Teenage Engineering’s $1,500 audio recorder has a ‘motorized tape reel’

Would you pay $1,499 for a Dictaphone? What if it’s one really chic dictaphone with a spinning “tape” reel? The folks at Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering certainly believe there’s a market by announcing the TP-7 Field Recorder – a quirky, compact recording device designed to capture audio “friction-free in the highest possible quality.”

The TP-7 has a built-in microphone/speaker, 128GB of internal memory and three two-way 3.5mm jacks that can be used for both audio input and output. There is also a USB-C port, which is used for data transfer and charging the device. Teenage Engineering claims a full charge should take about seven hours. It is the latest addition to Teenage Engineering’s field system of portable audio devices, joining products such as the OP-1 synthesizer, CM-15 studio microphone and TX-6 audio mixer.

I love the spinning wheel and I can almost hear the satisfying “click” of those snappy buttons.
Image: Teenage Engineering

All those gadgets combine aspects of retro technology and futurism, and the TP-7 is no exception. It’s about the size of a deck of cards, with some nostalgic-looking buttons for recording and playing audio that wouldn’t look out of place on an old cassette player. A “motorized tape reel” in the center continues with that theme, serving as additional controls for scrubbing, menu navigation and visual feedback – spinning when the device is recording or playing audio. There’s also a side-mounted rocker that can be used to fast-rewind or fast-forward through your recordings.

Here’s a look at the available ports.
Image: Teenage Engineering

The TP-7 has an iOS app that can automatically transcribe your audio while you’re recording. The device must be connected to an iPhone via Bluetooth or the USB-C port, and the app can even be used as a remote control for the TP-7 device. There is no comparable app for Android users. Teenage Engineering didn’t say which languages ​​would be available at launch, but did promise that additional languages, text-to-audio editing, and other features would be added to the app “over time.”

Transcribe as you record to save time by playing back the audio at a later time via something like Otter.
Image: Teenage Engineering

Everything about the design and price is outrageous. I want one.

Teenage Engineering presents this as a device for “journalists, lawyers, and medical professionals,” but $1,499 is a lot of asking for something that is mainly for aesthetic appeal. At that price, it would have been nice to see some additional features in the device itself, such as local transcription without a tethered iPhone or built-in audio effects.

The TP-7 is expected to go on sale sometime this summer.

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