Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators
When Teenage Engineering’s flagship OP-1 synth was released back in 2011, a lot of reviewers weren’t quite sure what to make of it. As a premium-priced, pocket-sized synth which looked something like a Casio VL-1 reimagined for the 21st century by Jonathan Ive, the OP-1 was always going to be a niche product, but what a lot of its critics failed to notice is that underneath the cutely styled exterior lies a stunningly forward-thinking digital synth with innovative approaches to synthesis, sequencing and recording.
The newly released Pocket Operator series is an entirely different prospect. Regardless of whether the technology inside these calculator-sized units is a direct trickle-down from the OP-1, they’re clearly close relatives of their bigger brother, and they represent what we’d speculate might become the most important budget-priced synth series since Korg introduced the analogue Volca range in 2013.
The range comprises three options: the PO-12 Rhythm for drums, PO-14 Sub for bass and PO-16 Factory for melodies. The latter are of most interest here (although frankly we’re excited about all three).
What do you get for your money? A surprising amount considering these are some of the cheapest synths on the market. Hidden under the slightly awkward front panel controls, you’ll find flexible synth editing options plus a seriously competent step sequencer with parameter locks. Perhaps most importantly of all, there’s also a sync option, which means that the Pocket Operators aren’t just individual toys but real instruments that can be incorporated into a bigger setup.
Just like the OP-1, we’re sure the Pocket Operators will start appearing in a lot of studios over the next couple of years. At this price, it seems crazy not to check them out.
Ploytec is on the table behind the Bass Station 2… What do I win?
Is that it behind his monitor controller??? or ai or whatev
My next synth is definitly in that list!
i think it not good the MICROGRANNY 2.1 . is supper
als the The Critter & Guitari Bolsa Bass is dupper
more supper synth,s on http://www.errorinstruments.com
Was the Elektron Monomachine just too expensive to be included, or too old?
@Clay – I’d personally say that’s it too old to make the list, the Monomachine MK2 came out 5-ish years ago now. That said, I just bought a new one from Elektron and it’s probably my favourite digital synth EVER (though the Machinedrum is probably parallel to that as well, yeh I’m a fanboy)
We love the Monomachine but here we’re just focusing on more recent releases.
I highly recommend the Audiothingies P6, it sounds more ‘analogue’ than modern analogue synths I’ve used, I’d take it over a load of more expensive synths any day.
Strong filter with lovely sqidgy resonance, snappy envelopes and a good mod matrix, this is a very flexible instrument with a very wide sweet spot.
Here’s a demo I made recently showing a wide range of sounds, I’ll be posting another one soon as well: