Arriving just in time for a summer of field recording, Teenage Engineering has released its new TP-7 field recorder, which is designed to do “only one thing and do it well.”
And if you’re thinking that means that the TP-7 really is ‘just a recorder’ then you’d be right, but we do have to say that, having seen it in the flesh at Superbooth, we can confirm that it’s one of the loveliest looking recorders we’ve seen. Yes, it’s digital, but there are a number of analogue-style features that we suspect will make this a very pleasant thing to have in your hand and on your person.
Designed to slot perfectly into your palm, the TP-7 encourages you to use your index finger to trigger the fast-forward control and your middle finger to rewind. Your thumb starts a recording, and your ‘pinky’ selects the mode. Teenage Engineering calls this ‘intuitive muscle reflex control’ and believes that it creates “a genuinely rewarding man-machine experience.”
Audio scrubbing can be controlled by a side-mounted rocker, but the centrepiece of the TP-7 is the motorised ‘tape’ reel. Featuring a brushed motor with ball bearings, this enables you to grab and move through your recording, pause it and navigate menus. The reel also spins during playback so you can experience the sensation of watching analogue tape rolling.
The TP-7 is designed for recording anything you like - podcasts, voice memos, musical ideas, live performances - but there are a couple of features that make it particularly suitable for capturing interviews. A companion app will automatically turn audio into text - potentially a great timesaver if you do a lot of manual transcribing - and during recording, placing a finger on the reel will pause the recording so you can talk ‘off the record’.
The TP-7 has an internal mic and speaker, but you can connect other gear via the three stereo two-way 3.5mm jacks (these can be used as both inputs and outputs). So, you can record across up to six channels. The device also functions as a USB-C audio interface, and this same connector also handles MIDI, data transfer and charging (the internal battery can run for up to seven hours, we’re told). You get 128GB of internal storage.
As you’d expect, the TP-7 can be used alongside the other products in TE’s field range - the OP-1 synth, TX-6 mixer and CM-15 microphone - but you’ll need some seriously deep pockets if you want to buy all of them.
Available in limited quantities, the TP-7 costs $1,499/£1,299. Find out more on the Teenage Engineering website.