Lurker lookin for info about the great OP-1

Hello OP-1ers

I’ve been very interested in expanding my musical horizons by venturing into the electronic world. I’ve mostly been writing music with an acoustic guitar and I can sense my material is starting to get a little stale. I gotta get with the times, yo. I think the OP-1 is right for me. I absolutely love the interface and design and portability of the unit, I feel like all the other compact synths currently on the market are super cluttered and garish to look at (other than Moog) let alone begin to understand. I have a few questions about the OP-1 before I pull the trigger. I am aiming to approach the OP-1 with a songwriters perspective, so these questions pertain to things I consider to be deal breakers. I have been lurking on this forum along with the one on reddit, and I have also read through most of the manual on the TE website and there were a few things they didn’t mention or I didn’t catch.

1) About time signatures – Is this unit limited to 4/4 only? If not, is it easy to change time sig. mid song while having the tempo locked? Can you program the drum/synth sequencers to have odd time sigs. and do it mid song?

2) About the tape/recording feature – I understand this unit only has 4 tracks. I believe I’ve read that it’s possible to merge tracks together if desired. Is this true? If so when you merge say, the drums and bass together is any part of them lost in the process, other than the ability to edit them individually? How many tracks can you merge together before it’s completely ruined? Also- what exactly is the ‘click and pop’ issue people have been complaining about? Is it a big deal?

3) About the built in mic – How good is it? I’ve read that some users have issues with it being too quiet/low quality, but that could have been an issue with their internal settings. Is it recommended to get an external mic for vocals? Can you add effects to the mic input once you record it or while recording with it?

4) About patches and 3rd party synth/drum packs – Are the patches easy to access and apply to the unit? How do the 3rd party synth/drum packs (like cuckoo’s) work? Do they replace the stock synth/drum packs or just add to the list on your unit?

5) Are there any products similar to the OP-1 currently on the market within the same price range? Or possibly a pair of products that can do the same thing? Even if they are vaguely similar I’d like to check them out.

6) What other limiting factors are worth noting?

Sorry about the long-windedness of this post, I just really want to be well informed about this product before I drop $850.
Thanks to anyone that can provide the info I’m seeking!


1) The OP-1 is not locked to 4/4.
In tape mode you can easily set the loop region so you can for example turn a 4/4 loop into a 3/4.
The sequencers’ lenght s can aslo be custom set and are easily configurable.

2) There is a function to merge all 4 tracks into one
I have not noticed any loss in sound quality
I guess if you merge too much material it will sound muddy anyway, disregarding the device you’re using

The “click pop” issue is for me mostly noticeable when i use the OP-1 standalone but i try to get along
When used with other device I always forget the issue

3) The mic is lofi but it surprised me by the quality considering the size
in comparison a zoom h1 is better quality wise
Quiet mics can translate an issue (dying mic)
You can add effects to the line input via the master FX. You cannot bypass it tho and it does not get recorded directly to tape. There are some workarounds.

4) Easy as drag and drop on an usb stick.
The stock patches are unremovable
There is an arbitrary limit to storage memory (42 sample patches, 100 synth patches for each machine iirc)

5) Gotharman’s deformer has similar specs (sequencer, sampler, synth)

Organelle has similar form factor, can sample, synth

Elektron monomachine has 6 tracks of whacky digital synths in the same flavor as op-1 imo. but the track lenghts aren’t quite editable

Korg’s Electribes maybe? they can do polyrythm. 16 tracks sampler and synth

6) The tiny speaker saturates
Apparently a noticeable amount of mics die but hey all things die one day. I think it’s because of moisture? That’s how two of mine died
The battery indicator is crazy, and so is the battery
The FM synth saturates a lot (sadly)
The sound of the op-1 i find very distinctive. might be good or bad

It’s a great device go for it

The mic dies on a lot of units? First I heard of this :frowning: I’ll check some threads out. No reason for a mic to die for a very long time if it’s of decent build quality? My sp404 built-in mic still works after 7 years of heavy use/abuse…

Thanks for the reply SLOTH! I will probably buy one within the next month or so.

Quick follow up questions-

About line input effects. Does this mean you have to apply the master FX after recording it to get it on tape? Is it possible to change the amount of the FX mid song/while recording?

About “click pop” issue. When does it usually occur? I’ve heard it happens when using the loop function but also randomly during recording a track.

About synth/sample patches. Does this mean you get 100/42 patches not counting the stock synth packs?

The mic itself doesn’t die @callofthevoid. Current hypothesis is that the mechanical switch in the jack that tells the OP-1 to use the input or mic gets stuck when removing the cable. Perhaps due to tolerance in the plug forcing the switch too far in one direction and sticking it in place. At least one user has managed to finagle it back using a toothpick or something.