OP-Z - initial thoughts?

Former TE fanboy here, owned most of the POs at one stage or another and had a couple of OP1s but put right off by the reliability and TE customer service so sold everything.

Been on a music making hiatus for about a year and got some other bits of kit that I am thinking of selling (Axolotis, Mixer, old Laptop, Novation Circuit) and been thinking about getting an OP-Z as the centre of my new music making journey. Mainly ambient / techno jams…

Folk have obviously had them for a wee while now, anything that I should know before jumping in? I am a bit OCD and if there are minor bugs / faults it tends to really annoy me and put me right off so much I sell up.

Other gear I’m keeping - Organelle, Keystep, Zoom MS70 CDR, iPad and Volca Modular also on the way.

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You’ll find plenty of “minor” bugs, from spontaneous reboots over key retriggers to missing import validation with very weird results. If you expect a polished product, don’t got for it (not yet anyway).

+1 but if you can live with an organelle. I think the op -z is no problem.
Im also extreme ocd with asd . But i never had a problem with anything TE.

The Organelle is a great GAS killer. It can do almost anything so keeps me from buying other gear I will get bored with and sell on. :joy:

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By the way, I would be interested in an Axoloti. Are you in Europe by any chance?

Hey @gero, I’m in Scotland, whereabouts are you?

I’m in Germany, shipping would be somewhat reasonable. I’ll try and PM you if I figure out how to do it here :smiley:

I’ve PM’d you.

So the organelle kills the axoloti? Sucks cuz i’ve been gassing hard for the organelle but already have axoloti lol

haha - I thought the same about the Organelle until I just got an op-z of course - I am having a lot of fun using them together. Still learning things but I really love these two together.
I am also quite ocd about things - I went a bit crazy with my Organelle for a while but I like being able to get inside it. With the op-z you can forget it.
I don’t mind fixing / hacking / tweaking things but with the op-z you’ll be screwed… it seems like a very closed box. Though it’s clearer to me now there is not enough clarity with the synth engine explanations and loading other sample sounds.
If you do load a sample sound for a synth you will also get aliasing or artefacts at certain pitches.
All in all I think there’s a lot for TE to be working on but to me it’s a keeper…
I love that there is no screen and that it’s so small… (and you really don’t need a screen)
Oh and forgot to add - the sequencer is amazing.

A big problem is how the patches work with fxs because the opz doesn’t store the chosen effects because the differents tracks of a pattern share them via fxs sends.

For me, it kills a bit the idea of sound design and it make me fear that the engines sounds will never be exceptional.
And if you want your patches to correspond to your patterns, you’ll have to leave your sound engines in place and never touch them (or you’ll have to remember what was where).

I bought it because i wanted a little sequencer to work with external synths but they left out the cv and midi din to the module for now.

But my biggest gripe is that i had a project and then a pattern that disappeared without a reason.
Ahh, spending hours multiples days to have all erased on start-up, i wonder how someone could be using this live…

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The Axoloti needs a computer whilst the Organelle is standalone which is a big thing for me. Both are great in their own ways. I find Pd more intuitive than the patching environment for the Axoloti but that is perhaps just me.

Thanks for response @jasl. Sounds like I would get on with it just fine (hopefully). Have ordered one and can return within 30 days if it doesn’t work out…

How do you hook up the Organelle and OP-Z? Aren’t they both hosts from a USB connection perspective?

It does sound like there are annoying gripes @emp… have ordered one and will return it if they are troublesome. I am planning on using my iPad or Organelle as a means to connect to other gear, but planning on really stripping back.

online you will find a lot of connectivity compatibility issues - one of the Cuckoo videos about this was interesting and then he used a retrokits RK005 which seems to work for just about anything and he quickly had all sorts of gear hooked up.
In saying this I just plugged my op-z straight into the organelle (op-z comes with a usb c to usb a cable) and assigned a midi channel on the organelle and it worked right away.
As a quick test I created a basic synth patch on the organelle that allowed incoming audio alongside the synth sounds so I could hear play back from the op-z via the stereo audio in and have it sequence the patch at the same time. So I am guessing the possibilities are way more vast.
The only problem was usb noise so I need to try an isolator to see if it clears it up.

It just so happens I still have my 3.5mm isolator from when I had the OP1 :slight_smile:

I have had the OP-Z for a few months now and haven’t experienced many bugs at all, no spontaneous resets, no losing patterns or what not. I’m not sure why my expereience should be so different from others here who have had some issues, perhaps I’m not pushing it enough or something?
@jasl & @ghostly606 - you don’t actually need an isolator with the latest firmware as there is the option to turn off usb charging, which should eliminate the usb noise.
@emp - I have seen others complain of this (losing patterns that have been worked on for a while) on other forums only for them to find they had autosave turned off accidently for that session. Not sure if that was the case with your experience but it does happen (happened to me once, I had accidently switched to manual save, it is frustrating!)
Edit: List of changes with firmware update 1.1.17 (was released a couple of months ago now, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new one comes out soonish)

  • add option to disable USB charging with SCREEN+E2 (to remove ground noise)
  • improve headphone / line jack detect (solves issues like getting mono with stereo cable)
  • add option to keep parameter page when switching track (“disable_param_ page_reset” setting to general.json)
  • clear step parameter locks with STEP+STOP
  • make temporary parameter changes (holding shift) available for all tracks
  • smoother volume knob interpolation
  • hard kill active track notes on double press TRACK+STOP
  • separate battery animations depending on USB state
  • minor bug fixes
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The two times i lost a project/pattern, the sole manipulation that i made was to turn on the opz to observe that it was gone. In both cases, the project and pattern were saved previously multiple times and were accessible at start up.

The manual save mode don’t erase what is already saved without actually saving manually.

It happened to me with the first and second firmware.
I hope that’s a bug and that i don’t have a defective unit.

thanks for letting me know about the USB noise isolation feature - I upgraded and it works great! V cool that TE found a solution for that - it was crazy noisy as it was.

I have an entire studio full of classic gear with a Cirklon it all and since I’ve gotten the OPZ (a few weeks ago) I sit on it with the couch instead of even going into the room. I know that sounds absurd, and it is, because I’m clearly in the honeymoon period, but I think it’s just marvelous. It’s one of the funnest devices I’ve ever used. Like the OP-1, Buchla Music Easel, Emu SP-1200, Roland SH-101, etc. there’s something about it that just feels like more than the sum of its parts - some sort of magic that isn’t captured by a list of the features. It’s wonderful.

Never ever buy something based on future functionality that’s been promised or that you’re hoping for - but I was one of the first OP-1 owners in the USA and it’s amazing to me just how much they added and improved over the years. I imagine that the OPZ will see similar growth in the future between new software updates and hardware add-ons.


Had my OP-Z a little over 24 hours and I love so many things about it, workflow wise it is so quick and intuitive.

No bugs spotted yet… :crossed_fingers:

Thanks for the input folks!