Teenage Engineering OB-4

There’s been a steady undercurrent of hype in various bits of social media about a new Teenage Engineering product and it looks like it’s finally dropped.

It’s a radio. Sorry, a magic radio.

£599 here in the UK, or $769.33 in the USA, according to that nice Mr Google.

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I generally try to avoid sampling Internet Beef, but the comments on Instagram are just priceless.


Well, this seems bad on every level–unless you’re a trust fund club kid. I can overlook the lack of imagination and 1% pricing, but encouraging people to blast loud music in public spaces is unconscionable to me. Fortunately, they aren’t going to be selling many of these–it may have taken 6 years to develop (goodness!), but this product will be only a dim memory in 6 weeks.


Are you telling me you don’t want a £599 radio with optional £400 leather bag?

Seems like a product no one would want but what do I know, it’s already sold out.


Fanboys never cease to amaze me…

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Okay, so I wasn’t alone in harboring this thought. I saw the photo of the thing on a chair and feared for the effect on public transportation.

I wouldn’t have thought that something like this would sell, but based on those Instragram comments, it’s already sold out :woman_shrugging:


I’m waiting for the announcement of an additional ziploc bag…I mean “splash case” for it


I am not the market for this, but it doesn’t seem totally insane when you compare it to a mass-produced equivalent with fewer features:


I’m never going to buy this product, as it’s way to expensive for me, but I’m having a hard time understanding why TE and this product gets so much shade. It’s expensive, yes, but less expensive than a Norns, which is a tricked up raspberry pi, probably completely useless for alot of people, but most interesting products are.

I like the idea with the 2 hour buffer recording, and the built in generators.
And that rotating tape button is the dumbest thing i’ve seen in a while, but it’s awesome, and I’ve never seen physical feedback like that on device like this.


I think the problem many people have with this is that it’s design for the expression of the designer rather than design for the sake of the customer… I get people will buy this as something of a work of art, that’s the same way I see the monome norns however the norns has MASSIVE capability on the other side, for the sake of the customer, where this… Is a glorified speaker, from a company that brought us some pretty nifty devices across a range of prices… It’s very disappointing for that reason… “wasted” resources to some…

edit: for the record I hate this thing and am writing off TE as a company that doesn’t care about the important products they’ve already released… it feels like it’s a company being run by some pretty big egos.


Oh, for sure, it has some interesting features - anybody else notice the lack of a line out, though? (Or have I just misread the blurb?)

I guess even TE didn’t want to go head to head with the PRS…

Also, some good points about the potentially antisocial nature of its use:

“designed to be played outdoors, in public spaces and at high volume; carried on one shoulder with speaker elements facing the head. note: it is assumed that passers-by share the same musical taste.”

It still seems phenomenally expensive for a radio…


I can’t help but think that the weeks of hype only added to people’s disappointment…
If they just would have dropped it as a surprise release would people be as mad? Or maybe waited until more of the other features they hinted at were ready to show?


TE 100% set themselves up for this–with a pompous month long product tease (they couldn’t even come up with enough things to tease!), and a high profile launch for a me-too product. If you position yourself as an object of satire—expect satiric comments.


this is very very dumb


still waiting for the OP-1 SDK :sweat_smile:


Yeah, I think super-hype music culture needs to really rethink itself. The whole “stay tuned” copy next to an mysterious back-lit photo is getting pretty exhausting. I don’t mind a well-measured campaign; I mean I want to know about new stuff from companies I like.


I think maybe a more apt comparison is Arc. At $900 for what is essentially four encoders with LEDs around them, if you aren’t engrossed in the monome ecosystem already then it seems insane. It is a specialized product for a class of specially motivated people. And this speaker is probably intended for a small class of aesthetically-motivated people. I think we could argue that Arc provides a lot more functionality, but that’s only because it provides it to us. Ultimately, to an outsider, “it’s four knobs.”

The frustration probably comes from the fact that this is a little out of line for TE. Monome has a much smaller following and much more niche, so it’s easy sell people on things that are seemingly distant (teletype and arc, for example). But I don’t think TE has any obligation to their fans, and as much as I hate this thing I can just not buy it and be fine.

I do think they kind of set themselves up for this, they should have known that people would not get super excited about this.


But really, what did they set themselves up for? They sold out immediately… They knew they would sell out immediately (or perhaps they just created an image of scarcity as a promotional tool, who knows!)

It’s something of a slap in the face when a designer throws a curve ball like this…


On the contrary, I think they knew that SOME people WOULD get super excited. Namely the people buying $800 designer electronics :smiley: (what @forrest was quicker to say)


I’ve have gone for the classic “This should be played at high volume, preferably in a residential area” personally