Polyend Tracker

56

Stand Alone Hardware Tracker

  • Step sequencer & song arranger
  • Sampler (forward, 1 shot, backward, ping-pong)
  • Granular synthesizer
  • Wavetable synthesizer (compatible with Ableton Wave and Serum)
  • Display with 8 screen keys
  • Up to 48 instruments per project
  • Step sequencer with 256 patterns at 128 steps per project
  • Low, band and high pass filters
  • ADSR envelope, reverb send, volume, panning, tune per instrument
  • Micro tuning and micro timing
  • 48 Slicone pads with precise response
  • Sampling: up to 2 minutes 16bit / 44kHz
  • Offline sample editor with extensive multi-effects engine
  • Extensive effects such as chorus, flanger, delay, compressor, bit crusher, limiter, amplifier
  • Slicer with automatic grid detection
  • Compatible with classic tracker MOD files
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Stereo output: 3.5 mm jack
  • Mono line input: 3.5 mm jack
  • Mono mic input: 3.5 mm jack
  • MIDI input / output: 3.5 mm jack (including adapter to 5-pin DIN socket)
  • USB-C connection
  • USB powered
  • Dimensions: 207 x 282 x 33 mm
  • Weight: 1.2 kg
  • Includes USB power supply, USB-C cable, audio adapter and 16GB microSD card
available since June 2020
Item number 489846
sales unit 1 piece(s)
Internal Storage No
Storage Medium Micro SD
File Format WAV
Time Stretching Yes
Effects Yes
USB-port Yes
MIDI interface 1x In, 1x Out
Analogue Inputs 1
Analogue Outputs 2
Digital Outputs No
Display Yes
Sequencer Yes
Design Desktop
Fader(s) 0
Sampling Function 1
Control USB, MIDI
USB 1
Number of analog outputs 2
Headphone Output 1
Extras None
Optional Expansions None
Special Features None
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$489
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b
I'm legit obsessed with the unit
b8ck8tt 06.01.2022
Polyend Tracker changed everything about music-making for me. It became my holy grail, and I've completely switched to using it for production, and I don't feel like there is a way back, at least in the observable future. I've been using it for a year now, and 100% of tracks I've finished over the past year, I did on PT. It's not for everyone, but as soon as it clicks, if it clicks at all, tracking starts making so much sense that going back to piano roll feels like a cumbersome and pointless process. Total score - 5/5.

It takes time to learn it, but when muscle memory kicks in, everything falls into its place, and your ideas translate into music in seconds. I wish there were more shortcuts to navigate longer patterns, but other than that handling-wise it's great, so 5/5.

PT is built with a lot of limitations by design, so it's hard to compare with, let's say, Akai MPC, since they have very different philosophy. Compared to classic trackers, PT is loaded with features, both classic and modern ones. Wavetable synth, granular synth, loads of step effects, reverb (huge thanks to Émilie Gillet from Mutable) and delay sends, loads of sample editing effects, etc. For what PT is, I'd say it's definitely 5/5.

Again, keeping in mind what PT it, sound-wise it's good. It has its quirks, you have to battle gain staging at times, you have to accept all samples are mono only (probably the biggest bummer for me initially), mixing can be challenging, but when you know how to use it properly, it can sound great. Especially after additional master effects were added, such as Space, Bass Boost and a limiter. I'd still export stems sometimes to further mix them in a DAW, but mostly I'm working towards mixing 100% in PT, and only mastering the final mix in a DAW before uploading it. So, it takes time to learn, but it can sound good, so 5/5.

Hardware itself it great, except one big issue that a lot of users experience - excessive lubrication of a jogwheel. In order to fix it you have to unscrew it and wipe the shaft from time to time, removing the extra lube. If you don't do it, the jogwheel keeps spinning on the shaft with values not changing, or changing randomly. Easy fix, with a step by step guide on youtube, but it's annoying. Software-wise there are bugs, and while Polyend fixes them, they clearly don't have a huge staff, and their priorities were shifted towards developing new products, so bug fixing process is slow at best. With this being said, so far they were providing new features couple times a year, making it a much better product, as well as fixing some major bugs. Overall, you can definitely use PT as it is right now, but you have to work around some issues, which is also a bit annoying. So, quality-wise it's 4/5.

I'm very thankful for Polyend for making Tracker. Not only it changed my workflow completely, provided me with new ideas and inspired me, it introduced me to a wonderful community of PT users, that is the most friendly, helpful and fun community I've seen so far. I'm having tons of fun with PT, and I don't see myself switching to anything else as a center piece of my music-making process.
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Onafgewerkt
MisterL 01.03.2022
Toen ik voor het eerst van de Tracker hoorde, was ik aangenaam verrast. Ik werk al voor een lange tijd met trackers (Fasttracker II, Madtracker, Modplug Tracker) en dit instrument leek mij een uitstekende keuze als 'brain' (sequencer) voor live shows.

Helaas is de tracker binnen het eerste uur dat ik hem had al 3 maal gecrasht... dit gebeurde tijdens het editen van samples. Op een gegeven moment startte de tracker zelfs niet meer op (het scherm was voor de ene helft wit, de andere helft zwart). Na een firmware upgrade werkte hij al wat beter.
Misschien is de tracker een goede keuze voor het maken van nummers in de studio, maar voor mijn doeleinde (sequencer voor live performance) vind ik hem met 3 crashes binnen een uur niet betrouwbaar... Het product voelt onaf op software-gebied en het lijkt erop dat hij te vroeg op de markt is gebracht.
Overigens vind ik de functies, bediening en geluidskwaliteit uitstekend. Er zitten een paar goede designideeën tussen. De hardware voelt ook stevig en goedgebouwd aan. Daarom vind ik het aan de andere kant ook wel jammer dat ik er zoveel problemen mee heb ervaren.

Ik heb hem teruggestuurd en hoop dat ik iets beters kan vinden.
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Nice, but I'll resell it as soon as a V2 arrives!
Gregust 03.06.2022
It is overall a nice machine, with (almost) everything you need.

I am using v1.5.0 at the time of the report

PROS:

- Well, it's a tracker, and by itself it is very fun to play with!

- I confirm not having a touch screen isn't an issue at all since almost everything is easily accessible once you passed the learning stage which is very quick (about 5h for me with no background on sampling machines).

- The embedded radio is an absolute a good idea! I challenged myself to make an entire song from a random spoken phrase. From there I extract, slice and modify samples to create a drum-kit and some granular and wavetable synth, it's very cool... EXCEPT! Yes, except that after a few hours I already hit the wall of not having enough options/effects... My bass drum could be way better with a compressor/limiter that can actually really be usable or a drawing envelope... The ADSR values are rounded to 10ms! what??? guys we need 1ms increments!!! Having an aHdsr would be nice too
I can't find a way to give more attack to my kick, and it's not the comp/lim nor the ADSR that will help me... but I don't want to use my computer, this would be a workflow annihilator!

- The random fill is a very nice addition but... (see IMPROVEMENTS)

- It is a toy you can have a lot of fun with!

CONS:

- You can have a lot of fun with but it sometimes feels like a toy... (but at this price, a nice toy indeed, so no complaining)

- There are a lot of bugs here and there, some small ones, some more annoying...

- The level management is horrible, so when you edit a sample you almost lose an ear, and when switching back to pattern/song mode the level drops drastically. I have to see if I can counteract this, but not sure... That is probably because the level the sample is played isn't reflected to the the editor mode. I think I can reduce the sample amplifier and raise the instrument level, but it's a pain... BE CAREFUL TO YOUR EARS!

- I'd like to have more control on the effects as a lot of people are asking. the fades for instance aren't editable, so the whole length is affected. the ADSR increment goes by 10ms, awful...

- I'd like to see more effects in the Instrument Parameters than just having overdrive, bit depth, and rev/del sends... More than a bit light in my opinion. I know there are ways to use the other effects (permanently edit the samples or as FX1/2 on each notes, but having them as Instrument level would be nice)

- I don't like resorting to SHIFT to COPY/PASTE or heading to HOME. Add more buttons in the V2 please :)

- The pads are tiny, don't expect to use them to play in real time! That won't be possible once you grew above the age of 8!

- In song mode, I'd like to be able to mute a track without reflecting this to all similar patterns, and not having to delete the track for the pattern... Because you quickly end up by duplicating patterns as soon as you want a track to be muted, making a mess in your pattern list... Knowing that you can't give them a name, go deal with a messed up number list little boy...

- granular and wavetable engines are very limited

- When you manually play instruments, sometimes the level changes, sometimes the reverb doesn't play, sometime another glitch... Not very pro...

- When the power is OFF, the ground seems to be hanging so be prepared for a horrible buzz in your speakers/heaphones. I have to plug/unplug it to/from my studio preamps each time I want to use it, not ideal...

IMPROVEMENTS:

- The random fill could benefit from more options. The Euclidian mode is nice, but I'd like to see more options imported from the Polyend Play for instance.

- I'd like to have more octaves for the pads (something like Note+Shift+Up/Down...)

- I'd like to "pre-unmute" track until the pattern goes to step1 (this has a name but I can't remember...) so you unmute but it takes effect only when the pattern loops...

- Effect quality, especially compressor and limiter definitely need improvements. More controls/colours for the overdrive. different reverb colours...

- Ability to Mute tracks in song mode without affecting all related patterns

CONCLUSION:

Will I buy it again? YES, if they decide to fix the bugs and properly update the product...

Is it enough for what I intended to do with? NO, because I felt frustrated after only a few hours playing with it. But keeping in mind that it's a TRACKER, that part is really fun to play with by itself and I really like it! And if you intend to import your own samples, then go for it. If you want to create the samples inside the machine, you'll feel quickly frustrated too...

So I'm not used to using machines (more a studio/rec/mix background), and here's how I answer the "Is it for me?" question:

- You want to have fun with a tracker or discover what a tracker is, and don't intend live playing (except using the performance mode when the song is already written) -> YES

- You want to compose a backround and play live above it (using the pads) -> NO

- You want to import your samples -> YES

- You want to create the samples inside? it depends, be aware you might get frustrated quickly... For me it's a NO because I'm already frustrated after a few hours, but one can find it good enough... Be warn!

You want good quality effects -> NO

You want something that's easy to use -> YES
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RH
Superb desktop tracker sequencer, lots of fun to be had.
Rich Hayes 24.03.2021
As a longtime user of Jeskola Buzz I was looking forward to this product, so grabbed asap in 2020. I was not disappointed.

It is also a welcome break from conventional workflows and a hell of a lot of fun. If you need to disrupt your creativity this will torpedo any artistic comfort and get you thinking is different ways.

Also note that in this epoch of continuous software delivery the updates come thick and fast, so if you are used to fairly static firmware then this may come as a surprise. Features are dropping every month or so, especially if you follow the beta. For clarity, the beta has never given me any problems. Build quality is also great. No complaints there.

Though bugs were not hard to find early on, its pretty sharp now. But I do take one star off each for;

Its occasional glitches on step edges or pattern boundaries. While not a unique phenomenon to this device, it has always seemed more prevalent on the tracker. On the upside though its far from prohibitive to use or creativity.

Features are light in the song sequencer (No track mutes or measure length, position pointer, repeat (qty) (I'm thinking Elektron tracker ala MachineDrum. Even just track mutes per song step would be handy. Effectively you must think of your song development only in patterns, as there is little to no creativity to be had in song mode. This criticism may not date well to be fair, and I am behind by a couple of months

Quality overall is good, but I was shocked by the firmware condition at the time of release (even with an instant update). This should not be a problem now (in 2021) though.

Put simply, just buy it.
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