Teenage Engineering’s latest gadget has me squealing with excitement
2 mins read

Teenage Engineering’s latest gadget has me squealing with excitement

Teenage Engineering’s latest $300 groovebox is unbelievably adorable, which makes it stand out.

Meet the EP-133 K.O.II, affectionately dubbed Knock Out II. This device is a fantastic blend of a drum machine, synthesizer, and sampler. Think of it as a larger and improved version of Teenage Engineering’s smaller PO-33 K.O., which delivers similar features at a more affordable cost.

The Knock Out II exudes a distinctive 1980s drum computer vibe, a departure from the sleek modern look of Roland grooveboxes. Its buttons, knobs, and singular fader seem almost disproportionately large on the slim device, adding an enticing allure even if figuring out its functions may be a bit perplexing. Nevertheless, the temptation to splurge on it remains strong.

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Whether you find Teenage Engineering’s audio equipment too elaborate, pricey, or just right, the fact that this venture-backed startup creates products that evoke an emotional response is a positive. It’s a breath of fresh air to witness a hardware company embracing uniqueness instead of getting lost in the pursuit of minimalist design, a path often trodden by others in the industry, especially in the wake of Apple’s influence.

Getting unconventional is the essence of Teenage Engineering’s identity. Hailing from Sweden, the company crafts wireless speakers, grooveboxes, and trendy accessories appealing to both music enthusiasts and creators. Their devices often feature tactile buttons and knobs reminiscent of Lego bricks, blending design elements from various aesthetics like cassette futurism, brutalism, and the nostalgia of KB Toys.

While Teenage Engineering initially gained recognition for its budget-friendly (albeit somewhat delicate) Pocket Operator sequencers, recent years have seen a shift towards more high-end gear, leaving some fans feeling excluded due to the higher price tags. The Knock Out II, with its tempting price point, sits in a middle ground— not a mere trinket but also not an extravagant investment.

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Mastery of drum machines and sequencers requires time, and Teenage Engineering’s products, known for their rich features and distinctiveness, come with a learning curve. Despite this, the design of the Knock Out II gives off an approachable vibe, seemingly pleading, albeit perhaps deceptively, that one could easily grasp its intricacies. As for now, the resistance to the allure of gearhead fascination will be my endeavor.

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