The Teenage Engineering PO-16/Factory Pocket Operator Lead Synthesizer is a melody / lead-synth oriented machine with a 16 step sequencer and 16 different sounds. But this is where any normality ends. This pocket sized synthesizer comes with no casing; the components are completely exposed, and along with the artwork, all visible directly on the printed circuit board.
The PO-16 may look like a confusing device to use, but it's actually quite simple. Across the top are buttons for sound, pattern, bpm and 2 manipulation knobs (one HPF and one LPF). Down the right hand side of the PO-16 are clear, FX, play and write. The other 16 buttons are each a different lead synth sound. To start recording you simply press the Sound button, select a sound from one of the 16 buttons, press write to choose where in the sequence you want it to play and then, press play. To add another sound, simply repeat the process.
When you have built up a sequence that your happy with, you can start playing around with the FX including filters, bit-crushing, delay, stutter and many more. When pressing the FX button, the 16 buttons become 16 different effects. From here, pick what effect you want, then place it where you want in the sequencer and it'll place it over the top of whatever sound that might be there.
To remove a sound from a specific part of the sequencer, simply press clear, and then whatever number button you want to remove. If there is an effect on top of what you want to remover, the PO-16 will remove that first. The BPM does exactly that, it switches between three different BPMs. The pattern button changes through different variations of step pattern. This button, when pressed with the clear button refreshes the sequencer.
The 2x AAA battery powered device comes with a segment lcd screen, built in speaker, alarm clock and a stand made from bent wire.
This quirky little device may not seem like much, but it is just as powerful as its bigger rivals. With a 3.5mm out you can plug in a pair of headphones or even put it through a mixer of live performances. The PO-16 encourages you to be creative with it and the more you use it, the more flexible it will become.
The main features of the Teenage Engineering PO-14/Sub Pocket Operator Bass Synthesizer include:
- Melody / lead-synth oriented machine with a 16 step sequencer
- 16 different sounds
- Segment LCD screen
- Built-in speaker
- 3.5mm out