Launched last year, Teenage Engineering’s OB-4 raised as many eyebrows as it turned heads. Yes, it was a “magic radio”, but was it really worth paying $599/£599 for?
The jury is still out on that one, but a new firmware update - launched to celebrate midsummer - certainly adds to the OB-4’s allure by introducing several new features.
First up, there’s beat match, a DJ-style feature that enables you to loop up whatever audio you’re listening to (including external audio) with perfect timing, then have some fun with it. You can slide the loop and tweak its length to change the feel.
Another addition is a metronome sound based on the 808 kick. You can even adjust the pitch and decay for “optimal booom”.
Finally, there’s now an ambient mode; with the click of a button you can turn any sound source into a drone, then tweak the resulting effect.
Does any of this turn the OB-4 into an essential music technology purchase? Almost certainly not, but you have to admire Teenage Engineering not just for having these ideas, but for going ahead and putting them into a commercial product.
Or, to put it another way, although we don’t need an OB-4, we sort of feel like we want one.
Find out more on the Teenage Engineering website.