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Hardware projects


I'm proud to announce Arcade, Office and Robot, three affordable, portable synthesisers that I've developed for Teenage Engineering's Pocket Operator series.

  • PO-20 Arcade is an 8-bit synthesiser and sequencer for rapid beat making and chiptune improvisation.
  • PO-24 Office lets you create noisy, glitchy beats out of sampled vintage hardware such as floppy drives and a matrix printer.
  • PO-28 Robot lets you play soaring 8-bit melodies live, while also including a sequencer and micro drumkit.

The Pocket Operators are available online, as well as through retailers worldwide.

Teenage Engineering is a Stockholm-based electronics company that designs and manufactures synthesisers, among other things. They got in touch with me back in 2012, asking if I'd be interested in some kind of collaboration. So we met up and had some great creative discussions, and then we both kind of lost momentum due to other projects. But when they started to work on the original Pocket Operators, the PO-1x series, it became evident that this was a perfect opportunity for us to do something together. The original plan was that I would design a single 8-bit Pocket Operator (now Arcade), but the scope grew and we finally settled for the three machines above.

The PO-2x series was unveiled at NAMM 2016, and you'll find several online videos where I give demonstrations for the press, such as the following one:

I also got to star in the official instruction videos, which were shot in a studio in Stockholm:

Finally, let me draw your attention to a nice tutorial by Cuckoo:

Posted Tuesday 26-Jan-2016 06:34

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Mon 25-Jan-2016 22:56
Hi Linus,

I'm delighted to hear you're involved with these modules. I saw them discussed a couple of days ago and ordered right away as they sounded incredible. I'm so excited to try them out when they arrive. My hope is to be able to record some loops with these so I can build up something for my game. We're so lucky to have someone with your genius pushing this genre.

Thu 28-Jan-2016 22:29
My po-20 should be arriving today! Very excited
Sun 31-Jan-2016 07:01
Dude, just found out you're one of the guys behind the new PO's. I remember being entranced by your AVR chiptune project years ago, so cool to see the same kind of fun brought to something like the pocket operators. The Arcade is a blast.
Fri 5-Feb-2016 00:08
Linus, this is fantastic!

Would you be able to comment on the technical side of the devices? Are they still a Leopard Gecko Cortex-M3 for the main CPU and a Cirrus Logic CODEC?

You mentioned in one of the videos that aliasing was a problem to overcome, does this mean the CODEC is operating at 16 bit / 48 kHz?

Lastly, does this also mean that there is now 0 probability of the Bitbuf schematics and source ever being released?
Sun 7-Feb-2016 00:14
Now make Parallelogram Portable! FPGA handheld and make amazing tracker for PC! I will buy 4x Parallelogram Portables...
Tue 9-Feb-2016 10:21
Amazing! Keep making!
Wed 17-Feb-2016 16:43
Thank for your contribution to humanity, Linus.
Fri 19-Feb-2016 22:32
Are you going to post a video of you doing a lengthened song with one of these platforms?
Max Porshnev
Wed 6-Apr-2016 16:37
How does the sync between multiple POs work? What you gonna see if you sniff the interconnect with an oscilloscope?
Max Porshnev
Wed 2-Nov-2016 12:46
It sounds like «Exposure» by Gareth Emery was performed on Pocket Operators. :-)
Jostein Topland
Wed 14-Jun-2017 02:53
Just got the PO-20 and PO-28. Awesome instruments!

I'm missing having the option to set a different scale. Any plans for an update to enable custom ones? Would like to play some tunes in a major scale..

Sun 3-Sep-2017 03:44
Hi, is it normal for the low pass slow sweep fx on the po28 to only work 1 time, and not reset like all the others reset. That is what mine does. I can only use that effect once, unless I take the batteries out and put them back in.
Linus Åkesson
Mon 4-Sep-2017 09:40
Hi, is it normal for the low pass slow sweep fx on the po28 to only work 1 time, and not reset like all the others reset. That is what mine does. I can only use that effect once, unless I take the batteries out and put them back in.

Yes, this is a known bug. Sorry for that.

It has been fixed by now, so new units don't have this problem.