Synth wizards from Swedish electronics manufacturer Teenage Engineering have just unveiled perhaps their most puzzling and intriguing product: a rewindable radio and speaker system called the OB-4. The device, which is now available in black or red for $ 599, is as sleek and well-designed as the company’s standard synthetic products, but packs a lot of cool tech under the hood.
The main feature of the OB-4 is the manual rewind dial paired with a built-in motor, which the company says will allow you to rewind everything you’ve heard in the past two hours on an ongoing basis, regardless of whether it̵
“Have you ever wished you could instantly rewind while listening to the radio, to hear the title of the song just played? OB-4 continuously stores everything you listen to on an infinite loop tape, “writes the company on the OB-4 product page.” Rewind, lengthen tempo and loop with a simple touch of your finger. on purpose or accidentally. instant rewind on the radio is just one of OB-4’s magic tricks. “
What could you actually do with this? It is not entirely clear at this time. The company only has a short teaser video showing the OB-4 and doesn’t include any real-time demonstrations of the rewinding technology.
That said, it’s not hard to imagine some pretty cool use cases, like taking a sample from an FM radio cast and integrating it into a mix you’re putting together on a Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer. The company says the device supports the latest Bluetooth standards, so the OB-4 will be able to wirelessly connect to its newest OP-Z synthesizer as well. There is also an add-on called “disco mode”, which Teenage Engineering says will include various experimental features starting with an ambient player and a metronome.
“If you skip traditional inputs like line in, Bluetooth and FM radio, you end up in disc mode,” reads the product page. “This is where we will continuously develop new experimental features for OB-4. It is our public research space, where we allow ourselves to explore and prototype everything that this multimedia tool, as we call it, can become “.
Beyond that, it’s clear Teenage Engineering sees the device’s function in part as a very nice but expensive Bluetooth speaker. The company says you can only use it to relax and listen to the radio or your favorite music, and it has a carry handle for taking it to a friend’s house or a hangout in the park. The handle also acts as a support when folded appropriately, allowing you to support it for better access to its physical buttons and dials. It has an average battery life of 40 hours of listening on a single charge, and there’s an in-depth breakdown of the actual speaker specs on the product page, for those interested.
It will be interesting to see more of what this device can do when in the hands of a crowd of music producers and enthusiasts who can truly work magic when using Teenage Engineering synthesizers and similar devices. For now though, it’s still a really well designed radio, if not the most expensive you may have ever seen.