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The Tracker: two steps forward one step back

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  • The Tracker: two steps forward one step back

    The Tracker by Polyend looks super promising but it’s missing a couple of key things. 1st Is the obvious main feature it’s touting, non-linear sequencing. This is a non-intuitive nice idea but for anyone whose ever created a song from start to finish knows, music is like legos it can be non-linear but it must go up or it must come together. But given the way music is written, linear is more intuitive in the writing process so sequences are a perfect place to start. And putting sequences together in sections is as efficient as it can get for song writing. Blackbox’s streamlined, approach is just so much more easier to grasp. Musicians just want to get in, pick sounds and play, and arrange those sounds. Fun concept but going to create a learning curve those who like to build smooth work flows, ultimately won’t find more efficient. Efficiency is the key to most music genres.

    however, it’s a step forward in the sense of size and portability. That’s it’s selling point and is unbeatable. If Blackbox had the same screen size, but touch screen, and 2/3 the size, then Blackbox would be 2x better. A battery, A touch screen, and 2/3 that size would be a world changer. (Assuming a little I/O was added.)

    The FM synthesis is really cool. That’s a plus if you’re into that kind of sound. I am a sample hip hop guy so not appealing to me, but still would get played with a lot.

    Overall this goes at something like the MPC One but is going to fall short because it doesn’t offer a way to connect to the DAW world as intuitively. Although if it had a stems output that was linear that would solve the problem pretty easily.

    The Blackbox continues to offer a more portable, smaller form factor approach to sampling and arranging rough drafts of songs that is going to find its own niche. However, a larger Blackbox with a touch screen centric approach, more I/O, and stems output, would truly offer a hardware option that would compete with the DAW world. Almost there.

    i will stick with the Blackbox because the price point, And form factor, and workflow meet my needs. Most importantly it’s pack option opens up a very important aspect overlooked: sharing which connects the social world. However, someone is going to figure out how to replace the DAW AND be a bridge to the DAW world eventually. The touch screen, workflow, and portability combo is unbeatable (assuming stems becomes standard).

    the battery is a short term benefit, because batteries have lifespans. An easily replacement battery compartment is debatable if it would add value given how accessible power blocks and stations are these days. People into sampling want their gear to last, so I’m neutral this is a plus for Polyend’s new device. And would not be a deal breaker if Blackbox never incorporated one. Like the synth it has an appeal with limits.

  • #2
    Not everyone wants their synths to be a DAW in a box... In a lot of songs I don't use a sequencer at all, I honestly couldn't care less about DAW integration, but that's just me. The Polyend Tracker looks like an amazing piece of gear that fills a mostly different niche. I prefer using a regular powerbank over having a built-in battery. Powerbanks are cheap, I already had one, and if it ever dies I can get a new one at practically any store.


    • #3
      I want the Polyend Tracker because it's a tracker and that's how I started making music. I can tell you the Blackbox fills another niche and I'm keeping both for sure.

      About the MPC: I used to have an MPC Live and sold it. Why? Too many features crammed in a box with not enough buttons resulted in the clunkiest UI ever. After a while I simply didn't want to go through the hassle of turning it on because I knew I'd be frustrated trying to find out where everything was! And I had it for a full year!

      Mind you, I had an MPC2000 around 20 years ago and I absolutely loved it! It was a very focused machine (despite its many limitations), which made it my main piece of gear for playing on stage.

      The MPC Live has nothing in common with classic MPCs aside from the pads. Everything about it is confusing because it tries to be everything for eneryone and ends up doing a half-ass job overall. I'm glad I managed to sell it for a decent price, not missing it one bit.


      • panspOrmia
        panspOrmia commented
        Editing a comment
        Totally agree. I love the Blackbox and it`s one of the very few pieces of gear I will never sell. However, I am still going to buy the Polyend Tracker.. because, as you said.. it`s a tracker! I have never used a tracker before, but I`m about to buy Renoise.. and to a degree, Polyend Tracker may be Renoise in a box!

    • #4
      I was wrong. Way off. Thing is amazing. Latest info is completely different than projected. And at that price point it’s almost a game changer.

      does not stream from card. And has a few other flaws. But overall I was wrong.
      Last edited by robertdryer; 03-18-2020, 07:21 AM.


      • #5
        Lovely Device. I am not sure if I had the money, perhaps...
        Renoise is a powerful Tracker and I use phrases a lot.

        Very intuitive for sure. Depends on the way you are working. I am fine with recording loops and midi and the structure gets done at the mixer.

        But looks as a f**** great device!!! Did not expect that.
        Last edited by chrislux; 03-18-2020, 12:57 AM.


        • #6
          detailed review here: looks quite exciting


          • #7
            Does anyone know, what the sampling-specs regarding to duration are? Is there card streaming, so you can use sampling for creating sort of Audio tracks?
            Last edited by Morientes; 03-18-2020, 07:18 AM.


            • #8
              don't think it streams, its briefly mentioned in the review


              • robertdryer
                robertdryer commented
                Editing a comment
                It doesn’t. It’s not perfect. But it’s A solid step of progress for a stand-alone machine.

            • #9
              I have both.


              • Steve
                Steve commented
                Editing a comment
                would love to see a video of your workflow between the Tracker and blackbox.