Ever taught a synthesis course? At some point, you invariably try to explain an LFO as being like a machine turning the knob instead of your hand. Welp – Teenage Engineering just made that illustration literal. They also now have a line of barebones modules for €29 each a la carte, adaptable to Eurorack with some extra gear.
Okay, the module kits are cool enough, if very barebones. But I think you can’t beat the fun factor of this LEGO Mindstorms LFO crank. Practical? Not at all. Silly and fun to watch? Yes. And TE have actually been advocating mechanical add-ons to synthesizers for some time, so there is a philosophical background to this one.
It really is a robot that turns a knob in order to add modulation. Presumably, you could also program the robot for different modulation wave shapes, etc.
The project image there links to Linus Åkesson aka lft, whom I assume had something to do with this. Check out their page for a ton of cool hacks and projects, including some SID, C64, and microcontroller fun. It’s just a good, old-fashioned HTML rabbit hole:
And in other news, Teenage Engineering are offering up individual modules from their Pocket Operator Modular line, the POM-400. They’re cheap enough – €29 a pop for most. Just be aware these are bare boards, with knobs included, but still requiring power and a case and whatnot. And they’re in TE’s own format, so you need to do some extra work to fit them into a Eurorack, which is probably the prime use case here. It at least covers the basics:
- Square, sine, sawtooth oscillators
- Speaker (€49)
- Sequencer (€49)
- Power distro (€49)
- PSU (€49)
They’re such simple units that the low price is a little misleading – not to put you off them, just as I look closer, you might want to comparison shop a little. But they do have some detailed information on how to convert these to Eurorack if you’re so inclined:
It’s certainly attractive and compact, and might pair well with other DIY stuff.
Maybe the most appealing is actually the POKIT, which adapts the Pocket Operator Keyboard to Euro, providing an ultra-compact sequencer + keyboard + arpeggiator with quantization and tons of CV connectivity, all in a single unit.
To anyone who doesn’t care for the sound or design of the POM, this might actually be the sleeper hit – like a love child of a Buchla 216 Touch Source and a KORG volca sequencer, by way of Stockholm.
In that same post, check this (not new, but interesting) Eurorack adapter kit for Pocket Operators (the Game ‘n Watch style handheld unit ones, not the modular). Now this is something that’s otherwise not normally seen in Euro:
I mean, it’s definitely funny, in that it kills the ‘pocket’/mobility aspect. But on the other hand, those little units fit nicely in a case. Features:
• hold a Pocket Operator in your Eurorack Case
• supply power to the PO from Euro bus-power
• route the I/O 3.5mm jacks to the front
• divide incoming 16th-note clock to a 8th-note clock used by the PO
• safeguard against higher trigger voltages than the PO accepts
• amplify the output signal times 2