Portable synth to accompany an OP-Z

I want to get a second portable, hopefully usb or battery powered synth to carry along with the OP-Z. What other device would be strong where the OP-Z is weak? What pairs well?

I know there are many choices, but I don’t understand the strengths and weaknesses of the OP-Z well enough to know what would be a good fit. I am sure between the whole of your experiences every possible device has been tried. What do you like using?


I think it really depends on what type of music you are making. The Volca FM is great, and fits your criteria of portable, and has a lot of sound possibilities outside of what the OP-Z can do on its own. The volca keys is great too, although you can’t save patches on it… but it sounds better than the analog synth in the OP-Z.

I also have just been looking at the Roland aria j-6 coming out, looks pretty cool.

I’m sure there are more options that I don’t have but that’s my two cents!

I like using iPad sampler app and op-z together. op-z can process USB audio input.

I’m using a Norns Shield, which I’m still learning. Nice combo with the line module!


I think it also depends on how you plan to connect to your other synth… do you have the line module or are you going to connect with midi over usb?

Also how portable? For some people portable means truly tiny that you can use on a train or bus with little fuss like op-z, other people consider portable just easy to take from place to place like an MPC One/Live or Digitakt.

1010music nanobox series might be of interest. They are tiny but still useable. They need midi over trs. I have the Lemondrop for granular synthesis and it sounds top notch. The fireball does polyphonic wavetable and surely sounds better than op-z stock engines.

I have a MicroMonsta 2 which is a virtual analog and sounds immense, is quite portable and accepts midi over usb and trs. But they are tough to come across.

Bizarrely a popular choice is Roland mc101. Then you get great op-z sequencing plus really high quality Roland sounds. Or Roland boutique series might be interesting too.

Lots of others out there depending on what kind of sounds you’re after, how you want to connect them to op-z, and the size you’re after.

This thread on elektronauts forum might be of interest to you:

+1 for the nanoboxes.
Though I think they sit at a high price point for what they are, but they do sound good and are super small!

Can’t tell if the OP-Z makes the nanoboxes seem expensive or if the nanoboxes make the Z feel like a good value.

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I have an iPad Pro, so I can access all those apps, which do you like to use? I also have the oplab module, if that helps.

The volca fm sounds great, I will look at that more closely, How would you use the J-6? I don’t really understand how one would use a chord synthesizer. I keep watching videos on the ASM Hydrasynth, which seems like such a powerful and interesting synth. It’s not really portable, but might be compact enough for me, I will probably be using these at home, but the Volca is so tiny I could carry that with me anywhere.

not super pocketable, but have you thought about the KORG monologue?

  • runs on batteries
  • has a very good built quality (sturdy pots)
  • velocity sensitive keys (unlike a volca)
  • can save patches
  • is super fun to tweak without menu diving
  • can be used as an FX unit
  • can be found very cheap

In this case, I suggest using the OP-Z a lot more to find out what you need, if anything.

If you keep adding stuff without first learning what you have, you’ll get in a right old pickle! :slight_smile:

Also, as some have mentioned, the OP-Z is killer with software. Just a great sequencer. I use mine mostly with Ableton these days.