People who pre-ordered the Teenage Engineering 170 Pocket Operator Modular Synthesizer or the 16 Keyboard Sequencer woke up to some very bad news this morning. Due to a manufacturing problem Teenage Engineering has decided to cancel and refund all those orders.
Modular manufacturing muck-up
The problem is in the sequencing section which the 16 and 17- both share. They say that they are working hard on the problem and hope to get it resolved but currently, they have no release date. The 400, on the other hand, is due for release in about a week and all disappointed customers have been offered a 10% discount and a jump in the queue if they’d like to upgrade. Although that might annoy existing 400 pre-order customers as they’ve been sold out for quite some time.
Hopefully, it’s just a glitch and things will get resolved but it does make you wonder. I was always of the opinion that they released these modular units too early. I know that NAMM is a huge thing and the ideal time to launch a new product but watching the demos it was obvious that no one had actually used one before. The 400 they had on show sounded pretty ropey until Baseck finally injected some talent and know-how into the device. The 170 synth and the 16 keyboard were never seen functioning. They could have held off until Superbooth and released something that had been all figured out. Still, it’s not as if that affected the pre-sales. My other thought is that they’ve had similar trouble with the OP-1. Something in manufacturing meant that they went out of stock with no ETA for quite some time (back in stock now with a larger price tag). Coupled with the overly long development time on the OP-Z and you wonder whether everything is OK with Teenage Engineering.
Cancelling and refunding orders is a bit drastic. Often when things get delayed companies do their best to keep your money because it can be vital in getting the product made. To elect to refund rather than giving customers an option to stick with it either means that there’s a real possibility it’s not going to happen or that Teenage Engineering is just a really decent bunch of people who don’t want to string you out with excuses.
Let’s hope it’s the latter and that they can pull it all together.
- Teenage Engineering website.