Superbooth 2022: “Let’s Play” - Polyend releases super-flexible sample and MIDI groovebox

If Polyend’s Tracker was a little esoteric for you, then perhaps Play - the company’s new sample- and MIDI-based groovebox - will be more to your tastes.

Promising an ‘open sandbox’ approach to playing, performing and sequencing, this includes more than 30 sample kits to start jamming with right away, and offers eight audio tracks and eight polyphonic MIDI tracks. So, as well as being a standalone groovebox, it can also serve as a controller for other gear.

Fire up Play mode, choose a sample - more than 3,000 are included - and you can simply place it on the 16x8 step sequencing grid and start making a track. You get familiar controls for your samples, and for each track you can choose one of 35 different play modes.

The Smart Fill option will fill any area you choose with an entire beat, a random placement of steps or a Euclidean spread, while steps, tracks, track pages, variations and patterns can easily be copied and pasted. There’s scale filtering, too, so only notes within a specific scale are outputted.

In Perform mode, meanwhile, you can make non-destructive changes to your tracks with a number of performance effects. You can record live automation or change individual step values on the fly and record MIDI from an external controller. There’s instant save and recall of patterns, and customisable pattern chaining enables you to map out entire sequences on the grid and perform them live.

Because each track in Play can have independent length, BPM speed, playback mode and swing values, it should be easy to create polymetric and polyrhythmic sequences. What’s more, you have over 30,000 track variations; each of the 128 patterns can hold up to 16 tracks, with each track holding 16 variations.

As well as the sequencing grid, Play also features a 4x8 control grid for mute, solo, variation, select and keyboard note input. It has a split-screen display with 15 touch-capacitive knobs, and can be powered via USB-C (including from a power bank). In addition to MIDI I/O, you also have a microSD card slot. Users can expect regular firmware updates, too.

Play is available for pre-order now priced at $799/€799, and will be shipping in July. Find out more on the Polyend website. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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