Managed to get my hands on Teenage Engineering's new sequencer/synth/all-in-one portable music studio thing. In order to work out the details of it I set about condensing the manual. Ended up with three pages of quick reference details that you can print, fold up and keep with your OP-Z so you can play with it without hooking it up to a screen. I also made a guide for the oplab module in another post. Links below.

General observations:

  • The interface is a lot like the Pocket Operators in that you hold down a button to change the meaning of a set of other buttons. (The OP-Z is essentially a professional-grade PO.) Page 3 below has diagrams that show this.
  • At first, tapping shift to change parameter pages for each track can seem like a huge amount of information to memorize, but as you can see on Page 1 below, the colors are consistent across tracks and the functions rarely change. Memorize the meaning of the five colors (main, ADSR, LFO, ARP, FX) and you're well on your way.
  • Only two parameters act like menus with specific choices instead of a range of values. (LFO destination and ARP pattern)
  • The yellow and red dials are always filter and resonance for drums, synths, FX and main.
  • Punch-in effects are almost identical for the drum side and the synth side, with just three buttons behaving differently.

Types of step components:

šŸ„ Rhythm-based:

  • Pulse, Pulse hold: These lengthen your sequence by replaying a note or holding it for a certain number of steps.
  • Multiply: replays a note in the space of one step. (broken chord works on the chord track to "open" the chord on that step)
  • Velocity: set how "hard" a step is played.

šŸŽ¹ Note based:

  • Ramp up, Ramp down, Random: Increases/decreases/randomizes the pitch of each selected note, within a certain range, for a cycle.
  • Portamento: Makes a pitch glide between notes (from the previous step to the one you selected)

šŸ”“ OP-Z native:

  • Sweep: The dials. Automate a sweep of filter, synth parameters, or pan. You just need to add one step to have it affect the entire sequence.
  • Tonality: Transposes notes in various ways, either with or without paying attention to the Master track (which is conveniently right above it)
  • Jump: Controls where the active step is at any given moment.

šŸ‘¾ Programming-based spark components:

  • Parameter lock affects when certain parameter changes (the dials) play on that step.
  • Step component affects when a step component is or isn't triggered on that step.
  • Trigger(step) affects whether a step plays at all or not.

Step buttons change colors, and this is what they mean:

Forums:

Tutorials and resources:


Download A4 pdf files here:

Monochrome-friendly/higher contrast versions: