Teenage Engineering’s new must-see sensor-packed singing wooden speaker dolls

Teenage Engineering choir

We love some weird wacky tech gadgets around here, as any avid 9to5Toys reader will know, but I’m not sure we have ever seen anything quite like the new Teenage Engineering choir. You’re, at its most basic, essentially looking at a series of sensor-packed Bluetooth speakers housed inside of unique wooden dolls. But this is Teenage Engineering after all, so they can also sync together to perform a cappella concerts of classic choral songs, receive MIDI data to you can play your own sings with their internal computerized voices, and well, a bunch of other things. Head below for a closer look at the weird, wacky world of the new Teenage Engineering choir. 

Teenage Engineering choir

Teenage Engineering is a bold, boutique design firm with a penchant and affinity for musical gadgets, synthesizers, and retro-inspired musical anomalies. I have been a huge fan of the brand’s range of technical oddities for years, most recently with the new PO-80 player that doubles as a lo-fi record cutter or the magical new Mac/iOS TX-6 audio interface synth combo, and more seriously the OP-1 portable synthesizer and music maker. But I’m not sure I have ever seen anything quite like the new Teenage Engineering choir.

Harkening back to one of its earliest projects, the new TE choir is essentially a set of individual wooden dolls wrapped around sensor-packed Bluetooth speakers and are described as the following:

what you see are eight wooden dolls, made to serenade you with a repertoire of choral classics as well as perform your own original compositions through midi over ble. each member has their own characteristic vocal range. individually one can sing a dynamic solo, together they perform an immersive a cappella concert. the choir is inspired by the original absolut choir, our very first project.

The lineup consists of eight individually named dolls as it were, each with a timbre inspired by various parts of the world and the ability to sing in various frequency ranges. The dolls can perform in solo mode or automatically sing together to form a computerized, digital choir of sorts to perform a pre-programmed repertoire of classic songs or your own music creations triggered via MIDI over Bluetooth. 

There’s even touch sensor tech involved here:

to get the choir started, they need a helping hand. a sensor inside the speaker module reacts to vibration and movement, so controlling choir is a playful experience in itself. gently tap the doll on its head or on the table to trigger play or pause, or tilt the doll left or right to decrease or increase the volume accordingly. if it gets annoying, it can handle a little smack to turn it off.

Each doll is handcrafted from solid Beech wood and individually polished with hard wax oil surrounding a removable “magical speaker module” that also functions as the CPU and Bluetooth transmitter to deliver up to four hours of wireless action per charge. 

The Teenage Engineering choir dolls can also connect to your any MIDI output source over Bluetooth as well as a range of TE’s other boutique musical gear:

choir’s midi compatibility is where the magic really happens. conduct your choir with OP–1 field, OP–Z, or any midi keyboard with bluetooth connectivity. or connect an ortho remote for wireless control. connecting one doll pairs the whole choir, instantly singing the notes in your composition. as with any live performance, each set will be a one-of-a-kind experience. (standing ovations).

While we don’t expect very many folks to be running to the Teenage Engineering store to secure their very own wooden doll Bluetooth speaker choir anytime soon, anyone interested in broadening their musical exploration can do so at the not-so affordable price of $249 per doll. That means it will run you just over $1,990 to bring home the entire Teenage Engineering choir. They are strange, wonderful, way too expensive, and I want every single one of them really badly. 

You can see/hear them all in action right here and below:

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