Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds
Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

Teenage Engineering TP-7 expensive, drool-worthy portable audio recorder: is it wrong to want one?

Plenty of musicians want to capture real-world and ‘in the field’ audio for creating atmospheric sonic backgrounds, samples, soundbites, vocals and the like, but I’d wager that not many would want to spend as much as Teenage Engineering will be asking for their latest high end piece of kit.

One look and you could well be hooked, and they do a pretty convincing job of selling the concept, but with a price tag of $1,499 for what is essentially a digital audio recorder, is anyone really going to bite? At least, when you consider that you probably already have a decent enough audio capture device, and if you don’t then there are plenty of cheaper and just as capable alternatives. And then you can spend the money you’ve saved on more instruments, sample libraries, coffee, or whatever else it is that feeds your soul and your art.

That said, we can’t help but admire the amount of effort and style which has been poured into this field recorder. Allow yourself to be pulled in by the narrative which TE tempts you with, and feel the pull on your credit card.

“there are thoughts, ideas and fragments that – for the sake of humanity -we need to record and be able to return to as a reference, as a seed for new thoughts orjust to remember another time. TP–7 is built for just that, to record sound, music,interviews and important ideas with zero friction in the highest possible quality.a device engineered in every detail to do only one thing and to do it well.a dedicated piece of hardware for ideas, or just a dirty riff.”

The rationale is that, while you may already have a smartphone quite capable of capturing audio, sometimes you want to record some audio exactly at a moment in time, without faffing about unlocking the phone, finding the audio app, tapping record… with the TP-7 you simply press the memo button and start talking/recording.

Highlights of the TP-7 include an ergonomic design which fits into the palm of the hand and allows quick access to the main functions — “the index finger triggers fast forward and the middle finger rewinds. your thumb records a memo, the pinky selects the mode. it’s a genuinely rewarding man-machine experience”

The motorised “tape reel” in the centre of the device is a delicately engineered brushed motor with ball bearings and sensitive hall sensor that lets you navigate around audio, as well as functions. It also serves as “gentle visual feedback” during recording and playback.

The rocker is for quick access to audio, while the TP-7 also claims it can streamline audio transcription via its app.

The main specifications are:

  • 3 trrs stereo input/output mini jacks 
  • 1 main/headphones output 
  • 24-bit/96 kHz usb audio interface 
  • internal mic and speaker 
  • 7 hr rechargeable battery 
  • 128 gb of internal storage 
  • TP–7 transcription app available for iOS 
  • dimensions: 96 mm x 68 mm x 16 mm 
  • weight: 170 g / 5.6 oz

Do people absolutely need this as a portable audio recorder? Probably not.

Will people fall in love with it, and a subset of them actually fork out and buy one? Quite, very, possibly.

It’s beautiful, just not immediately justifiable. Perhaps that’s as it should be…