Complete noob, advice needed on which PO to purchase

Hi all,

I want to purchase my first PO but I don’t know which one of the six to buy.
I just want to make cool tracks for my own pleasure, to have fun, so I would look to purchase a PO that can do a bit of everything, a full “song” by itself.
I would like to be able to dump/record the “songs” so that I can listen to them offline.
Having looked through the six, I would initially discard Sub and Office.
Everybody raves about PO-12, but I am not looking just for drums or a base, but more of a full song, so I am more inclined to Robot, Arcade or Factory.
Trouble is, I don’t really know much about the whole thing, so I am learning it all as I go.

My assumption is that by solely using the PO, without anything else, I could produce the songs, without having to buy other stuff.
I don’t quite understand yet how to make a song. I imagine it would be a very laborious way without master keyboard, etc., but I don’t mind that. Is it possible to just do it with the PO?

Many thanks!

Well, I think you CAN do a song with only one PO, but these little devices are VERY limited in both arrangement and sound. Why not start with something more complete and flexible? Like an Electribe 2 or MC-303?

Besides you’d need some kind of DAW software for arrangement and stuff…

I think POs are nice tools for just playing around, jamming and making loops.

Thank you for your comment.

I just want to use this cheap PO as entry level, have a play around, do some music and “impress” my wife, so that she lets me spend more money on more equipment like the one you describe.
If I can sell it as something so easy that my 6-year old would also enjoy playing with it, I might get the go ahead to get more budget.

I will show my wife a video like this one of an 8-year old making cool songs using the first 3 POs to see if I can soften her heart.

Good strategy : )

I couldn’t wait any longer and went and bought the PO-20 Arcade.

Now I saw the OP1 and a youtube video of a guy using it and want one. However, that would really be difficult to justify to my wife :S (maybe long-term project).

If things go well with the PO-20, I plan on getting more operators for Xmas, birthday, etc. I’ll try to get my son involved too…

Now that you have it, The PO-20 Arcade is probably best bet… It’s a bit odd, in some ways, as it’s so chiptune / arcade sound specific. But it’s kindof a hybrid drum machine and synth and it has the chord progression (and chord drone) feature that make it easy to make a lot of sounds and even songs within a single unit.

Both Sub and Factory from the original lineup have basic drum machines built in, also allowing for complete songs. The Rhythm does have a couple of synth-sounds (tracks 15 and 16) but not enough for a track, but now that you have the Arcade on order, the Rhythm (or Office) would work as a dedicated drum machine companion if you’re wondering what to get for your second PO :slight_smile:

They also work together well with Korg’s Volcas thanks to the Volca and PO syncing. This is one of my favorite videos - some really lovely sounds out of about $220 worth of gear!

Volca FM meets PO-12 - YouTube

The arcade was my first TE purchase. Then the robot. For complete sounding tracks you’ll want the arcade, but only if chiptune is your thing. Be warned it gets addictive!!

The WAF (wife acceptance factor) of the OP-1 is way higher than of the POs. My wife has even forbidden me to sell this cutie. The POs are just some horrible naked tiny electronic devices that make aweful noise.

“Hey look, I can even record the voice of our son and make a cool song with it.”

The WAF (wife acceptance factor) of the OP-1 is way higher than of the POs. My wife has even forbidden me to sell this cutie. The POs are just some horrible naked tiny electronic devices that make aweful noise.
Clearly you don't have a Chinese wife. Cash is king and can't be wasted in useless things,only on things that will make more money or make our children medical doctors.

Trust me, my plan is the right one with my wife. “Invest” little money on a proof of concept, convince her I can make money selling my songs (even if I don’t plan to) or DJ’ing and then get that precious angel venture capital off her.

Had a friend play with my PO-20, a Mini Kaoss Pad, and a UE Megaboom. He seemed a very happy puppy and was jamming away for about an hour while the rest of the away party was having a beer and a barbie. Good times. For an all-in-one HW synth this is definitely the PO to get. I still think my PO-12 is the “better” PO though :wink:

Good mention on the Korg Kaoss pad mini @crudeoperator.
@sprocket314 I would have a look at Kaossillator 1 or 2 .Serious bang for book and super easy to get complete beats out of basic finger wiggles. both (1&2) are good but KO 2 and 2s has sd card to store to.
Kaoss Pad mini 2 & 2s have recording audio to SD -with line input too , so can handle Pocket Operator recordings. KO 2 has recording to SD ,but its input is mic,not line :frowning: .Haven’t tried recording hot synths into it and I would use KP for that every time.
With KP you sacrifice a great jammable synth but gain a super FX performance tool for twisting POs (or your voice).
All stuff stored on SD card is easily dropped onto desk top of computers with basic card reader or similar.

My word! Now I NEED a Kaoss Pad Mini after your comments and seeing the video. This is going to be an expensive Christmas!

Looking at one of Cuckoo’s videos last night, I thought about my next purchasing step (in spending progression) being an Arturia Keystep keyboard (

An easier input to the PO20, with extra functionality.

I suppose the evolution would be PO-20 → Arturia Keystep keyboard → Kaoss Pad Mini → … -->OP1 :stuck_out_tongue:

An easier input to the PO20, with extra functionality.
Easy there cowboy, hold your horses. Note-wise the KeyStep only sends Midi or CV and the POs accept neither. You could use the Sync-Out on the KeyStep but without anything else (like for example a Volca which accepts Midi or an iPad which accepts USB Midi) you won't have much fun with the KeyStep.

And that’s where I get lost. Is there a “newbies read these basics” document or tutorial in the forum or somewhere on the Internet?

Haha ,not exactly.
You could alway look up midi or cv on wiki, but I think you’ve done ok here. One of the friendlier music tech forums.
Basicly that keyboard doesn’t make a sound, it just sends control signals for “note on/off” type stuff.
The POs don’t revive this, they only respond to a BPM clock sync to keep them in time with other POs and this works with korg Volca and Monotribe also.

Yes, I was thinking on using the keyboard as an easier way of programming the PO-20 and also as a second “PO”.

I don’t know.
What would you suggest the progression should be?
How would be your chain below?

<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18.2px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>PO-20 --> Arturia Keystep keyboard --> Kaoss Pad Mini --> … -->OP1

@crudeoperator was right.No need for Keystep.It does nothing here.
Start with PO and KPmini if you can.Look at Kaossillator (1 or 2) aswell,its a super synth.If you like that,you may consider PO12 intead (?) unless you’re really into the chip sound of PO20 (which is understandable,but very niche,so all your tunes may sound like a C64 or Nintendo).
Kaossillator–>PO–>KPmini to start.
Consider KO1 if you buy a KPmini2 ,as KO1 is nice.Both are cheap 2nd hand.

How would a Korg Volca FM fit within your suggestion?