The OP-1 is super cool – if you know, you know. But it’s also super expensive and that’s stopped a lot of people getting it. The OTTO synth could be the affordable solution.

Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 is a pcoket-sized, all-in-one music production controller that combined extensive features with a quirky design. The OTTO is similarly capable and even looks to match the quirky graphics that take the OP-1 beyond an amazing piece of kit and makes music creation fun.

The OTTO is an open-source digital synthesizer that is still in the works that is heavily inspired by the OP-1 but looks to pack it with different hardware. It works on Raspberry pi software and features a 26 key/button playable spread with 4 knobs for customisation and a series of other buttons for control. It has a DAC to output sound to your headphones or a speaker and features 4 encoders.

OTTO teenage engineering synth OP-1 mini portable sampling music production software device hardware
The OTTO synth – under the skin

It’s not designed to be a commercial product with the creators saying: “It might be important to mention that the OTTO is not, and will never be, a commercially aimed product. It is open source by nature, in both hardware and software. If you want an OTTO, you’re going to get your hands dirty, if not with the code, at least with the hardware.”

Otto synth’s planned features include:

  • A synth (with swappable engines) for live performance with midi effects (arpeggiator, etc.)
  • 2 FX slots. Synths and drums send to them as a FX bus.
  • Synths and effects are swappable “engines”.
  • For drums, a sampler will run in parallel to the sequencer-synth chain.
  • The drum sampler has 10 channels. These have a simple 1-bar, 16 step volca-style drum-sequencer, with each step corresponding to a white key on the musical keyboard on the prototype currently being built.
  • An audio line input which has FX send and level
  • A simple loop-station-style audio looper that can get audio from line in or synth. It has overdub and one level of Undo.
  • 8 save slots which save the state of the entire system. A save button lets you choose the slot to save in. Saves are only performed when you take the action.

The OTTO is still very much in development and it’s small team are always looking for people to help out with it’s development, testing, design, and more.

Find out more about the OTTO synth and it’s build so far, even get involved, here: