The OP-Z may be the hot digital synth of the moment, but it’s also the first consumer music instrument to have dedicated features for live visuals. And that starts with lighting (DMX) and 3D visuals (Unity 3D).
One of various surprises about the OP-Z launch is this: there’s a dedicated track for controlling DMX. That’s the MIDI-like protocol that’s an industry standard for stage lighting, supported by lighting instruments and light boards.
Not a whole lot revealed here, but you get the sense that Teenage Engineering are committed to live visual applications:
You can actually make this work with just the OP-Z. The hardware has USB host mode, so using a DMX-to-USB adapter (like those from Enttec – see their full DMX range), you can connect the synth directly to a stage lighting rig.
So that’s lights. Dynamic visuals are possible, too. The OP-Z boasts integration with Unity 3D, for 2D and 3D animations you can sequence. This integration relies on MIDI, but they’ve gone as far as developing a framework for MIDI-controlled animations. Since Unity runs happily both on mobile devices and beefy desktop rigs, it’s a good match both for doing fun things with your iOS display (which the OP-Z uses anyway), and desktop machines with serious GPUs for more advanced AV shows.
Check out the framework so far on their GitHub:
We’ll talk to Teenage Engineering to find out more about what they’re planning here, because #createdigitalmotion.