Being a producer for as long as i have, I’ve gone through my fair share of gear. From Maschine to MPC I’ve pretty much used it all. but i stumbled upon something VERY different than the “normal” Gear that’s used in traditional hip-hop. actually a few pieces of gear from a company called Teenage Engineering
Teenage Engineering is a design company out of Sweden founded in 2005 by Jesper Kouthoofd, David Eriksson, Jens Rudberg and David Möllerstedt and based in Stockholm. they do a lot of synths and are pretty abnormal as it pertains to what is used in hip-hop. I’m gonna go through a few of the products real quick.
Off the rip, these things look like calculators, but dont let looks fool you. there are 12 models of Pocket operators ranging from synths to drum machines to actual full blown samplers. i started with the PO_12 drum machine. think of it as a mini 808 then when i got the PO-33 it was a WRAP!! the PO-33 is a sampler and it is a very powerful unit. these range from $70-$120
This was their flagship unit and this is liken to the old school tape machines. it has a bunch of deep synth engines, a sequencer, drum machine, effects everything you can think of. this unit goes for around $1300, but you can find them online for less.
The OP-Z is pretty much a combination of the Pocket Operators and OP-1 in a slimmer package (and some say with better features.) you can generally find this unit for around $500-$600
I actually just got mine a week ago and haven’t really learned how to use it yet. for the most part these devices have been used in a lot of electronic music, and you dont see a lot of hip-hoppers using it cause its not really advertised to that market, but you can find a LOT of videos on YouTube with people doing everything from Boom Bap To Lo-Fi on them. i think that if more people knew about them they would take off.
The TX-6 is their flagship mixer, but its more of a Swiss army knife. its a mixer, audio interface, synth, sequencer, dj mixer and midi controller. and with some onboard effects and other features this tiny box will make creating music a breeze. the big point of contention with this unit is the price. at $1200 people wonder if its worth it. these things have been flying off the shelf and not a lot of complaints have been coming back, but overall its a matter of perspective.
The OP-1 Field
This is the SUPER updated version of the OP-1. more tapes, more effects, better sound in a slimmer package. this is another one of their more controversial items because of the price. clocking in at $2000, its a hefty blow to a lot of pockets. but as with most premium gear, you get what you pay for, and for the most part the response have been positive. i haven’t been able to get my hands on this one yet, but when i do, you’ll be the first to know. all these units are a fun alternative way to make music. its not the typical tools of your normal Hip-Hop producer, but these are the most portable feature packed units on the market at this time. and i think as time goes on we will see more and more Hip-Hop producers adopting these items into their arsenals.
You can get any of the items mentioned above and more at the Teenage Engineering Website