Littlebits > Teenage Engineering PO sync

Hi everyone, total beginner here!

I picked up the littlebits synth kit recently and wondered, has anyone had experience making it work with the Teenage Engineering pocket operators (PO)?

I wish to sync them such that Littlebits light sensor > Teenage Engineering PO synth
The sequence is not that important, it can be from Littlebits sequencer itself, or the internal sequencer of the PO. The main thing is they are accurately synced for every step.

The PO does not take MIDI or CV in. There is a 3.5 jack on the left which takes clock signal.
(The PO’s outputs are: left channel - clock, and right channel - audio)

Grateful for any advice!


Hi @stormfield! I know that @Outaspaceman has tried using the Teenage Engineering OP-12 with littleBits. Maybe he can offer some advice. :slight_smile: Check out this discussion:

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Hi @stormfield, it turns out that the click (clock) channel is a 5 volt cv signal. Using @Outaspaceman’s guide, I hooked ny PO-14 to my Synth Kit, using only littleBits parts.

ps, I’ll hook it up tonight and post a picture.

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That would be awesome if you could!

So I’d just need to order the CV bit and that’s all that’s needed?

I’ve been holding off getting a PO but this might be just the excuse i need :smile:

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Hey @stormfield,

The PO is really fun! I’ve got the PO14, sub - it’s a super bass, it also does does drums, fuzz guitar, and a whole lot of weird noises. I’m no musician, but I DO like making noise! I got a Synth Kit first, but as soon as the POs were available in the US, I grabbed one! From day one, I’ve wanted to combine the two.

Another member, @Outaspaceman did the hard part - and should get ALL the credit:
here … er here

… I mean here.

I modified his approach slightly, by keeping everything within the littleBits synthesizer. I took the output jack of the Pocket Operator to the input jack of a microphone bit, through a mix bit, which combined the littleBits’ oscillator and filter with the PO. The timing of the littleBits microsequencer sets the rate of the PO-14, rather than the BPM setting.

Here is my “schematic”:

And a demo, but be forewarned, there is no music here:


That’s great! Very detailed explanation, thanks.
Is the PO running its own internal sequence, or from the korg microsequencer?
And can I ask one more question, how accurately does the PO respond to sudden tempo changes in the Littlebits clock? Does it miss or skip notes?

I broke mine down, and so can’t verify it this morning. How the control is passed depends on the sync mode of the Pocket Operator. I’m using ‘mode 2’, so the PO is the slave: it’s controlled by the Synth Kit’s output triggers. The micro sequencer and the keyboard output trigger pulses, and you could also create other circuts that did so. An output trigger will send a control pulse to the PO, which advances the PO sequencer by one step. So the PO should follow whatever tempo is set by the littleBits trigger.

If I get a chance, I’ll set up a demo circuit for this, but that may take a few days.

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Thanks for the detailed diagram and links. The PO synth has been ordered! Will report on how it goes during the next week or so.

Cool, which PO are you getting? I couldn’t decide, so I just got the first one that was avaliable. Now I want a OP-1, but it’s priced way above my skill level. (but it looks cool.)

Oh its just the PO14 (Sub), but the other ones are great too, especially the drum machine. Powerful little things! Waiting on more bits to arrive end of the week, will set it all up and post a video hopefully.

@chris101 So I set it up last night, same setup as your diagram, sync is fine and follows rapid tempo changes perfectly!

But the volume coming out of the PO14 is super low, almost inaudible. Much lower even than the Littlebits own synth. Suspect it’s a cable issue. Can I ask,what kind of cable are you running from the PO14 into the littlebits mixer? Is it a stereo or a mono 3.5mm?

I’ve been using stereo cables which might be the problem.

I think both of my cables are stereo. Maybe check the various sync modes on the PO?

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Hi @chris101 and @stormfield! :slight_smile:

@chris101, would you like to upload this patch to the new invention platform? If so, gather your handsome illustrations, pics, video(s) and I’ll get back to you with the How and Where to upload. Mention your collaborators and I think it’d be cool. :slight_smile:

Fixed it! It was a cable issue. Video as promised. Light sensor drives the step sequencer :smile:


Olivia (my daughter) has my Synth right now, but I’ll wrestle it from her this weekend. If we’re lucky, I’ll be able to cajole her into corking on this as well. (She’s an excellent music maker - but then she’s 15, so most of what I do is … well, not her thing.

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