Teenage Engineering, the Swedish audio gear manufacturer known for its unique and quirky designs, has introduced its latest creation, the EP–133 K.O.II, affectionately dubbed Knock Out II. Priced at $300, this groovebox is an amalgamation of a drum machine, synthesizer, and sampler, presenting a charmingly oversized upgrade to the compact PO-33 K.O.
The Knock Out II exudes a distinct 1980s drum computer aesthetic, with oversized buttons, knobs, and a singular fader that almost defy the sleek minimalism often seen in modern electronic music devices. The device’s design is not only a departure from convention but also invokes a sense of nostalgia, harking back to an era of iconic drum machines.
While its functionalities may be feature-packed, the Knock Out II aims to strike a balance between innovation and approachability. Teenage Engineering, known for its Lego-like tactile buttons and unique design language, has carved a niche by creating products that evoke emotional responses. In a market often dominated by sleek and minimalist designs, Teenage Engineering embraces the unconventional, offering a refreshing alternative.
The company initially gained attention with its affordable yet fragile Pocket Operator sequencers, which garnered a devoted following. In recent years, Teenage Engineering has shifted focus to higher-end gear, resulting in a price increase that left some fans feeling excluded. The Knock Out II, priced at $300, occupies a middle ground, making it more accessible without compromising on the brand’s distinctive design language.
Learning to master a drum machine and sequencer typically involves a learning curve, but the Knock Out II appears to be designed with a more approachable interface. Its layout suggests user-friendliness, enticing both beginners and seasoned musicians to explore its capabilities. Teenage Engineering’s commitment to getting “weird with it” and breaking away from design norms continues to resonate with those seeking a blend of nostalgia and innovation in their audio equipment.
As the EP–133 K.O.II hits the market, it remains to be seen how musicians and enthusiasts will respond to its quirky charm and whether it will successfully strike a chord with a broader audience, maintaining Teenage Engineering’s reputation for creating gadgets that are as unique as they are functional.