Teenage Engineering OP-1 – Would I buy it again?

At the end of 2019, I was looking for a nice mobile synth. Back then I used to travel a lot, mostly by train. My thought was, it would be nice to have a nice, little machine to noodle around with while sitting in the ICE. And so I bought an OP-1. It was expensive. But it was perfect for traveling and I cannot blame a synth for a global pandemic grounding all travel for 18 months.

The keyboard problem

Today my OP-1 came back from repair. The keyboard was malfunctioning.

And here is the mistake I made: I recognized problems with the keyboard’s responsibility after a few weeks. The mistake was not to send the OP-1 back immediately. After reading in forums I thought it was my problem and I only had to clean the keyboard.

Frankly, with Dalmatian dogs in the house, those short white hairs are everywhere. Cleaning helped in some cases. But even after cleaning the whole keyboard, some keys did not work as they should.

I did not bother about the keyboard problem. Mainly because I didn’t play on the keyboard very much. But that changed. After learning a bit more about scales and keys I started noodling around and improvising on the OP-1.

Improvising pentatonic scales is no fun with nonfunctional keys.

The repair

Since the OP-1 was less than two years old I sent it back to the dealer to replace it or to get the keys fixed. There is usually a two-year warranty in Germany.

However, this warranty is not valid for wearing parts. And the keyboard counts as a wearing part – whether or not I played a lot on it.

So I paid 230 Euros to get the keyboard replaced. (Yeah it would have been cheaper to replace it by myself – but I am not an expert on electronic devices, so there is a risk 😉 ).

So the OP-1 cost me in total around 1.400 Euros. This is insane – even for a beautiful, funny, and very capable synth that fires up my creativity every time I touch it.

Do I love my OP-1? Yes, I do. Would I buy one again? I don’t think so.

A 1.200 Euro machine with a keyboard that wears up after 18 months is not what I expect. I have learned my lesson.

On the other hand: Teenage Engineering just released a firmware update. This is huge for a synth this old. They still care. I am happy to have my OP-1 back. But the price is high.

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