Swedish hardware designers Teenage Engineering have made a name for themselves by building some of the most unique and creative musical gear on the market. But devices like the gorgeous, retro-futuristic OP-1 synthesizer and OD-11 “cloud” music speaker come at a cost. Until now, you needed relatively deep pockets to pick up Teenage Engineering gear — the OP-1 costs $849, while a single OD-11 speaker will set you back $899.
But that all changes with the launch of the Pocket Operator synth and drum machine series, a set of three calculator-sized music-making tools that can be yours for less than $200 total. “Our goal was to make a synth that cost $49,” says CEO and head of design Jesper Kouthoofd, before pausing a bit sheepishly and admitting: “but we failed on that, so it’ll be $59.”