Teenage Engineering knocks out powerful portable groovebox
Back in 2015, Sweden's Teenage Engineering launched a bunch of pocket-friendly synths and samplers called, appropriately enough, the Pocket Operators. Now the team has announced a higher-end, almost pro-level version called the EP-133 KO II.
The new supercharged synthesizer, sampler and groove machine builds on the original PO-33 KO sampler from a couple of years ago, while wrapping everything up in a high-style enclosure that matches the gorgeous aesthetic of much more expensive TE products like the TX-6 mixer, TP-7 field recorder and CM-15 condenser microphone.
The KO II is about the same size as a pair of iPads stacked on top of each other at 240 x 176 x 16 mm (9.45 x 6.93 x 0.63 in), and the upper face is home to a hybrid display section with backlit icons and a matrix screen, calculator-like keys that are pressure sensitive for expressive play, top-hat knobs and a fader.
There's also a built-in speaker and sampling microphone, a panel pops out to allow for four AAA-sized batteries to be loaded in, and there are connections for MIDI hardware as well as sync for external gear, 3.5-mm ins and outs and USB-C for plugged-in power.
Despite only having 64 MB of onboard memory, the KO II rocks 999 sample slots – the sample rate is 16-bit/46.875-kHz with 32-bit internal processing – and comes packing a good selection of percussion, bass and synth sounds out of the box.
Groove makers work with nine projects contained in four groups, each with up to 99 patterns. Six stereo or 12 mono voices can be had, samples can be chopped and looped, there's an overhauled sequencer, and the unit sports six built-in effects that can be saved to creations as well as other punch-in effects designed for dialing in during a live performance.
We've only scratched the surface of the EP-133 KO II's capabilities, UK gear retailer Andertons posted a deeper dive video overnight if you want learn more. It's on sale now for US$299. Accessories including boxing shorts, a hoodie and a carry bag are also available.
Product page: EP-133 KO II