OP-1 Field: The New OP-1 Is Here (And It’s Not Called OP-2)

It happened, at last. Teenage Engineering just launched the follow-up to their cult little wonder, the OP-1, introduced in 2011 – please check out our OP-1 review if you have been living on Mars all these years and you have no idea what we’re talking about!

The OP-1 Field (named after the colour palette, and also as a nod to the new TE product line) is a substantial upgrade to the original OP-1, retaining at the same time all its core values – and probably this is why it’s not called OP-2.

Splice Rent-to-Own

New and Improved Features

According to Teenage Engineering, the new OP-1 Field is “louder, thinner and 100 times better”.
When they say 100 times better they actually refer to the long list of new features and improvements (that you can find on their website). Among them, the most relevant are:

  • stereo throughout the whole signal chain
  • Bluetooth MIDI
  • USB type-C,
  • a new speaker system with a passive driver for detailed, fat and loud sound
  • a massive 24 hour battery life
  • multiple tapes and recording formats (four new recording formats: studio 4-track, vintage 4-track, porta and disc mini)
  • new stereo sample engine with increased sampling time up to 20 seconds and dual layer mode for instant mixing of the A and B channels or via an assigned lfo
  • new great sounding reverb
  • the ’Dimension’ synth engine,
  • an all-glass, flush, high-resolution display.
  • reworked graphics, screen by screen
  • built-in FM broadcasting
  • 256 Mb internal memory
  • USB MIDI host
  • USB Audio host
  • USB audio/MIDI direct connectivity to OP–Z, TX–6, OP–1 and compatible devices
  • screen brightness control

It looks like the Teenage Engineering team listened to the most common improvement request coming from their user base, covering all the weak spots (i.e. speaker and reverb) of the original OP-1 and adding all kinds of modern features you would expect on a premium 2022 instrument.

A detail of the new Tape modes

Thinner Design

As you can see, the OP-1 Field looks pretty much like the original one, after all why would you change such a successful design (winner of several awards and also featured in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)? There are some differences though. According to Teenage Engineering, by lowering the aluminium body around the keyboard, the new OP–1 field feels lighter, thinner and more precise. The company also managed to fit a dual 2.4 GHz antenna system inside the aluminium body.

Also, the bottom has been modified. TE added two soft velcro rings on the back for fastening covers and accessories. And if you want to stick your OP–1 field on top of your full size keyboard orslap it on a guitar, you can use the included adhesive looped back and start experimenting.
On the right, you’ll find an additional passive loudspeaker for hugely improved bass. 

If you like to be naked while playing the OP-1 you will also appreciate the fact that TE enfolded the aluminum body in a warm, soft touch, hard cover. Hopefully, that won’t make it too warm for those of us who live in warmer climate areas!

The Field System

Last but not least, the new OP–1 field is the second addition to TE’s new field system. Together with the recently launched TX–6 portable mixer, you get an incredibly powerful and ultra-portable sound recording and performance system, all battery-powered, rechargeable via USB-C, and with full interconnectivity (midi and high-resolution audio) 1:1 compatible with iOS and macOS and Windows.

Splice Sounds
Compact buddies: OP-1 Field and the TX-6 mixer

How Much Is The New OP-1 Field?

If over the years the OP-1 had already become a pretty expensive affair (going from the $799/€799 back in 2011 to $1399/€1399 in the past few years), the new OP-1 Fields reaches new heights with its $1999/€1999 price tag.

The 2011 TE website with the original $799/€799 price tag. Those were the days...

Yes, $1999/€1999 is a lot of money, especially considering the current economic crisis, but it’s in line with the company’s business model and the cult status of this unique instrument.
Is the OP-1 Field a must-buy? Well, if you have the original OP-1 and you’ve found a way to include it in your setup, I’ll let you decide whether the new features are worth the extra money or not for you. Personally, while I love the improved features, I don’t think they’re worth the extra money for me to upgrade.
If you’re new to the OP-1 world and money is not an issue, then go for it, you’ll sure have fun and you can always flip it later without losing much.
If music is more of a hobby for you and you have some mouths to feed, it’s probably not a good time for such a purchase. Consider getting an iPad instead, and a few quality music apps, like Samplr. It’s not the same thing, of course, but it’s going to be equally fun, I promise.

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