Teenage Engineering OP-Z


Just a quick follow up, just updated my ipad to 12.1 and no longer getting the ‘device uses too much power’ error, however it still doesn’t seem to be showing up as a wired midi device.

I tried using it via BLE midi with Gadget though and it works great, I did not bother to map midi channels or anything serious - but transport, control and notes all seem to work, and the latency seems minimal. I might experiment with it in a few weeks time and do some actual music with the combo :joy: what a novelty!


For other devices and iOS i’ve found connecting a small USB hub to the CCK and then the device to the hub tricks IOS into not detecting power draw issues


Tested a USB midi host made by hobbytronics mine is like this one but an older version, works fine so I look foreward to sequencing external midi on the last 3 tracks which seems to work as all the tracks can output midi. http://www.hobbytronics.co.uk/audio-midi/usb-midi-converter

I also have a Oplab and Kenton usb host, but the hobbytronics one is a spare so I’ll use it for portable jams rather than in my setup where the other 2 are permanently connected.


1.1.12 is out here: https://teenage.engineering/_software/op-z/z_firmware_1_1_12.zfw

reduced cpu consumption, improves battery life by 5-10%
fixed bugs:

occasional hang when removing a connected usb device.
occasional crash when recieving midi identity request on startup.
sequencer stalling when connecting a usb device.
configurator sometimes causing pops in downloaded samples.
imported sample packs to slot 10 lost after reboot.
outgoing program change had inverted “alt_program_change” setting.
app->synth connection lost when disabling midi out under midi settings.
sequencer sometimes starting on last step when step by step recording.


How are you finding it so far @darenager? I’m super on the fence about getting one, mostly because I shouldn’t be spending money but also because it doesn’t really do much more than my elektrons can… but the extreme portability is really tempting.


That’s a great little update after just a couple of weeks from launch…love the battery tweak :wink:


It’s my first travel trip with no Elektron in my bag …

Even though I’ve wrapped my OP-Z cardboard box in luxury carpet tape for longevity it didn’t even need to come out of my bag through the security X-ray.

It’s like having a 3D printed plastic musical weapon rather than a metal machine in my luggage.

Funny thing is I know how to do near everything with the OP-Z EXCEPT step components and harmonized transposition. Even at that, i’m enjoying it a lot despite those two things being key features for discreet, fluid composing fun that I’ve yet to play with.

The super simple few synth engines on it have a surprising range when you adjust parameters, adsr and effects/filter. I can understand why the devs have said ‘this is just the start’.

Still trying to get my head around the implications of the USB host port. I feel a cigarette box sized bit of DIY coming on that’s half mixer, half USB midi to din and half Omega Onion sampler to OP aif format auto save to OP-Z folder on mount machine …

To be honest I think it is going to take a few weeks developing muscle memory to determine if the OP-Z hangs together as a tiny riff comping machine. And at €600 is it a micro studio that I still want in my pocket in a few years time.
So far it seems to have a lot; no separate stem export dump seems to be an oversight though. How hard could it be to do a single track bounce - still there are work arounds.


I think you’d love it given your enjoyment of nanoloop and what not, right now it feels a little light on synthesis compared to say the OP-1, but as you know these kind of limitations are not necessarily a big issue once you get used to them , and of course undoubtedly more engines will be added in future updates.

The sequencer is boss, probably one of the best I have ever used, the step components are a deep wealth of possibilities from simple useful iterations to bonkers combinations that can be hard to predict.

Then there are operational niceties like mixer mute scenes, 10 per pattern, which make live jams a pleasure.

The portability is of course awesome, can be a tad fiddly due to the small buttons for some things though, but it is powerful enough wrt to midi to make it useful in a larger setup too, and the sound quality is easily good enough for release quality tracks as you’d expect.

Compared to Elektron the OP-Z wins out on sequencing power on most fronts, but is not as transparent in use mainly due to the small buttons, it isn’t difficult or unintuitive but for example (currently) you have to hold the mixer button to mute tracks, and the mixer button is exactly opposite to the pitchbend, mixer is on back edge, pitchbend on front, so you have to be mindful when holding mixer not to accidentally press pitchbend,nalso it isn’t very ergonomic to have to hold a button on the back edge. I and others have requested a sticky/latching button mode, so hopefully it will be added.

The midi implementation seems quite concise, so I’ll probably end up either building or customising an off the shelf controller for using it for live jams.

Er, I think that about covers it but if you want any specific info about other aspects feel free to ask.


Yeah the no individual track bounce seems daft, but I think it is a memory limitation, quite why it only has 32mb is crazy these days, but I think it was a design decision - I quite like most of TE’s design decisions but not this kind :wink:

I think that 8 bounces of 6.25 seconds would be better than 5 bounces of 10 seconds, at least then each track could be bounced depending on tempo/length, or better yet let the user do as many bounces as the 50 seconds will allow.


Thanks for the insight!

Some questions:
How fast does the LFO go? And can LFO settings be parameter locked?
Can the synth engine be plocked in the sequencer or is it only selectable on a global level? I’m wondering if it’s possible to do nanoloop style switching of sounds within one channel.


Or even choose up to 5 bounces of individual tracks.

I also wish it had some sort of linear noodling mode that you can select a specific noodle track and it isn’t trapped in one bar loops but records even up to 64 steps.

They could implement this by some sort of track button + track number + touch one of the encoders to select the 16 step page …

EDIT: just realised that the step count and step length settings achieve mostly what i was looking for to have a 64 step noodle track … nicely it doesn’t quant the steps to the 16 physical buttons and you can record multiple overdubs (within whatever the track’s polyphony limit is)


hey man, the CCK is more useful than it seems. if you’re using the stock usb plug that comes with an ipad those plugs aren’t even powerful enough to charge the ipad at full speed. I got the “too much power” message when I was trying to use my launchpad pro with the ipad without it needing to be plugged in at the wall too, I bought a more powerful USB plug, one of those ones with a bunch of USB ports, now it can charge the ipad and power the LPP at the same time meaning one less wire. if it can run the LPP with all those lights no doubt it can run op-z

tl;dr use a more powerful usb plug and it will work. solid review by the way. oh also obviously this needs to be the CCK2 that you can use to charge simultaneously


LFO does not go super fast, tens of hz at best I’d estimate, so not audio rate, but can be fully p-locked, although only (at present) has square and triangle shapes with gradual interpolation from square to triangle, and can be set to trig or free run.

The synth parameters can be fully p-locked but not the engines or even the patch (as yet) however one great feature (which I was asking Elektron for years back) is step preview basically when seq is stopped you can hold a trig and it will play along with its p-locks, length etc intact. And you can easily copy/paste that step even when seq is running.

So nanoloop style switching of sounds is possible within the scope of the current engine, but it is a bit limited with regards to how much the sound can change, but it depends on the engine too, some of them have more variation with the two main parameters than others, then of course there is envelope, filter, LFO, and 2 fx sends.


Hmm, sounds a bit limited, but I like limitations so it may be interesting to play with.

Sorry, thought of one more. Is the envelope just for amp or can it be assigned? I didn’t see any mention of it in the manual, beyond just explaining what the encoders do…


Sadly no, but some synth engines respond timbrally to the envelope settings.


Damn, that may indeed be a dealbreaker… I’m not sure if I can live without my beloved pitch envelopes!


Nevermind the fact that there are a gazillion other things going on in it :smiley:
But yes, it’s not a sound design power house by any stretch of the imagination. However, I find that I am able to coax more than I thought out of the available engines the more I get to know the quirks.

But get 2OP FM in there, nanoloop 2.3&up style, and we’re golden.


Yeah hence why I asked about LFOs… one of my favourite things to do in nanoloop is run the pitch LFO at high rates to get an extra operator for the FM :smiley: actually I’ve been doing that on the Digitone as well…


Yeah, it does have the need for a little more modulation options and engines without breaking the UI.

For a portable composition device though which is also useful in a set up it might well be a dream machine.

Couple of other things that were nice surprises, lead can be set to poly with 3 note polyphony, all tracks can output midi, glides are nicely implemented as is portamento (Simon, cough!) and there are some (but bizarrely not all) functions which can include/exclude tracks - for example tape can have the sends for individual tracks turned off, but master fx can’t, and so on.


ughhh I still want one… will give myself until the end of the day :stuck_out_tongue: I’ve got a set to work on for next week, don’t want to get distracted (I haven’t done anything for it yet lol)