Teenage Engineering announces OP-1 Field, the ultimate new musical device
Within the tiny confines of this compact synthesiser – Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 Field – it’s possible to compose and record a complete track
Teenage Engineering builds electronics that demonstrate mighty precision. While we’ve admired items like the OB-4 speaker in the past, the company specialises in meticulously formed gear for professional musicians, whilst still retaining a playful edge.
The company has now announced a re-engineered version of its iconic OP-1 synthesiser. This pocket-sized device was first introduced in 2011 as Teenage Engineering’s debut product and blended an aesthetic drawn from 1980s classic keyboards and calculators with a powerful synthesiser engine, effects, sequencers, and digital multitrack recording.
It quickly garnered a cult following amongst musicians of all genres, from Childish Gambino to Jean-Michel Jarre and Thom Yorke.
This is the OP-1 Field. Uprated, refined, and reshaped, it keeps the same essential qualities of the original but includes 100 upgrades, such as USB-C connectivity, 24 hours of battery life, expanded memory, Bluetooth audio and a completely overhauled UI and new display.
In addition, the whole device has been slimmed down to a wafer-thin scale. It’s possible to compose and record a complete track within the tiny confines of this compact synth, making it a perfect portable scratchpad for long journeys or simply noodling around when out and about.
You either love the OP-1 or hate it. The apparent limitations of the tiny keys are offset by the endless tweakability of the sound engine, with the four key control knobs offering up endless sonic possibilities.
To bolster the OP-1 Field’s enhanced portability, the brand has also launched the TX-6, a pocket-size stereo mixer that’s designed to interface instruments – including the OP-1 – seamlessly with a Mac. Like the OP-1, it is a jewel-like device of startling complexity and flexibility.
Teenage Engineering often takes flak for the relatively high prices of its devices. Although it is arguably not suited to anyone with above-average-sized hands, this small Swedish company has cracked the nut of making enduring industrial design.
As the aesthetic backbone behind the new consumer tech company Nothing, Teenage Engineering is currently broadening its horizons beyond music. The OP-1 Field’s extensive use of aluminium and the high quality of the components, not to mention the regular updates and support, give this device the longevity of a traditional analogue instrument. §