Teenage Engineering’s wooden MIDI choir is our new obsession

teenage engineering introduced what might be their most unusual audio product to date, the Teenage Engineering Choir, and it’s a direct appeal to the collective nostalgia. The Swedish tech company has made a name for itself over the past decade and a half with its unique approach to consumer electronics, especially music production and audio gear. He continues to push the boundaries of his amorphous genre, experimenting with everything from ultra-portable synthesizers to craft beer.

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It’s been a busy year for Teenage Engineering (and its fans’ wallets). The company unveiled the long-awaited successor to its OP-1 synth in May, the OP-1 Field, at a whopping $2,000 price tag just weeks after launching a new portable field mixer, the TX-6. He also managed to incorporate a flashy speaker collaboration with streetwear brand Off-White in honor of the latter’s late founder, Virgil Abloh. Last fall, Teenage Engineering even released its own PC case, a compact, bright orange aluminum design so striking it sold out in minutes.

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The Teenage Engineering Choir, a line of eight wooden headstocks each equipped with an internal speaker and distinct vocal tone, is at the more niche end of the TE spectrum. Bluetooth support means they can be used to play your own original compositions – just connect to a MIDI keyboard and they’ll string the notes together. They are also programmed with a predefined catalog of classic songs. The price, however, will likely be a hurdle for all but the most dedicated audio enthusiasts. The dolls can be purchased individually for $249 each, but die-hards will have to shell out $2,000 if they’re looking for the full choir experience.


Meet the Teenage Engineering Choir

Two of Teenage Engineering's wooden choir dolls are shown against a black background.  On the left, a hand is seated above the figure as if to pat him on the head, while the figure on the right is held in the hand of a person leaning to the side
teenage engineering

Not only do they each touch a unique vocal range, but they have associated names and countries of inspiration. Carlo, for example, is an Italian baritone, while Hatshepsout, a mezzo-soprano, is Egyptian. There is also Gisela (Germany), another mezzo-soprano, Bogdan (Cossack, bass), Ivana (Netherlands, alto), Miki (Japan, tenor), Olga (Russia, contralto) and Leila (Palestine, soprano ). They are operated with touch controls; a pat on the head will play or pause their singing, and tilting either side will increase or decrease the volume.

Without their modern internal specs, wooden dolls would seem like a relic of a bygone era. So it makes sense for Teenage Engineering to say they’re an ode to the company’s past. “The choir is inspired by the original Absolut choir, our very first project“, Teen Engineering website notes. Given the price, however, most fans may unfortunately be stuck window shopping this time around.

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Source: Teen Genius

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