All right, installment #2 of Making Noise! Today, we're going to be talking about the Teenage Engineering OP-1. This little box is a synth, drum machine, 4-track recorder, sampler, and one heck of a good time. I got mine about a year ago, and it might be the most creative instrument I've ever purchased. I'm not going to dive too deep into the specifics of it in this post, but you can get all the info at the Teenage Engineering website. I'll probably go into some specefic uses in another post at a later date.
So for starters, it has 10 different synth engines. These range from FM to Digital, String engine to a CV synth. You can sample anything you want, and turn that into whatever kind of synth you'd like. There is a full-featured drum machine, It has a pile of different effects that can be applied to each sound, 7 different sequencer modes, a 4 track tape recorder with all kinds of functionality.
It's being used by everyone from Bon Iver, The National, Childish Gambino, Bonobo, Skrillex, etc...
I've been using everything on it, from drums (sampling my own sounds and importing some of my favourite sounds) to all of the synth engines. I've been using the sampling engine to create some really unique pads, sequencing beats, using filters, etc... I really can't reccomend it enough. It's super intuitive, crazy fun, and just makes you think about music in different ways which is always good! You can use it as a midi controller in a pinch as well. The synth engines tend to be a little lo-fi, so they don't work in every context but they do in most.
Here's a couple example of it in use:
Excuse the Christmas song, but everything but the guitar in this song is from or made with the OP-1:
Live version of 22 (OVER S∞∞N) by Bon Iver. You can see him playing vocal samples for most of the song on the unit. His last album has this all over it, as does the last National record. They recorded really great sounding things (vocals, strings, etc...) and then processed it in the OP-1 to give them a grainy, synthesized, chopped up sound.
Anyway, go check one out! They are hard to find new but they come up used every so often. Well worth the investment.