Swedish gear pranksters Teenage Engineering have always trodden the path least followed. From creating one of the most enduring, much-loved, smash hit synths of the last decade (and successfully charging just shy of $2000 dollar for it despite it looking like an oversized calculator), to devising everything from the 'mother of all decks' for Swedish House Mafia to creating their own PC case, they've always caught the eye and inspired the mind.
Their OP-Z product was always so much more than a synth + sequencer but it's actual uses are far more multitudinous, prompting us to write "to be completely honest until very recently - ie the day our review unit arrived - we would have struggled to answer had somebody asked me to explain what the OP-Z actually is."
At its core the OP-Z is a 16-track, 16-step sequencer. Of those tracks, eight generate audio while the other eight are used for effect manipulation and external control. The audio tracks are divided into two groups, with the first four set up as sample-based drum tracks and the latter as melodic instruments that can each make use of a variety of synthesis engines. Every audio track has two adjustable sound-specific parameters, along with a resonant low/high-pass filter, four-stage amp envelope, a multimode LFO, two effect sends, and pan and level controls.
Most intriguing it also featured a 'visual sequencer' with graphics produced inside the unit using the Unity engine, then displayed on an iOS screen or output via HDMI with an adapter.
Its uses were always a little hazy with 3D projects known as 'videopacks' being created by users and downloadable to the product – but we think we've just found our favourite.
User mysticalmonkeys has created the classic arcade game Space Invaders on the OP-Z, with the graphics and gameplay being a one-to-one copy of the original. (Not sure what creators Taito will have to say about that so be best grab it's while it's hot.)
If you've ever moaned about being too distracted to finish a track, things just got a whole lot worse…
All you have to do is make sure you have downloaded and installed the official OP–Z app on one of your devices then visit https://gum.co/bSqcA with the same device, and offer up a small contribution (over $1.99) to get a download link. (Makers make a small amount of cash for their efforts.)
Full instructions and details are here. Happy zapping!