The new tools of teenage engineering are exhilarating
This year, Swedish electronics manufacturer Teenage Engineering launched two new devices: the microphone cm-15digital tape recorder, and TP-7. If purchased together, they will cost you approximately $3,000. To many, it seems silly to pay that much for products with features built into your iPhone — but it’s part of a radical mission. Teenage Engineering hasn’t given up on the idea that our devices should be cool, and if you can afford them, their products will take you back to the era when buying new electronics was experimental and fun. I’ve spent the last few weeks playing with Teenage Engineering’s latest recording gear, and I haven’t had much fun with gadgets in years.
The microphone and recorder complete the Teenage Engineer’s Field Series, a set of four products that also includes TX-6 mixing board A follow-up to the company’s famous compound, The Field OP-1. Each is a compact, portable device that works on its own, but is designed to work as a set of interoperable tools that give you near-pro-level capabilities when you’re away from home.
The TP-7 from Teenage Engineering is the Ferrari of tape recorders
They’re products that make you jealous, and after a few weeks with them, I can tell you they’re as much fun to use as they are to look at. Here’s our review of the CM-15 field microphone and the TP-7 field recorder.
The TP-7 Field Recorder is as simple or as multi-functional as you need it to be.
The first thing you’ll notice about the $1,499 tape recorder from Teenage Engineering is the wheel. the TP-7 It is modeled after a reel-to-reel tape recorder. It is built on a physical disc with a motor that spins while recording or playing sound. Check out the video above to see it in action. It’s like the old iPod, but much cooler. You can use the wheel to browse recordings, pause while capturing audio, or navigate through the device’s menus. In a world where everything is a touchscreen, it’s undeniably satisfying to use.
The TP-7 has a microphone, speaker, three 3.5mm jacks that serve as both input and output, and a USB-C port for charging the device, transferring files, or connecting external microphones (including the CM-15). It has a brushed steel case that will remind you of Apple products, but the orange leather you’ll find on the back of the device gives it a more premium aesthetic than anything you’ll get from Cupertino. The TP-7 maintains the analog look of its spinning wheel with mechanical buttons and a physical rocker on the side; Hold down the paddles and you’ll rewind or fast forward, spinning the wheel in real time. Every detail is well thought out; Even the 1/4-inch headphone adapter that comes with it is great.
I’ve used a lot of small audio recorders over the years, and the sound quality you get from the TP-7 is great. I placed it in the middle of a small studio with a full band playing loudly. I listened again on my way home, and was able to hear the isolated nuances of each individual instrument. Even when you use the TP-7’s tiny built-in microphone, its recording capabilities are amazing
As satisfying as the TP-7 is for music, it was designed with conversations in mind. Basically, it’s a fancy dictaphone. The TP-7 comes with an iPhone app that transcribes spoken word recordings for free. I do a lot of interviews for work, so I tried using it as my main recording device. You can pull it out of your pocket and take a voice note with the push of a button, but I’ve also used it in more complex recording setups. It acts as its own mobile audio streaming device thanks to the fact that you can record from up to four audio sources at the same time. You can also perform overdubs and set levels for individual tracks. At any given moment, the TP-7 is as simple or multifunctional as you want it to be.
My only issue is that transferring files is more complicated than it needs to be. When you plug it into your computer, you’d expect it to act like a hard drive, allowing you to easily drag and drop files. It is, but you have to download software to run it, which is a bit annoying. On the other hand, transferring files via Bluetooth using an iPhone is relatively simple.
Need a $1,499 recording device? of course not. I have a small Sony audio recorder that I bought ten years ago for $50, and it works fine. On the other hand, you don’t need a Ferrari to drive to work every day, but it sure would be nice. The TP-7 feels great in the hand, is useful, and sounds amazing. It also makes a great party trick. I can’t tell you how much fun I had showing them to friends. If you are the type of person who can justify its price, the TP-7 is sure to bring happiness to your life. It’s available for pre-order, but the company has not announced when the TP-7 is expected to ship.
The CM-15 field made me look like an angel.
I am proficient in using audio equipment. I’ve been a musician since I was a kid, and I’ve spent a lot of time doing podcasts in my career. As much as I love recording equipment, I don’t generally think of a microphone as an instrument Hazar project. the cm-15 I changed that.
The CM-15 has all the features you could want in a microphone in a nice little box. It’s a condenser microphone, which means you need an external power source to amplify the signal before recording it, known as “phantom power.” Normally, you get that from the recording interface, but the CM-15 also has built-in phantom power thanks to a 10-hour rechargeable battery. This makes it more useful for recording on the go
You also have a number of options for sending audio from the microphone. It connects via XLR, USB-C or 3.5mm mini jack. It’s just as fun to work with a mixing board, a portable recorder like the TP-7, or plugged into your phone or computer. I’ve been using it on video calls and have been told I look like an angel. It even has a little built-in kickstand so you can prop it up on a desk, but it comes with an adapter for a microphone stand if you want to get serious. It also has a switch on the back for three different gain stages, which is great for making quick adjustments.
Like the TP-7 and every other Teenage Engineering product I’ve tried, the CM-15 sounds great. I’ve tried a number of different recording tasks. I compared it to a couple of other microphones – including a Shore SM57a Shure SM7bAnd Audio Technica AT4050 – For a variety of different tasks from recording guitar to capturing vocals in the studio for podcasts. At every turn, it either looked better or offered an attractive alternative.
Once again, the CM-15 left me searching for anything negative to say. The only drawback I can come up with is that it doesn’t work directly with older iPhones, but with the iPhone 14 or 15, the mic was plug-and-play. Even so, the CM-15 wasn’t marketed as a microphone for your cell phone, so it’s not a criticism.
The only real complaint is the price: $1,200. That’s a lot of money for a microphone, even if it sounds great. For the money, you can buy a great studio-level microphone and still have plenty of cash to buy a dedicated microphone for your Zoom calls. This doesn’t shake my agonizing desire to buy one for myself.
The moment I got my hands on the TP-7 and CM-15, I was hooked. After weeks of making it part of my daily routine, that initial impression stuck. They’re almost perfect. I’ve acquired more serious audio gear, but time and time again, I find myself reaching for these little tools.
The other day, I was talking to a friend about the TP-7 and he said, “I wish I was in the target audience for this stuff.” The prices mean that they are for a very specific subset of consumers who have a lot of disposable income. On the surface, the costs are not justified. There are less expensive products with fuller feature sets that work just as well. But you’re not just paying for a microphone or a recording device with these devices, you’re paying for a premium experience, and to some extent, you’re buying a lifestyle. On this front, the TP-7 and CM-15 perform well. These tools aren’t for everyone, but if they are for you, you’ll probably love them.
(Tags for translation)Teen Engineering