Teenage Engineering PO-32 Tonic + Microtonic Hands-On Demo

Synthesist Cuckoo shared this in-depth tutorial on the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator PO-32 Tonic drum machine and its software sibling, Microtonic.

The PO-32 Tonic is a powerful drum- and percussion synthesizer, based on a collaboration with Magnus Lidström of Sonic Charge. The PO-32 offers a wide range of sonic capabilities, punch-in FX and a built-in microphone that allows direct transfer of sounds and pattern data between units,.

It also features compatibility with Sonic Charge’s Microtonic, which lets you create new patches and pattern data, and transfer them wirelessly back to the PO-32 Tonic. This means that you can easily import, export and share PO-32 music.

Price and Availability

The PO-32 Tonic is available now for US $89.

Note: Cuckoo supports his video creation using Patreon. The sound pack featured in the video is available free for Patreon supportes or via his online store.

12 thoughts on “Teenage Engineering PO-32 Tonic + Microtonic Hands-On Demo

  1. I think Teenage Engineering really missed an opportunity. The PO-32 is not fiddly enough! Maybe if TE made the unit smaller. Or added more “press-this-button-while-pressing-this other-button-while-turning-this-knob-but-only-if-the-EDIT-icon-is-in-the-display” fun. Maybe then you’d have a real winner. As it stands the PO-32 is not nearly awkward enough.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. Did you see his preview of the OP-Z? It was insane, almost as if they purposely made it impossible to use. There are barely any labels for buttons, all kinds of random combos, and there’s even an important control that is a tiny knob thingy on the rear of the unit!

    1. Personally, for the all brilliance in the design, industrial aesthetics and even “fun” factor, I cannot bring myself to purchase anything from them. Whilst I would not call their offerings a “toy” as many do, as that is largely based on the operator regardless of the tool, I do find their instruments manically obtuse.

      However they do have a very clever business plan, a sort of Apple “light”. They are building clever, well designed and built electronic devices with very high margins.

      1. Don’t get the Apple comparison at all.

        This is a cheapy, barebones, utilitarian device that prioritizes bang for the buck over looks or ease of use.

        That’s the exact opposite of most of what Apple does.

        The ONLY similarity I see is that they both make some very divisive design choices. But then, so does Microsoft.

        1. No, you are missing the point. Whilst they both enjoy high margins that is only part of the similarities.

          TE began as a synth maker, soon it evolved into incorporating a diverse artistic disciplines as making consumer electronics. The synthesizers they produce are only a part of their business strategy.

          They have a strong emphasis on design, and aesthetics, disproportionately to functionality. Although that is subjective I suppose, even the Wiki entry touts their “functionality” as one of their strengths. Granted where they diverge is the ease of use and clarity of operation it seems, certainly from my perspective.

          There is a short documentary on the founders, where they discuss their love of Apple and their business strategy.

  2. So bad that it doesn’t feature a Midi I/O and patches/pattern export TO the software.
    My dream would be to make the patterns while on commuting (just like a videogame) and then import them into the Microtonic VSTi to start (or finish) new songs in my DAW.
    With this feature I would buy straight the complete pack of hardware + software!

  3. I must say I too wish it were more awkward…perhaps it could have a truly fluxatious OS, where nothing stays where you left it, and had properly sharp spikes instead of tibbly nibbly knobs,
    I like to REALLY suffer for my art.
    And it looks like I will have to ….for it sounds jolly fantastic.

  4. These look cheap IMHO and as such relatively expensive considering they are basically a tiny bare circuit board.

    1. Yes, and when you buy VST instruments or other software they are don’t have any PCB at all, so they must be all for free obviously.

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