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Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Synths

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Via Engadget:

 

 

 

Teenage Engineering has carved out a niche in the electronic music world. Its OP-1 is a highly adaptable synth that puts industrial design on par with sound quality and features. If there's one thing the OP-1 isn't, it's affordable. The basic synth is priced at a cool $799, pitting it against considerably more-established options from Roland, Korg, Moog and others. With its latest products, however, the Swedish startup is looking to put a whole lot of music-making power in your hands for a very low price.

The Pocket Operator (PO) series is a set of three miniature battery-powered synths, all priced at $59. There's the PO-12 "Rhythm" drum machine, the PO-14 "Sub" bass synth, and the PO-16 "Factory" melody unit. All three have 16-step sequencing and a selection of 16 sounds to choose from, and also offer 16 additional effects. There aren't any official videos available just yet (we'll update the article when they become available), but you can check out a clip of musician Cuckoo playing with a prototype PO-12 (which has been known about for some time) after the break.


Video of a prototype OP-12 -- the final version has a display and more effects.
As you'd expect from Teenage Engineering, the POs are very pretty. Powered by two AAA batteries, the synths are totally stripped back. Each is just a circuit board with a display and a number of mechanical switches and knobs. They do have the built-in speakers, 3.5mm in and outs, parameter locks and sync functionality you'd expect from a pocket synth, but the whole vibe is very barebones.

 

Teenage Engineering is collaborating with fellow Swedish brand Cheap Monday -- best known for clothing Williamsburg's finest in skin-tight jeans and all manner of knitwear -- to bring its POs to market. Cheap Monday has its branding on each of the POs, and is also offering a range of Teenage Engineering-themed graphic tees and pins for displaying your brand allegiance. In addition to the clothing tie-ins, it's producing a more-functional case (priced at $39) for protecting your synths. All of the gear will launch tomorrow, timed with the start of NAMM trade show -- at $177 for the full suite, we expect them to sell very well.

 

po-16_630.jpg

teenageengineeringPO.jpg

 

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The Cuckoo video makes it look like a fun little thing. I'm sure there'll be some creative guys who can pull some crazy shit out of that little unit. Curious about the input usage, but I'm honestly not sure I could get into it with the small size and lack of BPM flexibility.

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Ah, these finished versions are much more interesting. Still essentially toys, but not nearly as hindered as it looked like they might be in the original video. I could've got without the screens, though; the graphics are cute and all, but aren't providing much information save for the BPM count. Could've gone with a much smaller LED and knocked $10 bucks off the price. Still looks good though, will have to try and grab one of these to play with at some point.

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I enjoy Cuckoo's videos.

He always seems high as fuck.

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I enjoy Cuckoo's videos.

He always seems high as fuck.

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These things seem way overpriced for what you're getting.

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These things seem way overpriced for what you're getting.

Teenage Engineering. Says it all.

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CDM: "It’s a fun hipster throwaway."

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These things seem way overpriced for what you're getting.

Teenage Engineering. Says it all.

 

lel

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i dunno, i think at least the rhythm looks like it's 'worth' the price, in a general sense. to me, based off of the video, the sub one looks kinda useless. 90% of the sounds coming out of it while the guy was playing with it were noisy distortions (not very interesting ones), not bass sounds. the bass sounds that were there weren't super great. if it can do something more interesting with actual bass sounds they need someone else to demo it better. the 'factory' one sounded like it could be useful. maybe more so than the rhythm but it's hard to tell from the videos. personally i think they look cool but i'd prob only get one if i got any.. i feel like the value for money would def break down if u got all 3. just my imo tho

 

i think the value would come from how hands on they look

 

at least they made sure to get sync in there!

Edited by MisterE

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ffs, overpriced for what you're getting? lol, seems like no matter what, some pll always find a reason to complain.

 

 

These things seem way overpriced for what you're getting.

Teenage Engineering. Says it all.

 

 

you're kidding right? 59 bucks

 

OP1 might be overpriced, but this is a steal.

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Ok. 59 bucks a piece for two synths that sound like crap is a steal. Sorry, my bad.

 

The drum machine one seems allright.

Edited by Gocab

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yeah, it's worth it for the rhythm. that's the one i'm getting.

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Might buy one used if they're like 40 bucks

 

yeah, it's worth it for the rhythm. that's the one i'm getting

 

Only 3 BPM's is kind of a deal breaker for me.

Edited by Danny O Flannagin

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it has more than 3 bpms, check it out:

 

 

don't think these are a product for me, but the drum machine does look like good fun

Edited by luke viia

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it has more than 3 bpms, check it out:

 

 

don't think these are a product for me, but the drum machine does look like good fun

My bad, i only watched the cuckoo video and he said there were only three on the prototype version

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The three presets are still there - full tempo & swing control also :)

 

I thought the lead synth sounded awful but might get the PO-12 even though I have an OP-1.

 

Gotta have something to put in the drawer next to my monotron ;)

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PO-12 purchased. too bad you can't order that sexy silicon case, yet.

 

I hope i can sync it with with the A4 cv output.

Edited by Mcdergbit

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I think I'll get rhythm, and if I like it I might get the other two.

 

I like how it gets really noisy and out of control easily.

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ordered all three. there's a video of someone syncing it to a volca using the cv out so i assume it would sync to a4 the same. i thought they all sounded pretty excellent. dirty as fuck.

 

worth it for the alarm clock function alone

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Guest Hanratty

when I think about how often $60 gets wasted on nonsense, having a cool little drum machine seems pretty good. I'm not sure if I want the others. In my case, space for gear is basically whatever can fit in my backpack, so I'm liking that part of it.

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Yeah dude. I can spend $60 on a night out at the bar or get one of these to use for years.

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Plus you can use these at the bar and get offered free drinks by all the chicks.

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