Could the Otto synth be a more affordable alternative to the OP-1?

The Otto hardware synth and sampler is heavily inspired by Teenage Engineering’s OP-1, and could yet prove to be a more affordable alternative to the Swedish groovebox, which recently saw a large price increase.

Though not actually in production as yet, the folk behind the project have posted all the info on GitHub, with an invitation to discuss more about the open-source hardware project on Discord.

In a nutshell, Otto is designed to be a “complete hardware and software solution, with synths, samplers, effects and a sequencer with an audio looper.”

One of the designers behind the Otto, Tobias Pisani, goes on to mention that the workflow is also inspired by the OP-1, with experimentation encouraged by its very design. We just have to look at it to see that the similarities also run through the on-screen graphics.

The brains of the machine will be powered by a Raspberry Pi Model 3 B Plus, and the hardware will also feature a screen, a DAC, four rotary encoders and some 30+ buttons/keys. See below for the full list of planned features.

The next step for the team will be working on the next version of prototypes. We’ll be sure to keep our eyes peeled for more info, as and when it lands.

Planned features

  • A synth (with swappable engines) for live performance with midi effects (arpeggiator, etc.)
  • 2 FX slots. Synths and drums send to them as a FX bus
  • Synths and effects are swappable "engines"
  • For drums, a sampler will run in parallel to the sequencer-synth chain
  • The drum sampler has 10 channels. These have a simple 1-bar, 16 step volca-style drum-sequencer, with each step corresponding to a white key on the musical keyboard on the prototype currently being built
  • An audio line input which has FX send and level
  • A simple loop-station-style audio looper that can get audio from line in or synth. It has overdub and one level of Undo
  • 8 save slots which save the state of the entire system. A save button lets you choose the slot to save in. Saves are only performed when you take the action
Simon Arblaster
Video Producer & Reviews Editor

I take care of the reviews on MusicRadar and Future Music magazine, though can sometimes be spotted in front of a camera talking little sense in the presence of real musicians. For the past 30 years, I have been unable to decide on which instrument to master, so haven't bothered. Currently, a lover of all things high-gain in the guitar stakes and never one to resist churning out sub-standard funky breaks, the likes of which you'll never hear.

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