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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Sampling Coming Soon to the OP-Z

May 10, 2019

Tobias from Teenage Engineering confirmed today that sampling is coming to the OP-Z “soon”. In a video interview with SonicState, Tobias demos the sampling functionality where you can sample directly from the built-in microphone or via the headphone line-in.

In the video below you can also see the accompanying app update where you can transform the waveform similar to what you could do on the OP-1. It also appears to have the same specs for sample length for synths and drum samples (6 and 12 seconds respectively).

Can’t wait!

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:

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: