Teenage Engineering OP-Z


Yes, there is a very clever implementation using just the LED colours, brightness and flashing etc to give pretty good visual feedback- there are only 4 encoders that change depending on the function (buttons are labeled) and to be hones its pretty obvious what they are if you forget (filter, ADSR, reverb amount etc) - even on the OP 1 with a screen TE could be pretty cryptic about hat things actually did…its kind of a 'use your ears vibe with fx like Cow and Synths like Voltage!


I’m in the market for a new laptop. How are you finding MS surface and bitwig? How’s the audio recording, can you multitrack, say 8 tracks at once?


I love the surface, replaced my laptop and ipad (no more apple apps!)

I don’t do a lot of audio recording on it, if I was I would probably use a USB soundcard - I mainly use it for ITB (VST/Bitwig) and its fine for that with the internal card and I don’t even bother boith AISO4All as the MS drivers are good enough now for 10ms.

It can be as powerful as you want- its laptop spec so it goes up to i7 processor, 16meg RAM, 1TB SSD etc, but pricey at the high end, I took an i5 255SSD 8 meg and it was pretty cheap, additional storage on SD card internally and external you have USB3 on board, its not locked in like and iPAD and it runs everything a PC runs under full Windows 10 64 Pro…

Bitwig is great on a surface and you even have the touch keyboards built in of different types…it really is all you need and it runes Dune 3, Serum etc all great (but that hasn’t stopped me buying an OP-Z or a Deluge :slight_smile:


I’m gonna have to seriously consider that combo! Thanks for the reply!!!


Ok, it is worth a try but my pocket ain’t limitless :slight_smile:

I only wonder how this device deals with sample mangling without screen…


You can already change pitch and start point of imported samples with the wheels. It feels pretty good.


Hi guys! I am thinking to get just to sequence external synths. How great does it work only for that?

I watched videos and read articles, but didn’t really find a clear answer.
(i don t care about internal sounds, maybe just drums)


Well, what do you want to know in detail? The OP-Z can send and receive Midi on all 16 Tracks. On 8 of this 16 you can use Step Components too.

Configuration and setting up the Midi channels is very easy as long as you have an iOS or Mac OSX Device. If not it is possible too but a little harder i guess.

I sequenced the 8 audio/synth tracks together with the four Digitone Tracks per Midi together recently and it worked like a charm.

The OP-Z has a really really powerful sequencer for both internal tracks and external gear.


I don t have ios or anything. Just external synths and a converter usb to midi out. Can I sequence on 16 external midi channels with it? What it has over Octatrack sequencer?


Yes you can sequence on all 16 Tracks.


Cause I don t care about it s audio engine, only sequencer.
It’s better than Octa sequencer workflow-wise?


Just take a snapshot before those dangerous operations, save early save often


How does it compare (the op-z sequencer) to octatrack or squid sequencer?
From the videos seems to be similar to Octatrack seq.


I know nothing about Squid so I’ll compare to the Octatrack only.

The OP-Z is, feature-wise, more capable than the OT for sequencing. It’s possible to jump to various places in the pattern, hold certain steps, affect the note/sound assigned to a step, and various other features, using the step components, which go much deeper than the OT’s trig conditions.

However! It’s much more fiddly and somewhat less reliable/predictable than the OT’s sequencer. Maybe it’s because I’ve had two years with the OT and only 6 months or so with the OP-Z, but I’ve found that it’s much easier to irreversibly destroy patterns on the Z, for better or worse. The OT’s interface is spacious enough that you can fairly easily tell what’s going on, where with the Z you kinda need to remember certain LED position/colour combinations unless you’re using the app.

The OP-Z’s unpredictability can be used to its advantage though, especially if you’re into more abstract IDM or generative music. The step components alone make it able to take melodic content into interesting aleatoric/self-playing territory very quickly. The OT on the other hand, is solid and reliable; probably the one to go for if you want to compose something and have it come out exactly the way you wrote it.

Another option you could look at is the Squarp Pyramid; it’s not the same kind of sequencer as the OT or OP-Z, but if you only want a sequencer it might be a better option, as it’s got a lot of features that the other devices lack.


Indeed, the OP-Z is excellent in function but slightly let down by its tiny size and buttons, much as I really enjoy mine I think using it with a midi controller is much more satisfactory which of course takes away a bit from the portability and using a single device, had TE used the same or similar size as the OP-1 I think the OP-Z would be so much better. Even in their marketing blurb they warned that its small size would annoy, and they were kind of right :rofl: (although I also love the extreme portability #conflict)

Personally no way would I expect the OP-Z to fulfil the role of main sequencer in a set up, it would probably drive you nuts, however as a portable composition instrument with a lot of interesting and fun features it is brilliant, that is what it is sold as and that is what it is, trying to use it as a main sequencer and not using the internal sounds is kind like using a hammer in place of a screwdriver.


My biggest problem with the OP-Z sequencer is how it handles pattern-length and step-lengths. I want to make longer patterns without losing resolution. I wish there was a page-feature like on the elektron machines so that it has 4 pages at 16 steps resolution.

I know there are step components to make shorter patterns more interesting but IMO most of the step components just mess with the play-position of the indiviudal track, forcing it out of sync with the rest of my tracks, resulting in a chaotic mess instead of musically pleasing variations shrug