Okay, I’ve tried what I believe has been everything to avoid making this post but I think the time has come to face it.
I can’t find a ‘flow’ with this thing.
Man I love almost everything about it… but the most important part IMHO just does not seem to work out in anything meaningful or strong enough to warrant Pershing into a full song. And that is… the live loop style of tape recording.
I’m still holding onto some hope that I’ve just yet to discover the workflow that will flow seamlessly with my ideas but man I’ve had this thing since June and it just seems a waste of so much money to me at this point. I mean I could have gotten a digitakt or some other slightly more traditional sample based groovebox thing and still had money left over for maybe one or two of those mini Korg synths.
I’m REALLY hoping someone can point me In a more precise direction as far as workflow/process here.
I have exhausted all that YouTube has to offer it seems and most of what’s available here but it all just feels very disjointed to me.
I dread getting the feeling of wanting to sell it simply because it’s workflow execution is so just… limited.
A couple of things that would have helped me personally and I know I’m not the only one who’s asked was a quantize feature and an alternative option of sequencing besides the frankly quite hipsters vibe that is the ‘tape recording’.
Would have been nice to have more options to use along side that style of arrangement is all.
Okay, I’ve tried what I believe has been everything to avoid making this post but I think the time has come to face it.
the OP-1 teaches you to play all other Instruments in time or make music without any quantization grid.
in order to do so you have to rely on your own skills, maybe expand with a drumpad or Qunexus (best)
the limitation at first as an open book in the end, over the past 8 years I’ve never had come to the point to sell the OP-1.
i recently bought a second Qunexus which enables the full midi LFO potential as it‘s possible to modulate the OP1 parameters from Analog gear x4, which is unique with the graphic interpretation in Hardware.
it’s no Techno machine like Elektrons, but it can be your personal interpretation of any genre you like.
just practice and it‘ll teach you more than just trigs on grid.
Think of it as an audio sequencer. That’s what it really is. A compositional tool. Set your loop points, use the sequencers and record from the beginning using shift+record then trigger your sequence. Then once your loop is good, copy and move to the next loop and so forth. Love what you made? Import into daw and make it perfect or record to the album in op1. It’s simple. That’s the workflow, if it still won’t work out then this tool might not be for you so just get the OP-Z
Don’t know what your usual flow is, so it’s hard to tell where to recognize the problem here.
Think of it as a recorder, where you don’t have to plug in other instruments. Or do use other equipment.
In the OP-1 there aren’t to many possibilities that could block your flow. That’s it, everything is only one click.
Whenever I have to finish a track on time (for a battle fi) my first choice is the OP-1 cause I know it’s my fastest tool. Lots of happy accidents bring new ideas. Just follow the flow. Don’t hesitate to record, copy, tweak and delete…
for me things really started to click after i just let go
and let hte op1 take me where it wanted me to go
instead of trying to fight it and force it to do this and htat.
generally speaking i think alot of ppl try to impose their will on the machines
whereas the OP1 is a different vibe from most.
also i think if u just put in the hours, the muscle memory builds up
and u just find yourself in a groove.
i spent alot of time messing with the tape
before i got comfortable with it
i think that helped alot too.
I’m going to chime in and hopefully my answer will be useful as I still have both feet either side of the fence, having only got my OP-1 in March this year.
I’m still not super familiar with it, and coming from a more traditional (Ableton, machine) background, it does indeed sometimes seem like a massive step backwards, and honestly. I’m yet to make something that could be described as more than an idea with mine, but that said, there is definitely something very endearing and compelling about it, it’s almost more like some sort of puzzle game than an instrument sometimes. I’m sometimes reluctant to use mine, because I’m pretty good at making tunes, but the thought of using the OP-1 makes me feel like a noob. But that said, whenever I use it, the time flies past, whether that’s because I get lost in the weird synth engines and FX, or I just spend hours trying to play something in time, which sounds like a chore, but it feels like trying to beat a hard level on Mario or something…
Not sure if this helps or not, but I totally get where you’re coming from.
I’m going to crack open a beer and have a play now.
I brought mine 2 month ago and for me , the best way to find my workflow was to make a complet song cover trying to use as much of the possibilities the OP-1 has to offer…
Like many other said you really need to consider it as an old multi track tape recorder. If you are coming from daw or other beat making devices, you need to let go of all your previous reflexes!! Most of the time you’ll need to work out what you need to record to be in time, but you still can use the sequencers to be on the grid. You can work “in layers” with it to add some dynmaics and variations. When I’m happy with a recording I copy it at the end of the tape to save just in caseder I accentally destroy what I’ve already done… You can definitly do a complete song with this thing (check out my video:)
but it may help to know where you want to go. And yes, keep in mind that it is time consuming… But I think the journey worth it!! To conclude I think that OP-1 is really a great tool to lay down ideas, even if it’s crude at the beginning. Personally I bring it at work and sketch my ideas in my car during lunch time!!! Even recording my acoustic guitare with it … I hope it will help.
OP-1 has a particular workflow. A bit punishing. Lots of things lacking (starting with recording in stereo).
But it also pushes you to record and get you to a more or less finished state.
I strongly advise you to participate to Battles: such practice help you grow a workflow with the OP-1. Get something done.
Now you would definitely go faster with a Digitakt, no doubt.
Don’t feel tied to this, it’s just not for everyone.
I like my Elektron way better, to be honest.
But I can’t get rid of the OP-1.
OP-1 + battles ⇒ tracks
Thanks for the advice.
But I don’t think participating in “battles” is going to work for me when I can’t manage more than a simple 4 bar loop with sloppy drum tracks.
The “work flow” of this thing is just too limiting in my opinion just due to how I’m used to making music.
The only way I can ever see myself making anything of any real value on this is if I could see how someone makes a track from start to finish using only the op-1.
That way maybe I could take a few points and apply them to my own ideas.
My main roadblock are the tape system with the sloppy way you have to bounce things back and forth and to the album and back and turning on and off the “ear” function and after doing all that you have to try to memorize where and what all the parts are back in the tape deck it just gets too sloppy. and then there’s the sequencing, or more accurately near lack of one.
I know a lot of folks say “use the endless sequencer” but it’s just too cumbersome not being able to SEE the steps for me. It’s near impossible to get anything more rhythmic than a simple arpeggio on that thing. Am I missing something here? Is there a secret math sequence you have to do in your head in order to get triplet notes and the like using the endless sequencer? If so that would be a little more helpful for programming the drum tracks at least.
It gets very discouraging trying to lay down a rhythm track for your song with such hardcore limitations as no triplets in the included “sequencer”. I can only spend about a half hour recording it, erasing, recording again, erasing again just trying to finger drum my way to a drum track that has the timing I WANT it to have before I just get bored and shut the thing off. If they would have included at least a rudimentary form of soft record quantize in there, a step sequencer or piano role of some sort then maybe I wouldn’t feel like this was nearly $1500 of wasted potential.
Now all that being said I LOVE humanization and a ‘loose feel’ to my tracks but I like it when I have control over how much or how little humanization I can have. Unfortunately I can’t have the finger drumming skills of Jeremy Ellis with near perfect timing.
Look ultimately I’m more than willing in fact I’m eager to discover ‘the secret’ to finding a working flow to this thing, or why would I bother coming in here and wasting all this time to beg for help on figuring this out?
I guess I just need to see a functioning workflow for moving parts around in the tape and arranging them.
And a workflow that’s more conducive to anything other than just 4/4 with the endless sequencer as I feel those are the two elements of this device where they really missed a huge opportunity for reaching a wider musical audience.
I agree about the sequencers. I assume you’ve tried the pattern or “finger” sequencers already, they are more traditional and I think visual sequencers like what you seem to be looking for. I honestly mostly just use my daw to write out sequences tho. Having said all that it can be really rewarding to sketch out a sequence in the sequencers on occasion.
It sounds like your having a hard time justifying the price for what it does. Forget about triplets etc. if you want to get more exact with sequencing then probably elektron or a Daw is your best bet. Op1 is an experimental tool. It’s about happy accidents and not being perfect all the time. Let the op1 guide you and drop all expectations. I had a hard time with the op1 when I was forcing it do stuff it wasn’t good at.
Guess you need propellerhead reason
the op1 can sequence triplets, right? – the “t” in 8t, 16t, 32t stands for triplets.
as for arranging full tracks…yeah, using the tape doesn’t work for me either. but using the tape in conjunction with the album is great.
anyway, it seems the op1 doesn’t click with you. so sell it and move on. the roland mc707 looks really good – has input quantize and arranging tools.
Red Means Recording has many video showing his workflow.
Will show how right you are, the workflow is limited and painful, at first.
Lots of try and error, you loose things, etc.
I would never buy it for > 1k€ (got mine for 470€ used 6 years ago).
Today, I would definitely get a Digitakt + Micromonsta 2 instead.
This thread really inspired me when I was struggling at times in the learning curve:
I’m not great at drums on the OP-1 and that was annoying. I did my drums on different sequencers using the Shift + Rec method mentioned above. That bit works really well to align your sequences. I use ARP for triplets (a closed hi hat) and PATTERN for bass drum on one track then snare, clap, etc on another so they can have a little reverb. Can’t fully get my head around ENDLESS yet but I like the approach for melodies and I like that it’s a throw-away thing (unless you record it to tape). Now I’m a very old man I embrace the laying it down and it’s done approach. The more I use the OP-1, the more I like what I make. It’s an instrument I am learning and that takes time.
So I also just bought an OP-Z which I connect to the OP-1 directly and after ironing out teething problems with connectivity, getting my head around how to use it and ground loop noise problems I’m ready to create drum loops on the OP-Z, recording to the OP-1 tracks. The OP-Z might fill that void in your soul. But at quite a price for the two together. Portability is my main attraction here. I have a table of gear that I just don’t want to drive to gigs anymore.
You seem excited about the digitakt, I’d love to get my hands on it. You could sell your OP-1 for the price of a digitakt and say a Korg minilogue or maybe even a monologue and you’ll have sampler and synthesizer at your disposal still, just less portable. I personally am not into the Korg Volca range having tried it.
Good luck dude!
Thanks for pointing me in the direction of that thread! Yeah I’ll be diving in there the next time I can sit with the op-1 and see what I can come up with.
The digitak is definitely something I’m interested in. It honestly after looking into what the op-z has to offer as for sequencing, quantization and working with drum beats in general I think I might go that route as it would initially be a cheaper investment.
As I said I really REALLY do t want to feel I need to get rid of the op-1 I’m willing to give it it the time I need to adjust and hopefully find my own way of working with it that works for me.
There are so many other things I love about the op-1 that it doesn’t make sense to just give up on it entirely just because one or two things are lacking it it for me.
With Christmas around the corner and that damned rona keeping things nice and precarious it might be some time before I can treat myself to an op-z but I’m willing to wait It out
I’ve had mine since March, and filled the tape up maybe 3 times, and of that there’s maybe 2 things that sound like the basis of a good song, hah. And I’ve literally just now ventured into bouncing to tape and trying to make my latest idea into an arrangement of sorts.
So, has it ‘paid for itself’ in terms of me getting stuff done, in my preferred style (instrumental hiphop) of music? Absolutely not. On the flip side, I could buy a Playstation 5 and that also wouldn’t result in me getting music finished.
Familiarity is key I think with the OP-1 - once all these “Jesus Christ what a lot of effort to just do a simple thing!” type key presses are in your memory, (and for me, I’m not quite there yet, which is the point, currently where I have a 4 bar loop, and all the 4 tape channels full, and don’t push on and bounce etc so I can add more), that’s where it starts to feel fun.
I love that the OP-1 is a virtual 4-track, with this universe of possibilites - from recording and “remixing” sounds & whole tracks, to mixing techniques and creating music with the “live oriented” sequencers + very singular FX, etc.
However, the most important thing is being happy with the OP-1. If you feel that it isn’t compatible with your workflow, vibe or music interests in the moment, sell it. Don’t feel frustrated! Maybe get a couple of Pocket Operators and the OP-Z…?
And selling it today doesnt mean that you will not have the “click” about the OP-1 in the future.
Holy… I’ve had one for years and I thought it was tempo lmao
I literally made a wild guess and never bothered to check
I think your post is really brilliant, thanks so much for posting the video and words. I’ve had an OP-1 since June and have started and stopped using it as I get a bit frustrated with myself as I’ve been struggling a bit with it as it takes me a long time to ‘get’ something but have never wanted to sell it because I have a gut feeling that I’m going to be able to create some great things with it. Your video and post have convinced me that my feeling is right so thanks lots. I’m just about to turn it on and start again (-: Cheers Cel