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.

Learn more

Updated Firmware 20191109

November 8, 2019

The latest firmware update for the OP-Z (1.2.12) brings a fancy new LFO with different shapes and—a personal favorite—tempo sync. You can also use the accelerometer as input to the LFO (similar to the OP-1). There’s a slew of other minor improvements and bug fixes including the annoying L/R channels being incorrectly swapped over USB audio.

Here’s the full list of changes:

- redesigned lfo with new shapes, tempo sync and accelero-meter support. read about it here.
- add lfo to effect tracks
- add note style option to master track (latch, free). read about it here.
- add low battery led indication. read about it here.
- add setting to disable arpeggio. read about it here.
- softer pop at shortest envelope release setting
- fix crash when killing notes (TRACK+STOP) on tracks other than the first 8.
- fix flipped usb audio L/R signal
- fix occasional pop/noise on tape track
- fix bug where polyphony note stealing sometimes chose wrong note
- don't stall midi output when switching projects while connected to app
- disregard 'channel_one_to_active' setting when processing incoming UI group CC messages

Here’s a clip of Michael Hellqvist on YouTube using the new LFO effects. (skip to 0:55)

OP-Z Rumblepack

September 20, 2019

Teenage Engineering has always been known for their clever, if not quirky, ideas that somehow ends up working surprisingly well. This week they released the OP-Z Rumble Module which provides haptic feedback based on the bass and drum tracks. It makes you think of the rumble packs inside of a video game controler, but early reports seem to suggest it enhances the experience in a hard to describe, yet positive way.

While you won’t be able to feel it for yourself, this video from ShimmeryMp3 on Reddit explains how to use it and their initial impressions.

OP-Z Firmware Update 1.2.8

September 7, 2019

Teenage Engineering released a new firmware version for the OP-Z. Version 1.2.8 introduces a new ‘input selection’ that allows you to mix in an additional input which can be optionally passed through the onboard fx. This can be useful if you want to run some external device’s audio through to the OP-Z and use the OP-Z out as the overall master.

The update also brings support for sampling from 3.5mm cables (via headphone jack), and monitoring incoming audio when you use the OP-Z as an audio device.

One thing we haven’t confirmed yet is whether the new input signal will also be included over USB audio. This would make recording songs into your laptop much easier if you use your OP-Z to drive the audio of another device since you wouldn’t need a separate mixer.

Here’s the full list of changes:

- fixed bug that would cause files to dissapear/get corrupted
- detect microphone signal from splitter  adapters
- new input selection functionality (beta). read about it here.
- new audio interface monitor mode
- fix broken incoming program change handling
- add cc for changing/switching to next/prev pattern. read about it here.
- make microphone mode work when usb audio is active
- allow octave shifting on all tracks
- fix drone notes to work properly with legato

Bruno Kramm has posted a nice walkthrough over on youtube:

OP-Z Sampling Has Arrived

July 1, 2019

Update 7/1/2019: We’ve had a chance to play around with the sampler and new firmware and it’s… awesome. - On drum tracks you can slice each hit and assign to a key individually - On melodic tracks it will pitch change your one shot sample (just like OP-1) - Totally possible to slice without the iOS app. Pretty intuitive LEDs interface. - You can now use the OP-Z as an audio interface. That means you can plug the usb c directly into your laptop and record it in. We weren’t able to get audio out to work, but just being able to record it right in without any other gear is pretty sweet. Forums report you can also record into your iPhone. - Holy cow this is amazing.

The long wait for sampling is finally over, Teenage Engineering just added firmware 1.2.5 to their downloads section which adds OP-Z sampling. You can download it here (see instructions for how to install it). While early demos have shown you don’t need the app to sample, it might be useful to get started and find your way around.

This brings OP-1 style sampling to the OP-Z, something that really makes this a dream machine (in our humble opinion). We haven’t had a chance to dig into too much yet, but will report back with results.

Also make note the warning in the firmward release notes that this update will impact the use of previous custom samples so you may need to mess with settings, levels, and gain to get things sounding identical as before.

OP-Z Firmware Update 1.1.23

February 23, 2019

Update 2/23/2019: There’s also an OP-1 update that fixes more midi bugs and adds high resolution track view in tape mode.

Teenage Engineering just posted an updated firmware 1.1.23 for the OP-Z. You can download it here (see instructions for how to install it). There is also an updated OP-Z iOS app which you can download in the App Store.

We had a chance to play around with the latest update over the last day or so. A couple quick reactions * Happy to report that the midi over usb cable works substantially better when connecting to the OP-1. It’s nearly playable (had a few issues with notes not cutting off and being held for infinity on the OP-1…). * If you haven’t downloaded firmware 1.1.17, the behavior of the yellow volume tab thing means that it’s much louder. Set a very small turn if you have headphones on or you may hurt your ears. * Velocity changes on arpeggiator is amazing, really helps make it sound less robotic * Still trying to decipher what all of the release notes actually mean…

Here’s the full list of changes:

- allow programming steps with external controller
- support velocity on arpeggiator track
- change step length setting 9x to be 16x long
- add full octave range to drum tracks
- pass incoming midi start/continue/stop to other ports
- improved stability
- copy step now works on all tracks
- change default tape volume and reverb parameter 2
- fix noisy resampling in synth sampler
- keep sending audio to fx1/fx2 if audio muted
- improve midi continue behaviour (works better with OP-1)
- change maximum recording note length based on step length
- show pattern position from solo mute context (same as pattern context)
- properly reset parameters after releasing shift (temporary tweak mode)
- “enable_program_change” setting now saved between reboots
- don't play trigger driven tracks when muted
- gate trigger step component trigger on entering step instead of exiting
- fix hanging notes from linked tracks when pressing shift before releasing note
- fix hanging punch in notes when releasing shift before releasing note
- remove track clear wipe animation

OP-Z Tutorial from Red Means Recording

February 5, 2019

Update 2/7/2019: Part 2—Synthesizer and Sampler Engines is now posted Update 2/21/2019: Part 3—Sequencer and Part 4-Send FX is now posted Update 2/23/2019: Part 5—Step Components is now posted

Jeremy from Red Means Recording followed up his recent OP-Z techno video with a fresh new tutorial! This multi-part OP-Z tutorial starts with an overview to the device, it’s functionality, and basic usage. This is a great place to start if you are new to the OP-Z and want to hear it right from the master.

Part 1: OP-Z Walkthrough Overview

Part 2: OP-Z Walkthrough Synthesizer and Sampler Engines

Part 3: OP-Z Walkthrough Sequencer

Part 4: OP-Z Send Effects

Part 5: OP-Z Step Components

OP-Z Video Red Means Recording Techno

January 30, 2019

Jeremy from Red Means Recording just published his latest video featuring the OP-Z and a set full of techno. We get a good look at his workflow for building up beats and live performance using the accompanying iOS app. The whole video is just under 1 hour (wow!), but definitely worth the time to watch him work—insane flow.

OP-Z Review From Sonicstate

January 23, 2019

Sonicstate has published their video review with Gaz Williams (who is amazing btw) sharing his contagious excitement about… everything. Really fun watch and listen.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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: