OP-1 Tips and Tricks

Here are some that were originally posted on Ohpeewon.com.



Scratching and lo-fi tips


Beat stutter tutorial


Making a track from scratch


Turn your OP-1 into an eerie ambient drone machine:

1)Slow tempo way down (blue knob while on metronome screen).
2)Lower tape speed way down (white knob while on metronome screen, iirc).
3)Pick a Synth and give it a nice and long Attack and Release on the EG (button 2 below the screen)
4)Shift + Blue knob for Poly
5)Shift + Green knob to turn up Portamento/Glide
6)Turn on the sequencer (far right button just above keys)
7)Shift+sequencer button, blue knob to select Sketch
7)Use Sketch to draw out your your pitches (blue and green) knobs)
8)Use the Shift + Orange knob to set Sketch to Hold, and it will continuously play.
9)Use Shift + Green knob to adjust the division.

You can use a CWO or one of the delays on the Synth FX slot (button 3 in Synth mode) and a Spring on the Master FX (button 3 in Mixer mode) to further manipulate the sound.

If you record this to Tape you will have to leave the Tape speed set low, but you can record to a DAW or something from the line/headphone out, too.

@KrisM: Great tip. Thanks. I’m going to be trying this out.

If you feel you OP-1 is twangy and not beefy… play in unison mode!

Example by Cuckoo:


Here’s something I discovered, relating to the behaviour of M1/M2: (mentioned this briefly in the Tracks thread)

M1 and M2 are stored as differences or changes to the default values, not as absolute parameters.
E.g. if you’ve got Grid X-Y set to (20, 30) by default, and you change them to (10, 40) in M1, what’s actually stored in M1 is (-10,+10).

Alright, so what’s the big deal? Well, when used together on the same screen, M1 and M2 add their differences.
Continuing the above example, let’s say that your X-Y for M2 is (30,20), so the stored changes would be (+10,-10).
If you hit either M button, it goes to the corresponding remembered status. But if you press both at once, Grid actually returns to the default values, because (in this example) the M1/2 differences cancel out! Say that M2 X-Y were now (50,50), so its differences would be (+30,+20). Hit both buttons at once, the combined change would be (-10+30,+10+20), so the final X-Y would be (40,60).

I guess this is less of a tip/trick, and more of an exploration into the workings of the OP-1, but I’m sure someone will find this useful. With some clever manipulation, it can effectively be a third memory slot.

Nice! Worth pointing out, thanks.

Here are some tutorials I had originally posted on OhPeeWon:

How to make TB-303 like sounds on the OP-1
OP-1 does TB-303 How-To

and How to use the finger sequencer
OP-1 Finger Sequencer How-To

KrisM - Great tip - been playing with it all morning.

Anyone else has some cool tips and tricks for the more ambient/drone side of the OP1?

I’m pretty new to the OP1 so I’m afraid I don’t have any clever advice to share - still learning the ins and outs of the machine - it’s not your regular synth eh…

glitchtacular - make a synth sound, set Phone as the fx slot (pretty high settings on Baud, Phonic, and Telematic, Tone to taste), and set your EG with a moderate Attack, some Delay, then zero Sustain and Release low. Use the Value LFO and start at 5, modulating the Blue fx knob (either FX or FXf for a free-running LFO). Adjust the value to taste and enjoy the glitching :slight_smile: For best results, play the sounds manually to Tape


Scratching (the “wicka wicka woosh” sounds, so keep your expectations realistic)

Ever aspired to be a pro scratcher but you don’t own any records? Don’t fret, your OP-1 has some tricks up its sleeve to make those aspirations true!

What you need to do are the following
Step 1: set mic sensitivity to max (+20)
Step 2: set nitro on master
Step 3: set white all the way forward
Step 4: throttle green all the way right
Step 5: put finger on mic and gently rub the mic
Step 6: play with blue and red encoders to get the right sound

It takes only a tiny amount of change in the rubbing speed to get different pitch sounds. Be gentle but also a spazz, picture it as your girlfriend, faster = higher pitch sound generation, slower = lower pitch sound generation…

Now eat your heart out DJ QBert

A new discovery (to me at least):

You can skip between tape loops and trigger the new loop on the beat. This is in contrast to pressing the arrow key to the next loop and waiting for the start point for it to begin.

I was messing around with a few loops and noticed that after I pressed the shift+arrow key to the next tape loop, the play button triggers the next loop immediately. I heard a few slight skips on drums but with some practice I am sure this can be useful for performance at least.

Does this makes sense? Should I do a short vid demo?

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DJ Scratch method #481: Phone effect.

Four patches attached. One of these is featured in:


starting at ~0:20.

The LFO causes the Phone to rake the frequencies in the synth while the portamento causes those frequencies to shift (i.e. you need to play it by moving between notes. Mono is setup so you can hold one key down, press and release another quickly, then release the first.) Just about anything works for the synth because the Phone effect is doing a number on it.

A lot of different kinds of scratches can be done this way, but you need to express them in the ratio between notes and how long you hold your fingers on the keys. You can play these with fingers after some practice, but Sketch works well to sequence some tricky scratches and was used in the track featured above.

I was messing around with a few loops and noticed that after I pressed the shift+arrow key to the next tape loop, the play button triggers the next loop immediately
This is useful, I agree, to switch from a loop to another.
I didn't find an easy way to change the length of it though.

I think shift and loop will select length of currently selected part , so change track to a different sized recording then shift and loop, if I remember from Lymtronics excellent previous posts properly.

In finger mode, you can get something close to velocity by playing twice the same note (e.g. the snare) at the same place of the grid.

Don’t try to organize your sounds in subfolders such as synth/ilikeit/digital/saveme.aif

OP-1 will choose to erase saveme.aif, and all the folders included “ilikeit”.

Just so that you know.


I’m working on getting a certain kind of sound with a stereo phase applied to the bass band sweep on some drums. It’s not quite as pronounced as I would like it, but here is what I have so far: https://soundcloud.com/smosher/808-stereo-bass-drumloop

You will probably need headphones to notice much. I haven’t tried the speakers yet since it’s still early here.

Other than trimming and the fadeout, no external processing was done. Drive: 15, Release: 20. L/R: 99/99. EQ: Clean.

This is done with Punch set to blue: a few clicks right of 10 o’clock. You would need to tweak this to match the drum kit. Punch: 0. Rounds: 24. Power: 70.

Put a free-running LFO on the blue parameter, not too fast. I went with 2 clicks right. Amount: 4. Record to two tracks: panned one mostly left, one mostly right. The LFO will probably go out of sync, which is what you want (re-record one of them until you have enough stereo effect.) You can also try tweaking the LFO speed between recordings.

I tried to keep it from eating too much of the high frequencies, but I found I still had to record a lower-volume version without effects panned center to get it balanced. There’s still a lot of bass coming out in the end, so it can be hard to work with even ignoring the fact that you need to dedicate 2 channels to it.

If anyone else has the patience to mess around with this, I’d love to hear feedback. It’s possible doing something similar with CWO will do something interesting too.

This is a very simple but maybe often missed trick:

Since the latest OS-Version (14203) it’s possible to detune the OP-1 pressing Shift + Metronome and use the blue und green encoders.

This is a nice way to add more warmth or chorus to doubled synth-tracks on the tape.
Also this trick can be used to fake a “realistic analog oscillator behaviour”. It still sounds digital because it’s the nature of the OP-1, but it adds more diversity to the sound.

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I’m not sure if this came up before.

You can spin back/forward 4 beats by holding < or > while quickly pressing Play. If you do this while playing, it will travel a little slower/quicker and it should keep everything on the beat by adding the momentum of the regular play speed.

This doesn’t work well with reverse play: forward play is engaged before the spin kicks in. :frowning:

It doesn’t work well at all with record: If the tape was recording, the spin simply doesn’t engage. If the tape wasn’t playing, record is engaged after the spin finishes. :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: If the tape is playing you can get record to engage during part of the spin (seems like after 2 beats.) Seems too awkward to actually get much use out of.

Good point @OfLoss, some VAs like the Microkorg XL and friends have “analog detune” or similar. This is definitely a good trick to keep in mind when double-tracking.

I’m already using note detune so I can change key without having to retrain my muscle memory. :wink:

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I learned this accidentally… you can get a clean new tape by deleting tracks 1-4 in the tape folder (after you’ve connected to a computer) Once you disconnect, the OP-1 will create 4 new tape tracks.

I’ve noticed that the Shift + Tape button erase method leaves pops and scratches sometimes.

Now for something more fun.
You can come close to the sound of an Arp with the Finger Sequencer. Since this is basically the only sequencer that allows you to program notes in every octave, simply increase or lower the octave each time you input the notes. Here is an example row of 8 for setting the octave. For the sake of simplicity, input the key “C” 8 times.

change the octave of each step using this pattern
[-2] [-1] [ 0 ] [+1] [+2] [+3] [+2] [+1]
I prefer this range because sometimes +4 sounds way too high depending on your synth patch. (you can still switch the master octave on the keyboard, so it’s not that bad)
You can even try erasing some of the steps, or repeating the same octave twice for interesting variations. If you like to experiment, I recommend copying the complete sequence onto a 2nd spot on the finger seq keyboard and experiment with that second one, so you don’t have to redo it if it gets messed up. Just lift it, and drop it, just like you would on the tape.

It would be nice if a future update has a new sequencer that makes this easier. Maybe even something that specifically remembers the octave, but still lets you apply the effect to the whole keyboard, like the Pattern Sequencer (without a grid that is limited to the amount of physical keys)