Drum machines are not just for making beats, drum machines are for making beats fun to make. The Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-33 KO is designed for just that by taking beat making into the fun, video game, portable pocket beat making realm. The PO-33 is the latest in a series of pocket, fun, inexpensive modules, synth, machines. With this release you get a sampling drum machine that totals 40 seconds of sampling time, with 8 drum parts and 8 melodic parts.
Pocket sized sampling allows you to take your beats with you anywhere, anytime inspiration strikes. Most drum machines are bound to a desk top or a music rack, not the cast with the PO-33 KO.
Built in recording microphone allows you to grab samples in real time and include them into your beat making. This kind of feature is a creativity booster as you can include the moment into your sampling sound pallet.
Melodic sample slots, the PO-33 KO provides eight melodic sample slots for adding bass lines, leads, or other melodic samples to go along with your drum parts.
Drum sample slots the eight included drum sample slots play samples in the one shot method, this is the commonly used method for laying down drum tracks in a simple, straight forward manner.
Step sequencer, the sixteen step sequencer allows for the recording of up to sixteen patterns. This is more or less standard for drum machines but the PO-33 KO has parameter locking features which is not very standard and can help you create complex, professional patterns, this is above and beyond for such a portable and inexpensive drum machine.
Battery powered, with a built in speaker, this is a feature that is not common with drum machines, a feature that enables you to be 100% portable and make beats in non studio situations.
The PO-33 KO can connect with other teenage engineering devices via the Jam sync connectivity feature, this can create a chain of machines, synthesizers and effects creating never before heard soundscapes.
The PO-33 KO comes pre programmed with the following 16 effects engines:
- loop 16
- loop 12
- loop short
- loop shorter
- unison low
- octave up
- octave down
- stutter 4
- stutter 3
- scratch fast
- 6 / 8 quantize
- retrigger pattern
- no effect
So as you can see in the list above you get a wide array of effects to apply to your samples and beat compositions.
Melodic Vs Drum Parts
The PO-33 divides sounds into two categories, melodic and drum parts. Depending on which sample bank you sample to you will get a different functionality, with the melodic section you get a scal across the 16 sample paying pads to play the sample. With the Drum section you get a 1/16 slice of each part of your sample, this is a fantastic way to break a smple into individual parts to play a sampled beat into your own beat.
Optional Pro Case
The PO-33 ships in a bare bones skeleton style of electronics, you see the buttons on the board as if you had take apart a regular drum machine, some people may not be comfortable with this layout, if this is true for you Teenage Engineering sells an optional pro case.
Is this just a toy?
It is easy to look at this device as a simple toy because of it’s size and price tag, but that would be an incorrect assumption. The creativity enhancement that comes from a device being fun rather than just a chore to do or “work” can take your music to places you never thought possible, these kind of devices can make you stand out by being different if you are open minded enough to incorporate them into your overall setup. Even as a standalone device the PO-33 KO can create fairly complex beats and melodic textures.
Is 40 second sampling time enough?
In today’s world of gigabytes in phone music storage and terabyte computer drives, 40 seconds may not seem like enough sampling time. But in the world of drum machines, 40 seconds can create a number of tracks since drums and one off melody samples can be less than a second in time. In addition, the PO-33 KO includes its own one shot drum sounds.
Is this Drum machine for me?
This drum machine seems best suited for people who have no drum machine and want to get started, people who like a video game like work flow to their beat making. The PO-33 KO is also suited for serious performers who want a creativity enhancing device in their setup to turn to when the need arises. Touring music makers will also love this little device as it is made for on the go travel and making music in the moment, on the spot so time is not wasted on the road, you can keep making music without having to keep the laptop charged 24 hours a day. Ad you can see this machine is suited for a great many different people.