A paradigm shift in modular?


Modular synthesizers has long been the go to route for musician with slighter bigger pockets. Building a modular wall will cost you a fortune, but in the same way as KORG has realized that there is money to make from wanna-be geeks with the newly announced Volca modular, so have the creative team in Sweden Teenage Engineering with their new modular series.

Their IKEA inspired DIY modular series may well become their best selling product yet, as it so neatly taps in to the ongoing surge for modulars. As NAMM is upon we can foresee loads of attention on the new series that both powerful and nasty screamish in colors. Videos are beginning to pour in so go ahead and indulge yourself below:

Teenage Engineering’s new Pocket Operator Modular 400 modular synthesizer kit at the 2019 NAMM Show. Tobias gives us a quick rundown of Pocket Operator Modular 400’s features, sounds, and future plans for Teenage Engineering’s affordable modular system .

Teenage Engineering’ s pocket operator modular series are contrast to the more expensive modular synths already on the market. And as they state themselves:
“we decided to design an instantly rewarding, cheaper and more portable modular system. it comes in three different colors and sizes. we simply call them the 16, the 170 and the 400, spanning from $149 – $499. our goal was to create a “poor man´s modular” and in order to make the system really affordable they all come in flat pack kits, ready to bend, build and assemble from scratch”

Up until now, it has been a high barrier for new users to enter the modular scene.
“it’s expensive and also hard to figure out what modules you need to start with. we used our pocket operator platform as a starting point to develop an easy to use modular system at an affordable price (and as with all pocket operators we have of course compromised on everything except sound quality). the solution we came up with this time is three (almost disposable) pre-configured chassis’ made out of thin bendable aluminium sheet metal. because of this, people can discover basic configurations and learn how to use and how to think about a modular synthesizer, and when they are ready to grow their system, they just move the modules to an open frame chassi and perhaps start to add more modules and configuration of their own choice”

Teenage Engineering’s modules all use the same 3.5mm jack inputs as Eurorack modules and are fully compatible with the format. The modules themselves are smaller than Eurorack specifications, but Teenage Engineering says that they can be converted to fit Eurorack enclosures using its guide to create your own front panels.

The 16 keyboard, which has tuneable keys and a step sequencer, is designed for use with the 400 model, but can also be used with other modular synths. It costs $149, which makes it a competitively priced control option for anyone who already owns a modular.

16
16 is a musical keyboard with 16 keys with individual tuning option, comes with a built-in programmable sequencer.
4x AA battery operated comes with the user manual.
$149

170
170 is a monophonic analog synthesizer with built-in keyboard, programmable sequencer, speaker box and battery pack. 9 modules in total and 8 patch cables plus manual
$349

400
The 400 is the top of the line modular synthesizer with warm natural analog sound. with a carrying handle on the back. includes a 1-16 step sequencer and three oscillators, filter, lfo and much more! 16 modules in total and 8 patch cables plus manual.
$499

All kits come with a 70 pages full colour build manual including examples of patches. A single module option will be introduced later this year. Find out more at https://teenage.engineering/products/po/modular