News, guides, video and more featuring the Teenage Engineering OP-Z

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About the OP-Z

The Teenage Engineering OP-Z is a yet to be released portable sequencer and synthesizer. It's the successor to the venerable OP-1 with a penchant for liver performances.

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Teenage Engineering Goes Modular

January 18, 2019

OP-Z first impressions 1

Teenage Engineering dropped a huge announcement about their modular Pocket Operator. There are 12 modules that can be installed into several body types. It also appears that this will coincide with the OP-Z module for CV/Gate that we saw awhile ago.

Here’s the introductory Pocket Operator Modular video:

Teenage Engineering also released this ‘behind the scenes’ video of the modular and you can see the OP-Z with the CV/Gate module installed.

Check out 0:00:37 for a shot of the OP-Z modular:

Extending the OP-Z to drive the new PO modular could be really interesting for sequencing. Very excited to see more. You can learn more about the new modular on TE’s website .

Fun OP-Z Sample Packs From Vague Robots

January 10, 2019

User pselodux from the operator-1 forums (aka Vague Robots) has released several soundpacks for the OP-Z focused on electronic sounds from 0-Coast, Machinedrum, and Nord Modular. There’s something for everyone here from glitch to acid to the downright wacky.

This is the first example we’ve seen of someone creating a sample pack specifically for the OP-Z and available on Gumroad here. We’d love to see more of sample packs (and video packs!) out there. Hopefully Teenage Engineering will make it easy to publish in a more native way (perhaps directly through the OP-Z companion app?).

Have a listen to some of the sounds in this extended demo from Vague Robots:

Red Means Recording Meets OP-Z

January 2, 2019

Jeremy from Red Means Recording has released his first OP-Z video on YouTube documenting his first week with the unit. Jeremy is well known for his amazing (and hilarious) videos utilizing the OP-1.

He starts off without the screen, but picks up an iPad to use with the OP-Z to help explore. I found this to be a helpful tactic for learning the OP-Z with the goal of going screenless. In no time, he’s up and running (despite saying he has no idea what he’s doing) making interesting patterns that are worthy of any Red Means Recording video.

Listening notes:

  • Uses the mixer view in the iOS app to bring parts in and out and fade-in. Haven’t seen anyone utilize it like an instrument before
  • On ‘Day 3’ he starts utilizing step components to introduce more life into tracks
  • Likens the OP-Z to an evolved version of the POs
  • ‘Day 4’ = techno
  • ‘Day 6’ Jeremy puts together a full song using pattern chaining and focuses on the performance aspects
  • ‘Day 7’ explores the motion track

Cuckoo OP-Z Step Components Tutorial

December 22, 2018

Cuckoo has a new video going into OP-Z step components in-depth. Step components provide variations to patterns that range from stutters, randomness, and a host of sequence altering changes that can be added per step. In combination, when stacking multiple step components on top of each other, some interesting emergent things become possible which is a lot of fun to experiment with. The other day I stumbled upon adding a step component to the arpegiator track and using the pulse and random components to create a sort of arp trill like the kind you might find in baroque music.

Step components are by far one of the most complex and interesting parts of the OP-Z sequencer and Cuckoo’s tutorial will help demistify it for you. Enjoy!

Cuckoo Explores OP-Z Midi

December 18, 2018

Cuckoo is back with a new OP-Z video exploring the current midi capabilities of firmware 1.1.7. Over the course of 45 minutes he goes over what’s worked in hooking up a midi keyboard and the different ways you can use it to program notes into the OP-Z. One fun fact, the currently selected OP-Z track doesn’t need to be the track played by the external keyboard i.e you can set the midi keyboard channel to play the bass track as you go and edit other tracks on the OP-Z itself.

By the end of the video, Cuckoo has quite the sprawling setup which includes a Novation mixer controller with knobs hooked up to the tape track (for always available tape tricks) a sync’d pocket operator, an external mini synthesizer sequenced by the OP-Z, and a keyboard (which supports velocity sensitivity!).

Check it out here:

Videolab Updates From Keijiro

December 14, 2018

The maker of Videolab, Keijiro Takahashi, has been showing off what the OP-Z video features can do in a flurry of recent tweets. These are some excellent examples of what’s possible on the OP-Z and Unity3D. Excited to see what other sketches people create in Videolab!

Note: You may need to click the link to Twitter if your browser is blocking tracking content from Twitter

Check out this face thing that modulates to the beat:

These super cute animals getting video synthesized:

There’s more updates from Keijiro on twitter @_kzr.

Third Teenage Engineering OP-Z Preorder

December 9, 2018

Today, Teenage Engineering, announced the third pre-order for the coveted OP-Z. Those who were on the ‘notify’ list received an email with the bundle information (same as last time, gray PVC case and OP-Z) for $618 USD.

For the email I received, the link to buy was here although it looks like this might be customized per email.

If you haven’t picked one up yet, now is likely the last chance before the holidays to spend some quality time hiding from the family with the new OP-Z!

OP-Z Hidden Features Roundup

December 6, 2018

The OP-Z has a number of hidden and undocumented features that people have started to uncover. We’re wrangling up the ones we know about. I’m sure there will be more soon.

Backlit keys

No there is no glow in the dark paint (removed late because it was apparently rubbing off too easily), but you can change a configuration file to make the buttons on the OP-Z backlit. To do that, connect the unit to your computer in configure mode (with the unit off press and hold the track button while turning the unit on), and change the general.json file.

Example general.json:

	"backlit_keys" : true,
	"disable_microphone_mode" : false,
	"disable_start_sound" : false,
	"disable_track_preview" : false

OP-Z backlit keys

Hidden iPhone stand

If you take the back of the OP-Z off (unscrewing the yellow feet), in the expansion module area in the center you can take out and remove two hook-looking parts (takes some force to remove it from the plastic).

Taking off the back of the unit the module slot contains the phone stand pieces

OP-Z iPhone Stand 0

Here they are

OP-Z iPhone Stand 1

You can then use the lego end (looks like a plus sign) to stick into into the side of the unit facing away from you and place your iPhone in it to hold it up. Neat!

OP-Z iPhone Stand 2

The stand pieces fit perfectly into the ‘plus’ sign to unscrew the back panel in the future.

OP-Z iPhone Stand 3

Pretty thoughtful touches!

Step component modes

Some step components have variations of values you can control by pressing the step component value mutliple times (black numbered keys after you select the step component to use). For example, using the spark component which will trigger the step every n times, pressing the number value month rotates between whether to play the note the first time then wait and other variations of when the first trigger will happen.

That’s all for now!

Cuckoo OP-Z iPad Synth Workflow

December 5, 2018

Cuckoo (cuckoomusic on YouTube) posted a new video showing off his workflow for using the OP-Z to control iPad synths and building up a pattern. All the usual things appear to be working such as mute groups and patterns. There’s even some tape track work, but uncliear if that actually does anything to midi.

There’s no information about the kind of device he’s using for sync’ing midi to the iPad and we’re pretty sure it’s not midi over bluetooth.

OP-Z Second Pre-order

November 26, 2018

Teenage Engineering listed their second call for pre-orders over the weekend. Folks who opted into the ‘Notify Me’ option on got a link to pre-order a slightly updated bundle which includes a gray (grey for our EU friends!) PVC rollup case.

Reddit user u/joyceashleeeee posted this on r/opzuser:

OP-Z second pre-order

Of course, retailers are starting to ship their pre-orders so at this point it’s a toss-up of which will get you an OP-Z faster. If you’re on the fence about ordering check out some recent videos and part 1 of our OP-Z review on why this thing is amazing.

You can sign up to be notified of future pre-orders here.