Superbooth 22: Teenage Engineering has upgraded its iconic portable Synthesizer OP-1 to the Field with 100 new features, new design, and more.
Most of the new products presented at Superbooth 22 were revealed days or even weeks in advance. According to the motto: you shouldn’t miss anything as a visitor when you’re on site. Teenage Engineering did it differently this year. They sparked a big surprise.
Without any advanced press information, they introduced the new OP-1 Field, an evolution of the popular OP-1 portable Synthesizer. In a new look and with many new features and improvements. Two weeks have passed, Superbooth stress is gone, time to take a closer, calm look at the OP-1 Field.
Teenage Engineering OP-1 Field
The OP-1 Field is the OP-1 with new reengineered clothes and a new feature set. The Teenage Engineering marketing department promises 100 new features. That’s a lot and it makes it easy to lose track. So I have packed the features into different categories to simplify the overview.
Let’s start with what you can see from the outside. Of course, the hardware.
The OP-1 Field got a new low-profile aluminum design with a new high-resolution screen and a reworked keyboard module. Unfortunately, this still has no velocity, which is a pity. It is definitely a hand flatterer. It feels very fine and high-quality in the hands. As if you were touching the curves of a unibody MacBook. This also has a big price, but more on that later.
In addition to the new design, there are other significant hardware improvements and highlights. The OP-1 Field is based on a new hardware revision with a new CPU that enables 32-bit audio throughout the signal chain. Then, you benefit from 4 times more internal memory, more precisely 256 MB RAM giving your over 160 minutes of sample storage. A good upgrade but for 2022 one could have expected much more. Especially for the asking price.
The internal battery also got a makeover and now lasts up to 24 hours giving you more juice for mobile music production. The funny FM radio accessory from the original is no longer needed in the field version as it comes with an internal FM antenna for both RT and TX. Plus, you benefit from USB-C with host functionality. Yes, this also supports USB audio with which you can connect audio interfaces, the iPad, or the OP-Z to it.
Other Hardware Features
- new speaker with passive radiator
- new color scheme
- dual velcro back fasteners
- new range of custom accessories
- charge power status LEDs
- click to hold sequencer
- new and improved built-in microphone
- completely reworked UI
- custom volume encoder width higher resolution
- 4-pole audio jack for headset mic support
- afterburner ground loop noise suppressor
- dual BLE antennas for stable wireless performance
- added encoder click functionality
- ergonomic power switch
- ultra-fidelity headphone output
- high-resolution accelerometer
- new font, form factor and high-resolution VU LED meter
- hold sequencer
- improved line in signal quality
- new packaging
- OB-4 compatible using FM TX or wire
- precise master level meters
- refined acoustic side shooting loudspeaker grill
The OP-1 Field is an all-digital Synthesizer powered by a software-based engine. At the heart of this are a variety of exciting synth + sample engines, sequencers, and more. There are also many new engine highlights in the new version of the OP-1.
A highlight is that the entire OP-1 Field now works in 32-bit and in stereo: the engines, the samplers, the audio processing, mixdown…This allows you to rediscover the engines in a fresh way and opens up new sound design options. Then, you can benefit from up to 8 tapes/discs and four different tape styles including studio 4-track, vintage-track, porta, and disc mini. All with their own unique characteristics and graphics.
It also comes with an all-new Dimension analog modeling synth engine, drum sample stacking option, a new “mother” reverb effect, and more:
- MFI support for iPhone USB MIDI and Audio connectivity
- Bluetooth low energy for wireless MIDI
- drum sample stacking
- stereo input processing
- up to 500 user patches
- adjustable pitch bend range
- automatic headphone impedance adjustment
- Bluetooth advertising toggle
- BT central for connecting controllers
- BT connection list view
- stereo tape tracks
- MTP content management
- new sketch image
- USB patch rename
- wireless MIDI connectivity to OP-Z and TX-6
In addition to many new features, there are also many improvements to existing features. For example, you can zoom in the sample editing page or your can customize your MIDI settings for connected devices. A highlight for me is the introduction of new pop-up info graphics in the synth engines that allows you to adjust parameters more precisely. Further improvements are:
- drum envelope for better transient control
- tape looping
- configurable and adjustable MIDI filtering
- new volume setting per patch
- tape name editor
- new external velocity LFO
- custom MIDI settings for connected devices
- detailed country settings for radio
- averaging for a more reliable tap tempo,
- EQ with high resolution and smoother interpolation
- input signal to LFO with smoother envelope
- improved envelope follow in nitro effect
- more random LFO target parameters
- increased tombola simulation accuracy
- new metronome sound
- new sawtooth and square LFO shapes and an additional pan LFO target
- POP-UP info graphics
- save tempo and syn settings with tapes
- screen brightness control
- smooth knob interpolation
- system settings
How many of these features and improvements will make their way into the original OP-1 is unknown. Speaking to the developer, he said they’re trying to pack as many as possible into the original. However, many are not possible because they depend on the new hardware.
On top, you benefit from new sound content including refined original patches, new drum kit packs, 20 new synth patches, and new sequencer presets. It also comes with a printed manual, a rarity today, a built-in user guide, and a QR code guide link.
If you want to know more about the OP-1 and OP-1 Field, the development, the differences… I linked my developer interview from Superbooth 22 below.
Teenage Engineering has given the OP-1 a nice upgrade here: high-quality design, more memory, more battery power, louder, 32-bit sound engine in stereo… An impressive update. But the joy is deceived by the asking price. Started initially for less than 800€, then got an increase to almost 1300€ and now we are almost at 2000€. Uff, that’s a lot of money for an OP-1.
The OP-1 Field is certainly not an off-the-shelf Synthesizer. It’s a designer instrument. Each hardware point is tailored to the device. That costs money. Also aluminum etc, especially these days. But almost 2000€? I think the device could have been offered cheaper, but TE is known not to be an affordable brand.
Price aside, the OP-1 Field is a very appealing instrument. An eye-catcher like his father. With such a release you can be happy that you can say: you don’t have to buy everything. It remains a personal decision whether to invest the money. As long as you have fun and are creative.
Teenage Engineering OP-1 Field is available now for pre-order for 1999€.
More information here: Teenage Engineering
Available for pre-order at my partners