Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12 Rhythm

Battery-powered Drum Machine with 16 Sounds, 16 Effects, 16-step Sequencer, Onboard Speaker, Integrated Stand, and Audio Pulse Sync Capabilities
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12 Rhythm image 1
Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12 Rhythm image 1
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Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12 Rhythm
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Addictive, Barebones Drum Machine

Who needs fancy frills like an outer case, when you've got the solid drum sounds, killer effects, and intuitive sequencing Teenage Engineering's Pocket Operator PO-12 rhythm machine has to offer? Onboard this streamlined PC board, you'll find access to 16 tweakable drum sounds, a 16-step sequencer with 16 chainable patterns, and 16 effects you can use to sweeten things up. Components such as a Silicon Labs EFM32 Gecko MCU, a Cirrus Logic DAC, and a Knowles speaker deliver high-quality sound that even raise once-skeptical eyebrows among Sweetwater's electronic-music enthusiasts. Plus, the Pocket Operator PO-12 runs so efficiently on just a pair of AAA batteries, that its standby time is measured in years. What's more, the PO-12 and the rest of the Pocket Operator line can sync to one another (and many other modular synths) over 1/8" cables, so you can integrate them into a larger tabletop rig.

Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12 Rhythm Machine Features:
  • A stripped-down yet fully loaded drum machine that's perfect for tabletop synth rigs
  • Loaded with 16 sampled and synthesized drum sounds, each with 2 real-time parameters
  • Enhance your drum sounds with 16 effects such as bit crush, stutter, and delay
  • Create entire songs on the 16-step sequencer with 16 patterns and pattern chaining
  • Integrated folding stand and onboard Knowles speaker offer convenient standalone use
  • High-quality sound courtesy of a Silicon Labs EFM32 Gecko MCU and Cirrus Logic DAC
  • Audio-pulse-based sync lets you integrate other Pocket Operators and third-party gear
Ditch the frills and create cool beats on the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-12!

Tech Specs

Internal Sound Engine Yes
Sequencer 16-step sequencer
Manufacturer Presets 16 drum sounds
Analog Inputs 1 x 1/8" TRS
Analog Outputs 1 x 1/8" TRS
Number of Effects 16
Effects Types Delay, distortion, filters, stutter, bit crush, vibrato
Power Supply 2 x AAA batteries
Manufacturer Part Number TE.010.AS.012

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
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Best 50$ Ive ever spent

This thing is so fun, whether its on its own or connected to other hardware. Super fun and intuitive to use. Seriosuly the best $ instruments money can buy


I knew what I was getting into when I bought it. I got a 2 year free warranty with mine from my vendor of choice. From what I understand the battery life for this thing is insane. If you get used to programming it, there is no need for long term storage. What this machine boils down to for me and my first day of using it and figuring it out is doing a performance with it into a Tascam DP-008EX, boom there is your memory and storage right there, especially if you are a one man band, the sonic capabilities of this machine are insane and it best my Korg ESX1-SD for size and how fast I can execute a certain type of sound and rhythm complex. It looks pretty fragile and am certain it is. I recommend 3M wall mounting adhesive putty to tack it down to a good stable hard surface before using it. This thing produces incredibly high end drum sounds, and I am talking TRENT REZNOR sound. It does motion sequencing, what 60 dollar unit does that, hell not even 500 to a bazillion dollar units do that! I recommend getting some good motion sequenced patterns done and start recording your performance of switching between them at different stages, USE THIS THING TO RECORD A PERFORMANCE FROM IT! Then feed that recording through a mixer for live performance or whatever! It's sound quality, function and versatility for what you get is a no brainer. FRAGILE AND VERY HIGH END, PERIOD!

Who Knew?!

This little guy does so much more than you would expect. Where do I start? First of all, I'm very happy for the price I paid for it. The drum machine is the tip of the iceberg. I can check battery life, the time, set an alarm for myself, sync up with my Korg Volcas, and run loops together in perfect time in the style of Ableton Live. PO-12 makes a great keyboardists companion, especially for its size. I use it as a click track for the band and as a means of adding a little bit of electronic flavor to the band's sound. Is it a toy? In the hands of a non-musician, yes it is a very fun toy. In the hands of a creative musician or performer it becomes a tool for adding variety and life to a set. I also use it for acoustic sets when I want to sound different than the next guy at Potbelly's. Teenage Engineering and Cheap Monday, keep at 'em!
Music background: Church Musician, Worship Leader and DJ

Tweaky Madness

I just got my PO-12 today and it rocks!!! I also picked up a Korg SQ-1 sequencer and hooked it up to my modular synth and to the PO-12. Everything sync's up and it's such a tweakable instrument! I was using multiple effects during the drum pattern and tweaking them live and chained a few patterns to make a new track, straight outta the box!! This thing is sick and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to "make beats" or add some cool tweaky drum sounds to your set!
Music background: Vocalist and Programmer for Solemn Assembly and Robot Seppuku Crisis


This thing has power figured pretty much all of it out on this toy within 5 days and i just bought a po14 Cool trick with the white noise track turn the Attack(A) all the way off and the Sustain and Release(B) all the way up this will remove the transit of the signal and give it a sidechain effect put it on the kick drum and enjoy : ) you can also layer the bleeps and clicks on the kick to make it stick out a little more like you would in a real house/electro track.
Music background: Electro House
See also: Drum Machines, Teenage Engineering, Teenage Engineering Drum Machines & Samplers, Teenage Engineering Synthesizers