Teenage Engineering’s PO-32 is a powerful drum synth, literally in a calculator form factor. Now you can learn more – and update its sounds – from YouTube.

I do mean literally install sounds from YouTube. You see, the PO-32 uses a bizarre and clever update mechanism where it can absorb signals from sounds – meaning you can play the video and load sounds onto the hardware, a bit like those evil alien hypnosis tricks in old scifi movies.

Teenage Engineering and their PO-32 we already knew were great – and the hardware is well under a hundred bucks. But it takes the singular epic powers of music technologist Jakob Haq for us to unlock still more greatness.

First, the “EPIC” (his words, though I agree) review + tutorial:

Next, get some sounds. There’s The haQ attaQ TeQno TroniQ drum pack, for instance, with 16 new sounds and 4 “techno type” pattern chains:

But there’s more. As of this writing, he’s got a playlist with some seven sound banks, by genre. Good stuff:

Genius stuff. More on the product:


And you can find a bunch more links in Mr. Haq’s videos – including, not to be forgotten, that important Patreon link so you can support his work.

  • Such a neat idea! Hadn’t understood what Teenage Engineering meant by those awkward pictures about sharing a tonic session. As usual, Jakob makes it very clear. (The guy really should give training sessions to teenagers, of the not necessarily engineering kind.)

    Almost makes me nostalgic of the modem days.

  • Armando

    no bee dus lol 🙂

  • Thanks to this post, got one of these. (Almost wish CDM had an affiliate agreement with MoogAudio…) Had heard about the device for months, but this post (and Jakob’s awesome work) made it gel, for me.

    The PO-32 my first hardware drum machine (and my first teenage engineering device). Was never into the DM concept. Tried a few software implementations (especially on iOS) and they didn’t do much for me. But this works. And it might have to do with the difference between using a specialized app on an iOS device and a dedicated hardware device.

    Posted some thoughts about this on the Dawless Jammin’ group on Facebook. To me, the main advantages of the PO-32 over a software drum machine:

    1) Dedicated buttons and knobs.
    2) Battery life.
    3) Tiny form factor.
    4) Novelty.
    5) Constraints help creativity.
    6) Price.

    In a way, this pocket operator is opening a new dimension for me which wasn’t obvious from my limited experience with drum machine apps. Now, it should be easier for me to convert my PO-based learning into the use of these apps.

    What wasn’t clear to me before getting the PO is the impact the effects can have on the musicking. Watched a bit of the jam Cuckoo did with Andrew Huang and started getting what was happening.
    Part of the reason DMs never did it for me is that my ethnomusicological training and Jazz experience make 4/4 with straight 16ths “the box from which to break free”. Sure, there’s a lot of cool music done with that structure, but my own musicking tends not to fit. Performing with the PO, especially using the FX button, helps blur the borders around this 4×4 matrix, so to speak.

    So, this was something of an impulse purchase, based mostly on one short post and a couple of videos. No buyer’s remorse, yet.