Pocket Operator PO-33

Created 2019-08-25 / Edited 2019-08-26

See also Music Gear and Setup

right:PO33 In 2019 I got a Pocket Operator PO-33, part of the "Metal" series of devices from Teenage Engineering. This is a sampler and step-sequencer in a pocket-calculator-esq form factor. Very fun! These are some notes.

Resources:

Data

  • Sound 1-8, "Melodic"
    • Single sound per button
  • Sound 9-16, "Drump"
    • 16 sound-slices per button
    • Each slice is an independent thing

Controls:

  • "sound" button
  • "pattern" button
  • "bpm" button
  • Rotator-A (left)
  • Rotator-B (right)
  • "record" button
  • "FX" button
  • "play" button
  • "write" button
  • Melodic buttons
    • Button-1
    • Button-2
    • Button-3
    • Button-4
    • Button-5
    • Button-6
    • Button-7
    • Button-8
  • Drum buttons
    • Button-9
    • Button-10
    • Button-11
    • Button-12
    • Button-13
    • Button-14
    • Button-15
    • Button-16

Map of modes and inputs and displays:

  • Current selections
    • You currently have one sound selected
      • Press "sound" -- assigned sounds are dim-lit, current sound is flashing bright-lit
    • You currently have one active pattern, though you may be in part of a pattern-chain
      • Press "pattern" -- assigned patterns are dim-lit, patterns in the current pattern-chain are bright-lit, current pattern is flashing bright-lit
    • You currently have one FX selected
      • "FLT" - Filter
        • Displays "?" on the screen below feedback area (upper-right)
        • Rotator A (left) LPF, noF, HPF
        • Rotator B (right) Res (Resonance)
      • "tri" - Trim
        • No trim-mode indicator
        • Display at bottom of screen indicates start/length of slice
        • Rotator A (left) - slice start offset
        • Rotator B (right) - slice length
      • "ton" - Tone
        • Displays "!" in a quote-bubble below feedback area (upper-right) when in tone-mode
        • Rotator A (left) - Display "Ptc", indicates slow-down or speed-up of sample, amount indicated on bottom scale
        • Rotator B (right) - Display "UoL" for "volume", indicates volume level of sample, amount indicated on bottom scale
  • Perform mode "PrF" (default)
    • Button-1 through Button-16 -- Trigger sound
      • If current sound is melodic, pitch will change based on which button you press
      • If current sound is drum, each button 1-16 will trigger one of the drum slices
  • Edit mode (press/release "write", record-icon displayed when in edit mode)
    • Buttons will be dim-lit on each of the 16 steps that are assigned for the current sound
    • Buttons will be bright-lit on each of the 16 steps with the current sound-tone or sound-slice
    • Long-press a dim-lit button to switch the current slice to that button
  • Play Mode
    • Press the "play" button to start/stop play-mode
    • Play (right-triangle) indicator appears on the screen to the left of the clock
    • During play-mode the 1-16 buttons will bright-lit on each step
    • Each step also flashes the play-button on the beat
    • The entire pattern-chain will play
    • The current pattern number is displayed, like "P-1" through "P-16"
      • During chains it will change from one pattern to the next as it plays
    • Write+(1..16) - add the current sound (melodic note or drum-trigger) at the current step
    • Hold down "FX"
      • Current step switches from bright-lit to dim-lit
      • Current effect (1-16) is bright-lit
      • No-effect (16) is bright-lit by default
  • Play+Edit Mode
  • Play+Perform Mode
    • Sound bright-lit blink when triggered
      • If a drum is on button-10, then every time ANY drum on button-10 is triggered then button-10 will light up
  • Record Mode
    • Hold down the "record" button
    • Blinks "rEc"
    • Displays monitor scale of volume level of input
    • Additionally hold down 1-16 to record to a sound
    • If the target sound is a drum (9-16), at the end of the recording the sound will be sliced
      • Slicing is done based on "transients", bits of silence
    • Record+Sound -> Delete current sound
      • Displays "dEL" during deletion, which can take a second or two
    • Record+Pattern -> Clear the current pattern
      • Displays "cLr" during clearing, which can take a second or two
      • Clears only the current pattern in the pattern chain, keeps the chain sequence
  • Backup Mode
    • Press write+sound+play
    • Cancel by pressing any button
  • Restore Mode
    • Press write+sound+record
    • Cancel by pressing any button