The Surprising Similarities Between Making Music on Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 Field and a Cassette 4-Track Recorder

Making music has always been a fascinating and creative process, and technology has played a significant role in advancing it over the years. With the rise of modern music production software and digital audio workstations (DAWs), creating music has become more accessible to everyone. Still, some artists swear by the old-school methods of creating music, such as using tape machines. In this article, we’ll explore the similarities between making music on Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 Field and a cassette 4-track recorder.


One of the most evident similarities between the OP-1 and a 4-track recorder is their ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia for many users. Both devices have a unique physical aesthetic that stands out, and they both require a bit of a learning curve. However, once artists master them, they create a unique musical experience that can’t be replicated elsewhere.


Another similarity between tape machines and the OP-1 is that they force creators to work within specific limitations. The tape machines only allow four tracks, and artists have to make decisions regarding each track they record. Similarly, the OP-1 Field has a limited number of tracks, but it also encourages creative decision-making and problem-solving.


Both the OP-1 and tape machines require a direct physical interaction with the medium during recording and playback. With a tape machine, the user physically threads the tape through the machine and manipulates the levels during recording and playback to achieve the desired sound. The OP-1, on the other hand, has a unique set of controls that allow the user to adjust settings according to the type of sound they want to create.

Immediate Results

Another similarity between the OP-1 and tape machines is that both offer immediate sound results. With modern software, there’s often a lag between making a change and hearing it, which can lead to frustration. With a tape machine, the user hears the changes as they happen, and the same is true for the OP-1.


Finally, the OP-1 and tape machines both offer a simple and straightforward way of recording music that’s easy to use for new artists. The tape machines are easy to understand and use, while the OP-1 offers a simple layout and straightforward options that make it easy for new artists to start creating music.


The similarities between making music on the OP-1 Field and a cassette 4-track recorder run deep. Both offer a unique sense of nostalgia, limitations that force artists to make specific decisions, a tangible way of interacting with sound, immediate results, and simplicity. Ultimately, regardless of which method artists choose, tape machines or digital options like the OP-1, the most significant factor in creating great music remains creativity and a willingness to experiment.