Sunday, October 17, 2010

Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer

I first saw this little beast on Livid's facebook page, the product has since been made more famous, post its appearance in Sweedish House Mafia's video for One. You know that madness in the beginning of the song? That's all from the OP-1. You're intrigued now, might as well keep reading.

The OP-1 is a portable synthesizer that also features MIDI & Teenage Engineering's exclusive "tape" feature. Inside is multiple types of synthesis (8 to be precise) including a form of analog emulation for you tone lovers. Most of you are used to controlling synthesis through the basic ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release) envelope which is obviously built in to the OP-1. But, the OP-1 also features other types of envelope forms giving you even more control and customization over the sounds you create on the OP-1. Add to this a built in sequencer and sampler for creating drum loops and small samples of program info. The synthesis and drum sampler are all cool enough but, that isn't really what sets the OP-1 apart.

What does make it quite unique is the OP-1's "tape" emulation function. With this little tool you can record and manipulate sounds you've created to the tape function (HD) in real time. It's a 4 track tape recorder that's capable of capturing sound from the built in synth/sampler or from the inputs available with the OP-1's audio interface. A tape machine can in fact be a very cool sounding instrument. The first time I hit play on a 24 track I instantly re-wound the tape to record the sound of the tape starting up. It's truly an epic sound and while the OP-1 obviously isn't a Studer, it does it's best to emulate the effects of one.  There are a ton of unique sounds you can concoct using the tape feature that will surely set your music apart from the masses. There's a small built in mixer so you can easily blend the sounds between the 4 tracks you've built up while jamming on top of the OP-1. The OP-1 connects to your computer via USB and shows up as a storage device. This allows you to easily pull material you've created onto the OP-1 right into your DAW for mixing and placement into your songs. The USB functionality also enables the OP-1 to act as a basic MIDI controller.

The built in audio interface features in's & out's via 3.5mm jacks @ 24bits & 96kbps. The OP-1 also has a small built in speaker so you can jam anywhere, did I mention the unit can be battery powered. Another neat feature of the OP-1 is it's G-Force motion sensor. This allows the user to shake or move the OP-1 complete with an effected audio response from the OP-1. Shake this beast and the sound will in turn shake as well! There is even rumors from Teenage Engineering that you will be able to connect multiple OP-1's for jamming with your friends without wires. That's what I just said, wireless digital jam sessions! The OP-1 might be worth buying just to keep in your glove box for long road trips with people like me who don't shut the hell up.

The OP-1 has gotten incredibly fantastic reviews from the audio world and if it's good enough for Sweedish House Mafia it's certainly good enough for all of us!  You can't buy the OP-1 yet but as soon as you can I'll surely let you all know via ZeSoundSuite!  Check out the video below of the OP-1 in action and for more information on the OP-1 & the company behind it; Teenage Engineering be sure to check out their webstie

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