PO-12 Rhythm Review

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PO-12 Rhythm Review

Products like the PO-12 Rhythm from Teenage Engineering ask the question: Do you really need an outer case for a straightforward-yet-surprisingly-deep drum machine? They don’t seem to think so. Teenage Engineering has built a strong reputation behind offering bare bones products that focus on performance above all else.

The PO-12 is a good example of what we are talking about. It doesn’t look very flashy, but it has an element of compulsory creativity behind it. This can be emphasized nicely with a serious look at its features and benefits.

PO-12 Rhythm Features

This example of streamlined PC boards has a lot to offer, in terms of sounds and effects. The PO-12 gives you sixteen drum sounds that you can tweak, a sixteen-step sequencer with sixteen chainable pattern ideas, and sixteen unique effects. This obviously isn’t the deepest drum machine in town, but it’s a fantastic tool for beginners. At the same time, even more experienced artists can find some intriguing possibilities with this tabletop synth rig companion.

You should also keep in mind that each of your sixteen sample/synthesized drum sounds come with two real-time parameters each. Bit crushes, stutters, and delays are a few examples of what you can do with your effects. There is also an integrated folding stand, featuring an on-board Knowles speaker, so you can use this drum machine on its own with ease. At the same time, setting it up with the rest of your setup is going to prove to be a breeze.

PO-12 Rhythm Pros

There are some pretty appealing advantages to the PO-12:

  • Incredibly intuitive: Many users have noted that this drum machine is a blast to use simply for being so intuitive. You don’t need a lot of experience to get cracking.
  • Plays well with others: Easy integration with other modules, including products from the Volca line, gives the PO-12 the ability to meet a wide range of needs.
  • Exceptional sound: Thanks to the Cirrus Logic DAC and Silicon Labs EFM-32 Gecko-MCU, the sound quality here is exceptional.

PO-12 Rhythm Cons

While an excellent no-frills drum machine, the PO-12 has some potential issues, as well:

  • The animated display is nice, but it can be a little confusing for some.
  • There could be a little more documentation for those just learning to use drum machines.


The PO-12 is proof positive that you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to have a drum machine with some serious creative potential.


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