Swedish electronics company Teenage Engineering announced a new product just in time for the holidays, a bargain-priced sampler with an alluring throw-back aesthetic called the EP-133 K.O. II.
As the name implies, the K.O. II is a super-charged follow-up to the PO-33 K.O., a beloved sampler from the company’s Pocket Operator series. The original K.O. was a tiny revolution, packing pro-level sampling capabilities into a phenomenally small package, complete with effects, a sequencer, and options for effects. The K.O. II takes everything that made its predecessor great and blows it up into a fleshed-out package that holds true to the company’s signature playful, accessible design. It looks serious enough for real musical projects but simple enough for anyone to pick up and start playing.
Like all of Teenage Engineering’s best products, it sits somewhere in between a toy and a serious instrument. And at just $299 it sits right on the outer limits of impulse-buy territory.
The K.O. II lets you load in up to 99 samples (in stereo!) from any source, and then automatically breaks it up into individual parts across the device’s ten pressure- and velocity-sensitive pads. You can fine-tune those samples with pitch correction, filters, effects, time adjustments, and more. It has a totally revamped sequencer, along with a full-fledged DAW that lets you build out complex arrangements with 12-voice polyphony or 6 voices in stereo. The K.O. II’s parameters are programmable and controllable over MIDI as well.
Where the K.O. II really shines is a fresh new workflow designed to take you from sample to immediate musical satisfaction with a few keystrokes. It has a gorgeous full-color display that changes and dances as you play songs and move through the device’s various functions.
You can always count on Teenage Engineering’s products to look gorgeous, and the K.O. II is no exception. It’s contained in a gray housing with orange and black accents that harkens back to the design of desktop electronics that were supposed to look futuristic back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, giving the K.O. II an appearance that’s simultaneously forward-looking and frozen in time. It’s hard to look at it without wanting to bring one home yourself.