Polyend Tracker Review

Polyend Tracker Review

Polyend Tracker Review 680 377 Maye

It took me some time to get used to Despite its small size and power, it is an astonishingly versatile and powerful piece of music-making blending of sampling, slicing, sequencing, and synthesis sets this product apart from its direct competition. There is some electronic gear from AKAI and Elektron that may be close to that of Akai. This device is pure nerdy bliss in my hands. The large click wheel is extremely satisfying, and the clacking of mechanical keys sets my nerd heart on fire. I consider it to be one of the finest instruments I have ever used from merely a design standpoint. You can get it for just The Tracker, however, had a problem connecting to me. It was initially hard for me to work with it, as I was constantly stuck in four-bar loop land. It felt like a drag making music on it.

didn’t help that I had no idea how to use the sequencer here. A tracker (lowercase “t”) is precisely what Polyend’s Tracker does. The first digital audio workstation (DAW) was one of those trackers. These are now called DAWs (digital audio workstations), such as Trackers began to appear in the late ’80s with apps like Ultimate Soundtracker on the Amiga, although there has been some disagreement about who exactly invented the first. Despite their popularity among chiptune artists, icons like Aphex Twin have used them extensively, but they have not found much success on the mainstream music scene. I’ve never used a tracker before, and even more importantly, I’ve never tried one. As you can see, everything in a tracker is oriented vertically, whereas it’s not the case in a normal step sequencer. Each step of your creation scrolls from top to bottom, and samples, instruments and effects can be mixed and matched in any way you like. In other words, you don’t have to waste an entire track in Polyend’s eight-track sequencer just to make a four-on-the-floor bassdrum. It’s okay to squeeze in an extra snare or even a synth stab or vocal sample.

The tracks are monophonic, so a new note triggers the previous one, so if you trigger a new note in a track you will cut it off. It will also take at least three tracks to play a major chord. The number of effects slots in the instrument is also limited to two, including rolls, panning, glide, note chance, Due to the fact that microtiming is an effect, one of those automation lanes will be claimed from moment one if you don’t want to see your stuff robotically on the grid. It is often said that trackers seem like they are just spreadsheets where you create music. It’s not inaccurate to say that. You’ll do most of your writing here on the pattern screen, which has more than a passing similarity In a single cell, all your notes, instruments, effects, etcetera are represented by a number or letter combination. In spite of these disadvantages, the Polyend controls are by far more engaging than a mouse or keyboard ever will

The Tracker has a ton of power to offer if you can get past the rather archaic presentation and find a groove with the workflow. The core of the instrument is a sample-based groovebox you can play drums, synths, or whatever samples you want. You can also use the Tracker to chop samples apart in addition to playing one-shots. Therefore, it is possible to use the 48-pad grid to create a soul loop, split it up, and then recombine it. One of the two automatic modes was created specifically for cutting up beats and drum breaks. You can slice a sample manually, as well as using one of the two automatic modes. I think it’s pretty accurate as well The only time I manually adjust something is when it is a busier time of day. By itself, the Tracker would be able to construct perfectly compelling compositions if it were equipped with a sequencer, sample player, and sample slicer. After you master the intricacies of the sequencer (which admittedly I still haven’t), you have already bought a reliable instrument considering the reasonable price and the power beneath the surface. However, there is more to it. In that case. Thanks a lot. I’ll say more.

One of the most appealing things about this tool is that it allows you to record and edit samples on board. Mic and line inputs are available, and tracks can be resampled from within your sequence, and there is an FM radio built-in that you can use to record. Once you have recorded your sound, you can manipulate it by cropping it or reversing it, or by adding effects like delay, chorus, flanger, or You can capture and manipulate any kind of sound that is out there, and you can adapt it to your own needs. I spent an afternoon in the park with my Tracker and my field recorder, capturing bird chirps and making noises with a beer can to test this out. Later, I flipped the drum kits into a drum kit and put a little sequence together. I should have mentioned that the Tracker is portable. As it uses USB-C for power, it doesn’t have a battery built in, but as it can be used anywhere and is powered by a power bank, you can take the device anywhere. That’s a big plus for it also. While I find the large screen to be excellent and very easy to navigate, I do think it can be a bit difficult to see in direct (In addition to all these more straightforward ways to handle samples, the Tracker also comes with granular and wave table synths The two techniques are both sample-based, so it’s not that much of an impedance change from a sampler to a It is not uncommon for samplers or grooveboxes to do this without some coaxing, however. It is a little thin and limited in features, but with the addition of a delay or reverb it can sound a good deal more dynamic. As well as resampling your synth line and adding any additional effects you would like. You just have to know that the Polyend has an unmistakably gritty digital quality to Music with a percussion content such as this would be ideal, however it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea for melodics.

I find the wavetable synth to be more impressive. It comes with a bunch of wavetables, but you can also import your own or create them from your sample collection or even pull from another synth. Due to the fact that you can change the window size, the app will work with wavetables intended for apps such as The stock sounds included, including contributions from artists such as Jamie Lidell, are really excellent beyond the wavetables. I have one complaint when a wavetable is played from the sample loading screen, there is no way to preview how it will sound. Thus, you might have to go back and forth quite a bit before you find what you want. Full ADSR (attack, decay, sustain, release) control over the synths as well as sample playback is included, as well as a solid digital delay and decent reverb, a variable mode filter, plus modulation control over the filter, wavetable position,

This thing could change the way you think about sound. You’ve got a lot of power at your fingertips — more than anything you can get from a $600 box. In particular, it’s a good piece of hardware on its own. There is no doubt that this is high-end equipment. What happened to me that made it fall apart? A sequencer is used. Even when I finally started to build a bond with the tracker workflow, it took months.

Gallery: Polyend Tracker review

I am a mainstay of the rock and pop genre as a guitarist and recording live is a very important part of my music composition. There are just too many variables involved for a tracker to excel at that. Whenever you are willing to sit down and meticulously manipulate your sequence on your own, the result is the most satisfying. Things like note off, cut, and fade commands have been challenging for me to learn. Of course, I sometimes change the instrument when I mean to change a note when I don’t even intend to. It is possible to record or perform live using the grid, but those pads are not as good for picking out chords and melodies accurately. If you have clumsy fingers or sausage fingers, playing these devices is difficult. Of course, you can always connect a MIDI controller, but then it becomes more of a music production machine than a miniature version of a professional studio.

Besides minor bugs and annoyances, there are a few of these, There are times when a screen gets stuck on a certain parameter, for example, and you have to switch views completely in order to change it. A lot of the time, this happens under instrument parameters on the effect screen. As well as limited sample memory, there is also limited CPU power. load as much audio onto your microSD card as you like, but you only get 133 seconds of mono samples to play with. You can, however, choose to import at a low quality to expand the sample size even further and truly embrace that gritty digital vibe. You can further improve this by reducing the bit depth of individual samples in the effects from 16 all the way down to 4. In case a sample is overly long and you only want a small portion of it, the import menu provides the option of cropping it before importing it. Use the built-in recorder to crop audio before importing it into a project, or you can use the recorder to record audio.

There’s plenty to like about the game, though, if you can live with the somewhat anachronistic sequencer. As part of the performance mode, you will find a slew of punch-in effects like hit repeat, low-pass filter and transposition that you can apply to the tracks individually or to all of them at the same time. Furthermore, the eight tracks can be used to send MIDI out to other devices, so the Tracker can function as a control panel for a larger setup. There is even the ability to send MIDI CC as an effect and change parameters on external synths (you just need to know it uses TRS MIDI type B, which isn’t standard.) It’s likely that if you’re used to trackers you’ll also enjoy the shortcuts and intelligent interface choices Polyend has made. The process of selecting an entire track is as simple as pressing a few buttons. In addition, the fill feature lets you immediately add notes or effects across every step or every fourth. Alternatively, you can set the sequencer to move forward a certain amount of steps each time you insert a note or change a parameter. For example, if you wanted to quickly put down four-on-the-floor bass drum, you would have two ways to do it. In addition to letting you randomize effects parameters or notes, the fill function allows you to change other parameters. You can quickly generate musical ideas when you’re stuck for inspiration by using the random feature, combined with the snap-to-scale setting in the settings.

The makers of Polyend also made sure you won’t have to scour the web for guidance if you’re A lot of helpful tips and explanations are provided in the user interface. Hold the note button down and choose from the menu if you know the note you want to play but don’t feel like exploring the pads. A simple button press reveals a detailed explanation of an effect if you are unclear about how it works. There is even a quick-start guide available in the configuration menu if you want to figure out where to start.

Despite Polyend’s choice to cross the line here, his courage is also commendable. It doesn’t seem like hardware trackers are that common. There’s the NerdSEQ, which is a Eurorack sequencer for modular synthesizers. This is all I have to say. NerdSEQ maker XOR Electronics announced a portable version of the NerdSEQ right around the same time that Polyend announced the Tracker, but it has not seen much progress since its late summer 2020 release date. Hence, if you’re interested in a self-contained groovebox based on a tracker, this is the only option for you. For those of you who do not love the tracker concept, but would rather have something with comparable sound sculpting capabilities, AKAI’s MPC line or Elektron’s Digitakt would make excellent choices. Although those instruments are very different (and cost much more ($699 and $749, respectively) and do not have the same capabilities. If you don’t have trouble choosing between these three, you shouldn’t have any problems.

At $599, the Polyend Tracker is a pretty good deal and a beast of a device. It’s a portable groovebox with eight tracks and a sequencer that can be programmed to have any number of steps between one and You can then arrange these sequences to create complete compositions in song mode, master them, and export them as polished compositions. Playback of samples is possible on this software, as well as editing and transforming them into loops. Among its capabilities is the control of I’m a fan of the hardware, too. Tracker’s workflow is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fascinating and impressive.