Teenage Engineering debuted its first trio of pocket-sized $59 synthesizers almost exactly two years ago. In 2016, the company followed those with a second set of three Pocket Operators featuring the sounds of the '80s. Now the company is back with a third installment: the PO-32. Like the half-dozen different options that are already available, the PO-32 remains a compact drum and percussion synth that runs on a pair of AAA batteries. However, there are two new key features that set this new model apart from the rest.
First, the PO-32 features a built-in microphone that handles the direct transfer of sounds and pattern data between multiple units. The other key addition is the ability to import/export patches and patterns to and from the compact instrument. Using Microtonic, a desktop machine and percussion synth, you can make tweaks and send them wirelessly back to the PO-32. In fact, this new Pocket Operator is a collaboration between Teenage Engineering and Sonic Charge, the company behind Microtonic.
There are also 16 sounds and 16 punch-in effects along with a sequencer and pattern locks. A built-in speaker handles playback of all the patterns and sounds you create. Speaking of patterns, you can chain up to 64 of them together and the LCD display from the first few models is back again. Despite the fact that the PO-32 runs on AAA batteries, Teenage Engineering says you can expect to use it for a full month before you will need to swap out the power source.
As you might expect, the added functionality means a slight price increase from the first two series. The PO-32 is available now in limited quantities as a bundle with the Microtonic audio software for $139. If you just want the pocket synth itself, you will have to wait until early April. When the time comes, expect to pay $89 to nab one.
Update: This post has been updated to correct the name of the Microtonic desktop synth.