Teenage Engineering OP-Z


pselodux response reflected my view exactly.
I wanted it primarily because it was so small. It’s expensive, but having played with it, it meets my TE expectations.
I don’t get the ‘corners are too sharp’ comments i’ve seen elsewhere, and frankly the yellow dial seems pretty robust to me.
I like the light but tough plastic case, particularly that the fibres in it/casting render it already imperfect.
I won’t be polishing it like Roland JDXA owners for every smudge and its subtle grey blemishes are uniquely my unit.
weakpoints are that sample importing is a lot fiddlier than it needs to be.
I agree the buttons are 98% fit for purpose given the form factor, but I have the odd 2% miss hit or double hit, which isn’t a dealbreaker and I might just need to get used to how I strike.

I very much like my digitakt and digitone, but I’ll get a lot more use out of the OP-Z simply because it will come with me much more often when travelling or slouching about the house and the sequencer is very clever and starter synths are adequately expressive and variable.
UI is fine; no screen works easily and I can remember almost all the functions after a week or so.
I miss that there are no luminous labels to the buttons for use in the dark, but might explore some small stickers as guide points.


Why would you think your honest commentary is unwelcome or a problem? Not everyone may agree with it, but your experience is your experience. I’m glad you found something less underwhelming to buy instead.


You can turn the backlight on and all buttons illuminate, it’s an option in the txt file you see when you connect the OP-Z to a computer. It realy needs an on off button combo to switch this, but if you leave it on all the time it doesn’t seem to use much battery…just consider it electricity powered glow in the dark paint :slight_smile:


I got it! And… anyone know where the shade/smooth piano synth is? It’s on the reference: https://www.teenageengineering.com/guides/op-z/reference#fx-engines


I posted a new video today of sequencing iPad synths with the OP-Z. Works great!


So guys, I want to report my experience with it so far.
I have had mine for 2 weeks now and I was initially disappointed with the amount of money I spent on it, I am not rich by any means, also thought about returning it on the first week just because it is too expensive and it felt gimicky with some unusable samples (for my music style).

But I really like the sound quality, the build quality and the operation, it took less then a week to memorize everything, and I have no Apple devices in my home, so I have not used the app yet.

My Digitakt was always on a laptop sleeve, with a portable battery, ready to throw on a backpack, but I realized even though I made my Digitakt portable, it is not as imediate as having something in your pocket that you can pull out, turn on and press play in 10s time. With the Digi, I got sit somewhere, it is heavy and it is not as imediate as the OP-Z. It is not a fair comparison but it is important to mention.

I realized with the OP-Z I became far more productive, the fact I can adjust the drums of this track I made yesterday night, on the queue of a supermarket is really amazing.

I understand it is not for everyone, it is expensive, it might feel toyish, gimicky and silly, but if you enjoy making songs, if you’d rather exercise your creativity instead of checking your instagram or facebook on the go like everyone on Helsinki’s metro… this little thing is really absolutely brilliant.

There are though a couple of setbacks, for us who had sh*t experiences with Apple, there should be a web app of some sort… I wish there were more synth plugs to choose from, more LFOs, and recording pitchbend is not yet available unfortunatelly, but besides these points, it is a solid little friend so far.

I just set a goal for myself, I will finish a couple of songs with it before trying to add my own sample pools and hooking it up to all my other synths… Let’s see how that goes.


Good feedback, as someone who started early with the OP-1 (which was initially pretty basic) I am certain that ‘the best is yet to come’. It won’t stay exclusively iOS (a web app is a killer idea, cross platform like Novation Circuit) and there will be LOTS of updates, new synths, fx, better workflow and of course ‘hardware modules’ adding at the very least DIN Midi and CV…strap in, enjoy the ride :slight_smile:


I agree… :slightly_smiling_face:


i have determined the Op-Z to be about 5 Bit-O-Honeys wide.

…(or 2.25 Juuls wide)

Feels great and it as small as the others have mentioned.


A few weeks in and I think the OPZ is almost brilliant, but hampered by a couple of things:

Not enough memory for user samples, I’d like to be able to remove the preset samples and replace them, but as of yet it isn’t possible. Roughly 24mb for user content feels a bit stingy, even 64mb would have been enough to fill all the slots with user samples, and still remain cheap and easy/fast to backup.

Buttons - a bit shallow and small, also the placement of the mixer button on the back should have not made it past the prototype stage IMHO, in use it isn’t very practical, it feels clumsy and ill conceived. Definitely should have been on the top surface, and latchable.

Size - it is smaller than you expect, and can be a bit fiddly, adding a midi controller certainly helps matters but at the sacrifice of portability, a shame I think. Especially considering that it could have been a little bigger whilst retaining portability - the OP-1 manages this fine, but the OP-Z could have even been a little smaller than the OP-1 and still remain portable but a bit less fiddly.

Unfortunately these points can’t (with the possible exception of the first) can’t be resolved with a firmware update, the early beta testers in my opinion should have picked up on these and communicated them to TE, whether they did or not I have no idea.

Still, as I said some things about it are brilliant, so I don’t regret the purchase at all, I don’t hold it in the same esteem as I do the OP-1 though, but I think that is a tough ask anyway. It definitely feels more like a Pocket Operator than OPerator though, so maybe it should have been called the PO-Z.

I think it is great that the (for me not too useful) DMX and Motion tracks can be used as regular midi tracks as well as all the other tracks, and it will be interesting to see what modules will be added, for me the Oplab module isn’t needed as I have a desktop Oplab, but a sampler/analog synthesis module might be difficult to resist.

The synthesis is pretty limited and basic compared to the OP-1, but I think these and the fx will be improved and added to in future updates, for the time being I’m mostly using samples and just a couple of the synth engines as I don’t like most of them. Personal taste, of course.


A bit like when the Digitakt came out - I appreciated the OT in a fuller light.
Similar with the OP-Z and OP-1. Though all 4 are great in their own way.


^ Agreed - Those clever Swedes somehow manage to make this gear irresistible.


Is it only me or is the tape machine simply awesome? Sequencing it creates completely new continously morphing sounds (depending on the current input). I wish it would be stereo though…


Yup its awesome. It just makes everything sound cool.


Yeah and being able to feed that into the effects as well, makes for some real weird sounds. I also like making its track an odd length so it repeats unevenly.

If only it (and the chord progression track) had step components…


That‘s a great idea…next thing to try among all the bazillions of options :sweat_smile:


Haha, most of my “tracks” so far have been utter cacophony, basically a way for me to learn the extreme parameters. Using the tape track, punch in effects, chord progressions and parameter locked delay times together, all with uneven length tracks, results in some very odd, squishy sounds. Definitely something to pair with the Octatrack for further mangling :smiley:


Totally with you. In some way it is not far from the octatrack…at least in terms of unpredictable results. I always end of somewhere completely different…but i guess we are still in honeymoon phase. Everyday life still to be challenged :smile:


Thanks for sharing. One of the few times I’ve seen hardware and iPad working together without faffing about or with hiccups!

As much as you put lots of variation into that one pattern, how easy is it to chain them up Elektron style? Lost track of the OPZ chat so not even sure if pattern chaining is in there. Presume so.

Looks a super fun way to jam though


It’s super easy to create a chain. You can store 14 chains per project, I think? Just press P+play to go into chain/ queue mode, keep P pressed and press the patterns one bye one that you wanna make a chain out of. Release and there’s your chain.
To save the chain press P and hold on any of the “white” keyboard keys.
All of the factory projects have a chain saved on chain 1.

I think a chain can be 16 patterns long, or is it 32? I can’t remember. If you’re connected to the app, you can see the grid filling up as you’re adding new patterns to the chain.