Pocket operator modular system


First elektron now teenage engineering. No one could have predicted the Swedish would one day revolutionize the synthesizer world. Incredible.

These TE modular could be my first piece of TE kit


nice way into modular, $500 in modular world is a drop in the bucket. and yeah imagine using any Elektron sequencer with this, like the OT with the audio coming back in on thru machine. oooooohhh yeaaaah


Thank you for pointing this out. Because what is the 400 but not a portable analog modular drum machine? It’s a ‘techno’ system for earth people. It’s also what I tried to build in a two boat, four module Serge m-case when I had more money than experience.

Considering that the 400 is only 16 x less money than that Serge system, I think I might be able to save up for two of them. Even if I bought a third, it would still be cheaper than a single Creature module.


First Clavia then Propellorhead. :slight_smile:


Yea, so I am wondering… perhaps the TE Modular range is 1/8" TS mono cable compatible, and they’ve just made a load of 1/8" TRS cables for compatibility with the OP-Z OpLab (and other) modules?

Surely TRS aren’t required (?), they just also happen to work, and TE doesn’t want to manufacture two kinds of cables?

The other, more pocket sized, PO range uses TRS cables (sync+audio)


I put this in the wrong spot :thinking:…[moved here]

this demo is great heh…

sweet when gear is so small you need to use a hand to hold it in place.
tag line for this modular: “the total HAND on experience”
so small it eliminates the ability to use two hands.

ha ha ha ha


^ They wanted to carry across the same user experience from the Pocket Operators and OP-Z, it’s not a bug its a feature :wink:


youre right! i wasnt aware of that (ive never purchased or used any of their products)
thanks. Point stands - and you just strengthened it!


And let us also not forget the great Wowa Cwejman. :slightly_smiling_face:


That is a nice acid box right there


Baseck @ 09:01

I think the new dance music … there is no drums… just percussive metallic sounds

Liking that.


Saw the “this is just a toy” thing being mentioned a few times a couple of days back, which prompted me to finally look up this quote I’ve quite liked from Tatsuya Takahashi (lead the team that gave us Korg Monotron and Volcas):

As long as we had the fun aspect there, there wasn’t so much worrying about the products being perceived as cheap or toyish. Toyish, I actually find, is quite a compliment, because it means we did our job of engineering fun. As long as people can connect to and understand a product, I don’t think there was any danger of being perceived as not up to making music on. (Source: NPR interview, 2017 Dec 22, emphasis is mine)

There’s a reason why my setup is basically being whittled down to Elektron, Teenage Engineering, Bastl, and Korg. I find most of their stuff fun. There are so many synths and synth makers that just bore me that other people love. That’s fine. But I like these guys who are really trying to make something different. There are thousands and thousands of other modules out there if this is not the route one wants to take into modular. I’m not sure these systems are for me at this point in my life. But I’m glad they’re out there. And I like their sound.

The design language of these also appeal to me more than the design language of the Mother 32 or Neutron. I even have a shiny green metal desk as my main studio/computer desk now, and either TE system (yellow or red) would look stupidly great on it. (As would the OP-Z I really want).


Well said Jeff, I wholeheartedly agree, I for one don’t ever want to own a instrument that isn’t fun.

When it feels like work it is work, when it feels like play it is joyous and enriching, too much serious stuff in life in general, so when being creative bring on the toys!


I’m fairly impressed by the quality of sounds they’re getting out of such a distilled set of functions. This doesn’t have to be considered a toy. It can be considered a cost effective, good quality, tool for a specific range of modular tasks, and possibly as some have suggested, educational or entry level device that still has a ton of flexibility. The fact that you can build Lego machines with it, then adds some toy functionality. :smiley:

One would be hard pressed to get this functionality for the same price out of most other modular brands. (maybe with a few exceptions) Maybe more functionality in a denser space though with other brands, but then the pricing won’t align.

I don’t sell many of my own single modules (though they’re 4U, high specced, and hand-built) for much less than this whole system. So, this makes an excellent alternative from the boutique end of things for sure.

It definitely won’t be for everyone, but I’m impressed so far, and I think they’ve got a cool product on their hands. I can’t wait to see what they add to the line, and the kinds of music and sounds people start making within the confines of a single system.


One thing that I noticed on one of the Namm videos (think it was a Japanese one) was Tobias saying the battery life was 5 hours, I think that seems a bit conservative, and if true I wonder it they will come up with another battery option. One thing that I thought was to replace the AA holder with a C or D cell holder to get a bit more battery life, and also add a bit of weight to the base.

I wonder also if a lead acid 12v battery could fit in the base, or possibly 4x18650 and a 12v regulator, I guess I’ll be lookng into some of these options, if the AAs only last 5 hours.

Other possible mods I’m thinking of are adding mults, LED indicators for sequencer steps and envelope etc, and possibly trigger outputs for all the sequencer steps. Maybe some other stuff too.


I noticed there seemed to be a lack of mults. Adding some or switching to stackables might be good.

If I picked one up, I’d use a power supply rather than battery, but I think your battery ideas sound good to extend the life. (And weight to the base.)

Seems like another mixer or two wouldn’t go amiss. Otherwise the mixture seems pretty solid.

I was thinking those small rubber balloon tires from the old Lego moon rovers would make good knobs :). They have the “plus” shape connection molded in.


Think twice, fold many times. The Oplab was Teenage Engineering’s first 2U module.

I had fun mounting this back in its cardboard stand. It would be nice to see the ‘paper prototype’ rendered in sheet metal, or even racked up eventually.


it’s an overpriced piece of crap, including this overpriced metal board to protect it! Bought it years ago to experiment with circuitbending and sensors. It was marketed this way as an experiment board only to find out it didn’t work. After about 2 years or more they finally released an update that we can work with the other functions! The manual is shit and this oplab is discontinued! I feel like I’m done with new TE just like with new Elektron shit. Enough of all the lies and false marketing and waiting for ages on updates! And this modular doesn’t even have protection!


should be …but here lies the snare and short circuitry created by marketing and a competitive world of keeping up with the Joneses…but we are all responsible for our choices. GAS is a serious condition. At times, I have given in to it or abandoned my rationality to my irresponsible whim.


I have one from when they first came out and it has always done everything that it was advertised to do? I do think it was a bit overpriced but not hugely so. I even developed an add-on board that fits on top of it to give additional clock outputs.

I was planning on doing some more things to work with it but there wasn’t much interest probably due to low sales of the Oplab.