Great PO Combos for Beginners
Anyone who owns a Pocket Operator knows that the real fun starts when you combine multiple POs and sync them together. Looking to pick up a second or third PO and expand your collection? It can be tough to decide which one to get next. In this article, we are going to discuss three great combinations which should cover a wide range of users. We picked all of these combos with balance in mind. Meaning that each device will cover the other’s weaknesses.
If you are just looking to start your collection with a single device, you may want to read our other article, Top 3 Beginner Pocket Operators.
Great PO Combos for Beginners
Arcade + Robot = Chiptune
The PO-20 Arcade paired with the PO-28 Robot can make some serious chiptune tracks. If you own either of these devices individually, you really should pick up the other ASAP. One of the reasons they work so well is that they both feature real 8-bit synthesized sounds. After all, they both come from the 2nd series of Pocket Operators. With the arcade covering backing chords, and bleep effects, the robot can cover both bass and leads. Even though neither of these machines are dedicated drum machines, they both have drum or drum-like effects. By combining them and using a little bit of creativity, you can definitely create some interesting drum beats to support the rest of your track. If you want to start a PO collection with two devices, you can’t go wrong with the chiptune combo.
Rhythm + Sub = Drum & Bass
The second combo is the PO-12 Rhythm and the PO-14 Sub. Conveniently named Drum & Bass, this PO combo features two focused machines: one for drums, and another for deep heavy bass. On its own, the Rhythm is a fully featured drum machine that really fulfills any role in any genre it needs to. The Sub, on the other hand, is capable of producing some really rough, powerful, impactful sounds perfect for dubstep or other electronic genres. While this combo is more limited compared to the other two in the article, it makes up for it by providing solid backing for your tracks. Of course, it still is possible to cover lead and melody sections with the Rhythm or Sub, but it’s not really their strong points. Ideally this combo would be more suited for someone who already has another instrument or synthesizer, and needs to beef that up.
Rhythm + Sub + Factory/Robot = Next Level Operating
3 POs is the pinnacle of Pocket Operators. Drums covered by PO-12 Rhythm, bass covered by PO-14 Sub, and leads covered by PO-16 Factory or PO-28 Robot. With Teenage Engineering always releasing 3 POs per series, this is really the way they are meant to be used. While you couldn’t go wrong by getting each PO from the same series, there are a few issues which might hold some beginners back. Firstly, the PO-2X series, has the PO-24 Office, which is really weird and unorthodox. The PO-3X series would be great if they weren’t so expensive. So let’s stick with the 1X series. There’s still a lot of power here, and you can create many different styles of music. When deciding between Robot or Factory, I recommend checking out samples and videos of both to decide. But, you can’t go wrong with either one.
Of course, all POs are built to be compatible with one-another. Some people even sync up multiples of the same PO. Two Arcades for ridiculous chiptunes, or two PO-33 K.O!s for serious sampling. However, beginners should stick to getting at least two devices from different categories (drum, backing, or lead) to ensure better coverage. What are your favorite two or three PO combos?