerve.

  25. – casual stereotyping ensures they are “fun”
    – identical sound, no tonal or timbre variation
    – because music is just automated christmas carols

    Perfect internet food.

  26. What about BOTH!

    WTF AND Take my Money ?

    Yes i think all TE gear but the OP1 are artsy gimmicks, and i think they definately should continue to make conceptual art musical instruments.
    Because too many “synths” are cold tools after all. TE makes, especially the synth world, more fun and art!

  27. I am not interested in buying one of these, but I am upset that they exist. If you are interested in buying one of these, you are a jerk because I am not interested in buying one of these.

  28. Yeah, these look great! If they worked as standard bluetooth speakers as well I would totally grab a couple based solely on their aesthetics. Not sure why you would want a $250 midi ringtone playback machine tho, much less a “choir” of them. That said, when/if someone hacks these so they can work as standard BT speakers I hope they’re not so expensive on Reverb.

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