Our Guide to the EP-133 K.O. II Sampler Composer from teenage engineering
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Our Guide to the EP-133 K.O. II Sampler Composer from teenage engineering

The launch of the teenage engineering EP-133 K.O. II was met with such excitement and hype from the online community. Here was a relatively ‘affordable’ sampler from teenage engineering, whose Field Kit Series & Pocket Operators left a wide-open space between the top & bottom of their price scale. But what exactly is this 'Giant Pocket Operator' and what is all the fuss about?

In this guide - we shed light on this, so far, controversial contraption and demystify some of its quirks and unique functions.

Where to Buy - Limited Availability

Teenage Engineering EP-133 Sample Composer Andertons Elevator Sound Gear4Music Guitar, Amp & Keyboard Centre Juno Professional Music Technology Rub A Dub Scan Signal Sounds Soundgas The Disc DJ Store West End DJ

Getting Started 

What is K.O. II?

The EP-133 K.O. II is a Sampler and a Sequencer, with built-in FX and MIDI/USB connectivity.

Unlike its smaller sibling, the PO-33 K.O! pocket operator, the EP-133 is a bigger and more complex machine. But in its complexity, the K.O. II is capable of so much more.

Here is a quick overview video of the EP-133 K.O. II...

“Knockout Features”

  • 64mb of flash memory – small but mighty: very fast and efficient
  • 12 voice playback - 12 mono or 6 stereo
  • Mono & Stereo Sample Playback
  • MIDI & Sync Connectivity
  • Unique Segment & Backlit Display
  • Long battery life – with power saving mode when its not being used
  • Computer-Style Keypad - with velocity and pressure sensitivity
  • Brand New Punch-In FX 2.0
  • Fader Control
  • LEGO® Compatible!

Some Starting Questions

What do I get when I buy an EP-133?

When you open up the packaging, you’ll get the EP-133, a quickstart guide, encoder caps & sticker pack. Fit the encoders as instructed, or fit your own made from LEGO if you like!

We filmed an unboxing of EP-133 that you can watch here.

How is it powered?

The EP-133 can be powered in two ways. Either by a USB-C power source such as a wall plug or computer, or 4 x AAA batteries under the panel above the screen.

How do you get sound out?

The EP-133 has a 3.5mm Audio Output suitable for line output or headphones. It also has a built-in speaker which you can use on the go. For best results, we recommend external speakers or headphones. While the built-in speaker is handy, the true audio quality becomes evident with external audio monitoring.

One important thing to mention: Don't be surprised when you hit play for the first time and nothing happens. There are no preset patterns. But if you hit the pads instead, you should hear some preloaded sample kits.

How do I sync it with my DAW?

While the EP-133 is a great way to get yourself ‘out of the box’ when creating music, we understand that at some stage in the writing process you’ll want to digitise your ideas. That is how most of us share our music these days after all!

K.O. II has a couple of options to make sure you’re in sync with your system when recording. The USB-C connection transmits & receives MIDI, so you can simply plug it into your device and configure your DAW to sync. Or, if your system has MIDI I/O, you can use a 3.5mm TRS MIDI adapter (not included) to get sync’d up.

Panel Overview

Let’s break down the front panel into sections to help identify the layout & workflow of EP-133:

  1. Audio Out
  2. Audio Input
  3. Sync & MIDI I/O
  4. USB-C - Power & Data (No Audio)
  5. Power Switch
  6. Volume
  7. Menu / Function Buttons (a & b)
  8. X & Y Encoders
  9. Keys Button
  10. Fader
  11. + & - Buttons
  12. Shift Button
  13. Group Buttons
  14. Performance Pads
  15. Record & Play Buttons

“64MB Sampler Composer”

The EP-133 K.O. II carries the title “64MB Sampler Composer” just above the screen on the battery cover - but what exactly does this mean?  

The EP-133 works purely with sampled audio. Whether we're talking percussive or melodic sounds, the EP-133 has the means to capture, sequence and manipulate short samples and loops in all kinds of musical ways.

The onboard storage is indeed 64MB. This is seemingly limited by today's standards. But when you have 999 available sample slots, and the EP Sample Tool which crunches samples down to a much smaller size, the storage size starts to feel somewhat irrelevant. Sample access is also fast and efficient, so you never miss a beat.

The 'Composer' part of the title comes from the onboard sequencing workflow that lends itself to quickly building up song structures and variations. Using a combination of Groups, Patterns and Scenes, you can arrange your Projects to become fully formed songs. 

Those 4 words in bold are key to how we use the EP-133 to make music. Let's take a look at what those terms mean in the next section...

Projects, Scenes, Patterns & Groups

The EP-133 Workflow Examined

The way you create and store your beats and song ideas on the EP-133 can feel a little cryptic at first. Especially if you’re new to hardware sequencers. The PO-33 might give you some hints as to how it all works, but there are additional layers to the workflow that allow for more complex sequencing.

The key is to pay attention to the four terms in the title of this section, and what they mean when we're working on the EP-133. We've tried to explain their function here, by using some simple songwriting analogies. Hopefully, this will help you to piece it all together:

Projects – A.K.A The Songs

  • There are 9 Projects or ‘Songs’ that you can store on the EP-133
  • A Project contains your Song data - all the Groups, Scenes & Patterns
  • To load a Project: Hold ‘Main’ + Hold a number pad (1-9)

Groups – A.K.A The Instrument Kits

  • In each Project, you have 4 Groups – A, B, C & D
  • Each Group has a labelled light grey key used to select it
  • A Group is a collection of up to 12 samples assigned to the pads
  • Imagine it like a ‘Drum Kit’ or Instrument

Pattern – A.K.A The Notes

  • Patterns store note information per Group
  • Each Group can have up to 99 Patterns 
  • A Pattern can be up to 99 bars long
  • To move between Patterns – Hold a Group Key (A,B,C or D) and press ‘+’ / ‘-’.

Scene – A.K.A The Score

  • A Scene is a combination of 4 Patterns – 1 from each Group
  • You can picture these as sections of a score: controlling what combination of Patterns is playing from the Groups
  • 'Commit Scene' stores a Pattern combination and creates a new duplicated Scene with new Patterns for you to keep working on.
  • You can store up to 99 Scenes within a Project

Committing a Scene

The ‘Commit’ button is the function on K.O. II that transforms our collection of musical ideas into evolving arrangements that will eventually form a full song. As we’ve said in the previous section – a ‘Scene’ is a collection of 4 Patterns, 1 coming from each of the 4 Groups. 

When your patterns are finished and you're ready to move on to a variation or new section, it’s time to 'Commit' the Scene:

To Commit a Scene – Hold ‘Shift’ and Hold ‘Commit’

You’ll notice the Scene number increase by one when this has completed, but what exactly happens?

‘Commit’ = Save & Duplicate the Scene

Once your Scene is Committed, it immediately loads you into a duplicate version with a consecutive Scene number and Patterns. This allows you to get straight to work on the next section of your idea – safe in the knowledge that your previous Scene information is easily recallable.

To move between Scenes – Hold ‘Main’ and press ‘+’ / ‘-’ OR type in the Scene number

Remember – A Scene stores pattern combinations, not the pattern data or samples. If you change your Group setup or Pattern data, your resulting Scenes will sound different too!

To Save EVERYTHING – Hold ‘Main’ and Hold any number 1-9 which will save your whole Project. This means Groups, Scenes & Patterns.

EP-133 Factory Content

With a lot of grooveboxes, synthesisers and samplers, you expect some preset patches and sequences to demonstrate what your instrument is capable of. Its also a means to learn more about it, by reverse engineering demo patterns and sounds.

EP-133 encourages your own creativity from the very start. That translates to – No Preset Projects.

But fear not! - it doesn’t leave you with a completely blank canvas. EP-133 does come preloaded with a fantastic sound library to get you going. This sample set includes:

  • Bank 0 - 31 x Kicks  
  • Bank 1 - 45 x Snares
  • Bank 2 - 53 x Hi-Hats & Cymbals
  • Bank 3 - 57 x Percussion Hits
  • Bank 4 - 59 x Bass Samples
  • Bank 5 - 59 x Melodic Samples

We've called them Banks here, but they are simply sets of 100 sample slots and can be organised however you like. To make things easier, TE have split the included samples into categories for you.

You’ll also find that, although the patterns are blank, some projects will come with some pre-assembled Groups. This means you can start tapping away at the pads to immediately get some sounds going. 

Typically, Groups A, B and C will be loaded with Drums, Bass and Melodic samples respectively. Group D is blank for you to experiment with loading in samples of your own choosing.

This blog won’t go too deep into the specifics of making a beat. However, there are now plenty of resources, including the manual & our very own video at the end of this article.

Creating Your Own Samples

Part of the enjoyment with a lot of teenage engineering’s instruments, such as the PO-33 K.O!, OP-Z and the OP-1F, is the immediacy of capturing samples of your own. The EP-133 fits this trend nicely, making sampling quick, fun and easy.

EP-133 has 3 ways to add your own sounds:

  • The Built-in Microphone – If you’re all about capturing in the heat of the moment, then your first port of call should be the built-in microphone. Whilst not being the perfect way to capture every sound, it certainly adds character, and provides an immediate link to the outside world.
  • The Line-in – Simply plug in a turntable, synth, drum machine or any external sound source with a line out. Then sample to your hearts content!  
  • EP Sample Tool – This web-based sound librarian connects with the EP-133 via USB-C. If you already have a collection of samples in your computer, this allows you to not only load them in, but also organise, listen to and back-up your sounds.
    Follow this link to check it out: https://teenage.engineering/apps/ep-sample-tool

Parameters, Controls & FX

Physical Controls

The pads on EP-133 are closer to what you might find on a mechanical keyboard than a typical pad-based Groovebox. There’s probably some subjective preference attached to this statement, but here at Sound Tech at least, we really like the feel of these keys. Not only are they satisfying to tap out rhythms on, but they’re also velocity and pressure sensitive – making the EP-133 a far more expressive electronic instrument then you might first think. The pressure control is great for the new Punch-In FX and controlling velocity on the beat repeats (Hold 'Timing' + Any Sample Pad).

We also have the fader, a fantastic control source that should be included on every groovebox like this! It gives you Group level control over parameters like send FX, Filters, Panning, Tuning, Level and more. It’s also possible to record the actions of the fader (Hold ‘Record’ + Move the Fader) to get some automation going.

Sound Editing Options

The core set of sound editing parameters on the EP-133 are great for manipulating the samples non-destructively to fit with your ideas. These include Sample Trim, Pitch, Amplitude and more. They also include more functional settings, such as Playback Modes, Mute Group and Timing Stretch settings.

Did you know:

You can turn the Sample Pads into a scaled keyboard  

Select a Sample and press the keys button. This turns the Pads into different pitched version of the selected Sample, allowing you to play in melodic sequences with ease.

You can play individual Pads polyphonically

Melodic samples in ‘Key’ mode can be played together to make chords. Just adhere to the voice limit of 12 channels and its all good!

You can time-stretch on EP-133

Samples can be assigned Bar Length or BPM so they conform with the tempo you set. With some more experimental applications to longer sounds this can create some weird granular versions of your sounds.

Punch-In 2.0 & Send FX

We’ve mentioned the new Punch-In FX a few times. To those who have never used Pocket Operators: Punch-In FX are momentary sound-mangling FX that add fills, sweeps, distortion and repeats to your beats. The Punch-in FX on EP-133 are the same type of thing, with 2 big differences:

  • They are pressure sensitive – The harder you press, the more an effect will change
  • You can combine Punch-in FX – eg. Pressing the high-pass filter & low-pass filter will give you a band-pass filter.

The list of Punch-in FX has eluded us so far, so we’ve listed them out for you to see*:



Pitch Randomiser
Decreasing Pitch
Sample Swap
Grain Size
Beat Repeat
Beat Length
Tape Stop
Slow Down
Filter LFO
LFO Speed
Low-Pass Filter
Cutoff Frequency
High-Pass Filter
Cutoff Frequency
Send FX
FX Depth
Octave Down
Increasing Pitch
Bit / Sample Reduction

*Some of these FX maybe named differently

Send FX

EP-133 has a single stereo effect send. Using the fader when its assigned to the button: ‘->FX’, you can send level from each individual group to this effect. There are a few to choose from, including Delay, Reverb, Distortion, Filter, Compression and Chorus. The Send Effect can also be switched to 'Off', but wouldn't recommend it! You'll be missing out on some nice vibey FX that TE have included - our favourite is the Delay!

MIDI & Sync Connections

As mentioned towards the start of this guide, the EP-133 is perfectly capable of talking to other equipment too, via MIDI or via Sync signal.

The MIDI In / Out ports require a 3.5mm TRS to 5-pin DIN adapter. They allow you to connect to keyboards, synths, sequencers – anything with the classic MIDI connection. This opens up the K.O. II sequencer to drive other equipment, or vice versa. A full list of MIDI controls can be found in the manual.

Sync is a much more simple clock signal which locks the EP-133 in time with an electronic pulse. This can come from an analogue sequencer, modular system or even a pocket operator. You’ll also find other control keyboards and grooveboxes that include this type of sync signal. To ensure they match, the K.O. II is cable of sending & receiving different clock divisions.

Putting it all together

We've put together a 'First Beat' video that takes a look at the process of making patterns on the EP-133 completely from scratch, whilst also highlighting some of the 'Knockout Features' we've covered in this guide.


There’s a lot to be explored on the EP-133, and possibly too much to cover in this guide. This striking little retro-calculator sampler has a lot of depth and if you persevere past the initial learning curve of sequencing and project structure, its actually a very quick and easy device to work with.

I suppose one question we might ask is: "will we see any other EP iterations in future?" The answer - only teenage engineering knows. There are 9 Pocket Operators... why not more of the big ones? Guess we’ll have to wait and see....

We hope you’ve found this article on the EP-133 K.O. II Sampler Composer to be an interesting and informative one! Stay tuned for more tutorials, more tips and more information about this amazing bit of kit from teenage engineering.

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