OP-1 for a beginner?

Hey there everyone,

Excited to check out this new community.

So I work in music, but have a rather weak musical background (in terms of theory, playing, etc…). I’m looking to teach myself some theory and mess around with playing and recording. I understand that the OP-1 is waaay overkill for this. But my question is: would it be a bad device to learn music on?

I’ve been planning on getting a shitty keyboard to do this, but the OP-1 is so damn enticing and I feel the magic within would inspire me to keep messing around and learning.

Sooo… Do I get a cheap keyboard, learn some theory, and wait for some Christmas cash to come my way? Or do I go all in on the OP-1 now and learn from there (if it’s possible)?

Thanks for the input,

Go all in. Don’t worry about theory for now. You’ll have a blast. Nice handle btw

Do you plan on using that theory to play piano? If so, then definitely get at least a keyboard with full sized keys and velocity. If you’re more into the concepts and want a fun toy (in the best possible way) to play with too, hard to beat the OP-1.

@Tarekith, the theory is to better understand the music I listen to all day, not really to perform or play (other than for fun, by myself).

“Don’t worry about theory for now. You’ll have a blast” is what I’m thinking. Having something in front of me that’s so fun will keep me coming back and I feel theory will fall into line once I become more involved and want to push it

Thanks for the comments so far

I think the power of the OP-1 is great for every stage. go all in the phased approach will cost you more. next piece could be software on a ipad or something.

A few months ago I was in the same situation. GO FOR THE OP-1 !!!

Since ohpeewon died a slow agonizing death, I can repeat my story again, makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Do note that this is …like my opinion man…:

A long long time ago I dabbled in music production had tons of software and some hardware (NI Maschine) and in that time I managed to produce …wait for it… jack shit.
I have a nice August Forster piano on which I had more sex than that I had played on.

For some reason recently I got interested in music production again. And by browsing the internet I finally stumbled upon the OP-1. After a looooooong time contemplating I finally pulled the trigger and bought the little s.o.b.
My god am I happy I did that. I had/have just like you 0 theoretical musical knowledge, never played anything melodic. But people forget instruments, scales, notes, etc are all human inventions. Meaning you can get on the path of musical exploration without any problems, you know when something sounds off! As long as you have the right tool beside you, you can rediscover scales/chords/etc. The OP-1 is pretty much THE BEST exploration tool out there for the beginner.
It has everything you need to produce music in it’s fullest form but at the same time limited enough for you not to get lost and waste time. Though I say the OP-1 is limited, as you master it, it reveals many more awesome possibilities. It is almost like leveling up in a game, the more you understand the tools in the OP-1, the more possibilities reveal themself.
To gain skills you actually have to use the tool of your choice. Believe me, you will grab the OP-1 more often than a horny teenager grabs his dick. You know why? It’s not only because it is fun to play with, but like your dick… you can take it and play with it anywhere you want and for a change people will be impressed for it’s small size.

Here is the first song I ever made, I made this in a 2 hour train ride, I had about 3-4 hours time learning the function before the train ride. So 3-4 hours of meet 'n greet and 2 hours of work time resulted in this:
I mean it is nothing to write home about but it is musical and if you ask me… I like it.
As you can see I am a total OP-1 whore and will sell it as a used car salesman… Buy it, you will love it.

(My advice is to buy it off a reseller, warranty is priceless)

PS: I started practicing on my piano thanks to the OP-1,

@dimi3 is right. You get it now, you’ll have a blast, and it will always stay useful. Nothing else exactly like it, so it’s always got its own niche in a setup.


I mean, who knows if, were you to wait on it, what an OP-1 might cost you in the future. If they were to go out-of-production, they're bound to become museum pieces and fetch a LOT of money.

And with the device's sampling / multitrack functionality, there's no bar that a good imagination can't clear. Hell.... just mess around w/ sound design / musique concrete. You'll get a lot out of it.

I’d say that if you’re looking for something to play with and explore all sorts of music production then the OP-1 is the keyboard for you. Just keep a few things in mind.

The keys are non-standard but that doesn’t stop anyone from playing with two hands as evidenced by the number of YouTube videos out there (especially Cuckoo’s videos).

While it has a number of synth engines and sequencers, the tape deck is exactly that, a four track audio tape deck. What you play in is what you hear back. You can edit the audio a bit by cutting and pasting which can be a blessing and a curse. Personally, I’d would have preferred a four track sequencer where editing would have been much easier but committing a performance to four audio tracks is quite nice also, if only because you learn to “let go” and move on rather than niggle endlessly.

It’s expensive and I hate being in debt. I chose to purchase through Amazon using my Amazon Store card which allows me to pay off my OP-1 over a year with no interest. I debated for months whether I should or shouldn’t purchase the OP-1 because I knew that I’d have to make payments for quite some time. I’ve nearly paid off this purchase and I’m happy I took the plunge.

There are other, less expensive options. Korg has a number of great devices, especially the Volca series. You can pick up all three plus an inexpensive mixer for less than the price of the OP-1 but you wouldn’t have as much sonic power either. You can buy a nice, new iPad and hundreds of awesome and inexpensive apps plus an excellent keyboard controller for less than an OP-1. This is always a very tempting option but I’ve stopped using my iPad about a year ago. Working on a touch screen became a bit tiresome after awhile. I’ve now gone almost totally “hardware” based.

Looking at all these options, it might be difficult to justify the cost of the OP-1. The fact that one device offers synthesis, sampling, 4 tracks of audio recording, separate sequencers for drums and sounds, plus lots of other interesting options in one tiny package is very tempting. I wish that I had been able to play with one before I bought it but I took a chance and thanks to YouTube I was pretty convinced that this would just what I was looking for.

Good luck with whatever you choose to do!

There's always this one to consider....

Looks pretty sweet.



also if the keyboard is whats holding you back. op1 plus $80 I connect plus midi (20-200COULD HAVE A KEYTAR) and then you get a full keyboard… playing the op1 on an 88 key is amazing!!!

@masterofstuff124 , I already use the OP-1 as a keytar as is… gotta love the accelerometer.

Where do you live?

@dimi3, who?

@youenjoyphish: there’s a video in the OP-1 Tips and Tricks thread called “Making a track”. I’d suggest looking at that as well as other OP-1 videos - if you can’t try before you buy then as @pfontaine2 said, you can get a lot from watching some vids.

I vote GO ALL IN! I’m in the same boat as you and I decided to pick up a used OP-1. I’ve just learned all the basics of how this magical little device works and I’m having a blast with it! I feel like theres still so much more I can do with it once I get a better grasp on things. Also, you have this awesome group of people here that are always willing to help out with any questions you may have.

@youenjoyphish I was wondering…@Erhenius, because time on trains and not driving being able to play on the go is a great feature of the OP-1

@Dimi3, I hail from The Netherlands. I used to go to my parents a lot, every weekend I would take 2:30 hour train rides. Now that I am somewhat older I don’t do that so often anymore (about once a month).

The OP-1 is my standard companion now, I just pop it in my pack if I go to any place where I will spend a substantial amount of time.
I take my OP with me, just in case… Got 10 minutes on a bus/tram? I pop it out and start whaling on it.
I have a recording of some homeless guy screaming on the bus that I have mangled and is actually a good sampled instrument now. Bums make good synths, (un)fortunately not many of them around in NL. Man I love my OP-1