Teenage Engineering's new pocket synths mine the sounds of the '80s
Till final yr, shopping for a Teenage Engineering synthesizer meant spending a whole lot of dollars. However the Pocket Operator collection that debuted at NAMM in 2015 modified that equation by placing the corporate’s sound in your pocket for less than $fifty nine. Positive, they are not almost as succesful as the corporate’s flagship OP-1, however that’ll set you again $850. For lower than 1 / 4 of that, you may purchase all three Pocket Operator synths, chain them collectively and begin making music.
Maybe the one draw back to the Pocket Operator collection (outdoors of the considerably steep studying curve) was that every particular person system was targeted on a special piece of the musical puzzle. One PO was for bass, one for lead and one for the rhythm part. Utilizing one gadget by itself was nonetheless enjoyable, however you would undoubtedly find yourself feeling as in case you have been lacking one thing.
Fortuitously, the brand new collection of Pocket Operators that Teenage Engineering is saying as we speak fixes that drawback. The PO-20 “Arcade,” PO-24 “Workplace,” and PO-28 “Robotic” supply a extra full spectrum of sounds in a single unit, with percussion, bass and melody all inbuilt. This time, every gadget is distinguished not solely by the visible type discovered within the customized segmented LCD show that is meant to evoke reminiscences of Nintendo’s previous handheld “Recreation & Watch” moveable video games. Every has its personal customized sound profile, as properly.
The PO-20 Arcade, as you may need guessed from its identify, options eight-bit chiptune type sounds impressed by the sounds we heard from ’80s arcade machines. The PO-24 Workplace goes in a extra uncommon course, sampling sounds from historic workplace know-how. Teenage Engineering advised us that it features a 5.25″ floppy disk, three.5″ drive eject sound, a three.5″ floppy disk and drive eject sound, a dot-matrix printer, joysticks, mouse-clicks and extra, all alongside some new synth sounds to finish the soundscape.
The PO-28 Robotic rounds out the set with palette once more based mostly on eight-bit sounds, however this mannequin is concentrated on stay melody and lead enjoying. Its “glide” button helps with this rather a lot — it makes it a lot simpler to easily transition between notes in a method that feels like sliding your finger up and down the neck of a guitar. The Arcade might be probably the most nicely-rounded of the three to overlaying lead, bass and rhythm elements; the Workplace’s sounds extra naturally make it extra of a rhythm machine whereas the Robotic is extra of a lead and melody software.
However, judging by the movies Teenage Engineering has revealed to date, one among these new synths is able to producing a fuller soundscape than their predecessors, which suggests you possibly can simply select one and nonetheless have the ability to construct full compositions with them. Design-clever, these synths are similar to their predecessors — they’re naked-bones circuit boards with two AAA batteries across the again and a bit kickstand to prop them up. However with line in and line out jacks, you possibly can hyperlink a bunch of Pocket Operators collectively and mix their sounds and document no matter you handle to provide you with.
As with the primary Pocket Operator collection, it seems to be like these units might be straightforward to select up and mess around with, however there’s additionally lots for extra skilled customers to grasp. That is all a part of the enjoyable, although, and for the worth it is a fairly cheap option to get a style of Teenage Engineering’s retro synth sounds. If you wish to give them a shot, you’ll be able to order the newest spherical of Pocket Operator units on the Teenage Engineering web site at present.