Sequence external MIDI + record it to tape at same time?

My OP-1 arrives Thursday, and I am very much looking forward to it.

I’ve been through the manual, guides, Tobias’ tutorial videos, and watched many other workflow videos.
I have a question, that hasn’t been answered in the information I’ve absorbed up to this point…

Using a MIDI-USB host, is it possible to sequence an external MIDI synth and record that synth’s audio back in through the OP-1 input and to a tape deck track?

The functionality of the OP-1 sequencers interest me a great deal, and I’d like to sequence some of my other synths with it, but keep away from the computer for recording the result. Would prefer to record it straight to the tape deck.


Absolutely! This is my exact workflow - OP-1 > OPLAB > JU-06 > OP-1 record straight to tape. No latency or noise, you can also use the internal OP-1 effects, the only catch is that you will need to use the master effects slot, but you can re-record that and drop it back into one of the 4 tape slots, then turn the master effect off again.

Thanks for your reply. I don’t understand why using the master effects slot is a “catch”?

Are you saying I’ll have to record it to the album initially, and not a tape track?

It’s a little hard to explain, but i’ll give it a go… There are 4 tape tracks that you can record to on the OP-1, each of these allow you to use an effect, there is also a master effects section with all the same effects but it will apply it to all 4 tape parts at once. When you record from an external source you won’t have access to the individual tape track effects, you can only apply a master effect. This means that all your other tape parts will be affected, you probably don’t want this so the workaround is to record the OP-1 output with the master effect ‘on’ to one of the individual tape tracks, then turn ‘off’ the master effect. To do this you don’t need to wire the output to the input, there is a function that will ‘listen’ to the output internally. Hope that makes sense, just know that it’s not an issue at all and you can still use the OP-1 exactly as you intend.

Edit: you indeed can record from line onput to the tape track directly. Problem starts when you want to use OP-1 effects with your external synth.

OP-1 has signal chain with 2 FX slots, they affecting sound at same time. Signal chain is like this: Synth engine -> FX1 (SYNTH FX) -> Tape track -> Mixer VOLUME+PAN -> EQ -> FX2 (MASTER FX) -> DRIVE COMP -> Album.

Line input signal can be routed to Synth engine (sampler or drum sampler), or
Line input can be routed to tape track.

In first case you can't record live to the tape, because sampler engine can't do that, you can only sample to sampler and then record to tape, and also limited by 6/12 seconds of sample time.

In second case you can't record to the tape thru effect directly, because FX2 (MASTER) slot is located after the tape in that chain, and you need it before:-). So you can only record to album and then resample to the tape.

Both methods obviously not for live use and deal with resampling.

One would think that it just might be so easy and infinitly useful to route input signal thru effect and record it to the tape directly, and i don't think it's limited to CPU power or something like this since OP-1 can apply FX in real time from the tape and sampler. But OP-1 just can't do that, and this is silly frustrating limitation.

Thanks to both of you for these incredibly detailed responses. I understand now.

One maybe dumb question, is the line input recording into tape keeping the stereo channel information or is it merged into mono? I don’t have my OP-1 at hand but have the impression that internally the tape tracks are mono and it’s the master FX that can ‘widen’ it. So is this true also for the ‘taped’ tracks?

The line input is mono, you should use a 3.5mm TS cable (not TRS).

The line input recording is mono but the connector is TRS which sums the L+R input pair down to mono when recording/sampling.

Oh another tip for @AdamJay if you want to sequence external gear from the OP-1 you will hear the OP-1 internal synth by default, the easiest way to avoid this (if you do not want to do that) is to use one of the synth sampler presets, then hold shift and turn the orange encoder fully CCW until it says -INF in display, this will avoid the internal synth from sounding whilst your sequence plays.

i think the actual input jack itself is TRS. either way i’ve used a TRS w/o any problems.

u are correct the audio that actually goes in ends up in mono, but i think it is summed internally.

My understanding is that the input is stereo but the tape records a mono sum.
I’m fine with that. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the synth sampler preset tip!

NP :slight_smile:

Edited my post for clarity, yes indeed the input connector is TRS, and yes indeed (I just tested it) it does sum the left and right to mono, don’t know why I was thinking not! d’Oh

Another question, if you kind folks don’t mind taking the time.

I haven’t found the answer to this one in my searches either.

After creating my own folder for drum kits and such, how many drum kits can I store and access in the OP-1?
I’ve made a few myself and found several great ones online. Hoping I can get them all in at the same time.

Thanks. Will search “drum patches” in addition to my “drum kits” search in the future.

No worries. As great as this site is, the search function ain’t the best!

Good to know. Will employ the google trick of searching “ keywords” from now on.