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OP-1 as an A+ travel companion

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I just want to share my love for the OP-1 as a portable all-in-one musical toolbox.


After seeing a lady using an OP-1 live in Kyoto (i think this band? http://suzmenba.jp/) I bought one secondhand in December 2012 and took it travelling for a year (2013) down through Latin America. I'd heard a bit about it previously - briefly had a go of a friend's, thought it sound interesting but a bit gimicky. But I was really impressed by the use of it as a performance instrument by this lady - interesting sounds and very delicately performed; I think she was using the accelerometer as a live LFO. So, suffering early on-set synthesiser withdrawal, I sought one out and bought one.


It was a really great travel keyboard - discrete, looks a bit like a toy, but has a very solid build and works like a full studio - sampling, synthesisers, drum machines, effects, eq, 4 track recorder, compression, able to record a 'master' and then dump the tracks and final recording as audio files over usb to a computer (or android phone, which is what I did for backup). I also got the 'unit portables' official case for it, which latched on nicely to my satchel when I wanted it to and kept it padded and safe in my backpack at other times.


So the first song I recorded a few days after acquisition (30 Dec 2012), playing around with the sequencers and sampling the radio (in Mexico City): http://trackypants.bandcamp.com/track/casa-luna

I didn't understand much spanish at the time, so I really had no idea that the radio presenters were talking about 'One Direction'! So it's a bit of a cheesy mash up of sound.


The second song I finished 6 months later (Bogota, June 2013 ):





I was recording lots of ideas before this of course, but also learning Spanish and doing tourist type things, I didn't get much finished until we had extended stays in one place (June, July & August in Bogota and November & December in Buenos Aires).


There was a piano in the Airbnb apartment (in La Condesa - beautiful suburb; Mexico City is a lovely place!) we were staying at, so I recorded some ideas using the OP-1 at the time (Jan 2013) and over months in buses and hotel rooms, toyed around with the ideas, before finishing the following 2 tracks using these piano recordings:



http://trackypants.bandcamp.com/track/sociaphobia - singing recorded in our apartment in Bogota, June 2013; where I felt I was spending too much time!


'Tengo ganas de verte'



My favourite track I recorded is 'Great Ape' - except for my voice, but you have what you have:



I just made a video for 'Ghostlight' (see below)


Anyway, if anyone is thinking of buying an OP-1 for travelling - I heartily recommend it. Very useful, great potential for interesting sounds and potential as a performance instrument too.


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I think the price is fair for what it can do and the quality of the build. I paid more for my blofeld keyboard, which is nice and sounds great, but really is buggy (eg. monophonic sounds sometimes get stuck notes; and using the free button as a switch doesn't seem to reliably work for me) and that won't get fixed. Considering the OP-1 does a heap of things without screwing up and has recently had new updates as well as some exciting expansion options (OP-Lab), I think it's a good deal.

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According to the Teenage Electronics website it's now $849. So that's multiple drum machine types; multiple programmable synthesizer engines w/ good options for live use (eg. accelerometer LFO) ; various sequencer options; 4 track recorder which allows you to export as AIF files the stems as well as mixdown; midi controller (via usb); built in microphone as well as audio input for sampling or running through internal fx. I think it sounds about as good a deal as you can get - up there with the nord micro modular for me.

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