That’s what we want more of …
Modular synths are all the rage right now. And it’s not just the usual players either. Korg and Stylophone recently dipped their toes in the modular world. And now Teenage Engineering is getting on the bandwagon. The company is best known for its portable music creation tools like the OP-1and OP-Z, not to mention the damn near disposable, but kinda awesome Pocket Operator line. This year it’s making it first modular system and also its first analog synth with the Pocket Operator Modular series.
Dubbed simply the 16, 170 and 400, these new devices are what Teenage Engineering is proudly calling “the poor man’s modular.” They’re reasonably priced introductions to the complicated and often incredibly expensive world of modular synthesis, where instead of having a traditional keyboard with a predetermined signal path, you actually have to wire different parts together to create the sound you want.
The 16 is a simple modular membrane keyboard, it doesn’t make any sound on it’s own, but it can be connected to other gear with control voltage (CV) in jacks. The 170 keeps that membrane keyboard and connects it to a simple monophonic synth with a single square wave oscillator, LFO, envelope generator, sequencer and everything else you’d need to start making music (or at least noise), including a speaker. Lastly there’s the 400 — the big boy of the group. It includes Square, Sine and Saw oscillators, 2 VCAs, 2 envelopes, a mixer, random generator, a 16-step Sequencer, LFO, noise module, filter, and more for a total of 16 different modules. It loses the keyboard from the 170, but keeps the speaker.
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