Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Modular 400 Review

In his latest video, synthesist Enrique Martinez takes a look at the new Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Modular 400.

Teenage Engineering calls their Pocket Operator Modular line “poor man’s modular synthesizers”. The modular synths are shipped flat-packed and you assemble them yourself.

The Pocket Operator Modular 400 is the top of the line.

It’s an analog synthesizer that offers:

  • 3 oscillators
  • Noise
  • Random generator
  • 2 envelopes
  • 2 VCA’s
  • Filter
  • Mixer
  • Speaker box
  • 16-step sequencer
  • Power supply

The system comes as a complete kit, with chassis, 16 modules and 15 patch cables and is priced at US $499.

Details are available at the TE site.

If you’ve used any of the Pocket Operator Modular systems, leave a comment and share your thoughts on it!

17 thoughts on “Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator Modular 400 Review

  1. I got mine in the mail & began to build the chassis but had to stop because the screws they provided were too large for the job. Kinda totally ridiculous. So I’m just sitting on a hardly constructed 500 dollar waste of time.. who wants to pick up where I left off?

    1. to be fair, any light weight synth with plugin cables is going to have to be held in place somehow. The Korg MS-20 mini moved around when you plugged in cables. Any time your plug panel is more than approx 45 degrees you’re going to have this problem without any ballast or big rubber feet, or maybe a wall behind it? Would have been nice to have some work around proposed to offset the apparent short comings. That’s what I like to see (honest opinion).

  2. Love Enrique’s videos, but I still don’t get TE’s thinking on this.

    For me, $500 is no longer a lot to pay for a synth, but it is a lot to pay for a synth with exposed circuit boards.

    The only one of these that interests me is the keyboard – it looks like a creative piece of gear.

      1. “You won’t find whatever Eurorack configuration which has this functionality for this price.”

        What about the Behringer Crave or the Neutron. Obviously not the exact same specs, but there are now quite a few modular and semi-modular options in the $500 or less price range.

        It would probably be hard to find a DIY option that’s this nice for that price. It’s still strange to me that pre-built synths have gotten so inexpensive that they’re now cheaper than DIY options!

  3. I hear that this synth is eurorack compatible. Construction aside, does anyone think that this might be an interesting sounding synth if mounted in a small case or skiff?

    1. CSM – I think that they mean that it is compatible with Eurorack CV/Gate signals

      But it is not designed to be physically compatible with Eurorack systems.

      So you can patch between this and a Euro system, but you can’t mount it in your system.

  4. I’ve met Enrique through a few seminars in Austin. He’s a standout guy, very knowledgable and friendly. This synth though.. seen multiple reviews and I’m still not convinced.

  5. My feeling is that the PO modular are somewhere inbetween several chairs. Means, it’s for most of the possible customer not a perfect deal.

    I wish they would spend their R&D time for upgraded versions of the PO’s, that have Midi in, can be sync’d via midi clock, the punch-in effects controlled via midi as do with knobs and buttons in a nice, cool housing, possibly 4-voice polyphony and 4-part multitimbral, save and open patches. Would be super cool for any live setup…

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