Teenage Engineering OP-1


Ah, seems you’re right. i keep forgetting that TE was started already in 2005. From the inteview i got the impression that i was later than that…


haha, yeah I’m pretty sure I was stylin’ with a Motorola RAZR back then :nerd_face:


bruh LMFAO


He mentions TE started 2008


See that’s awesome toot (you make money off your music). That is most of our dreams! & I’m sure it makes you look at gear with a different point of view than someone that only makes music as a hobby. I know if I made money off my music it would be different. I would think of the gear as more of an investment.


New OS with finer tape grid, improved sync etc. https://teenageengineering.com/downloads/op-1


Here is the text of Jesper Kouthoofd’s only post on the elektron-users.com forum, from September 2010:

Hi all,

This is Jesper from Teenage Engineering.

Sometimes I check this forum to see what you Elektron users are up to.
It is always interesting, especially for me who have been working on some of the Elektron machines as a designer. I love that you comment on all kinds of stuff, have feature requests, get mad about details etc.

I never write comments on forums, so this is the one and only exception.
I do it because I want you Elektron users to get the background story of the OP-1. And to clear things out a little bit in this thread.

Around 1999/2000 I was doing the final work on the MonoMachine and had daily discussions with Daniel Hansson about what machine to do next. I told Daniel about my dream of a machine I have sketched on, based on the Roland SH-101 but in a pocket format. Daniel loved the idea, but was concerned about the battery power and the overall performance of a machine in that size. Remember that this was 10 years ago, and the technology wasn’t quite there yet. So he told me to continue to sketch up a concept, but keep it more or less outside Elektron.

Anyway, I started to work on the machine as a side project. (Daniel and the Elektron team had another vision about a more live / dj sampling machine (UW that later bacame the Octatrack I guess) I did a lot of sketches of the functionality and renderings. And finally Daniel called me one day and said Elektron had a collaboration with Evolution to make a portable machine / controller. As you might guessed, when we presented the stuff, they thought we were insane and rejected all of it. It was too expensive. Impossible to manufacture, no clear target group etc. That could have been the end of story, but it wasn’t.

As some of you know a tragic incident happend a few years later. In 2007 Daniel died in a car accident. He was one of my best friends and it was a great loss. He had called me just a couple of weeks before and wanted to show me a sketch of a new machine he had been working on for some time. (I don’t know what he had in mind, but I guess the Octatrack is in a close direction, even if I know there’s at least one other great talent behind that machine.)

At that time me and some friends had just started Teenage Engineering. I was still doing some work for Elektron, but when Daniel passed away, it wasn’t just the same for me and I guess Elektron also wanted move on and build a strong team in Gotheburg, which I think was right. So the opportunity the make a portable machine was more or less gone.

All this came to a conclusion. If we don’t make this machine ourselfs, no one else will. So we have put all our effort, time and money to make this machine real.
In many ways as a tribute to Elektron, but also to make a a 10 year old dream to make an extraordinary instrument come true.

With that said, I just want you to know how emotional a project like this is. It’s not about business or being smart or about money. It’s your life. We do this because we love it.
We have dreamed about this machine and it’s functions for so many years. We have all put a large piece of ourselfs into this. This of course makes us sensitve for speculations etc.
I guess the above applies for the Elektron team as well.

So… let us clear things out.

No, it’s not a clever marketing strategy lending out an OP-1 pre-production unit to a House Mafia band. They just wanted to use it as a prop in their vid. And it ended up as the center piece of the video. We had nothing to say about it. And of course the track wasn’t made on the OP-1. It isn’t out yet. And yes, you can create a song like that (why do someone who has never touched an OP-1 write things like "that’s not possible to do on an OP-1?). Come on… it’s not that hard. And remember that the OP-1 is also a controller, so it’s nothing wrong to visually connect the OP-1 with a song made in Logic.

Keep up the good work Elektron.


Ps. We have some really great stuff going on. Ds.


Thank you for this, very enlightening! I tried to retell the story as best i could based upon the 2017 podcast in which Jesper tells the story in a somewhat different way.

Also fun that he has such a positive attitude towards Elektron in this post because in the 2017 interview he reveals that he’s not very fond of the Octatrack. At all. :slight_smile:


^ It is kind of funny that Jesper isn’t fond of the Octatrack for me, because the Octatrack and OP-1 have been the two most inspiring and amazing electronic instruments that I’ve used in 30 years, both quite different but also in some ways quite similar. They both don’t present the user with a definite and clear cut path, like say a typical synth, sample or drum machine often do, they are both somewhat esoteric in their operation, neither have a particular sonic identity or a signature sound, both are somewhat modular in the way the user can choose to use them, and both are - for a user prepared to dig deep - extremely flexible and open ended, in spite of their sometimes seemingly arbitrary “limitations” be they technical or design choices.

For someone like me, who has no desire to use a modern computer for making music, they represent “just what I need, and nothing more” and these restrictions or limitations or whatever else you want to call them, provide me with both the necessity of inventiveness which I very much enjoy, and no real restrictions.

Today we are spoilt by unlimited choices, no real limitations even with a £300 laptop and a bunch of free software, you can do reasonably pretty much anything. Quite frankly it hasn’t resulted in better music, some would argue that it has got worse - not me, and that isn’t the point I’m trying to make anyway. Has it made people more productive? Maybe, maybe not. Point being that - for me - I feel that instruments such as the OP-1 and Octatrack strike a very good balance once you accept them for what they are, and they lead me to interesting pathways which make my music better in ways that I never anticipated, whether it is by design or not I think that is priceless.


I’m being silly. I don’t think he hates it to be honest. The 2017 podcast is however amusing in that he likes to contradict himself. On one hand he and the interviewer is making fun of the Octatrack for being a product that’s very difficult for people to wrap their heads around - and then later on he admits that the Op-1 is a product that probably will require at least one year for people to fully understand… :stuck_out_tongue:


OP1…brilliant Tape Emulation. Show me another product that does this.



that’s not an emulation - you need to put more effort into your research :wink:
Does anyone actually know of a tape emulation that compares to the OP-1?
I am pretty sure you won’t find one but I’d love to be wrong about that.
Even the tape function on the OP-Z isn’t really a tape emulation… more of a very precise mathematical looping gizmo.
I guess if it’s really an emulation it should emulate ‘friction’ and ‘wobble’ or something like that?


The OP1 isn’t really a tape emulation either. Which features of its tracks are you looking to replicate?


Its the real deal :sunglasses: and in stock at most thrift stores or your neighbors garage sale.


no maybe not in terms of actual sound - I agree with you there but some of the ‘functions’ are clearly emulating / simulating. Scrubbing back and forth in the way it speeds up and slows down as you FF or RW. That’s what I meant by ‘friction’ and ‘wobble’. Splicing and dropping of audio functions emulate / simulate what I used to do physically with actual tape.
I love my OP-1 but if I want real tape, I’ll use tape and if I wanted to emulate the sound of tape without tape then of course there are plugins for that and certain FX pedals but I thought it was a warranted question if there are other devices - maybe more specifically sequencer / grooveboxes that really can emulate the function and sound of tape - because I honestly don’t know of any :slight_smile:


yep and I love it! Nice you posted it :slight_smile:
I miss my old 4 track… life and creative choices were so much more limited and simpler in many ways before all these super amazing sequencer magic boxes came along… I am seriously considering hitting a thrift store very soon :wink:


It’s not really about Tape emulation, doesn’t have the sound at all btw.

What pleases me is the ton of features packed in a coherent, fun and inviting way in a package that has the right size and is portable.
From noodling to the full song.

I actually created most of my tracks on this.


I wish quantizing on the tape were possible when you play a melody or drum beat manually. I get the advantages and love that you have to actually play well (or not play well for happy accidents) but the op-z spoiled me having the option for quantizing and not quantizing. Sometimes it feels too much like work recording a song.



I think you refer to the user interface of the tape, workflow,… not existing in another product?
You are wrong, check this out!!! Sure it’s DIY but more and more people going to jump on this I think/hope, with custom casebuilders, pcb builders etc.