Late discussion of OP-1 sound quality

So is it only me who recognizes some “fury” textures on OP-1 sounds especially in higher frequency region? It’s a sort of noise that makes the output a bit low-quality (and unique :slight_smile: )
In addition to this some synth engines suffer from noisy and poor sounding significantly like the Pulse one. As it had an additional noise generator in the background that makes the generated sound so faded and bloodless.

So is it the common experience which we have learned to live with for now? :slight_smile:

Op-1 or op-z?

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Ah, thanks. Corrected it. OP-1 of course.

IMO, a super clean synthesized signal requires high precision math and oversampling, but the OP-1 processor is not very powerful when compared to a PC or iPad. We can see that it is already struggling a bit at times, e.g., dropping some animation frames. On top of that, it seems like there is quite a lot of noise from the digital circuit bleeding into the analog audio path. All that is unlikely to change (unless they released a truly Mk.II version with much improved HW and SW).


It’s not only you. the OP1 doesn’t do a lot of oversampling. in some places, like the drum sampler, that’s intentional. in others (tape and synth sampler) it’s limited. Additionally I don’t think they’ve made it very bit-deep either, so the result of all these things is that it sounds aliased and rather dirty. My gripe with it is that all engines sound quite thin. The likely reason for this is that not-very-powerful chip TE have decided to use in the first place. We’re stuck with what it is, and a rather big reason to use samples rather than synths on the OP1.


Maybe for complex effects. As far as pure synthesis, people make crispy-clear sounds on the likes of TI-82 and ZX Spectrum. I don’t mind sampling rate and bit depth of Tape, but the noisiness of some engines and effects can at times be frustrating. I think those issues have more to do with how this stuff is coded, than processing power.

In my experience it’s a noisy little beast. Running it through a $200 radial stereo DI helps, but now I’m out $200 :sob:

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OP-1 can sound pretty clean, but it’s not effortless like in many modern machines. One trick you can use is to lower the high-frequency bar on its equalizer by couple clicks. Feels “wrong” to use it without a specific reason, but most of the engines make so much high-pitched noise that damping it generally just makes things better across the board, unless you’re going for a specific crispy sound.

There are sweet spots in most engines that get rid of messy high-frequency content.

The hidden filter FX is great for making powerful, punchy and somewhat analog-like sounds.

One thing I still haven’t grasped, though, is what combination of mastering effects produces the cleanest, loudest output. There are just so many of them:

  1. Recording level.
  2. Individual track levels.
  3. Equalizer levels.
  4. Levels for left and right master channels.
  5. Drive/compressor.

Generally, stuff I get from Album is pretty quiet and noisy. I need to work on that.

From what I’ve learned from the sound engineering class I took once, you want to get the highest dynamic range by recording everything as loudly as possible without clipping. This gives you the highest dynamic range Then you mix things down and compress as needed. Unfortunately, aside from #6, I don’t know which parameters from the above reduce the dynamic range and which ones do some weird amplification. Theoretically, a digital synth should have dead-bottom noise floor. But if OP-1 adds dithering or does some weird analog modeling, things can more complicated. I wish they released a bit more info on their signal path/tape/album implementations. I get that engines and FX are supposed to be weird and surprising, but mastering is supposed to be more engineering than art.


I find the master drive/compressor, master fx, are the biggest source of unwanted noise. Keep an eye on the levels in the drive/compressor page and the signal flow page. Mastering with the op-1 is also as surprising and weird as the synth engines. If you want to be more precise with your mastering maybe avoid using the master fx, and drive/compressor all together and do that with your computer.


normal part of any compressor’s function is to raise the noise floor (via the makeup gain). for a source of unwanted noise look no further than Spring.

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Yes spring is very good for adding ambient noise. Just like a real springreverb.

Hidden fx filter??? Can anyone elaborate??? Need to get me some of that!

This patch has both the hidden engine and the hidden filter:

I probably should cover this on the wiki.


Thanks so much!!

I keep volumes as low as 60% throughout the whole OP-1 path.
It gets crunchy fast and leaving room to breathe seems to help me.

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new OP-1 user here, after using the OP-Z for a while and jumping on the 10 year anniversary promotional price to get one i’m quite underwhelmed at the quality of sound that the op-1 can produce. i feel like it’s very thin and flat and lacking any depth or immersion. I’m sure a part of that is just my lack of experience with it but i’ve also been reading that it does actually sound flat and thin comparatively to opz and others.

i could get behind the weird workflow and audio bouncing and all that but when the end result is a lackluster finish it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. i dont know if there are tips out there to make it sound better, i think a part of it is the lack of any stereo field at all (except for the very final stage FX which is difficult to apply when you have drums in the mix)

Use samples! Layer sounds…

It’s also up to you, what kind of sounds you’re tweaking and in which combinations.

Actually everyone knows how the OP-1 sounds like. It’s different and not a dsp VAsynth.

Master FX send on each track would be very helpful indeed. Even if it was just on/off. And so would a different reverb algorithm. Plugging OP1 into BigSky really changes how the sound “feels”, precisely because it adds good stereo field. But saying to use external processing is not super-helpful advice when one of the main appeals of the sytnth is portability and its self-contained nature.

I think it would be interesting to make a battle where the goal is specifically to produce a rich, high-fi sound without post-processing or samples. Then people could share the tricks they used.

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i wish there could be a place for more user based algorithms and engines, even though it’s a 10 year old processor i’m sure there are people with the knowledge to make some decent sounding FX.

i dont think u need to use external processing at all.
synth engines are more than capable of producing big fat sounds
the master drive // compression is FAT AF
dial in a lil EQ to help
use the panning on the tape to space out your sounds
resample to get EQ & FX on individual tracks // layers // sounds
resample to layer up your sounds and or create new ones
not getting the sound u want? sample some new shit!
its really all there for u
dont be lazy :volcano: