The OB-4 speaker from Teenage Engineering is a portable loudspeaker that lets users rewind the very same song they just listened to on the radio, with just the touch of a dial. With a simple design, the focus seems to be on what the OB-4 can do, which looks like quite a lot. In addition to featuring Bluetooth and providing an average of 40 hours of listening on a single charge, the OB-4 features a smart antenna which fits in the handle when not in use.
Teenage Engineering released its first wireless speaker, the OD-11, in 2014. This was a cube-shaped speaker standing at 10 x 10 inches and could play music from any device. It also came with a wireless remote control that featured a magnetic back. The company has a whole range of other products available, like synthesizers — including the OP-Z and the OP-11, both of which are portable. The OP-Z includes 16 sample packs with 24 samples each, which means they can play a lot of sounds like kick drums and snares, along with the option for the user to record their own samples right from the device. The OP-11 can fit right in the user’s hand and includes a built-in FM radio. Teenage Engineering also offers plenty of accessories for its products, including a water-resistant bag to safely store gear.
Described on the Teenage Engineering website as “the magic radio,” the OB-4 is a high fidelity speaker designed to offer great sound quality reproduction. Between the 4-inch bass drivers and the neodymium tweeters, the speaker is capable of producing up to 100 decibels of sound. What allows users to play back a song they just heard on the radio is the looping tape, an internal motor that can record up to two hours worth of audio. This feature also allows users to play a song or piece of audio on a loop, along with the option to time-stretch, or change the speed or duration of the audio clip. The OB-4 has a handle, which can be flipped down to act as a stand for the speaker. It currently comes in Matte Black at $599 or Gloss Red at $649, and accessories include, a leather bag to carry the speaker in, and a wireless ortho remote. The OB-4 speaker is currently available for reserve and is due to start shipping in November
The OB-4 also boasts four speaker elements which work together to provide a strong quality of sound. The volume dial can be activated via the remote, or spun back and forth with just a fingertip to increase or decrease the volume, and the dial that controls the rewind feature is also motorized. The battery also allows for 72 hours of radio listening at normal volume, or 8 hours listening with a Bluetooth device at high volume. Along with the Bluetooth and FM radio inputs, there’s also disk mode with three functions: ambient, metronome and karma. The ambient feature takes live radio broadcasts and creates soundscapes from them, a piece of soothing acoustic audio. Meanwhile, the metronome simply plays a rhythmic ticking sound, recreating the traditional piece of equipment in an entirely auditory format. Karma mode features chants and mantras played over relaxing music.
While the OB-4 definitely isn’t the cheapest Bluetooth speaker around, or the only portable speaker that is good for outside listening, it does have some interesting features. The ability to rewind music live from the radio is unique, and the recording feature also means that users can play with the audio clips, stretching them out or playing them over and over. It creates a fun opportunity to turn anyone into a DJ and lets people just have fun with the music they already love, whether it’s a song that’s playing on the radio or from their own collection. The three features on disk mode are also interesting, and most importantly, they aren’t available on any other Bluetooth speaker, so that further helps to set the ‘magic radio’ apart.
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Source: Teenage Engineering