When the Swedish nerds at Teenage Engineering throw themselves at something, they always do it in their very own way. Whether they are building synthesizers with cutting-edge operation, recreating legendary Carlsson speakers or making Bluetooth speakers for Ikea.
Now they have given the classic portable transistor radio a design remix. The result has been a black monolith, which they call the OB-4 Magic Radio. The magic element probably consists in the radio remembering everything that is played on the one who ran the music from an endless tape loop. So you can rewind and remix what you heard. How it goes in practice is not to be deduced from the style-conscious press release, but we admit to being a little curious.
Another piece of everyday magic is that the buttons for volume and coil function are motorized, so they move if you choose to control the radio from a Bluetooth device.
The OB-4 can play music from FM, Bluetooth, and line input (no DAB), and then there is also a “disk mode,” reserved for later “experimental features, developed in a public research room.” Among the features that can be seen right now are a metronome, an ambient feature that makes a soundtrack out of bits of radio broadcasts and a buddabox mode that can recite 30 different Buddhist prayers!
It all sounds very mysterious, but Teenage Engineering has actually so far been able to deliver interesting and useful products behind all hocus pocus.
The price will be EUR 599 . A carrying case and carrying strap in leather can be purchased for (gulp!) EUR 400.