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Teenage Engineering builds poor man's synth

Teenage Engineering releases a "poor man's" modular synthesiser system

Stockholm-based studio Teenage Engineering has created a portable modular system that aims to offer a cheaper alternative to a regular analogue synth.

The Pocket Operator Modular, nicknamed the "poor man's modular", is a portable analogue synthesiser, meaning that it uses analogue circuits and signals to produce sound electronically.

Teenage Engineering builds poor man's synth

It is available in three sizes and colours, with prices ranging from $149 (approximately £114) to $499 (approximately £383).

Teenage Engineering wanted to offer an entry-level product that can be used by musicians who don't necessarily have the money to spend on a standard modular system, which can cost up to £5,000.

Teenage Engineering builds poor man's synth

"Up until now, it has been a high barrier for new users to enter the modular scene," said Teenage Engineering. "It is expensive and also hard to figure out what modules you need to start with."

To make the product more affordable, the studio chose a thin, bendable aluminium sheet metal chassis as the base for the three modulators.

As well as providing a cheaper frame, the aluminium sheets can be easily dismantled and reassembled to suit a user's needs. The system comes in a flat-pack kit, ready to be assembled.

Teenage Engineering builds poor man's synth

"People can discover basic configurations and learn how to use and how to think about a modular synthesiser," explained the brand.

"When they are ready to grow their system, they just move the modules to an open-frame chassis and perhaps start to add more modules and configurations of their own choice," they continued.

Teenage Engineering builds poor man's synth

The cheapest modular in the collection is the 16 musical keyboard, which comes with a built-in programmer and sequencer.

Also in the collection is the 170 modular, a monophonic analogue synthesiser that uses only one channel of transmission when creating electronic circuits.

It has a built-in keyboard, a programmable sequencer, which allows you to pre-record various drum sequences, a speaker box and a battery pack.

Teenage Engineering builds poor man's synth

The final product, the 400 modular synthesiser, features a one-to-16 step-sequencer and three oscillators. It has 16 modules in total and eight patch cables.

All the products are compatible with standard modular specifications, with 12 volt, 3.5-millimetre jacks.

The Swedish design studio has previously collaborated with IKEA on a set of portable speakers and lights.