PO-20 Arcade Review

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PO-20 Arcade Review

Given its name, the PO-20 Arcade from Teenage Engineer can seem downright gimmicky. Part of a recent trio from the company, the PO-20 Arcade sounds interesting. After all, who doesn’t want to create some 8-bit-style sounds? At the same time, as much fun as it sounds, it can be difficult to imagine such appeal having long enough legs to justify the purchase. Even at the usual low price offered by the company, you don’t want something that will quickly wear out its welcome.

To that end, we think you’re going to be surprised.

PO-20 Arcade Features

While it helps to love 8-bit soundscapes in the first place, there is an element of singular versatility to the features of the PO-20 Arcade. This mini-sequencing-synthesizer offers sixteen distinctive sounds. If you know your old-school video games, then a lot of these sounds are going to hit you right in that nostalgic sweet spot. Even if they don’t, a quick run-through of these sounds can show in no uncertain terms what this module offers.

The workflow features are designed to be as streamlined as possible. The idea is that right out of the box, in a matter of minutes, you should be putting some 8-bit beats down. The PO-20 Arcade delivers nicely on this front. You can thank the powerhouse chord engines that have been built into these modules. Also impressive is the potential for pattern chaining that tops out at a staggering 128.

If you want to add some adventurous touches to your sequence, keep in mind that you have sixteen punch-in effect options.

PO-20 Arcade Pros

There are some rather unique and varying pros to the PO-20 Arcade:

  • The chord function: It is worth mentioning again that the chord function really helps the PO-20 to stand out from the crowd.
  • Authentic: There is no question that these sounds evoke that 8-bit goodness you might be looking for. You can even call it earthy.
  • Lots of ways to tweak: At the same time, this isn’t simply limited to evocative sounds. There is enough here to come up with some truly original compositions.

PO-20 Arcade Cons

There are a couple of minor considerations with the PO-20 Arcade:

  • If you never sync it up, you’ll probably run out of ideas eventually.


It is clear the PO-20 Arcade is more than just a fun novelty.


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