Teenage Engineering OP-1 is a great example of good product and interaction design. I am not even talking about that the way actual product just looks fantastic, but thinking about the topic overall. I am crazy into music but was never into making it. Last time I touched any instrument was back in high school when I was in a band.
If you look at all electronic music instruments (synths, keyboards etc.) they look extremely complicated; and why not, they are for professionals. But OP-1 has an extra level to it — it generates curiosity. Last time I was so fascinated by the product experience in general was when the first iPhone came out.
OP-1 is a lot of fun, the way it is made and engineered is that you really want to use it and try things out, not like a pro devices when you give up after 5 minutes because you press a key and there's still no sound (I am talking about my flat mate's PRO Yamaha Workstation that I didn't even know how to plug in). I can't say OP-1 is an easy and extremely intuitive to use device, it is still fairly professional piece of equipment, but the way it is designed is that you don't notice time passing by exploring everything and ending up with interesting results.
Essentially Teenage Engineering OP-1 is a all-in-one portable synthesizer with 8 different sound engines, 4 track tape, unique sequencers, drum sampler, interesting effects and a midi controller. This piece of hardware works completely independent from any PC and allows you to record and produce pretty good music tracks. Just search YouTube for it and see what people produce.
Another amazing thing about the device is the color coded interface. As you can see on the photos there are 4 main colors used across the buttons and knobs that are directly related to the interface on the screen that makes it fairly easy to use. Though color coding sounds straight forward and something pretty obvious, you won't see the full design thinking behind it until you actually use the device, it's pretty damn smart.
OP-1 comes with an antenna that allows you to plug and play FM radio on the device. Basically what you can do is to sample live from the radio and use sounds right away. I found a great mexican radio station in NYC I used to record samples from and then add some beats to it.
Interface of OP-1 deserves a whole other blog post in my opinion. The way color coded interace "talks" to the actual hardware is really smart and creates a really nice user experience. And the design of it also looks clean and beautiful. Here are some of the screens of it.
I would really encourage you to actually visit the OP-1 product page online and look around for all the the specs and features. Even the way they talk about the product and showcase its features is extremely well done. Only people who really love and believe in their product can do something like that.
Apart of what comes out of the box: actual OP-1 device, USB cable and an antenna, I also ordered a really nice and well made soft case that allows you to take OP-1 with you and keep it protected and custom made OP-1 headphones produced by Aiaiai.
Another cool thing to do is to connect OP-1 to Figure App (from Propellerhead) on iPad/iPhone. The app is also really cool as well as has lots of really good sounds. I used to create some base patterns on the iPad and record it straight into OP-1 where I would continue working with it on multiple tracks.
Sometimes I can come home tired after work and just start playing random sounds and record them experimenting with sound engines and filters and not even notice that 4 hours just passed by. I still suck at it and finding my way around but was able to make some nice beats with it.