So i dont have an op-1 but ive been thinking about it. One thing i find hard to find is an explanation of the different synth engines. Can anyone explain them to me in detail and how they are different. Is there anything so special about any of them that i couldnt achieve with other synths? Theres so many of them with seemingly different sounds i dont know what to make of them since they arent the typical “subtractive”. the only ones that i have a sense of are the string and fm since those are done in many other synths. But the others im just clueless and i cant find a good detailed explanation/tutorial of all of them…

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Maybe this helps?

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The above blog is an excellent insight to some of the synth engines.
The op-1 is a four knob synth, everything is controlled with just four knobs (-for say synth or drum mode). Then there is four pages accessed by 1-4 under the screen. The blog is concerned with just page 1, which selects and controls the Osc if you like, plus some extra bits unique to each synth. (A lot of control available is packed into these four knobs, making it fun,but varied to play with).
Then page two is a classic adsr volume envelope, with porto and poly /mono/unison aswell.
Page three is an fx insert buss, with some excellent filters plus more, and page 4 is an excellent semi- modulation section, with all manor of sources. Envelope styles or traditional lfo or wacky stuff like giro or audio / radio mod sources.
The ethos of the machine is fun,fast and portable. Some describing it as a Swiss army knife of audio, with its tapes and samplers.
The sounds are nice, but it’s the experience that’s unique to op-1.

You can read about engines on, but real understanding will come only when you get OP-1.
I think about its engines like about “subtractive”.
Make a “main” sound on page 1.
Then edit it with ADSR (choose mode - mono, poly, unison) on page 2.
Add FX: Low pass or high pass filter or delay, reverb and so on (on page 3).
Add modulation on page 4 with LFO.
Synth engines (a “main” sound) are unique and its hard to describe them.

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I can dial in a Minimoog, but I’m lost with the OP-1’s synth engines.

Is there a resource to learn more?

I have checked the OP-101 guides, but I’d like something a little less dry. I love the OP-1, but this part is holding me back.

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I haven’t found more interesting read on OP-1 synth engines than OP-101 descriptions.

IMO it really makes sense to try to understand the synth engines by yourself, taking the time to practice and identify with your ear what the knobs do.
The knobs are not always linear, so it’s interesting to really explore the whole 4D space offered by each synth engine (well sometimes there are additional dimensions with shift+knob, so for sure there is still some uncharted territories…)
A nice way to explore is to set a low LFO on a synth parameter, while tweaking slowly the 3 others.

Then, when a synth engine makes more sense to you, OP-101 work seams more pertinent, and helps diving back into the soundscapes offered by these curious engines.

This is an excellent suggestion!

Whatever the method, you can escape some exploration.
And somehow this synth invite you to explore, as there is no named parameter. And it’s precisely the beauty of it: it helps you make a very special connection with the synth.

also, don’t try to learn them all at once!
that one you just can’t make sense of? don’t worry about it for now, you’ll eventually find the one tune that needs it, and it’ll click, what that weird engine is good for.

Phase, dsynth, fm, voltage are all ones I struggled with at some point, for all different reasons. Definitely strike me as “harder” engines, but they have depths that none of the other engines can reach (as all the engines do, some easier to hit than others)

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I find String to be the easiest, both to understand, and to get good results from. I’ve started setting aside time to explore the synths. One trick is to swap the synth engine to see how the LFO and FX work on another engine.

Thanks for the tips. It’s been very tempting to buy a Microfreak, but that’s the easy way out!

I have a few article on OP-1 Wiki that might be useful. Maybe.

Kind of forgot about that Wiki lately, since there doesn’t seem to much interest. I can add more content.

I think the best strategy for initial exploration of synth engines is to chose one and create 8 patches that sound as different as possible without using FX, LFOs and with the same rectangular envelope.