Pocket Operator PO-35 Vocal Synthesizer Review

Let’s take a close-up look at the Pocket Operator PO-35 Vocal Synthesizer – from Teenage Engineering.

The PO-35 is small.

How small? Smaller than an iPhone.

Pocket Operator - The mini synths that fit in your hand.
Pocket Operator – The mini synth that fits in your hand. This is the PO-35 Speak.

Pocket Operator PO-35 Synthesizer - It's smaller than an iPhone
Pocket Operator PO-35 Synthesizer – It’s smaller than an iPhone. This is the packaging.

Here it is out of the package – you can see it is a very minimalistic product.

It is a bare bones product , but that is part of the appeal – to make it fun and easy to make electronic music.

The PO-35, like the entire pocket operator line, is a bare bones, minimal product - but that's part of the fun.
The PO-35, like the entire pocket operator line, is a bare bones, minimal product – but that’s part of the fun.

It has a folding wire stand.

It is a very compact footprint when the wire stand is folded, but when it is extended it’s great for desktop or tabletop usage.

Why a folding wire stand?  So you can use it on a table or desk
Why a folding wire stand? So you can use it on a table or desk

Two AAA batteries go on the back. It’s sort of a tight fit – but once they are in, there is no danger that they will come loose.

There is a warning on the packaging about ESD – Electro Static Discharge.

PO-35 Pocket Operator - Batteries go in the back - 2 AAA batteries.
PO-35 Pocket Operator – Batteries go in the back – 2 AAA batteries. You can also see the folding wire stand.

This is a hazard with many exposed electronic devices – but we don’t think it’s too big of an issue with the PO-35.

How much battery life? You should get several months of use.

PO-35 Back View
PO-35 Back View – You can also see the line-in and headphone jacks on the top.

PO-35 - closeup of the two knobs - that control 4 different settings.
PO-35 – closeup of the two knobs – that control 4 different settings.

Close up of one of two jacks on the device (there's another one on the opposite side.)
Close up of one of two jacks on the device (there’s another one on the opposite side.)

The PO-35 has a small LCD display.

It can also double as an alarm clock.

LCD of the PO-35
LCD of the PO-35.

Closeup of the PO-35 keypad - many buttons serve multiple functions, so there is a learning curve - but that is part of the fun.
Closeup of the PO-35 keypad – many buttons serve multiple functions, so there is a learning curve – but that is part of the fun.

Why is this called the “Speak” model?

Technically it is a vocal synth – it has a microphone built-in for sampling.

You can also sample through the input jack.

The PO-35 has a built-in microphone for voice sampling
The PO-35 has a built-in microphone for voice sampling

Check back soon, and we’ll have more details about how to use the PO-35.

Want to save what you’ve done and ensure it is not over-written? Simply break off the lock tab.

You will need to solder it back on to write again though – so we’d recommend leaving it as-is.

The lock tab can be removed to ensure that what you've done is accidentally over-written or changed.
The lock tab can be removed to ensure that what you’ve done is accidentally over-written or changed.

Pocket Operator PO-35 – In Summary

It’s small, it’s cheap, and it’s a lot of fun.

The Pocket Operator series is an easy way to dip your toe in the waters of electronic music – in a tactile way – without a big investment.

It would make a great gift for a creative teenager or aspiring musician as well.

Pocket Operator - the mini synth that fits in your hand
Pocket Operator – the mini synth that fits in your hand

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