NAMM 2018 is now in full force down in Anaheim, California. The yearly trade show attracts the best and brightest in the world of music production from the major players like Moog, Korg and Roland, to smaller more boutique companies like Teenage Engineering. We have already seen some big time product announcements and now it’s time to look at TE’s brand new pocket operator synths…
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TE made headlines a few years back with the release of its amazing and entirely portable OP-1 synthesizer. While it wasn’t perfect, it was lauded for its unique design approach and for forcing musicians to interact with the instrument in ways that weren’t always the most familiar. These kinds of specific design philosophies have become what the company is known for and have led to the release of the calculator-sized Pocket Operator synthesizers.
Most recently, the company released the PO-32 drum synth model. It enabled users to load samples from the desktop on to the machine for the first time and expanding the usability of the product line quite significantly in the process.
In fact, you can check out our full review of the PO-32 Tonic and the PO-16 Factory right here. Now, with more than 8 different models in the lineup, Teenage Engineering is expanding even further with the announcement of the new PO-35 Speak and PO-33 KO!. These new models round out the metal series alongside the aforementioned PO-32.
First up, we have the PO-33 KO!. This is the first Pocket Operator with a built-in mic made specifically for sampling just about anything. It has a 40 second record limit on both the microphone or line level inputs. With 8 melodic and 8 drum sample slots, this model has both chromatic melody and drum pattern modes.
Next we have the PO-35 Speak. Designed around linear predictive coding courtesy of Magnus Lidström, this model also features a built-in mic allowing you to sample voices and sounds before mangling them into electronic music heaven. You can then sequence your new samples in usual PO fashion with drum patterns and more.
Beyond that, both models feature much of the same thing found on previous models including built-in effects that can be sequenced, parameter locks, sync capabilities, 1-month of battery life (2x AAA) and that cool little, animated LCD display.
After going hands-on with a few different models I can safely say these things are amazingly fun little toys at worst and powerful creative tools (even for pros) at best.
The new PO-35 Speak and PO-33 KO! are available for pre-order now from Teenage Engineering or in the super set (complete metal series) at B&H. Amazon listings are yet to surface. It looks like you can expect a February 1st shipping date.