What if a drum machine were as small and appealing as those old Game & Watch portable Nintendo games?

That’s the latest design challenge undertaken by the mad scientists at Teenage Engineering. And the creation has some serious lineage: Jesper Kouthoofd, CEO of Teenage Engineering and designer of the new board, contributed to the original Machinedrum.

The board made its appearance for the first time in the general public at the panel I moderated at Moogfest, alongside Moog’s Cyril Lance. (Now, that’s more fun to bring to a presentation than a PowerPoint slide deck, right?)

The size is about the same as a Game & Watch (or a slightly-oversized business card), but via parameter locks, you can make use of its mere two knobs. The parameter lock, in fact, was popularized by the original Machinedrum (no coincidence); it allows individual steps to have parameters “locked” to them, as in per-step changes.

“The sounds will be synthesized with custom synth engines for every drum sound optimised for use with two knobs.” says Jesper. “The optimisation for two knobs is to make the parameter lock feature as creative and interesting as possible.”

Other details:

  • Target price, while not finalized, should be around US$50/50€.
  • As on the Nintendo game units, a metal wire stand can prop it up.
  • Also inspired by Game & Watch, it’ll have a custom segment LCD display.
  • There’s no MIDI (though it is supported on the chip onboard, theoretically), but you can chain devices via audio input and output jacks.
  • Shipping late summer to general public




You’ll notice in the pictures there isn’t yet a display. This is the prototype made for Moogfest. It wasn’t done in time, but a limited 200-unit run will go out to artists, before a more complete model is available to the rest of us soon.

And, as it happens, I’ll be in Stockholm in May. Stockholm is where Teenage Engineering lives. Huh. How about that. So, you might want to stay glued here in a couple of weeks if you want to know more, or just come along and drink Aquavit with us – either way.