OP-1 advice

Hi there. I recently bought an OP-1 after enjoying working with the OP-Z - and I really love it. It has a great and intuitive workflow and with its portability, it’s super creative. I use it merely for sketching out things - mostly beats and textures. My issue is that I don’t get really further than this. Are you guys really producing full songs with it and what are the tricks of doing it. So far I have recorded the sketches into Ableton and continued from there. Extending the loops into songs onboard seems rather time consuming and a bit complicated to me. What are your tipps and what do I do wrong? Thanks to all


I go about as far as you do with the OP-1.I start out with great ideas and to take any further, I just don’t have the chops. However people like “Red Means Record” has no problem expanding his ideas in to very complex and long musical arrangement

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I’m in the same identical boat. Love love the machine but I thought it would be more intuitive than the op-z. I can accomplish incomparably more of something resembling a composition/song on the op-z than I can on the op-1 so far. But I vastly prefer the feel of the keys and the knobs on the op-1. I also prefer the drum kit layout on the op-1. If the two were one machine in the form factor of the op-1 it would be in.frikkin.credible.


Have y’all looked here: OP-1 Tips and Tricks

You could start with the “Making a track from scratch” video and then try out the other tips and tricks and you’ll get some top OP-1 skills! Also, of course, check out @cuckoo and his great videos e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W62G81x1LI4


to make an arrangement try this – get a 8, or 12 or 16 bar loop, then mute/unmute the tape tracks every two or four bars, and record that into an OP1 album, or straight into a digital recorder. great for making dance tracks. making the arrangement live gives it lots of feeling!!!
have plenty of changes (such as, hi-hat swapped for shaker etc.) and rolls, crashes every four or eight bars.


Have experienced the same with the OP-1. I never really ended up happy with a “full” Track on the OP-1. Use the OP-Z mainly now and it’s Day and Night compared to the OP-1. But i guess it comes down to what workflow you prefer. Free Tapedeck Style recording or sequencer-based.

Hi 5*Nomad. Thank you very much. I will go through these videos. Most helpful. To me - the approach of the OP-1 to music is more natural and intuitive. That is why I love the machine. Just need to step up my chops so my sketches become more finished. The OP-Z is cool machine as through its portabilty is fun. It’s more a sequenzer though and I almost prefer to work on a DAW with controller for this kind task. But the OP-1 is an instrument with an organic approach. So your video tipps will certainly help. Cheers

Look up how to do some op-1 tape tricks on youtube. Learn to jam with the tape tricks, master FX, track mute and loop jump. @squiddly has awesome advice. You can add more variation by shifting your tape loop forward and back.

@OPZtacle I totally agree that the op-z sequencer is way better than anything on the op-1. Have you tried using the op-z sequencer on the op-1 synths? I have been having fun with that, also recording muting some instruments and recording op-z loops to op-1 tape, and using the op-1 tape like @squiddly said. I find it way easier to program tons of variation and changes with the op-z sequencer than the op-1 sequencer.


after I’ve made a few loops and ideas, I start recording to tape just like I would with a real tape machine: I plan out a song structure, then I make a guide track on tape track 4.

When I say “Plan a song structure”, it can be as simple as: intro, loop A for 16 bars, loop B for 16 bars, loop A again, loop B again, a breakdown, loop A again, loop B again, outro. This structure worked for early classical music composers and it’s still perfectly good now!!

Then I build the track up from scratch following the guide. First a drum track, then bass, chords, melody, effects etc. I don’t reuse the loops, I prefer to re-create everything for the final track and add variations along the way.

The good thing about the OP-1 compared to a real tape machine is there’s still some scope to edit your structure after you start recording the final track; e.g. if you decide you want only 14 bars of loop A, you can just cut out 2 bars from the stuff you already recorded.

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Thanx ssam. That seems a great way to approach it. I recon this way of laying out a song will require quite some concentration. I will give this approach a try. Thanx again.

What you said. Lol

Thank you much!

If they were the same machine it would be perfect. Lol