PO 30 Series Cost vs Quality vs Value

Hello all,
I have been really interested in the PO 30 line. After watching a number of videos, tutorials, etc, they all look like good fun…

However, I am hesitant. Of the three POs I have purchased previously, two of them have failed within a few weeks.

The cost of them are also really high in Japan. They are all listed at 11,800 yen which is about $110 USD. Cases are about $50. That is about 160 dollars for a protected PO-33!

To put that into perspective, I can get any of the Korg Volcas for about 120 dollars (or the FM for 105). In the US a Korg Kaossilator Pro + costs 329 dollars, whereas I can get one here for less than 200.

Which begs the question, would you still
buy the PO30 series if your options at the same price point included things like the Volcas, Kaoss Line, Roland Samplers, etc? Or are they worth it regardless of the cost? I am having trouble deciding for myself.

Thanks for your input.

Hi <a href=“https://www.operator-1.com/index.php?p=/profile/3760/TwoEightJP” class=“Username” style=“font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 15px; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration-line: none; color: rgb(1, 115, 198); background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>TwoEightJP<span style=“font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; color: rgb(37, 38, 30); background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”> ,

<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>I also live in Japan and I agree, prices are quite steep. But the PO-33 for example is well worth it. No other sampler is that tiny and can run on 2 AAAs for such a long time. I tried a lot of samplers and the 33 is worth every ¥.
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>The cases are…well I had a case for the PO-20 once upon a time and they are just a huge waste of money. They make pressing the buttons very hard and don’t really offer that much protection.
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>Save yourself some money and get another PO instead of two cases.
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>I haven’t tried the Volcas, but from what I heard the Sample can’t even sample directly…which seems a bit ridiculous, the other ones don’t look too bad though.
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>
<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>Hope this helps a little with your decision.


<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>PS: Did I mention you should get the 33 immediately ?

I love the PO 35 I just bought.
Easily as good as my volca Fm,Keys or Monotribe.

I love my PO-32 & 35, but both have some QC issues that disapointment me a little. My Tonic has a crooked B knob, angled toward the A knob noticeably. My Speak has a bad connection in the knobs tht leads to almost constant automation/value changes. Uninvasive tinkering has provided no results.

I have to second the build quality issues with the POs in general, I wasn’t sure if it was just me, or if perhaps things have changed with the new models but I have the three from the first line (PO-1x) and two have button issues that started within the first months of owning, one made the device temporarily unusable. Im super anal about my gear and they’ve never been abused. Support unfortunately not very helpful, so I had to disassemble the button and replace the little metal snap disk. It now works “ok” but have to press real hard. Though I really like some of the features of the 2x & 3x the issues have held me back as well. While it seems that the new line hits an intersting combo with features and concept I’m not super confident yet.

i think they all have dodgy pots. i’ve had them all except the speak and the sub. every one had jumpy values to some degree.

some were worse than others. some right out of the gate, some more developed over time, some a very short period of time.

i’ve been tempted to try swapping the pots for some nicer ones.
but not sure if its going to help at all.
like is it the pot or is it the ADC or the code that is picking up the “noise”…
i can press down on the shaft to get the jumpiness to stop so maybeeee.

the jumpiness is particularly intrusive on the KO compared to the non-sampling ones.
like constantly wiggling between pitches or randomly changing the volume/filter.
trimming is kind of a nightmare if the knobs are going wacky.
or if u forget to change away from trim once u are done and it starts changing all your slices on its own.
not being able to sample because if it picks up a knob change when u are holding down record
it will quit out of record mode. “rST” it says.

Does anyone know where I might find 3-D printed cases for the PO33 KO? Seems to me these pocket operators are crying out for some stylish (non expensive) 3rd party cases

Depends on what you want to achieve . My advice is to also look at second hand products too. If you live in Japan pick up a second hand Yamaha sampler/keyboard they are awesome for the same price in Japan.

Its cheaper to order direct from TE including shipping than buying in Japan. The new Pro cases with a hole for the mic are way better than the old ones, buttons feel nice.

<a href=“https://www.operator-1.com/index.php?p=/profile/100/docshermsticks” class=“Username” style=“margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-weight: bold; font-size: 15px; font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; text-decoration-line: none; color: rgb(66, 157, 168); background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”>docshermsticks<span style=“color: rgb(37, 38, 30); font-family: “lucida grande”, “Lucida Sans Unicode”, tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; background-color: rgb(252, 252, 255);”> also planning on swapping out the pots on the KO, let me know if you find a good replacement. On mine the B knob is super buggy so if I hold bpm to change the value it just jumps to a random tempo.

Pot replacement part : ALPS RK09K1130AP5
https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/ALPS/RK09K1130AP5/?qs=6EGMNY9ZYDRMiTGy256iug==

Its cheaper to order direct from TE including shipping than buying in Japan. The new Pro cases with a hole for the mic are way better than the old ones, buttons feel nice.
docshermsticks also planning on swapping out the pots on the KO, let me know if you find a good replacement. On mine the B knob is super buggy so if I hold bpm to change the value it just jumps to a random tempo.
mine have been behaving ever since i made that post above about swapping them.
guess they heard me...lol

but i did order these the other day from mouser
https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/688-RK09L1140A66

still waiting for them prolly another week.
they are metal shaft and the lowest shaft i could find (12.5mm) as opposed to the standard (15mm)
should help them a lil from standing out too much. hope they work out good! i'll let u know

i already have some 15mm and they look like they would be really tall on the PO.
theres also not much spacing for a knob cap to fit on the pots soo we'll see what happens.

following up here. swapping pots seems to totally fix the wonky values
i did this about a week or two ago. no problems since.
used the pots i linked in the post above from mouser
https://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/688-RK09L1140A66

knob caps that fit the tight spacing were hard to find to purchase on their own.
as in i could not find any.
lucked out w/ some real small knobs on gear i already own.
ended up taking some knobs off my roland boutique tr08
(also could have used tr09 knobs, maybe other boutiques too and maker hart just mixer)
and ordering replacements from roland directly via telephone at like $2.75 a pop or something sorta ridiculous.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiaZLNhn3bd/?taken-by=digdugdiy

@docshermsticks said:
following up here. swapping pots seems to totally fix the wonky values
i did this about a week or two ago. no problems since.

wow, good work! Looks like you had to destroy the original ones in order to remove them, as with Elektron gear?

thanks man!

yea the originals fell apart while i was attempting to desolder.
if u are super crafty or have the better desoldering tools
u wouldn’t necessarily have to rip them apart.
but def saved me some time and headache to cut and dismantle.
i’m p. good w/ the solder sucker now but u can only go so far so fast w/ the primitive tools sometimes.

not sure what elektron uses, but some type of 9mm pot like this is pretty common on lots of gear.

Elektron gear uses similar encoders (endless though of course), their official guide actually recommends prying the enclosure apart and cutting it up into pieces before desoldering. Replacing encoders on my Octatrack was a stressful endeavour as a result!

tbh i think its a pretty common technique for any components w/ more than 2 legs.
to cut up so u can pull the part out of the board.

i don’t think it has anything to do w/ elektron.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BiaZLNhn3bd/?taken-by=digdugdiy

Manly…