Setting Up Your Pocket Operator Chain
Now that you're armed to the teeth with all this PO-Sync knowledge, it’s about time you set up your own dope Pocket Operator chain.
It's not just Sync Modes that you'll need to be thinking about. You will also need to consider how your Pocket Operators will interact with each other.
Referring back to our band analogy, one member is going to be in charge of keeping time, and another one is going to want to be the loudest. Luckily, your the manager, so you get to make these decisions!
To keep this simple, we’ll talk about each of these points as though you're setting up a chain of 3 Pocket Operators
Choose your Master Device
This could be a Pocket Operator, OP-Z, OP-1 or anything that transmits PO-Sync. Pick something that’s going to be constantly running.
In the case of our 3 Pocket Operators, pick the one that you would most likely leave running for the whole jam session.
Decide your device order
Pocket Operator’s sync modes allow them to be placed anywhere in the chain as a ‘Master’ or ‘Sync’ device. It’s worth experimenting with a few different orders to see what works for you.
Balancing your audio levels
This is an important consideration when setting up your Pocket Operator chain.
Let's go straight to our 3 Pocket Operator example. Imagine all 3 are already playing together, with each one at full volume. 1 is the master, 2 is the chain and 3 is the output.
- If you turn down the volume of Operator 3, the volume of all Pocket Operators decreases.
- If instead you turn down the volume of Operator 2, the volume of 1 & 2 would decrease, but 3 would remain at full volume
- Finally, if you only turn the volume of Operator 1 down, 1 decreases while 2 & 3 remain at full volume.
This happens because the Pocket Operator audio passes through the chain in series, with each Operator controlling volume of the devices before it. Experimentation is needed here to see what works best for you.
We recommend putting the Pocket Operator that you want to be most prominent at the end of the chain. The least prominent Operator should be placed at the start of the chain. That way, you can always have the last Pocket Operator as loud as you need, and reduce the volume of those before it.
Here's another method to balance your levels - start with the volume of each Pocket Operator at zero. Turn up the volume of each one individually, starting at the end of the chain and moving to the beginning.
Pocket Operators can send PO-Sync to keep devices at the same tempo. However, they are unable to signal start / stop and reset of the pattern position. This means that they'll always be in time, but they might start out of phase with the Master if triggered at the wrong moment.
If you want your Pocket Operators to start playing at the same time, you’ll need to press play on the Sync units in the chain first, then press play on Master. This ‘cues’ your Sync units, so they are ready to start from beat 1 when they receive PO-Sync signal.
If one of your Sync units has started in the wrong place, you can always stop them and restart them on the beat while the master is playing. You could also press stop on all the Pocket Operators in your chain, then recue all of your Sync units ready to start with the master.
So long as the Master device is running, you can start and stop the Sync units at any time without interrupting your jam session.