OP-1 tips / tricks / etc

My OP-1 has two dead keys :frowning:

My first attempt at fixing them with the online instructions wasn’t very productive…

Probably painfully obvious - but the tape engine really shines with acoustic stuff and pitching. One of my favorite things to do is record acoustic guitar with tape sped up, then drop speed back down. The bottom half of an acoustic guitar makes a great bass like that. Slowing tempo down and then recording shaker…the whole thing ends up sounding jangly and very human. I do not use the sequencers or synth engines almost at all - maybe enough to lay down a rhythm track that i’ll play along to with drums or MPC later. (example: https://soundcloud.com/deltasleep-1/nausea?in=deltasleep-1/sets/nausea-1)

I’m really interested in all the folks i know who are making lofi techno on it - since it never even occurred to me to try and keep timing that tight in the first place. Is that just a TON of copy and pasting? Muting?


Been using mine daily for about a year with no end of discoveries. I’m also very inexperienced so it’s all new to me :sweat_smile:
When I’m stuck I usually sample from random radio or Internet sources into a drum kit, throw that into a random endless or tombola, record to tape and pick out an interesting part to loop. Then just improv over that.
Also slowing down or speeding up the tape, recording that to the album and then dropping it back to the tape at normal speed can be fun.
Someone over at operator1 posted a cool reverse recording trick; you can go to the end of your loop, hold reverse (5) and when you hit record whatever you play will go reversed onto the tape. Works well for slow buildups if you use a synth with long release or maybe tremolo with a slow lfo.
Lifting a piece of tape I’m working on and dropping it onto a drum or synth sampler, then recording it back to tape with lfo or effects can mix it up. I try to keep one of my slots on each bank for just quick sampling from the tape.
On YouTube, Red Means Recording, Truecuckoo and DJ Thomas White have taught me a lot.
Hope this helps… I’ve been addicted, can’t stop using this thing and being surprised!


Gated drums

Go to LFO and select tremolo.
Select the third waveform and turn envelope a bit down to the left.
Set the white knob to 100.
Set speed to 1 or 6.,
Play with the envelope

I’ve been trying to really incorporate my OP-1 into my studio and I have a couple of questions that I’d figure would be worth posting here:

  1. Any tips and tricks to warm-up the sound of my OP-1? It’s got some extremely digital sounds, more so than my VSTs and sounds kinda dinky at times. I’m looking for tips to amp up the low end (beyond “slap an EQ on it”).

  2. How do I eliminate the high pitch frequency that I hear when I use the USB simultaneously with an audio interface.

  3. Is anyone able to sequence the Endless Sequencer with an external controller? I’ve got my Minilogue going through my MIDI host / Midi USB-DIN converter as an external controller, and when I hold shift and play a note on the external keyboard it starts playing instead of registering it as a note to sequence. This is kinda frustrating as I want to write sequence that span multiple octaves.

I bought this USB isolator based on @shellfritsch 's recommendation – maybe it’ll solve your problem too?


i also have that “usb noise” you describe, however i’m mostly doing noisy music so it’s not really a problem for me :wink:
i think it helped with a ground loop isolator in between but i don’t have it here to test. (i noticed jonny wrote the same as well)

the endless sequencer works to run from another midi source, the sequencer mode needs to be “on” though, but not in “hold” mode for what you describe.

i think the user interface is what makes the op-1 so much fun, really intuitive and makes you try some weird stuff which often have complex and interesting results. i’m mostly sequencing it externally now, and often use midi to send to the four cc channels for modulating stuff on the op-1. to “seed” some sounds this is really great, http://op-rand1.appspot.com/welcome.jsf

i came back to “op-1 as standalone” on my holiday flights this season and had lot of fun making some really terrible loops. every time i step away and come back i’m amazed that i am still finding new ground on it. i had never really delved into the modulation mode that lets you apply the envelope to the synth/effect engines and was able to come up with a lot of fun sounds messing with the effects that have a dry/wet, with percussive sounds you can get some nice predelay before going super crazy.

with the finger sequencer, if you turn on hold mode and trigger it and the tape at the same time you can play the notes in live and they will play back quantized.

for warming it up, the main one i go with is pitching the tape up to record the bright stuff and then pitching down. it’s a pain to figure out the math though if you’re using sequencers. if i’m actually using the op-1 in a real song i will put it through the ableton live drum bus or the discontinued freeware camelcrusher vst 98% of the time. looking to pick up a used analog heat for this purpose but can’t quite make myself buy it since i mostly only use my music gear on the go anyway.

the audio quality issues with usb is a separate issue from the warmness and honestly the solutions play against each other. make sure charging over usb is turned off—step 0. step 1 is buying the ground loop isolator which will help a lot but never quite as much as you hope. step 2 is: don’t use the internal drive effect on the master. this is painful because the drive effect really helps beef up the synth engines. but the noise floor on the op1 seems to be really low. gain staging internally within the device is super super important for getting clean tones.


All great pieces of advice @Jonny @konken @ypxkap

I’ll see whether the internal drive is doing, and what would you call the effect you’re using camel crush for? Is it saturation / compression / filter / distortion? Also, could you please clarify what you mean by gain staging internally?

As for that endless issue, its not in hold and it’s on. I’ll try experimenting with another MIDI source and get back to you

the level that the synth/drum is going onto the tape at–red knob when you’re on the tape screen. if the line or the led meter are hitting the ceiling regularly it can kind of dull the sounds. it’s not a traditional distortion sound it just kind of mushes the output. the drive helps with this but with the “lower” (not sure if it’s literally lower) noise floor it brings out the weird whines and audio artifacts that it sounds like you’re talking about that are normally too quiet to worry about

camel crusher is a saturator/compressor/limiter–i think. i got it before i knew what i was doing and i still just use the british clean preset 98% of the time, have never bothered examining how it actually works.

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With just a usb c to mini cable, you can sequence the OP-Z and OP-1 really well!
Here’s a video of me running the OP-Z thru the op1’s tape tracks and resampling it. Enjoy!


This is my favorite trick too.

I also use the nitro filter a lot and play around with eq and drive. I use the sampler a bunch lately, grabbing sound from local classical radio. All that said, it’s a very digital sounding device for sure.

Oh, try the punch effect too. It’s a LPF. Warm town.

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I love the Σ lfo source to add some warmth and detuning, but I have no clue what it actually does!

Anybody know how the Σ source works?

Also a mystery to me is the :musical_note: lfo destination. At least one color is pitch, another one might be volume, etc? The effects are too subtle for me to figure out.

This thread rules! I had no idea you could drop tape straight into the sampler, that really simplifies things for me. And the time-stretching video was so cool I ran right over and tried it out - that sound was something I really miss from my old SP202.

I’ve been getting really deep on Finger lately. After not really bonding with the drum side of the OP-1, I gave up on using it for my main drums (Patterning just works better for my brain). But now I’ve got Finger filled with cool percussion patterns that I can use to add rhythmic complexity, and turning the white knob in realtime I can get some pseudo-Euclidian patterns happening.

On the melodic side, I’m digging Finger over Pattern because you can jump around between a bunch of variations on the fly, and some googling revealed you can go to shift+tempo and use the master tune to transpose the patterns - a little kludgy, but sometimes you get happy chromatic accidents! Now that I’ve replaced all the silly techno patterns, I’m definitely going to exploring sequencing other gear with it.

As far as warming the sound up, besides EQ/drive (usually UAD plugins) and Punch or Nitro, I run the OP-1 through a Strymon El Capistan and Flint. The tonal quality of those delays and verbs are so much warmer than the onboard ones, and that frees up the FX for sound design duties.


updating this after some experimentation: the shift+tempo transpose feature only applies to the internal synth voices, it doesn’t affect the MIDI that’s sent out. But connected to Audiobus on an iPad, I inserted the free MIDIflow Transposer to get the same effect - just lost a few hours down the rabbit hole layering the internal voices with Ripplemaker and Model 15 and creating harmonies with the two different transpositions.

New update for y’all :slight_smile:



Good to see they’re still doing at least maintenance work. I’d love to see at least one more beefy update with some new features, though.

Looks like a deeper OP-Z integration is in the works…


Still hoping to one day erase all the presets.

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When TE was visiting Los Angeles a few weeks ago they mentioned improved op-z connectivity was going to be the in next op-1 update; surprised it wasn’t fully included.