Teenage Engineering OP-1


I’ve also been quickly looking at the preenFM, audiothingies micromonsta… but it feels very less “direct” and alive as the op-1 or monomachine I guess,

I don’t think I really want to imbricate the OT and the other synth, just for routing and recording the synth into 1 OT audio track, but I don’t want to sequence it from the OT, synth is to be played with hands in that situation, and I think I want an integrated device and not a module + a midi keyboard…

I’ll check the preenFM anyway, thanks :smiley:

For the monomachine, I still didn’t find 1 video for me to say “hey! nice sound”… I know its a beast with its routing abilities and elektron sequencer, that you may have thousands of “tricks” in here like with the OT, but I still need to hear something I actually like from this machine… I’ll search for some more :smiley:

For now the OP-1 seems the best match for my criteria… I dream of an elektron sequencer with the OP-1 synth, drums and FX with some more elektron tricks inside…

One of many op-1 ‘secrets’ is to keep all volume levels moderate and tweak the synths very subtley around their many sweet spots.
Initial mistake I made was loudness and clipping - its synths and fx can be pretty raw and get messy or too digital without care… Onus is on the user to tame them. Quite different to vst utopia of easy earhoney.

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Not sure I understand this question. The simplest way to have it play synths and samples at the same time is to record synths and sample tracks to Tape (you have up to 4 tracks) and play the Tape. I think you can record up to 6 min. of audio. Without using Tape, you can only play one engine (synth, sampler, or drum synth/sampler) at a time.

Since you say you love the sound of the synths, then I’m guessing you’ll be happy with the OP-1’s onboard synths.

I think you use one sample per “drum kit”, if using the drum sampler. Each sample can be up to 12 seconds long. So if using your own drum samples, you would have to arrange them into a single audio file of up to 12 sec, then assign each key to “play” the piece of the audio file that you want. At least that is what this implies:

I don’t know what the memory limit is, other than the number of drum preset slots onboard the OP-1. I forget exactly how many there are - the online manual doesn’t say, and I only know when I have it in my hands physically.

If you use the synth sampler instead, each sample can be up to 6 sec. long. The same rule probably applies - you use one sample per preset, and you map each key to the specific region of the audio file you want to trigger.

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Hi Governor

I understand there is no multitimbral operation in the op1, I aim to use it live for direct playing with the OT for looping stuff on top of my OT live set,

my question was unclear I guess, I was asking (trying to ask, ah ah) : if buying an OP1, just for live play some synths and noises and a few samples through a live set, and not using a lot the tape recorders, was not like buying a ferrari to never go past 20Km/h…

Thanks for the input about drum samplechains, I’m used to make samplechains for the OT so I guess no problem to make my own for the OP1.

I guess storage won’t be a problem if I need only little samples here and there.

My main question is about the synth engines… I love what I hear on the vids, but I read lots of people complaining about the limitations of the synths parameters, that would stick to some kind of sounds, often called cheap or harsh by forums users, like not sounding “pro” enough and so on…

I’m afraid being attracted by the originality of the display graphics, then not being fully objective with my ears lol

I was quite about to get a monomachine (for theoretical criteria) but I still didn’t hear a single sound from it that would really sell it to me…

My brain says “go monomachine and be smart!” but my heart (it’s more the ears and the fingers) say “get the frikkin OP1 and play the shit out of it!”

the 2 machines are approx the same price on second hand market so it’s hard to decifer…

thanks for your answers :smiley:

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Well, everyone has their own tastes, regarding synths. I quite like the OP-1 synths myself.

I do notice that sometimes the sound will change drastically when I turn a parameter knob just a little bit. This can be disturbing to someone used to, say, Moog synths and how smoothly the sound changes as a knob is twisted. It doesn’t bother me that much.

I personally don’t care about “pro” sounds. There are plenty of “pros” out there who sound so polished, yet the music is so boring. There are big name artists like Bon Iver, CHVRCHES, etc. that use OP-1s - and I would in fact call them “pro” because they’re obviously big enough to make music for a living. However, it’s not important to me if somebody famous uses the same gear as me.

DSynth and DBox are the most complex synth engines on the OP-1 and they’re commesurately trickier to tweak than their simpler brethren.

But the main thing to me is I like the synth sounds too, and that’s one of the reasons I keep the OP-1 around. I have heard more talented synthesists than myself make some pleasantly smooth sounds on it too, although nobody expects it to sound like a vintage analog polysynth or something.


Fair enough,

I’m on your side with this, not trying to sound pro anymore, and if I want some “pro” I just have to plug and switch the computer ON, I got the sound design right under the hands with Komplete 9 inside (loving Reaktor and synths like Massive or Absynth, Prism and all the effect and sound synthesis with reaktor…)

I don’t want to sound like pros ah ah, but I would like a 1000€ digital synth not to have parasite sounds where I want a clean sounding pad, i.e.

And what about the noise floor in the jack output that some seem to complain about? I read problems were restricted to using a soundcard, but if directely plugged into a machine like the OT or the A4, there was no noise floor anymore?

Back to the synth engines, I watched some more videos but sadly the most are with users that use the tape with drums and so on, not really exploring the synthesis abilities of the beast apart for the review videos that just fly by the different engines in 30 seconds… I’ll search for more, but I guess I’ve got to get one, this little synth cries for my fingers!!


I have not noticed extraneous noise at the output jack. I have heard that if you try to charge the OP-1 with USB and listen to the output at the same time, you might experience some noise; but I have not investigated this very deeply.

I cannot promise you will find a clean pad sound that you will like, because taste is so personal. I think this sound is nice but that’s my personal taste:

Here is an OP-1 only ambient album:

The operator-1 forum has a lot more sound examples, sound design, and synth patching discussion. There’s a good tutorial on making ambient music using a technique that involves Tape, but you said you don’t want to hear Tape examples so I’m sparing you that for now ;). https://www.operator-1.com/

Anyway, I’ll be straight up about one thing the OP-1 is missing for pads - a nice, huge sounding reverb effect. That is why you may encounter videos of people running OP-1 through Eventide Space, Strymon BigSky, or other external reverb effect. But maybe that will be added in the upcoming OS update - who knows?


Hey, I’ve had an OP-1 since July and it’s cool and all, I just can’t figure out how to fully utilize it. Mainly recording and changing parts on the fly. Also, I’m sure there’re a lot of things I’m not even aware of. Anybody got any links to resources on it?

Everything you need is at operator-1.com.


Much appreciated

Go for OP-1 !
It’s surprising, different, fun and has some character.
A full bag of tricks, 10h battery, known limitations, cheerful community and gentle push to get your track done.

Got one for sale if you’re interested!

Ah ah, still got to sell stuff to have enough cash (MFB dominionX, Mopho keyboard and a pocket operator “trinity”).

But thanks for your proposal :slight_smile:

Yes I know operator-one.com, I was there for the pocket operators before I purchased the OT.

Thanks for all your answers!

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Just to be clear on one thing - the Tape on OP-1 will give you a different experience from the Pickup and Flex machines on the Octatrack. This is in response to the comment:

“I don’t mind (for now) the tape-rec stuff on it as I’m using the octatrack…”

On the OP-1, the Tape is what you use to construct and play back audio loops. Some of the Tape Tricks will deliver similar results as p-locking on the Flex machine.

However the workflow for sampling from Tape directly to drum/synth sampler is not the same as saving from Flex machine to audio file on the OT. For one thing, if you save to drum sampler from Tape, the OP-1 can automatically slice the Tape audio for you. Audio slicing on the OT is nowhere near as fast.

I guess my point is, don’t ignore/reject the OP-1 Tape just because you have the Octatrack. You might be surprised how useful it is. The OP-1 is kind of like an updated Casio VL-Tone meets 4-track tape recorder, so if you don’t use the Tape, you’re missing more than 50% of the fun of making music on this little beast.


iv owned two the unit has issues… but its amazing!!! i regret selling it.:frowning:

We all got issues, ah ah!!

Jokes aside, what were the issues on your 2 units?

That"s what I thought, keeping the Tapes unused it like using only 1/2 OP1, maybe less, hence my unclear question from first post, maybe the op1 is too much for only live synth and some samples triggering…

I know it’s different than the OT and can lead to weird or nice unknown territories, maybe the Tapes can help a lot for my “transition trick”…

who knows!

I’m not a fan of the tape machine, but the synth engines are pretty good. Outside sampling there are 9 of them:

  1. String: I like the core sound of this machine a lot. It seems pretty versatile with the paramenters. Not sure how many real sweetspots it has but the main sound is good enough for me and small variations thereof.

  2. Pulse: This machine is a little baffling, I like the sound you get when everything is just in the right place, but that is about it. The only place you can go from there is “a little less good” which is can good in a way sort of like playing with a filter, but not getting a totally different sound. This machine also has a unison mode which sounds really good.

  3. Dr. Wave: This is pretty basic, there is waveform you can manipulate in various ways and you hear what you see. It is basic but actually very necessary for the OP-1 because you can your basic sounds out of it. I have nice plucky “asian” type sound I made that I like a lot. It is fun to play with and the sound variety is good. The sound itself is not super great but good enough for what it does.

  4. FM: Good machine, typical 4 operator FM, you can’t do as much as on a DX for example so don’t get ideas about playing with envelopes per operator (which is sort of core to FM…), but anyway bass is good on here and other sounds too.

  5. Digital: I could explore this machine more, it sounds good and is simple to use and get sounds out of. I haven’t bonded with it yet, but I think the potential is there. The parameters seem effect the sound a good amount.

  6. DNA: This machine is useless.

  7. DSYNTH: This is a tricky machine to use, I would not think of this as a traditional VA synth that you can get classic sounds out of.

  8. Cluster: Nice machine, probably a few different sweet spots, there are 1 or 2 I like a lot, but others will likely find more (not infinite though)

  9. Phase: Do not care for this machine at all. If you like the core sound it will work for you, but the parameters do little to change that sound. This is a pretty harsh sounding machine.

Anyway, these are just general impressions.

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What! DNA was one of my favourite engines on the op-1. Great for noisy stuff but can settle into some nice timbres as well. I guess mine just had a decent variation of it. That said, I sold it lastnight because I just bought a machinedrum :stuck_out_tongue: no regrets but I may end up buying another one at some point…


I’ve owned an sold 2 now and I really want a third. Always regret selling it but GAS!!! Will no doubt get one again.

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