Teenage Engineering’s new recorder is a triumph of physical skeuomorphism

The Swedish company’s new TP-7 field recorder comes with a masterful design, a mechanical tape wheel, and an eye-watering price tag.

The audio instrument designers extraordinaire at Teenage Engineering have been branching out into new territories with the launch of the TP-7, a new field recorder that mixes superb audio quality with an out-of-the-ordinary design. 

The look and feel of the product are quintessentially Teenage Engineering, with the minimalistic, polished design and extreme attention to detail we’ve learned to love in the Swedish brand’s previous audio products. 

That’s not enough. Teenage Engineering, in this case, went all-in by including an over-engineered, mechanically complicated tactile candy in the form of a spinning (fake) tape reel. It’s physical skeuomorphism at its best.

There’s no trace of tape inside the TP-7 recorder, of course, yet users can operate the wheel to scrub their recordings back and forth and navigate the device’s menus. The three buttons for rec, play, and stop are masterfully placed to be easily reachable by the user’s fingers. Last but not least, a side mounter rocking bar lets the user quickly rewind or fast forward through recordings.

The TP-7 also features a built-in mic and a speaker and comes with 128GB of storage and three 3.5mm jacks for audio input and output. The single USB-C port can be used for data transfer and charging the device (battery life is 7 hours).

Knowing full well that even the most die-hard Teenage Engineering fans wouldn’t buy into a beautifully dumb recorder in 2023, the company developed a TP-7 companion app that lets users transcribe their recordings straight from the device. 

Like other Teenage Engineering products, the TP-7 is a strong design piece with an outrageous price to match: $1500. If you feel like money’s burning in your pocket, add a new CM-15 studio microphone ($1199) or a TX-6 audio mixer (also $1199) to your buying cart.

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