Sure, it’s small, but this Street Fighter punches well above its weight. The latest Pocket Operator from Teenage Engineering is all about the arcade. We tested it out in the Engineering the Sound studio.
Teenage Engineering’s Pocket Operator line of synths, samplers, sequencers and all-round performance powerhouses have been a fan favourite for years now. The latest release in the series celebrates the magical lo-fi sounds of PO-133 Street Fighter and we couldn’t wait to go ten rounds with it at Engineering the Sound.
The Pocket Operator series has always been quirky. Bursting onto the scene with instruments built around classic drum machine tones and bass grooves, they also introduced sequencers that were inspired by the office, the factory, robots and more. If you include Street Fighter and the upcoming Megaman, there are 11 Pocket Operators in total so far.
And with an established line comes tradition: the unboxing experience is a delight. The miniature stand, the tastefully curated graphic user interface — just like the other Pocket Operators. All of it screams of a company that won’t let anything out the door until it’s been honed to aesthetic perfection.
The arcade experience is an intense one, and firing up the PO-133 Street Fighter invites a flood of childhood memories. The soundbites (Hadouken! You lose! etc.), the gritty punching sound effects, the synth soundtracks are available to harness in novel musical ways. Plus, you can incorporate your own samples via an auxiliary input or the built-in microphone.
The sequencing engine invites you to play, and keep playing. Effects are designed to be brought in on-the-fly, so you never have to lose the groove — which is especially fun if you’re syncing it with another Pocket Operator.