- Quick start / Tips & tricks
- Back panel
- Audio architecture
- Dedicated controls
- Loading & saving projects
- From step to pattern
- Song mode
- Master section
- Performance mode
- Audio rendering
- Tracker configuration
- Firmware updates
- Warranty & Safety
Quick start / Tips & tricks
- Play Pattern: press Play.
- Play Song: Song + Play (from the Pattern view).
- Main volume: Master + jog-wheel.
- To edit pattern press Rec (red frame), press it again to disable edit mode (green frame).
Important features and information:
- The Tracker runs on 5V/1A and can be powered from a power bank.
- Firmware update: go to Config > Firmware > chose file from SD card > Confirm.
- Switching pattern view: hold Pattern key + one or two of the Note/Ins/Fx colored keys.
- Off/Fade/Cut step: turn the jog-wheel all the way left.
- Changing (transposing) many parameters at once: select steps > choose the parameter (Note/Instrument/Fx1/Fx2) > use the jog-wheel.
- Overwrite all steps with a single value: select steps > choose the parameter > use grid pads.
- Copy/Paste/Del works in: Pattern – for all the selected steps; Song – for slots/tracks, Sample Loader – samples/instruments.
- All changes in your project are being autosaved.
From Sample to Instrument:
- Capture audio using Sample Recorder > set source > set gain > record > crop > save & load as an instrument.
- Select audio files > use Sample Loader key to open SD card browser > add samples to project instruments by copying them from the left to the right side. Set their attributes using the Instrument Properties module.
- Turn samples into wavetable/granular synthesizers or chop them in the Sample Playback module,
- Use the Sample Editor module to access instrument overview and apply renderable lossy audio effects.
From Step to Pattern:
- A step is a Note, an Instrument and two Fxs displayed as lines of colored characters,
- Use Pattern module to enter sequencer screen > choose pattern number and its length.
- Input/edit any step parameters > enter Edit mode with a press of the Rec key.
- Input values step by step > using grid pads, jog-wheel and arrows.
- Live-record pattern (Rec + Play).
- To switch between step values use four color keys.
- Use the Fill tool to populate tracks with steps automatically.
- Step function adjusts the interval for the incremental value input.
From Pattern to Song:
- Press Song key > add/del Slots with patterns for arrangement > press Play Song.
- Render song to audio > Go to File > Export > choose what will be rendered.
From Pattern to Performance:
- Use Perform key to tweak tracks, patterns or songs in a “live – on the fly” way.
- Customise and use up to 12 Punch-in effects at the same time: turn on Edit mode > select effects with their values per grid pad row (first is off by default, remaining three are configurable) > using the 1 to 8 screen buttons point the tracks which will be affected > use effect corresponding pad rows with set values to perform.
- Mix selected tracks from different patterns: hold the screen button + up/down arrow keys > remix tracks from different patterns.
- Shift + 1-8 screen button shortcut mutes each of 1-8 track in the Pattern screen. The same is possible in the Master section with add of track Solo + visual track volume feedback.
- Tempo: Song + jog-wheel.
- Play Song: Shift + Play.
- Record Pattern live: Rec + Play.
- Go to the top step of the pattern: Shift + Insert (Home) in Edit mode (Rec is on).
- Select more than one step on one or more tracks > Shift + arrows (works for clips in Song mode too).
- Select all steps in the track: when on the top of the sequence: Shift + Up arrow (once again to select all steps in all tracks).
- Copy/Paste entire Pattern: hold Pattern key (right to the color keys) + press Copy > go to new Pattern > hold Pattern key + Paste (Shift+Copy).
The Polyend Tracker is a unique take on a retro form factor, aimed at artists who break patterns daily. Despite the retro look, it is equipped with powerful modern functionality, Fx, and a handful of forward-thinking creative tricks. The Polyend Tracker is an innovative, inspiring and immediate tool for making music. It functions as a sampler, a synthesizer, and equips you with a powerful and creative sequencer. Tracker has a large screen, ergonomic keyboard, and a big knob for fast and easy navigation. With Bidirectional MIDI control, it plays nice with other gear. It is also standalone and portable – everything you need to produce music anywhere you are.
Tracker features an 8-track sequencer. Each project you create can hold 255 patterns with up to 128 steps each. Every step on each track has dedicated slots for inserting Notes, Instruments, and 2 Effects. Use Song Mode to arrange different patterns together to create a Song, Take advantage of the Perform Mode to mangle, remix, and apply global Fx parameters to different tracks on different patterns. Finally render your sequences to audio files internally, without the use of a computer.
The journey starts here, enjoy.
The Polyend Tracker user interface is divided into five sections:
A – Display – 7″ LCD TFT 800 x 480. A center point of the instrument that displays all the functions and operations in real-time. With brightness level control.
B – Screen keys – mechanical controls that correspond to whatʼs displayed on the screen directly above them.
C – The grid pads – 4 x 12 grid of multifunctional (not velocity-sensitive) silicone buttons. It serves as a customizable pitch/tone input keyboard, scalable controller for quick value entering, regular QWERTY keyboard for naming files and for many other functions explained below. With brightness level control.
D – The function keys – a dedicated group of quick-access keys that allows fast access to different modules.
E – The navigation keys & jog-wheel – dedicated controls, transport, arrow keys for navigation, Insert/Home, Copy/Paste, Delete/Backspace and Shift function keys for all the basic and advanced operations.
On the back panel, from left to right – find the following ports:
Out – main headphones/line stereo audio output port – use a 3.5mm stereo plug (adapter to 1/4” jack is attached in the kit).
- A cable inserted to this port will serve as the onboard FM radio antenna.
Line input port – use a 3.5mm stereo or mono plug.
Microphone input port – use a 3.5mm stereo or mono plug.
MIDI data output port – use the attached TRS type-B 3.5mm jack to MIDI DIN adapter to connect to MIDI Input of an external MIDI device.
MIDI data input port – use the attached TRS type-B 3.5mm jack to MIDI DIN adapter to connect to MIDI Out of an external MIDI device.
SD card slot – use the included 16 GB micro SD card as a data storage.
- The micro SD card needs to be inserted in the port in order to make the Polyend Tracker operational.
- The micro SD card must be formatted as MS-DOS Fat32.
- Use the included micro SD card to USB type-A dongle adaptor to access the SD card from a computer.
- The Included SD card is 16GB but SD cards with a bigger capacity can be used.
- Sample folders are limited to show a maximum of 100 files.
Reset button – hidden reset button for emergency flashing procedure.
USB Type-C port – 5V 1A power input from any USB power source (included Polyend AC adapter/USB port/power bank).
- Provides bidirectional MIDI communication.
- Polyend Tracker does not work with USB C to C type cables. A USB C to A type adapter will be needed to draw power or connect it to your iPad.
Power switch – press once shortly to turn the unit on or press and hold for a moment to switch it off.
The schematics shown below will help you understand the workflow. The first diagram demonstrates the Polyend Tracker’s audio signal flow with the list of steps that input sound goes through in order to be heard through the output (the signal flow is the same for each of its eight audio voices).
Reverb algorithm code provided by Mutable Instruments under MIT license.
The second diagram presents each instrument’s amplifying structure.
Polyend Tracker’s user interface offers different types of controls that can all be used alternatively to navigate and operate the instrument.
Most of the values/data input in the Tracker is done by using the silicone grid pads, aluminum jog-wheel, the dedicated mechanical function keys and the display corresponding screen keys.
In most scenarios, these controllers can be used interchangeably – e.g. volume Fx1 value can be precisely entered using the jog-wheel scrolling for the desired value but also entered with a single press of the pad with the exact value.
The multifunctional grid pads can have various applications. They can serve as:
- Customizable tonal keyboard (with scale) for pitched instrument playback.
- Per pad instrument triggering.
- Per pad slice triggering.
- QWERTY keyboard.
- Fast and convenient tool to enter the preprogrammed values (where the first pad is always 0%, and the last one is 100%.)
- Shortcuts – while most of the Polyend Tracker functionalities are rather self-explanatory (just look at the scheme and key names), there are some tricks and shortcuts implemented to speed up the composition process which might not be so obvious at first glance. Most sections are using shortcuts. Itʼs good to master them to compose music in a fast and easy manner.
- Shortcuts apply in similar ways in different sections of the Tracker and are mentioned in these particular sections of the manual, but few are worth mentioning here at the beginning:
- Master key + jog-wheel > Master volume control,
- Song key + jog-wheel > Song Tempo control,
- Insert/Home key > always work as the onscreen Enter key corresponding to the selected screen key,
- Delete/Backspace key > always works as the onscreen Delete key corresponding to the selected screen key.
Using the pads as a custom controller
In the Config menu you can set grid pads:
- Musical scale filter (list in the appendix),
- Root note,
The 4 x 12 grid of low profile silicon pads allow you to easily strum fingers across pads. They work great for playing both internal and external instruments live. With or without one of the 39 included musical scales filters applied (see the list in appendix). Not only the scale filter can be set but the pads layout too (the relationship of notes on the pads) and the root note too.
The playable matrix of pads is laid out with the lowest note value being in the lower left pad (pad 37), incrementing a semitone with each position to the right. If pad 37 were a C1, then the next note on pad 38 would be a C#1, pad 39 would be a D1, and so on until pad 48 which would be a B1.
How the adjacent pads change pitch depends on the chosen Layout from the Config menu. Choose a pad, and the pad directly to the right will increase the pitch one semitone regardless of the chosen Layout. For Layout 1, the pad directly above will increase the pitch 1 semitone. For Layout 2, the pad directly above will increase the pitch 2 semitones. For Layout 4, (see the illustration) the pad directly above will increase the pitch 4 semitones.
Loading & saving projects
Use the File key to access all the operations performed on project files.
New project > create a new project.
Open > use arrow keys to select the desired project name. Use the Open screen button or Enter function key to load it. Use the Delete screen button on the selected projects to remove them from the micro SD card.
Import mod files.
Save > save a project.
Save as > save another instance of a project,
Export > export song, song stems, chosen pattern, chosen pattern stems, export to .it file.
- The work you do on a project is constantly autosaved. When a project is named and ready, or even while working on a default “blank” project – everything that is being done is being automatically saved. There is no need to remember to save all the time. It is normally possible to recover current work even when Tracker was accidentally switched off.
- When copying project folders to the SD card, their folders need to be placed directly in the Projects folder. Project subfolders won’t be displayed by the browser.
Importing & exporting projects
Polyend Tracker is able to import/export classic tracker project files with their basic properties (samples/instruments, notes/patterns, song structure and volume info).
Open .mod/.it (many other classic tracker project file formats like .xm/.s3m can be opened in the Schism Tracker or Milky Tracker and then converted and saved as .it and so imported to Polyend Tracker).
Files which you want to import to the Polyend Tracker needs to be placed in the MOD folder on the SD card so they can be accessed. Subfolders won’t be displayed by the browser.
The Polyend Tracker is primarily a sampler with a built-in sequencer. Single-shot and short loop monophonic audio files are what it works with best. The overall per project memory is 133 seconds of mono samples. Main/headphones output is in stereo (set the internal L/R channel panning for spatial effect).
Classic tracker workflow relied on the use of one-shot and short loop type samples. With their limited sampling time memory was not really meant to work as sample loopers. Polyend Tracker is not different, this is a conscious choice – its limitations are meant to force creativity and let the user stay focused. Working inside such limitations is one of the things that made the classic trackers so unique.
Press the Sample Recorder key to open the audio recording section. Choose the sampling source: line input, FM radio or microphone input. Set the recording gain and toggle the monitoring on. Use the onscreen Record key to start recording, press stop when ready.
When a sample is recorded, it can be trimmed on both start and/points and cropped. Save it to the SD card memory or directly to the project as one of the instruments using the Save & Load function. Set/change the name of any audio file manually using the grid pads as a QWERTY keyboard or using the auto-naming function.
A metronome can be activated in the Sample Recorder view too. Toggle it on in the Config > turn off the record monitoring function > press Record screen button.
Tweak the recorded samples using the Sample Playback and Sample Editor sections.
- Polyend Tracker browser recognizes WAV files only. It won’t display AIF or any other audio file types.
- The tracker sampling rate is 44100Hz only with 16, 24 and float 32-bit resolution. That is also the type of files it accepts.
- Stereo files are converted to mono automatically.
- The browser won’t show 48000Hz (and above) files.
- The onboard FM radio is equipped with automatic fine-tuning.
- Whatever is connected to the Output jack becomes the FM radio antenna. A straight cable works best.
Sample Playback key gives access to all the classic sample-based playback options plus a Slicer and Beat Slicer. There are also sample-based Granular and Wavetable synthesis instruments. Available options are:
- 1-shot (preview, set start point, set endpoint, zoom),
- Forward/Backward/Pingpong Loop (preview, set start point, set loop start, set loop end, set endpoint, zoom).
- Slice – use to slice a sample by manually adding and adjusting slice points, or use the auto slicing function which automatically detects dynamic amplitude changes and slices audio file accordingly (separate slices portions can be adjusted later on). The number of the slice can be accessed via per step Slice Fx (S).
- Beat Slicer – use to play and record the sample slices per step. In this play mode notes represent slice numbers (starting from C1 > slice 1).
- Wavetable – using this play mode you can make a Wavetable synthesizer by using any sample (or specially prepared interpolated wavetable audio files).
- Granular – this is a particular approach to granular synthesis where each voice has one grain, it is simple yet very musical. Just set the grain position, length and shape and adjust the direction of the playback loop (Forward, Backward, Pingpong). Apply position modulations using available LFO or envelopes.
- In the Slice play modes press the Shift button to apply equal slices and their desired number.
- To get a classic WT results though, use specially prepared wave files that give smooth transition when changing its position (WTs that have 256 frames). There are several Wavetable sample standards – adjust the Window parameter indicating the length of the frame and use any kind. Note: you can use many Wavetable samples that are available for software synthesizers (e.g. Xfer Records Serum and Arturia Pigments uses 2048 window, Ableton Live uses 1024 window). To automatically transform the shape of Wavetable use available automation (LFO or Envelope)
- Use the WT Smoother tool in the Sample Editor section in order to turn any sample into a smoothly interpolated wavetable synthesis sound source.
Use Sample Editor key to access a section that provides an overview of the selected instrument sample. Set the sample start and endpoints using a precise zoom tool. Use the preview function to hear changes. Crop their desired parts and cut out what’s not needed to free up the sample batch memory. Keeping it tidy is a good habit considering the limited memory
The effects can be applied to the entire sample/instrument or to their parts selected by the start and endpoint markers only.
Apply one of the available audio effects and render them directly into the edited sample:
- Amplifier – applicate a selected amount of gain to an audio recording.
- Delay – with ping-pong, sync, feedback and time parameters,
- Bitcrusher – with adjustable bit rate,
- Chorus – with settings of length and voices,
- Flanger – with length, offset, depth and rate parameters available,
- Limiter – with adjustable threshold, attack and release parameters,
- Compressor – with threshold, ratio, attack and release options.
- WT Smoother – turn any sample to an interpolated wavetable by setting its window number (from 1 to 256) and length (from 1 to 2048).
- Normalizer – adjusts the gain by a constant amount of gain to an in order to bring the amplitude to a target level (the norm).
Note: Sample Editing is destructive for the sample and changes the sample itself in your project. All modifications can be undone at any time until the file is saved. The original sample will remain intact on the SD card.
The Sample Loader key opens the SD card browser. Preview samples here and use them to prepare instruments which will be later used to create patterns and songs.
Create instruments by loading the samples to the project sample pool from the SD card. Copy a sample from the browser on the left side of the screen to its right side by using the Add or Add next (where the browser cursor will jump one position down after adding the sample) screen buttons.
Samples copied to the internal memory becomes Instruments with their own number, name and separate settings. Instruments can be renamed with the use of a Rename screen button or removed with the use of the Delete key.
Tweak instruments using the Instrument Parameters and Sample Playback. Use the audio files in the classic sampler or sample slicer (explained in the sections below), or use them as a source for the wavetable and granular sample-based synthesis engines.
- Press and hold the yellow Instrument key to pop up an instrument browser window.
- A maximum number of 48 instruments is available.
- Replace an existing instrument by loading another sample to its position (all other properties of the instrument remains the same).
- To duplicate instrument use Copy/Paste in Sample Loader module.
- The progress bar is showing the sample pool capacity in percents (displayed in white). Red color displays the space needed to load a certain sample as an instrument. The green color is showing when a replaced sample will free up some of the sample pool time.
- Left arrow in the left browser > takes to the very top of the browsed folder,
- Use Shift + arrows > for batch selection (more than one file at a time),
- Use Copy/Paste > for duplicating the Instrument,
- Use the Insert/Home key as an Enter.
The Instrument Parameters key gives access to two screens (marked in the upper left corner of the screen 1/2 and 2/2).
Screen 1/2 – Instrument Parameters:
- Volume (from 0 to 100%),
- Panning (from -50L to 50R),
- Tune (from -24 to 24),
- Fine-tune (from -100 to 100),
- Filter type (disabled, low-pass, high-pass, band-pass),
- Filter cutoff (from 0 to 100%),
- Filter resonance (from 0 to 100%),
- Sends – Reverb/Delay (from 0 to 100%).
Screen 2/2 – Instrument Automation:
- Envelope (with Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release and Amount),
- LFO (Destination, Shape, Speed/Rate, Amount) with the choice of shape: Rev Saw, Saw, Triangle, Square, Random, and various speeds from 32 to 1/64.
The automation can be targeted to the following destinations:
- Filter Cutoff,
- Wavetable Position,
- Granular Position,
- The LFO speed is always hard synced with the project tempo.
- To change/choose an instrument from Instrument Parameters screen fast – hold the yellow Instrument key and a pop-up list of instruments will appear.
From step to pattern
Use the Pattern mode in order to create musical sequences by simply placing steps consisting of Note/Instruments/Fx1/Fx2 + their values as events appearing in time.
This is the Tracker’s main screen, the one you will be spending most time working with and probably the most important one – the step sequencer view with the classic tracker vertical layout. Create project patterns here. Store up to 255 of them per project. Each pattern consists of 8 audio/MIDI tracks which can be from 1 to 128 steps long.
Each track is both audio and MIDI at the same time. Step properties determine if the internal sample-based instrument or external MIDI instrument will get triggered (explained in the section below).
Pattern view playback modes:
- Press Play > play the pattern from the 1st step,
- Press Shift + Play > play pattern from the currently highlighted step,
- Press Song + Play > play the song arrangement.
The already prepared (or empty) patterns can be changed in different ways:
- Pattern screen button + grid pads for immediate pattern change.
- Pattern screen button + up/down arrows for an immediate pattern change.
- Pattern screen button + jog wheel for immediate pattern change.
- Pattern screen button + left/right arrows for a sequential change – patterns change after the currently playing pattern phrase reaches its end (pattern number will blink red).
Pattern – screen buttons:
- Pattern – choose the currently edited pattern from 1 to 255,
- Length – set the length of the current pattern (each pattern can have different lengths),
- Step – set the interval for entering the steps by incremental one by one step data input,
- Fill – a tool that allows entering multiple steps with different values with just one click,
- Preview – previews the selected step or steps within the selection,
- Invert – vertically inverts all the sequence steps within the selection,
- Render selection – renders selection to a new audio sample,
- Undo/Redo – reverts the last made changes. The redo command reverses the undo or advances the buffer to a more recent state. Works up to 20 steps both ways.
What is a step?
A step is a Note, an Instrument number and two Fx. These four values are displayed as a line of colored characters that correspond to the colored Function keys located on the right side next to the display. Use them to toggle between step properties.
Each step can be set to trigger the internal audio sample-based instrument or an external MIDI instrument.
To set a selected step instrument to MIDI > navigate jog-wheel in the left direction > after the project instrument 01 it will access MIDI instruments from M01 to M16 (which represents the MIDI channels).
Jog wheel scrolling in the right direction will access the project sample-based instruments from 1 to 48.
The MIDI instrument numbers will be displayed with a different type of font than the one used for internal instrument numbers.
What are these numbers all about? Letʼs take a look at the example:
- C5 (turquoise) > Note and octave or note-off (OFF/CUT/FAD),
- 14 (yellow) > Instrument number,
- H 30 (purple) > Fx1 – a letter or a symbol indicating the type of used effect and the number right representing its value,
- P -2 (blue) > Fx2 – the same as in Fx1.
Note: Fx in the Polyend Tracker are not necessarily audio effects as one will find in other types of electronic music instruments. They often serve more as automation/modulation information. Each Fx has a different letter and separate effective value associated. They offer 25 automation options and an additional 5 MIDI CC commands and MIDI Program Change.
An onscreen Fx description popup is available while in the Pattern sequencer view. Press and hold one of the colored Fx keys to show the Fx list and use the corresponding screen button underneath in order to expand their description with the available parameters and their ranges (see the full list in the Appendix).
- Step/note length is a distance between a note and next note or “note off” (shown as OFF in the pattern).
- To enter a note-off value (OFF) turn the jog-wheel all the way to the left,
- When note hits the note-off (OFF) Envelope Release is being run,
- Use CUT (cuts the sound immediately) and FAD (gently fades the sound out).
- Change the currently edited step properties (Note/Instrument/Fx) by using the four colour corresponding Function keys to toggle between their values.
- Entering a Note always inserts the number of an Instrument and vice versa – entering the desired Instrument inputs a default Note value. When these step properties are already present on the desired step, add one or two Fxʼs with their own values too.
- Unlike most of the classic trackers, Polyend Tracker is not offering hexadecimal values entry as numbers. Instead, to simplify understanding the workflow it is using a decimal system.
The default pattern view displays 4 of its 8 tracks. But it is possible to display and work on 8 tracks at the same time too. While all the four positions of a step: Note/Instrument/Fx1/Fx2 are visible – only four tracks fit on the screen. Narrow the columns of the steps using the following shortcuts:
- Pattern function key + Note key,
- Pattern function key + Instrument key,
- Pattern function key + Fx1 key,
- Pattern function key + Fx2 key,
Combine displayed step information/properties by pressing Pattern key + Note + Instrument key > 8 rows of Note and Instrument couples for each track are being displayed (works in any combination). Press Pattern key itself again to bring back the default step view.
Start a new project > load samples > go to Pattern > turn on Edit mode (press Rec) > use the arrow keys to navigate > input steps manually with the grid pads or the jog-wheel or using the tools explained below.
The current pattern position is marked with a green frame (use the jog-wheel and/or arrow keys to overview track sequences). In order to make any changes to the track steps, Edit mode needs to be activated with a press of the red function Rec key. A red frame will appear around the currently selected step/steps marking the currently edited positions (use the arrow keys for navigation and jog-wheel to input/change desired step properties).
Most of the step edit actions performed in the Pattern section can be done both on a single or multiple selections of steps. One of the classic tracker strengths was the ability of quick values/data input and edition. Knowledge and fluent use of the shortcuts mentioned below will be crucial to achieving the coveted effect on this field.
Backspace/Delete – to remove the selected step/steps or their Fx values. To delete the entire step > delete the Note or the Instrument number. Delete the step Fx values separately. Deleting an Fx value itself wonʼt erase the entire step, just the selected Fx.
Copy/Paste (Shift + Copy) – to move existing steps/selections/tracks/patterns around quickly. It is possible Copy/Paste the selected Fx value only.
Insert/Home – press to add an empty step and move down all the steps already existing on the track/tracks.
Use Backspace (Shift + Delete) to move all steps on the track in the up direction.
- Shift + Insert (Home) > jumps to the first step of a track sequence.
- Shift + Up arrow (when on the first step of a sequence) > selects all the steps in the track
- Shift + Up arrow + Up arrow (when on the first step of a sequence) > select all the steps in all the 8 track sequences.
- Shift + arrows > marks more the one step on one or more tracks.
- Pattern key + Up/Down arrow > switches the current pattern.
- Copy/Paste entire Pattern > hold Pattern key + Copy key > go to new Pattern and hold Pattern key + Shift + Copy (Paste) to paste.
- Input OFF/Fade/Cut step > turn the jog-wheel all the way left,
- To transpose/change multiple values, make a selection of steps > turn the jog-wheel.
- To input a chord > select as many adjacent tracks as many notes you want in your chord using Shift + arrow keys while in the edit mode and use pads to input multiple notes at the same time.
- The pattern length and timing scale is always the same for all the 8 tracks, same as in classic trackers.
- Use Length and Step + left/right buttons to change their values with predefined intervals (2,4,8,16).
- When browsing for instruments > navigating jog wheel in left direction will access to MIDI instruments from M01 to M16, while jog wheel scrolling in the right direction will access the internal instruments from 1 to 48. The MIDI instrument numbers will be displayed with a different type of font than the one used for internal instrument numbers.
- When using the pads for playback of both and the internal sample-based and MIDI instruments – there are differences between the green and red (edit) modes. The green mode is playing back the note and instrument only and is more of a controller type. The red (edit) mode will playback the entire step with its fx and it’s relation to the projects BPM.
Step & Fill tools
Besides the basic step input options, the Polyend Tracker offers two compelling step input/editing tools. Step and Fill tools are crucial to master to get a quick musical output without spending too much time. Used skillfully, they can radically speed up both the composition process and productivity.
Step function allows setting the interval for that incremental step input range. When steps are being manually entered on a track – the timeline row will move down to another step position. Use Step with setting from 0 to 32 to set the interval. Now, each step will be entered exactly in the needed spots without a need of scrolling or navigating to them.
Fill tool is a sophisticated sequence editing utility that allows entering multiple-step values to a selected edited area with a single click. Depending on the mode (Fill Notes/Fill Instruments/Fill Fx), there is a wide variety of application of the Fill tool with the following settings to choose from:
- Where? – Indicates where to insert a Note/Instrument/Fx:
- Note – applies (replaces) new notes to all of the steps with already existing notes within the selection.
- No Note – fills all steps that contain no notes within the selection.
- Fx – finds and fills all steps with Fx within the selection.
- No Fx – finds and fills all steps where there is now Fx assigned within the selection.
- Random – randomly fills steps within the selection.
- Each 1-32 – evenly fills steps with the chosen interval within the selection.
- Scale (only in Fill Note) – applies a chosen musical scale filter for the Note input.
- Fx Type (only in Fill Fx) – pick one (or many random) Fx types to be filled into the sequence steps. Please note that the Random Fx Type does not use the Tempo Fx for filling.
- Fill type:
- Constant – fills the same chosen value for the selected steps,
- From-To – fills in the selected area, evenly distributing the values within the chosen range,
- Random – randomly chooses the values within the selected range.
A short example on how to efficiently use the Fill tool in a few steps would be to make a random melody:
- Highlight all steps in a track (or tracks) > Shift + Home (Insert) then Shift + Up arrow in Edit mode on (Rec).
- Press the Fill screen button.
- Determine what needs to get filled in, eg:
- choose Note,
- choose Chromatic scale,
- choose Random fill type,
- indicate its root note,
- Confirm with a press of the Fill screen button.
This way, a random melody in a Chromatic scale is created. Use the same trick to populate steps for the selected are on one or more tracks for the Notes/Instruments/Fx at the same time with one press of a button.
Preview, Invert, Render selection and Undo tools
The Preview function allows listening to a selected step (with all its properties) or entire edited selection on one or more tracks.
Invert operation vertically inverts all the sequence steps within the edited selection. This allows adding more variations to patterns in a simple manner.
Render Selection (to sample) – a very useful and creative function that allows rendering a selected step or step selection (on one or more tracks at the same time) into a single audio file. In Pattern section > turn Edit Mode on (Rec) > use Shift + arrow keys to select the desired area > now use the Render screen button to create a new sample clip.
Undo/Redo functions are really useful when making multiple changes at a time and hit the wrong button by mistake. Every change made in the Pattern editor is being automatically saved. To undo the last steps simply press the Undo screen button, or use Undo key + left arrow key/scroll jog-wheel left. For Redo use Undo button + right arrow key/scroll jog-wheel right
Real-time pattern recording
To start live-recording the pattern, hold Rec and press Play key and start adding notes or values in a “live” manner using the grid pads as be playing a regular keyboard. After sequences of events are recorded – edit them as mentioned in the previous section if needed.
There are three different modes of live recording in the sequencer. To switch between these modes use the colored Note/Instrument/Fx buttons. The recording is available in the following modes:
- Notes – where the “note off” action will be also recorded. Useful to record chords and melodies.
- Instruments – where the “note off” action is not recorded. Appropriate to record drum beats.
- Fx – where the “note off” is not recorded either.
- Choose what parameter (Note/Instrument/Fx) is being recorded using the colored keys.
- When recording notes from the grid pads, micro-timing is also being recorded as one of the Fx. To quantize the recording, simply delete all the “m” Fx.
- Polyend Tracker offers 8 monophonic audio/MIDI tracks. That means if a triad chord is played while live recording – it consumes three of its eight tracks.
- Live recording starts with the track that is currently being edited.
- When live recording to a track step which is occupied with notes/value Tracker will record changes on the track to the next one to the right. It won’t overdub the steps with existing notes/values.
- The grid pads are not velocity-sensitive and the “live record” mode will record notes with micro-moves Fx but won’t record the velocity Fx. Use an external velocity supporting keyboard to record both unquantised notes and velocity.
- Change patterns by pressing Pattern screen button + grid pads/arrow keys/jog-wheel.
- Find the metronome with its options in the Config section.
- Find global quantisation option (Record micromoves on/off) in the Config menu.
Making a pattern or a few of them is usually quick and fun. But how to turn them into a fully composed and arranged piece? The Song mode would be the answer. A song is an arrangement of patterns in the desired order of playback.
In the Song mode, the timeline also runs vertically moving down line-by-line from the top of a pattern/phrase to the bottom, triggering the pattern sequences containing Notes/Instruments/Fx stored in each line.
Song mode offers a simple way to sequence previously prepared patterns by setting their number per Slot. Use the screen buttons – Add Slot, Delete slot, arrow keys and the jog-wheel to prepare the sequences of patterns to create songs. Copy/delete/mute any of the pattern tracks. A song can have up to 255 Slots.
A Slot always consists of eight cells/clips which represent eight tracks of previously prepared patterns. Filled cell/clip means thereʼs a sequence on this particular track. Empty cell/clip means that this particular track does not contain any sequences with steps.
Add/delete song rows/slots and copy/paste the pattern tracks using the onscreen commands + screen keys. Use these functions to move the selected patternʼs track 1 to track 2, etc. With these simple yet versatile tools, it is possible to create a whole song.
There is a timestamp indicator at the top bar all of the screens (besides Pattern view) and is helpful to keep orientation in the Song exact playback time. Show minutes, seconds, patterns and step numbers.
- Set project Tempo in BPM (from 40 to 800BPM) using Song + jog-wheel shortcut.
- You can preview a track by holding Shift and pressing the first screen button.
- While the song mode is playing back the rows of patternʼs tracks – toggle between the Song mode and the Pattern modes.
- While the sequencer is playing the song mode arrangement – use the Performance mode to apply different effects “on the fly”.
- If you accidentally delete a track, use an Undo function available under a screen button.
- Besides the onscreen Play Pattern and Play Song commands buttons use:
- Play > plays a song,
- Shift + Play > plays the highlighted slot/pattern,
- Shift + Play on a selected slot/pattern clip > preview that certain selected clip/track only.
Located in the upper right corner Master key give access to two screens (marked in the upper left corner of the screen 1/2 and 2/2).
Screen 1/2 gives access to:
- Volume – main/headphones stereo output volume level,
- Reverb properties:
- Delay properties:
- Ping-Pong – on/off,
- Sync – on/off,
- Rate – from 8 to 1/32,
- Time – from 1ms to 3500ms,
- Feedback – from 0 to 70,
- Bit depth – sample playback rate (from 16bit to 4bit),
- Limiter with Attack, Release and Threshold settings.
Screen 2/2 allows visual monitoring of the individual tracks volume and access to Mute and Solo for the desired tracks.
- Use the 8 screen buttons to Mute the corresponding tracks.
- Use the Shift + corresponding screen button in order to Solo the selected track.
- Main Volume > Master + jog-wheel,
- Shift + 1 to 8 screen button shortcut will also Mute each of 1 to 8 track in the Pattern screen (not only from the 2/2 Master screen where Solo function works exclusively).
- In the Master section – hold down more than one screen button pressed to edit more than one corresponding value.
- Reverb and Delay send fx are applied on the pre-volume fader basis.
While the classic trackers were mostly about composing music, the Polyend Tracker also introduces a way of performing it. Press Perform key to enter this mighty inspiring live pa tool.
Switch Performance template/preset storing mode settings from global to a per-project in the Config menu.
Performance mode gives access to many configurable effects at the same time. There are 12 effects slots that give the option to choose the Fx set that suits the desired creative concept (See the available Fx list in the Appendix).
Effects are triggered in real-time using the grid. For each of the chosen effects, there are four values > first (—) is off by default and the remaining three positions are customizable. These three are the presets that can be easily turned on by pressing the corresponding grid pad.
The punch-in effects are applied only on the chosen track. Use the 8 screen keys to indicate which tracks are going to be affected. Processed tracks will be marked in red.
- The effects are applied in correspondence to the pattern or instrument parameters values. When the volume effect value is 10, it means that when it is on, it will add 10 to the value of Volume set in instrument parameters or to the value set in the pattern.
- Customize Performance effects when being in Edit mode (press Rec key). Navigate with the left/right arrow keys and chose the type of effect using the up/down arrow keys and. Try switching effects on different Fx slots by holding Shift and pressing arrow keys.
- When exiting from Performance to Pattern mode, the sequence keeps on playing, but the used Performance effects will become disabled.
- When switching between Performance and Pattern screens, the effect affected tracks indicators are getting back to default/off (this prevents unexpected things to happen when playing live).
- The Pattern Length effect will apply to the length of every track, no matter if they are selected or not.
Pattern tracks remixing
Performance mode is also a convenient and powerful tool to make breakdowns, add live on-the-fly changes to patterns in a Song mode, or even remix entire tracks.
On the bottom of the Performance mode screen – find 8 buttons indicating the pattern number for each track. Selecting the corresponding screen key applies the chosen punch-in effects to this particular track. But thereʼs one more function here which allows you to mix and play different tracks from any of the previously created patterns.
To switch the track pattern, get out from the Edit mode, then hold the desired screen key and use up/down arrow keys.
In the Performance mode, the particular pattern tracks are being changed by holding one or more screen track buttons and using:
- Left/Right arrows or jog-wheel for immediate pattern change.
- Up/Down arrows and for a sequential change – patterns change after the currently playing pattern phrase reaches its end (pattern number will blink).
- Organize selected performance effects by moving them left and right using the Shift + left/right arrow shortcut when Edit mode is on (Rec).
- Change more than one pattern tracks at the same time, just hold more than one screen keys and use the up/down arrow or the jog-wheel.
- All the changes made in the Performance mode are disabled when exiting the mode.
- When mixing tracks from patterns of different lengths it takes the longest one and loops it whereas the shorter are cut.
Polyend Tracker offers the functionality of rendering audio files directly to the SD card. Choose what is being rendered – single patterns, separate tracks, or entire song mixdown as a one track. Only active tracks will get rendered, Muted tracks will be ignored.
Go to File > Export > and choose what needs to get rendered into an audio file (Song, Song stems, Pattern, Pattern stems). The Tracker will play the currently rendered material. Stem rendering takes place one at a time and depending on the project complexity can be time-consuming. The timestamp and progress bar is indicating the ongoing rendering.
While rendering stems, the Tracker exports 8 mono track files, 1 fx send mono track and the stereo mix track. The master audio output is rendered into a stereo wave file. The tracks will be rendered to wave audio files with a sampling rate of 44100Hz/16bit.
There’s a Render selection to sample function accessed from Pattern/sequencer screen. It’s a very useful and creative function that allows rendering of a selected step or step selection (on one or more tracks at the same time) into a single audio file. In Pattern section > turn Edit Mode on (Rec) > use Shift + arrow keys to select the desired area > now use the Render screen button to create a new sample clip.
Under the Config key – find all the Trackerʼs configuration options which are as follows:
- General configuration:
- Pattern Divider – from 1 to 16,
- Radio Region – Europe, US, Australia,
- Display Brightness – high, medium, low,
- Pads Brightness – high, medium, low,
- Record microtiming – on, off,
- Performance presets – global, project,
- Pads Scale filter – see appendix for the list.
- Pads Root Note – from C2 to C4,
- Pads Layout – from 1 to 12.
- MIDI with all the input/output MIDI implemented controls available:
- Clock In – Internal, USB, MIDI In jack,
- Clock Out – Off, USB, MIDI Out jack, USB + MIDI Out, jack,
- Transport In – Off, USB, MIDI In jack, USB + MIDI In jack,
- Transport Out – Off, USB, MIDI Out jack, USB + MIDI Out jack,
- Notes in mode – Off, USB, MIDI In jack, USB + MIDI Out jack,
- Notes In channel – All, Ch1 to Ch16,
- MIDI Out mode – Off, USB, MIDI Out jack, USB + MIDI Out jack,
- MIDI Out mode – Off, USB, MIDI Out jack, USB + MIDI Out jack,
- MIDI Out mode – Off, USB, MIDI Out jack, USB + MIDI Out jack,
- CC/PC Out channel – outputs from Ch1 to Ch16,
- CC Out – CC from A to E with available communicate numbers from 1 to 127,
- Metronome: State (on/off), Time signature num & denum (from 1 to 12), Volume (from 0 to 100).
- Firmware: check the current version and load the new firmware from the SD card.
- Manual: view the onboard Polyend Tracker Quick-Start.
Polyend Tracker is equipped with a bidirectional MIDI implementation and is both able to control and be controlled with external MIDI gear. Its internal PPQN resolution is 192.
Note: In any of the Tracker sections – Press Shift + on/off button to take a screenshot which will get saved directly to the SD card.
If possible from the software implementation level, Polyend will fix any firmware related issues considered as bugs. Polyend is always keen on hearing user feedback about possible functionality improvements but is not anyhow obligated to bringing such requests to life. We appreciate all the opinions, a lot, but cannot guarantee or promise their appliance. Please respect that.
In order to update the firmware, copy the firmware file to the Firmware folder on SD drive > go to Config > Firmware > choose the desired version of PolyendTrackerFirmware.ptf file and confirm using the screen key.
Warranty & Safety
Polyend warrants this product, to the original owner, to be free of defects in materials or construction for one year from the date of purchase. Proof of purchase is necessary when a warranty claim is processed. Malfunctions resulting from improper power supply voltages, abuse of the product or any other causes determined by Polyend to be the fault of the user won’t get covered by this warranty (standard services rates will be applied). All defective products will be replaced or repaired at the discretion of Polyend. Products must be returned directly to Polyend with the customer paying the shipping cost. Polyend implies and accepts no responsibility for harm to a person or apparatus through the operation of this product.
Please use the contact form below to start a return to manufacturer authorization, or for any other inquiries.
Important Safety and Maintenance instructions:
- Avoid exposing the unit to water, rain, moisture. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight or high-temperature sources for a long time.
- Do not use aggressive cleaners on the casing or on the LCD screen. Get rid of dust, dirt and fingerprints using a soft, dry cloth. Disconnect all cables while cleaning. Only reconnect them when the product is totally dry.
- To avoid scratches or damage, never use sharp objects on the body or screen of the Tracker. Do not apply any pressure to display.
- This apparatus, by itself or used with amplifiers, headphones and speakers, is able to produce high sound levels. Do not operate at levels that are uncomfortable. Protect your ears.
- Unplug your instrument from the power sources during lightning storms or when it is not used for long periods of time.
- Make sure that the power cord is safe from harm.
- Do not open up the instrument chassis. It is not user repairable. Leave all servicing to qualified service technicians. Servicing may be required when the unit has been damaged in any way – liquid has been spilt or objects have fallen into the unit, has been dropped or does not operate normally.
- A sound peak occurs on the stereo output of the Polyend Tracker when it’s being toggled on/off. You may like to turn down the volume on all speakers and headphones before.
The FX step effects list
While in the Pattern sequencer view, press and hold one of the Fx keys to show the Fx list – using the screen button underneath – expand their description popup.
– – none, indicates that there is no effect used on the desired step.
! – Off, toggles off the effect used on the previous step.
V – Velocity, sets the Velocity of an Instrument. From 0% to 100%.
P – Panning, sets the Panning of an Instrument. From -50 (L) to +50 (R).
M – Micro-tune, sets the micro-tuning adjustments. From -99 cents to +99 cents.
G – Glide, sets the time it takes for the pitch of the previous note to travel to the pitch of the corresponding note. From 0-49% (0-1s) to 50-100% (1-15s).
T – Tempo, changes pattern tempo. Handy to create custom swings or grooves. From 10% to 400%.
m – Micro-move, slightly moves (nudges) forward the step position. from 0% to 100%.
C – Chance, sets a chance of a step being played. From 0% to 100%.
R – Roll, sets the type and value of the (step divider) parameter. From 0 to 16 for each Roll type. R – regular Roll; Rv – decreasing volume Roll; RV – increasing volume Roll; Rn – decreasing note Roll; RN – increasing note Roll; RR – random note Roll.
n – Random note, sets the range of randomization for Note with each sequencer pass. From +/- 0 to +/- 100. Working accordingly to the global musical scale selected for the pads in Config.
i – Random Instrument, set the range of randomization for Instrument number with each sequencer pass. From +/- 0 to +/- 47.
f – Random Fx value, sets the range of randomization for the Fx that is in the same step with each sequencer pass. For example, if the randomizer value is 10 and the affected Fx value is 100, the algorithm will pick the value from 90 to 110. From +/- 0 to +/-255.
v – Random Velocity, sets the range of randomization for Velocity with each sequencer pass. From +/- 0 to +/- 100.
r – Reverse Sample Playback, changes the sample playback direction. Values: <<< and >>>.
p – Position, in relation to the chosen sample playback type – changes the position of Sample start, Wavetable position or Granular position. From 0% to 100%.
S – Slice, sets the slice number of an instrument with a Slice playback type. From 1 to 48.
g – Volume LFO, sets the LFO rate for instrument Volume. LFO is synced to project Tempo. With the following values: 6; 4; 3; 2; 3/2; 1; 3/4; 1/2; 3/8; 1/3; 1/4; 316 (3/16); 1/6; 1/8; /12 (1/12); /16 (1/16); /24 (1/24); /32 (1/32); /48 (1/48); /64 (1/64).
h – Panning LFO, Sets the LFO rate for Panning. LFO is synced to project Tempo. Values the same as above.
j – Filter LFO, Sets the LFO rate for the selected filter type. LFO is synced to project Tempo. Values the same as above.
k – Position LFO, Sets the LFO rate for the selected playback type (Wavetable, Granular) Position with respect to the project tempo (BPM). Values the same as above.
L – Low-pass, sets the cutoff amount of the Low-pass Filter. From 0% to 100%.
B – Band-pass, sets the cutoff amount of the Band-pass Filter. From 0% to 100%.
H – High-pass, sets the cutoff amount of the High-pass Filter. From 0% to 100%.
s – Delay Send, sets the amount of Delay send. From 0% to 100%.
t – Reverb Send, sets the amount of Reverb send. From 0% to 100%.
a – e – MIDI CC A -E, sends MIDI CC Value set to A-E in the Config. From 0 to 127.
f – MIDI program change, sends MIDI Program Change communicate. From 0 to 127.
Performance mode FX list:
Volume (from -100 to 100),
Panning (from -100 to 100),
Tune (from -48 to 48),
Low-pass filter cutoff (from -100 to 100),
High-pass filter cutoff (from -100 to 100),
Band-pass filter cutoff (from -100 to 100),
Delay Fx send (from -100 to 100),
Reverb Fx send (from -100 to 100),
Sample position (from -100 to 100),
Sample end (from -100 to 100),
Sample playback Forward (>>>>>) and Reverse (<<<<<),
Volume LFO Speed (from -20 to +20),
Panning LFO Speed (from -20 to +20),
Filter LFO Speed (from -20 to +20),
Granular/wavetable LFO Speed (from -20 to +20),
Step repeater (from 16 to 1/16),
Pattern play mode (forward, backward, random),
Pattern length (from 1 to 128).
List of musical scales filters available for the pads
Number, Name – Abbreviation.
1 Chromatic – Chromatic
2 Minor – Minor
3 Major – Major
4 Dorian – Dorian
5 Lydian – Lyd Maj
6 Lydian Minor – Lyd Min
7 Locrian – Locrian
8 Phrygian – Phrygian
9 Phrygian Dominant – PhrygDom
10 Mixlydian – Mixlydian
11 Melodic Minor – Melo Min
12 Harmonic Minor – Harm Min
13 BeBop Major – BeBopMaj
14 BeBop Dorian – BeBopDor
15 BeBop Mixlydian – BeBopMix
16 Blues Minor – Blues Min
17 Blues Major – Blues Maj
18 Pentationic Minor – Penta Min
19 Pentatonic Major – Penta Maj
20 Hungarian Minor – Hung Min
21 Ukrainian – Ukrainian
22 Marva – Marva
23 Todi – Todi
24 Whole Tone – Wholetone
25 Diminished – Dim
26 Super Locrian – SLocrian
27 Hirajoshi – Hirajoshi
28 In Sen – In Sen
29 Yo – Yo
30 Iwato – Iwato
31 Whole Half – WholeHalf
32 Kumoi – Kumoi
33 Overtone – Overtone
34 Double Harmonic – DoubHarm
35 Indian – Indian
36 Gypsy – Gypsy
37 Neapolitan – NeapoMaj
38 Neapolitan Minor – NeapoMin
39 Enigmatic – Enigmatic
What's in the box?
Polyend Tracker onboard original accessories.
- USB‑A power adapter (with different standard plugs set),
- USB-C cable (2 m),
- Audio 3.5 mm jack to 2x 6.3 mm jack adapter,
- MIDI 3.5 mm jack to MIDI DIN adapter,
- 16GB Micro SD Card,
- Micro SD to USB-A dongle adapter,
- Warranty and manual information card,
- Dust cloth.