Don´t want to overpromote my shit here, but I released a split beat tape last year which one of the sides was made only with Pocket Operators: https://aeoner.bandcamp.com/track/a-side-heatwave-breaks
I listened to it when I was deciding whether to buy one or not and it definitely convinced me that they were more than toys. I’m listening to it again and it’s beautiful!
I read in the Bandcamp notes
Processed with Oto Biscuit, Boss SP-303 and Ableton Live 9 for effects only, no editions.
Could you please elaborate a bit more on this? I’m trying to add some eq and effects on what I record from my POs but I’m super ignorant about audio mastering and such…
Anyway yesterday I realized I had never tried making some drum and bass despite being an huge fan (especially of the older and darker stuff) so I made a quick try:
Good to know that the beat tape helped you to get into the Pocket Operators. I definitely think that they aren´t just toys. Indeed, I believe that TE put sincere efforts to create the most powerful electronic music instruments that you can have with less than 100 USD and in a extremely portable format. It´s a meticulous work there - in some ways, more delicate and deep than the OP-1. It´s fascinating and it´s becoming even more interesting with the metal series, which opens the POs to a deeper universe of synthesis and sampling.
Yes, I def can elaborate more about the PO’s processing. If it´s interesting to the community, I can also go deeper in a specific topic about my experience of playing live with them, explaining my techniques and the ways to avoid some pitfalls. Coming back to the process:
In this beat tape I used basically the Tonic and Arcade (frankly, I´m not sure if one of the beats was also made with the Robot - used it for the lives in Japan - specialy for transitions - but don´t remember if one of those beats was made with it). Tonic standard kit is very good in the low end and can do nice noise textures. The Arcade is beautiful, with a prominent high end that I tamed with the Ableton Live EQ (the simpler/DJ three band one);
The way that the PO use effects is so elegant. As explained in the Microtonic videos (and I´m pretty sure that the same logic was used in the other PO´s), the effects aren´t DSP but clever ways of modulating/playing/bending/repeating the sounds. It´s easier to understand if you used more primitive trackers like LSDJ, where, for example, you can even do “chords” based on fast repetitions of tracks. Because of this, although there are some delay-like effects (the Arcade for example have some “openess” on it that´s very interesting), it´s very hard to simulate reverbs. Because the POs can sound a little dry - and even an small amount of reverb can make them shine so much! - I used also a little bit of Ableton reverb;
My favorite reaction of people hearing the POs playing for the first time: it sounds MASSIVE. The kicks are huge, the chords are powerful. But it sounds digitally clean (a side note: the K.O and Speak are noisier/warmer), so I like using the Oto Biscuit, with a little drive and noise, for added crunchiness and distorting them a little (with the EQ after)’;
Finally, the SP-303 have a very unique and interesting algorithm called Vinyl Sim, which is a compressor (a gentle one) with “vinyl hiss”. I like the way that I glues the sound, so used it too. I´ve also used the SP-303 filter (which works as a kind of isolator) and, If I´m not wrong, the Oto Biscuit filter too (an analog multimode filter that If I used it, was in the lowpass mode).