Back in 2018, I reported about the OTTO, an open-source hardware Synthesizer that is heavily inspired by the Teenage Engineering OP-1. The fact that there are now news about this project, fits exactly into the hotly debated OP-1 price increases.
The developer describes OTTO as complete hardware and software solution, with synths, samplers, effects and a sequencer with an audio looper. The interface is modular, easy to use, simple, but most of all, it encourages experimentation. The graphics are quirky, and the workflow is minimal. They have also shared some new pictures of the new prototypes which looks great.
Planned Features For V.1.0
- 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 project is open-source and the developers still search other people who want to participate on this development.
News From August 25th, 2018
OTTO is an open-source DIY hardware Synthesizer that is heavily inspired by the compact OP-1 Synthesizer by Teenage Engineering!
I do not think anyone at the beginning would have trusted the Teenage Engineering OP-1 to become one of the most popular Synthesizers in the world today. What people like is often copied or taken as a template for new products. The best example is Behringer and his analog clone army. But there are also manufacturers who can be heavily inspired by commercial products and design something that is DIY like OTTO.
OTTO is an open-source digital Synthesizer that is not a commercial product. It features synths, sampler, effects, sequencer and more in one music instrument. Sounds very much like an OP-1 clone? Yes indeed! OTTO is heavily inspired by the famous Teenage Engineering OP-1 Synthesizer and comes with the concept.
Different Hardware Than The OP-1
Comparing the hardware architecture of both, you will notice something. OTTO has a different design and is powered by a Rasperry Pi3 with a minimal Linux system on it. The interface includes a 320×240 RGB screen (preferable AMOLED), 30 hardware buttons for every feature and 4 colour coded rotary encoders (taken from the OP-1 design).
Not A Commercial Product!
The developer write: “at this point 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”.
The developers plan to introduce several new features in the future. These sounds very similar to the Teenage Engineering OP-1:
- A mobile app to run the graphics and serve as the screen, since good screens are hard to come by, and you probably already have a great one in your pocket.
- Support for optional hardware, like an FM radio, Bluetooth speakers, a joystick
Of course, OTTO will include MIDI support for external controllers with sync and control signals.
Support The Team With Your Knowledge In The Realization
To keep the project going, the small developer team are looking for fellow players in all sort of areas to finish the projects:
- Software testing
- Writing documentation
- Hardware design / testing
- UI design
- Creating default samples & settings and of course, the coding itself, with areas like
- Synth/Effect design
- General backend design
- Hardware bridging
- Distro setup (a custom linux distro for the Pi would be optimal)
Since this is not a commercial product, there is no information on price or availability. Looking forward to see a final version of this open-source Synthesizer project.
More information here: OTTO