Synthet Wizards at Swedish electronics manufacturer Teenage Engineering has introduced perhaps its worst and trickiest product yet: a rewindable radio and speaker system called the OB-4. The device, now available in black or red for $ 599, is sleek and well-designed as the company’s standard Synth products, but it packs a whole slew of interesting technology under the hood.
The main feature of the OB-4 is its manual rewind dial paired with an integrated motor, which the company says will send you back for anything you’ve heard on a rolling basis in the last two hours – whether it Be it live radio, a Spotify playlist is played via Bluetooth, or even a device plugged in, such as the one from Teen Engineering. From there, you can repeat anything you heard or messed up in the audio by periodically dragging and looping it.
“Have you ever thought that you can immediately rewind while listening to the radio, just to hear the song’s title? OB-4 constantly remembers everything you hear on an endless looping tape,” company OB -4 writes on the product page. “Mind, time-stretch and loop on the flicker of your fingers. On purpose or by accident. Instant reversal on the radio is one of the magic tricks of the OB-4.”
What can you really do with this? It is not completely clear right now. The company has only a short teaser video showing the OB-4, and does not include any real-time performances of Rewind Tech.
That said, it’s not hard to imagine some very interesting use cases, such as grabbing a sample from an FM radio cast and integrating it into a mix mixing together on a teenage engineering OP-1 material. The company says the device supports the latest Bluetooth standards, so the OB-4 will also be able to wirelessly connect its new OP-Z synthesizer down the line. There is also an add-on called “Disc Mode”, which Kishore Engineering says will include various experimental features starting with an ambient player and a metromonial.
“If you omit traditional inputs such as line in, Bluetooth and FM radio, you end up in disk mode,” the product page reads. “This is where we will continuously develop new experimental features for OB-4. This is our public research space, where we allow ourselves to discover and prototype this media-instrument, which we call it.
In addition, it is clear that Kishore sees the engineering device function partly as a very good-looking but pricey Bluetooth speaker. The company says that you can use it just to relax and listen to the radio or your favorite music, and have a carrying handle to bring it to a friend’s place or park hangout. When you are properly bent, it doubles the handle as a stand, allowing you better access to its physical buttons and dials. It has an average battery life of 40 hours on a single charge, and for those who are interested, there is an in-depth breakdown of the actual speaker specs on the product page.
It will be interesting to see what this device can do when it is in the hands of a crowd of producers and music aficionados who can actually do magic while using teen engineering sinks and similar devices. For now, though, it is still a very well-designed radio, if the most expensive one you would never have seen.