Mon. Mar 4th, 2024

Teenage Engineering’s new $300 groovebox has no enterprise being this cute. That’s the entire level.

The EP–133 Ok.O.II (we’ll simply name it Knock Out II) is a mixture drum machine, synthesizer and sampler. It’s a supersized improve to Teenage Engineer’s pint-sized PO-33 Ok.O, which presents most of the similar options for a fraction of the worth.

The vibe of the Knock Out II is decidedly extra Nineteen Eighties drum pc than fashionable Roland groovebox. Its buttons, knobs and sole fader seem nearly outsized on the skinny machine. I’m undecided precisely how one can work it, however that leaves me no much less tempted to fork over the cash.

Whether or not you take into account Teenage Engineering’s audio gear overdesigned, overpriced or simply proper, I’m merely glad the VC-backed startup makes issues that elicit an emotional response. It’s refreshing to see a {hardware} firm get bizarre with it; most appear overly preoccupied with chasing Apple down its minimalist rabbit gap.

Getting bizarre with it’s Teenage Engineering’s entire factor. The Swedish agency creates wi-fi audio system, grooveboxes and hypebeasty equipment for listeners and musicians alike. Their devices typically characteristic Lego-like tactile buttons and knobs, with a design language blurs distinct aesthetics — suppose: cassette futurism meets brutalism meets KB Toys.

Teenage Engineering constructed a following through its tremendous inexpensive (and in my expertise, frustratingly fragile) Pocket Operator sequencers, however in recent times the corporate’s devoted extra consideration to higher-end gear. That’s left a few of its followers priced out of the enjoyable. The worth tag on the Knock Out II temptingly occupies a center floor. It’s not a stocking stuffer, but it surely additionally isn’t two grand.  

Mastering a drum machine and sequencer takes time, and Teenage Engineering’s merchandise are sometimes so feature-packed and distinct that they arrive with a studying curve. Nonetheless, the design of Knock Out II makes it appear approachable. It seems to plead — maybe deceptively, if you happen to aren’t keen to place within the hours — that “you may completely study this!” For now, I’ll strive my greatest to withstand the gearhead siren track.

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