The$ 799 Play + from Polyend has a chance of being the best groovebox ever.

The$ 799 Play + from Polyend has a chance of being the best groovebox ever.

Terrence O'Brien

The Play, a fascinating sample-based groovebox and MIDI sequencer that was essentially universally adored by anyone who could obtain one, was introduced by Polyend in 2022. They were initially quite difficult to find due to the pandemic-fueled chip shortage. But my, how much has changed in the past year. The company was able to reduce the Play’s price from$ 799 to just$ 499 in just under 18 months. The Polyend Play +’s availability, however, is more thrilling.

Compared to the original, the updated version has a lot more power. Eight tracks of sample playback and eight polyphonic MIDI sequencing remain. However, it now supports stereo sample playback, and the dedicated MIDI tracks can operate four built-in synth engines. Additionally, it supports audio over USB-C. It is also multitrack, with 14 distinct stereo tracks available for each of the eight sample channels, three synth slots, reverb and delay sends, and a master audio output.

Eight voices are allowed on the synths as a whole, but you can split them into three tracks however you like. In order to create chords, you can first have a monophonic bass, second, and third, respectively. ACD, FAT, VAP, and WTFM are the four distinct engines. ACD delivers a straightforward single oscillator similar to Roland’s renowned SH-101 in the first three flavors of virtual analog synths. FAT and VAP, on the other hand, are more complex, with the former producing thick three-oscillator tones and the latter having a sizable modulation matrix for evolving pads. WTFM is a two-operate FM synth that is much more versatile and capable than you might anticipate, at least based on the samples posted on Polyend’s website.

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While you can alter the synth patches to your taste and do some menu diving. For quickly dialing in something appealing, there are many presets, each of which has macro controls. The Play’s immediacy is its main selling point overall. The semi-generative pattern filling options are still available, and one of them is the ability to use synth engines to automatically generate bass and chord progressions.

The fact that Polyend is allowing original Play owners to exchange theirs for the Play + for$ 399 is one of the more intriguing things. By enabling Polyend to sell those returned units as refurbished in the future, this reduces waste ( and possibly saves some money ) and gives those who spent money on a unit an upgrade path to the new, more powerful hardware.

Right now, the Polyend Play + costs$ 799.

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