Quick question...


I’m on the verge of buying my first hardware synth. Have been looking at the Novation Mininova…but I keep seeing and salivating over (if nothing else) the gorgeous design of the OP-1. I’ve been teaching myself to make electronica over the last two years, all software based on iOS and OS X. I tend to make quite dark sounding stuff so here’s the clincher: Can the OP-1 make darker more moody music than the bulk of the demo videos seem to illustrate. I get that it’s fun and quirky. Can it go dark and quirky? I suspect that I should stick with plan A, but you might be able to convince me that the OP-1 has opportunities to make nasty, edgy uncommercial music. Please let me know :wink:

definitely can go dark. lots of sounds to be had w/ all the synth engines. throw in some fx, lfos and some sampled stuff, u can really do anything w/ OP1

Do you have a reference for the type of sound you are looking to make? There are quite a few different styles of music being generated from members of this group, so someone here might make examples of what you’re looking for. But dark, quirky, nasty, and uncommercial aren’t enough to go on to tell you whether what you want to do is possible :slight_smile:

But my guess the answer will be “yes” regardless of what you’re looking for.

Thanks for responding. I like artists like Meat Beat Manifesto, Underworld, Mondkopf, Arnaud Rebottini etc etc. I also would rate Trent Reznor as my all time favourite musical innovator so I guess its fair to say that I’m used to synths that get abused in ways that make them howl and produce less than easy noises. Having said that, I’m finding my own style with what I’m doing so I’m not suggesting that I’d want to make Nine Inch Nails kind of stuff with an OP-1, I’m more interested in not making a mistake with my first investment in hardware.

I’d think more about how you want to flow when making music.

This has a sampler (and winning Tape machine combo) and is portable/battery, while the mininova is more like a regular synth.(Have you considered the Circuit if looking at mininovas?)
I would think you can make any style with any gear,but gear effects our methods of creation.OP-1 is experimental and can require workarounds.Slightly less traditional sounding synth and more digital ,but very rewarding musical instrument.
The OP-1 takes up less space,while you get slightly more full size keys & wheels with mininova.Maybe the Nova has the edge for synth sounds,but give me an OP-1 everytime.


I think the Op-1 is capable of anything if you spend enough time twiddling around with it. Once you learn the ins and outs it is absolutely possible.

As an alternative to the other suggestion you listed Roland’s JD-Xi offers wonderful drum kits, two digital synths, and an anolog synth that can all be sequenced. It is a great sketch pad with on board effects. I have one and it has worked in a way I didn’t imagine it to. I think the drums are the best part on it and that is all I use it for really. The only problem is the menu diving. After working in a DAW much like yourself for a long time I refuse to look at a screen when trying to record something and I can’t even bring myself to edit the ADSR (for which there is one knob) because I have to menu dive. That said, there is an iPad editor for all the parameters which I have gotten around to trying yet. Once again, the drums are really good and can be edited easily for perc FX.

With all that good food for thought, I’d invest the extra cash and get an Op-1 personally. I’m actually haggling for another atm.


Indeed. I have both and the poor old Mininova (MoroderNova, even) is mighty lonely since the Minilogue came into the picture. Can’t really beat it for the price.

For industrial type stuff is the mininova not >minilogue? I would love a minilogue but it very much an analogue polysynth, no?

Thanks again for the replies. I remain sorely tempted because of the ‘fun factor’. I came into meddling with electronica via iOS, the rather excellent DAW Nanostudio helped convince me that playful experimentation can indeed yield pleasing results. I’ve slowly been building confidence in what I can do musically since then.

More recently, (and partly inspired by a Trent Reznor interview where he said he preferred physical hardware over software for music making) I’ve begun to hanker after some kit to put that to the test. I’d say I’m at the 80% self convincing stage that OP-1 will be a great step in the hardware direction. I’m just about to invest in a SparkLE drum machine as well. I suspect, this is all a bit of a slippery slope. Whenever I look at videos of other people’s home studio setups, it seems that a couple of shiny toys is never enough.

I say go for it.

Between the D Synth / Wave synth / FM synth, the D Box drum machine, it’s ability to sequence anything you import or sample, the Punch effect, and the overdub/resampling capabilities, you can absolutely achieve darker music with it.

Worse case is the OP-1 sends you down another path that is equally exciting as your intentions are, but unexpected.
I wrote an entire album in my first month of OP-1 ownership. Not in the style of music I usually write, and that wasn’t at all my intention when I chose the OP-1, either. But it happened, and the results were pleasing.

“Buy used and you have nothing to lose!”

Uh, oh I’m on a very slippery slope. I bought an aerial and screen protector for a synth I do not own yet! :smiley:

So, extending from the question I began with… If I own an OP-1, will it only allow me to record/create one track at a time? Sometimes in my usual DAW I can have two or three ideas on the go simultaneously, If I get stuck on one, I just move onto another track until I’ve been inspired to resolve the current sticking point. Whatever the answer, it won’t be a final decider, as I think I’ve convinced myself that I’ll be joining the club sometime next week.

You can absolutely work on more than one song/track at a time - with tape you have four tracks, each is 6 minutes long. You can record onto any part of any track at any time so you could have a few bars of something on the go, leave a bit of time/space on the tape and start on something else. I often use the OP-1’s tape as a sketchpad going back and forth between a few different ideas.

Great, thanks for clearing that up.

Or use the USB connection to park dormant tracks on your computer while you work on something else.


You can’t save on the OP-1, its kind of use it or lose it.All changes remembered on power down.
Having said that there is lots of different seq space to store different ideas ,plus tape room to juggle projects ,as mentioned.
A lot can be jammed with 32 bars.

Not being able to save multi projects works both ways with gear.It’s nice to just use the memory as a tool/instrument for the job at hand and finish stuff then discard the materials left over,making us less precious about our scrap.
Like bits of discarded tape cuttings being swept up after a productive day.

It looks like developing a good habit with backing up work between the OP-1 and a computer is probably a good idea.

Well, anyway, I’ve bought one. I got it on Amazon prime today, they said I’d have it delivered tomorrow…and then the bloody service said ‘Delivery on Tuesday’ so I felt briefly excited and imagined a lazy Sunday getting to play around with the OP-1, maybe a little dabbling on Monday also as its a bank holiday…pop but that’s not going to happen, it’ll come when I’m back at work on Tuesday, the long bank holiday weekend over…waaaah!

Congratulations on getting an OP-1! I had a Novation X-Station for the longest time (a very knobby predecessor to the MiniNova) that I never used because it sounded insipid to me. I spent far more time on the OP-1, but eventually its sound design limitations convinced me to get a a complementary synth that I’m shopping for. Let me tell you it’s not easy because the OP-1 user interface is deceptively simple, non threatening, and fun to experiment with. I tried a Yamaha MOXF but it was overly complex and not fun to play. I’m leaning toward a DSI Prophet 08. I’m definitely not going to sell the OP-1 and intend to use it for recording and its spring reverb. BTW, I work with computers all day and don’t want to go home and play music on them.

That said, everyone is different, and I hope you enjoy the OP-1 as much as I have.

The OP-1 can very easily be a gateway to other synths/gear because its very simple to try such a wide variety of styles and ways of working. As strange as it sounds the OP-1 has got me into modular/semi-modular synths because of the way I like to work and all the random experiments I’ve done on it.

The OP-1 is part of my current setup and still the first thing I grab when I’m out of ideas or what to experiment. My first EP was done just with the OP-1 and I know that I’ll do many more that way.

@tumble2k I also use computers all day so I’m with you on keeping them off for music.

Hello again, I’ve had to create a new profile as I realised shortly after creating the last one that I’d not checked my username and I’d jumbled the letters by accident. Doh! Anyway, today seems like a good day to start fresh and I’m delighted that my OP-1 has arrived. I’m in the gang now…on the edge looking in, much to learn. Can’t wait to start playing and getting to know some of you fellow owners in the process.