“The feature set is impressive and a surprisingly long one for a tuner. Most of the features you expect from a good pedal tuner are present with a few extra well-thought out and implemented ones in addition.”
T.C. Electronic’s latest stomp tuner offering is intriguing as it has a feature set comparable with the best tuners, but also offers something completely new – the ability to tune polyphonically, sensing and displaying the tuning of all your strings at the same time.
Tuners are usually monophonic in that they only allow you to see the tuning of one note at a time. Where the PolyTune differs is that it has a polyphonic tuning mode, allowing you to check and display the tuning of all the strings simultaneously. When I first heard about the new polyphonic feature, I wasn’t convinced it would be of much benefit, thinking that regardless of how many strings’ tuning are displayed, I can still only tune one string at a time.
The feature set is impressive and a surprisingly long one for a tuner. Most of the features you expect from a good pedal tuner are present with a few extra well-thought out and implemented ones in addition. Firstly, the tuning accuracy is 0.5 cent – twice as accurate as all but one of the competing pedal tuners on the market and comparable with some rack tuners. It has true bypass for those that want it. The unique ambient light sensor automatically senses light conditions and adjusts the brightness of the display to suit, so it won’t be too dim at a daylight, outside gig or too bright on a dark stage. The monophonic tuner mode has two settings, one of which mimics a needle tuner while the other is closer to a strobe type display. It even features a DC output plug for daisy chaining other effects to the same power supply.
The Polytune can be calibrated from 435Hz up to 445Hz and can also be set to downtune the guitar by up to 5 semitones. Unfortunately the polyphonic mode does not work with altered tunings other than dropping all the strings by the same amount – but monophonic mode still works. Best of all is the reference pitch, downtuning and display settings are all remembered when the PolyTune is powered down, so there is no need to adjust these again when next powering up.
- Simply strum all of the strings on your guitar or bass to tune
- Works for guitar or bass
- Set to your reference pitch from 435Hz to 445Hz
- Allows dropped tunings from E-flat down to B with an accuracy of just +/- 0.5 cent
- Two separate chromatic tuning modes: Needle mode and Stream mode
- Tuning Magnet slows down the needle close to the correct pitch
- MonoPoly recognizes if you play one or more strings and switches between poly- or monophonic tuning
- Stores your settings even after being powered down
- Ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the LEDs
Housed in a hefty metal box with a small footprint, the PolyTune is rugged without being large. The stomp switch is large and solid and the buttons for adjusting pitch and display are tucked away flush with the surface so should be immune to knocks. Whether you like the bright white paint job may be a matter of taste, but it is not unattractive. Overall, the look is utilitarian, lacking the stylised shape of some of the competition.
I found the polyphonic tuning does speed up tuning radically, as it allows you to immediately see which strings are out of tune and quickly concentrate on tuning those without having to spend the time to check each and every string individually. It also changes from monophonic to polyphonic mode and back again instantly. So all told, it becomes very easy to sneak in a single quick strum between songs (or even in an inactive moment in a song!) to check that all is well, without the audience or the band being any the wiser.
The display is fast, but stable and the light sensor works well too, showing clearly and brightly in daylight and dimming automatically in lower light settings. Battery access is via the bottom, which could slow things down if it is velcroed to a pedalboard, but most pedalboard users will also be using it with a power supply. Otherwise removing the bottom is a cinch as it uses a single large thumbscrew, which remains securely fixed to the bottom plate when loosened – a nice touch. Input and output jack are the same height as Boss Pedals, so you can use solid connectors between the PolyTune and many other pedal brands. Being true bypass, there are no worries with it affecting the tone adversely when not in use and the DC power output can simplify pedal power on smaller effects boards.
An interesting addition to the PolyTune is a mini USB port, which the manual lists as a “service port”, but says nothing further. Scuttlebutt is that this will be used for software upgrades in the future, so it’s possible that minor annoyances such as the lack of altered tunings will be addressed in future.
Anyone in the market for a pedal tuner would be wise to consider the Polytune as a leading contender. If you already have a fast and accurate true bypass tuner on your pedalboard, it may not be necessary to upgrade, but the speed advantage of the polyphonic tuning will still make it a “must-have” pedal for many.
- very fast polyphonic tuning
- light sensor controlled display
- true bypass
- software upgradeable via PC
- remembers pitch calibration
- downtuning settings.
- Cannot display altered tunings polyphonically
- bottom battery access
Supplied by: Prosound (Pty) Ltd
Web : www.prosound.co.za
Suggested Retail Price: R 1,429-00 incl. VAT