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Syncing Pocket Operators

Der_JuDer_Ju GermanyPosts: 1

Hello Dulgeians, has anyone tried to sync one the teenage engeneering pocket operators (I have the PO-12) with the deluge?
I tried and I failed!
I used gate 4 and switched it to pulses per second. By this I was able to get the PO 12 running, but not synced at all.

It would be amazing to incorporate this little fucker!! :smile: I would even smile more widely, if someone could help me!



  • 0
    phajekphajek Grand Rapids, MIPosts: 9

    Bump! I would love to figure this out as well.

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    SamSam WellingtonModerator, Staff Posts: 160

    Hi @Der_Ju! Do you have the gate outputs set to 5V and the PPQN set to 2? (If you don't know what there are/how to change these let me know by tagging me with the "@" symbol and I can what they mean and how to change them :smile: )

    I'm not sure exactly how the pocket operators work, so I'm going off of this reddit thread ( - let me know if it's the wrong info! :wink:

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    justindavidowjustindavidow Winnipeg, CanadaPosts: 16
    edited October 2018

    Hi folks!

    For anyone who comes across this; yes; you can sync Pocket operators to any gear that has a GATE OUT (with some caveats!) See this in action (if that's your thing):

    Pocket operators accept a gated pulse as a clock under the following conditions:
    Vpp: <5V, >0.6V
    Ts(MAX): 0.125s
    Hz: PPEN (Pulses Per Eighth Note)

    Out of the box; The deluge cannot be connected directly to the input of the pocket operators. (technically it may work but the 5V output is RIGHT at the limit of the Pocket operator input. I don't recommend plugging a typical modular gate input into the input; ANY transient is likely to damage the input!)

    Using the PO as the sync clock INPUT for the Deluge won't work; the PO only generates a ~1Vpp output sync clock; which is not high enough to trigger the 3.3V input clock detector (AFAIK)

    To get output sync working; you'll need to build a simple voltage divider
    to get this working reliably; (or alternatively a gated hysteresis clock; ideally active and optically isolated) a pair of 10KΩ resistors work great. (there's negligible current, ~250uA, requirement from the divider; the PO inputs are typically 10K+Ω input impedance. Technically you could use a 33KΩ/10KΩ as well; you'd get 1.16V from the divider and everything should work fine. (This may sound complicated; but it's literally two resistors.

    The Ts listed above is a MAX; ideally the pulse length needs to be shorter then this value. I have not put much effort into determine what the Ts(MIN) is (which is what would determine the fastest tempo that can be maintained in sync) Here's some rough numbers looking at an oscilloscope with sync chain setup and being monitored:
    1/64'th@60BPM ~= 62ms
    1/64'th@120BPM ~= 31ms
    1/64'th@240BPM ~= 14.5ms
    1/64'th@368BPM ~= 9ms
    1/64'th@416BPM ~= 8ms
    Any faster then ~416BPM on the deluge appears to cause loss of SYNC (intermittent beat skipping); so it looks like Ts(min) on the pocket operator side is ~8ms pulse length) The above values do not line up with actual wall time of a 64'th; (1/64@1BPS =15.625ms but the actual gate pulse appears to be ~4x this length for reasons I don't understand)

    • Make sure the gate output is set to 5V 12V, even with the divider, is still >Vpp(MAX)!
    • Connect a cable from the GATE OUT (any channel you like) to the wide edges of a voltage divider
    • Connect a cable from the narrow band of the voltage divider to the pocket operator input
    • Set the first Pocket operator (if chaining) to SYNC MODE 3 (or SY2 if it's the only/last PO in the chain)
    • Create a CV track on the Deluge; zoom into the smallest resolution you can (64'ths works) turn on cross screen and place a 64'th note on pads 1+9
    • Press play on your pocket operator (it should be in SY2; so nothing should start playing until it receives clock)
    • Press play on the deluge; adjust your BPM and listen to your PO follow!


    • If you pause the pocket operator; pressing play will start at the beginning of the pattern.
    • If you stop the deluge; the pocket operator pauses in place; and will continue on the next sync pulse.

    Edit: Fixed link formatting

    Post edited by justindavidow on
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    paulpaul francePosts: 1

    hi my newbi question, i have seen a sync solution with the keystep

    Could be ok with the deluge or still voltage issue?

  • 0
    VJFranzKVJFranzK Los Angeles USAPosts: 126

    Possible answer - sync up a Volca by midi, and use it's Clock out?

    Music, Visuals, Reviews of Synths, Drum Machines, Apps
    YouTube: VJFranzK

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    justindavidowjustindavidow Winnipeg, CanadaPosts: 16

    @VJFranzK said:
    Possible answer - sync up a Volca by midi, and use it's Clock out?

    I have a Volca FM; but im not a fan personally.

    The PO's do not accept a "start" or "play" message in any way, so as long as the clock is running, the pocket operators continue playing.

    If the deluge is connected via MIDI to the Volca, the midi start / stop and clock messages will start + set the speed of the volca's internal sequencer and the speed of the sync output.
    However when you stop the Deluge, the volca's stop their sync pulse for about a second, and then they continue at their built in set tempo rate.

    Personally I find this a huge pain in the ass, and don't personally find the Volca sync very useful.

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