OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

http://www.teenageengineering.com/

  • Mckenic

    Excuse my language but firkin hell! That’s nice surprise! looking forward to hearing how it sounds and as a self-confessed drum machine slut picking up a couple of them to mess with!!! A MicroBrute & this – the ultimate portable hardware rig???

    • genjutsushi

      Two monotrons, a copy of DS10 and this! THAT would be the ultimate portable rig!

  • Virtual Flannel

    AMAZING.

  • Alessandro Automageddon

    Want.

  • Ben

    Wow. I’d rather see it in the form of a pocket casio calculator (solar powered?). So it could stay on my desk at work ;=)

    • http://flexyvoid.com/ Yanakyl

      Ahah!! Yes

  • Tommy

    Oh. It’s not like I won’t buy this…

  • DJ Hombre

    Please make it communicate via the OPLab! Wonder if we’ll hear it before AKAI’s Rhythm Wolf?

  • just passing

    That processor: Cortex M3 at 32MHz, 64KB Flash and 16KB RAM. Not the most powerful chip in the world, so I’m guessing the voices will tend more to “variations on FM” than “authentic TR808 model”.

    Still, for $50 it can sound like a chorus of mousetraps for all I care, especially if they leave a debug port open. :)

  • Andy Cartridge

    but what does it sound like?

  • gli

    no sound sample yet? cant WAIT to hear this thing

  • Chompy

    looks cool. glad it’s only $50. My $900 OP-1 has needed to go through Teenage Engineering’s multi-month repair process three times.

  • Matthew Battaglia

    Sold

  • CUCKOO

    This is fun news :) But I think they’ll probably consider an enclosure for the final product, for robustness. That pitch bend will break in no time. And where’s room for battery etc? If they’re thinking this for nerds only, by all means, skip the enclosure, it looks very cool. But if it’s a pocket device it’s important, so that it can smoothly slip into the pocket.

    And because they’re design perfectionists I’m thinking an enclosure might break the price vision. It just sounds too incredibly cheap. Well… perhaps a durable plastic shell is incredibly cheap to produce. If they went on record with the price they probably need to stick to it.

  • Xerocky

    sound sample.