It put the boutique Swedish maker on the music map, and helped usher in new interest in mobile devices and slick design. Now the OP-1 from Teenage Engineering is back in stock, and its makers say it’s here to stay.
Updated: price increase? Yes, €1399 is a surprise to me, too. It seems Teenage Engineering have increased the price by 40% over the previous direct sale price. The OP-1’s gorgeous design never seemed to be quite backed by the kind of volume that would justify all those custom parts. BUT even given that, the premium price is a shock. So I do understand why readers mah balk – and simply leave the OP-1 as a fascinating oddity. Like a DeLorean of synths.
CDM has reached out to Teenage Engineering for comment. Some speculation, though: because the OP-1 is designed around a custom-milled case and a fixed internal architecture, and because even parts like the knobs and buttons are custom, it may well be that production costs have risen significantly. As Tom points out in comments, re-tooling just to accommodate the new display part may be expensive here. Some readers are seeing “greed” here, but it might be more apt to see poor or at least inflexible planning instead. It seems Teenage Engineering have learned from their first effort and have more viable designs on their newer products – which is why they’re more cost efficient.
Answer from Teenage Engineering: This is more or less what I and a couple of commenters argued, but here you go:
The currency conversion, inflation, sourcing of the new component, re-coding the display, re-designing the mounting, new tools etc. are just a few of the “why”.
When Teenage Engineering faced the reality of the OP-1’s future, there were only 2 choices: kill or save. We decided to save it.
I understand that the new price is a disappointment to many of our fans. But I do hope some are happy that we did not kill it
Hey, it’s still cheaper than some modular rigs. But yes, I understand why it’s out of reach or doesn’t make sense for many readers… though that leaves the OP-Z and Pocket Operator line from TE as options (among other things).
Looking back at the OP-1…
There is at least reason to appreciate the first Teenage Engineering synth product. Sure, the OP-Z has some fancy new features, but it loses the all-in-one functionality and inviting display on the OP-1. And Pocket Operators – both in their original mini-calculator form and now in a line of inexpensive kit modular – well, that’s for another audience. The OP-1, love it or hate it, is really unlike anything else out there. And someone must want it, because it’s been in demand a full decade after its first appearance.
Teenage Engineering shared today they were resurrecting the OP-1 ( under a headline “love never dies,” for Valentine’s Day). Here’s that announcement:
after being out of stock for more than a year with rumours of its demise, we are very happy to let you know that finally, the OP-1 is back and here to stay!
so what happened?
during our nine years of production, we have been very lucky in having a steady supply of the components needed for the OP-1. but last year we suddenly found ourselves without the amoled screen needed and nowhere to find new ones in the same high quality. but after a long time sourcing the perfect replacement, we have finally found it, and we will now be able to fulfil the demand that’s been growing for the past year.
Hmm, maybe the Teenagers want to start a side business reselling that display part? I’m interested.
Anyway, you can buy an OP-1 new now if you couldn’t find it on the used market – or watch for used prices to come down accordingly. Let’s celebrate with a little OP-1 reminiscence, as I know for some of you, Teenage Engineerings’ other stuff just doesn’t compare.
Also – shoes!
Someday I hope Elijah Wood says nice things about me: