Pocket Operator Faqs

On the forums people often ask these questions about pocket operators. We're here to give you answers! You can find answers to questions about which pocket operator is best to start with and sync between your pocket operator and other devices and apps.


Which pocket operator to start with?

A commonly asked question on the pocket operator forums, especially from beginners, is "which pocket operator should I get first?" and "which pocket operator should I buy for my boy/girlfriend?"

Whether you're buying for yourself or a loved one, deciding on your first pocket operator can be tough. The consensus on the forums seems to be that the best pocket operator beginners and experienced musicians alike is the PO-33 Knockout!. This is because it is a fully fledged sampler that fits in your pocket, so you can sample any source at all and them make music using that sound. This gives it incredible flexibility.

If the person you are buying for is into synths they they will probably like the PO-32 Tonic which lets you build your own synth patches using the Microtonic software.

If the person you are buying for is into chiptune or retro games then they will probably like the PO-20 Arcade because it's specifically geared towards making sounds like old school game consoles.

The next most recommended pocket operators include the PO-24 office, PO-28 robot, and the PO-16 factory which each have their own specialty sounds.

Here's a great video by Liam Killen covering all of the pocket operators.

How do I sync my pocket operator?

You can sync your pocket operator with other pocket operators, and with a variety of other devices such as Korg's Volca devices. Some music making apps also sync with pocket operators. The way this works is by plugging a cable with 3.5mm stereo jacks between the devices and then putting the pocket operator into sync mode. You can buy compatible sync cables from Teenage Engineering but any 3.5mm stereo to stereo cable will work and you can get them everywhere.

There is a good instructional on the TE site on how to sync between pocket operators. If you're syncing from an app on your phone you simply plug the cable from the heaphone jack into the left side of the pocket operator and put the pocket operator in SY4 or SY5 mode.

Volca pocket operator sync

You can sync your Volca or other compatible device or app to your pocket operator by following these simple steps.

  1. First you will need a common TRS stereo cable with 3.5mm headphone connectors on both ends. These cables are very common and you can buy them everywhere. They look like this:

3.5mm TRS stereo male to male cable

  1. Plug one end of the cable into the sync-out of your Volca device.
  2. Plug the other end of the cable into the jack on the left side of your pocket operator.
  3. You might hear the sync click coming from your pocket operator now.
  4. Hold down the top-right button and press the BPM button until you see the sync mode "SY2" appear on the pocket operator screen.

Now the BPM of your pocket operator will be driven by the external device. Have fun!

Setting the pocket operator volume

Setting the volume on your pocket operator device is not obvious. What you have to do is hold down the BPM button and then press one any of the numbered buttons from 1 to 16. This will set the volume to whichever button you press, with 1 being the lowest volume and 16 being the highest.

How to turn off your pocket operator

Short of taking out the batteries, you can't actually turn your pocket operator off completely. If you leave your pocket operator alone for five minutes without pressing any buttons it will automatically go into low power mode. In this mode all patterns and settings are saved and the LCD stays visible on standby.