TC Electronic's original PolyTune was a world beater. The PolyTune Mini was a class act. Now there's a brand new version - the PolyTune 2. Can TC really have improved on what many regarded as a perfect tuner design? Lewis Turner finds out.
When the original Polytune from TC Electronics came out a few years ago, it created a sensation. The world's first polyphonic tuner took the hearts of guitarists by storm. The fact that you could tune all six strings at once, the presence of a bright LED display and true bypass were all massive selling points. Since then we have had the Polytune Mini that was reviewed by GI back in issue nine, which was the same as the original only half the size, meaning it took up less space on your pedal board. This also meant it was too small to take a battery which some people weren’t too keen on but for those (myself included) who wanted a great reliable tuner that didn’t take up much space it was/is perfect. In fact, having fairly recently purchased a Polytune Mini I was very interested to see what the Polytune 2 has to offer.
The first thing you notice is that TC has gone back to its original size. Maybe this is due to the demand from people for a tuner that takes battery, or maybe the company intends to release a Mini Polytune 2 version in the future? I don't know but, either way, this newcomer is made to the same high standard that you come to expect from TC. It offers true bypass, comes in the same colour and offers polyphonic tuning as well as single string, so what's new? Well a fair bit as it turns out.
The Polytune 2 is primed with some of the brightest LEDs you have ever laid your eyes on. You get an instant clear overview no matter what the situation: bright daytime shows, or dingy night time gigs. This is down to the very clever ambient light sensor that makes sure you get the right amount of brightness every time. Due to popular demand this new version also comes with a Strobe Tuner option. For fine tuning of your guitar this strobe tuner is lightning fast and ultra precise, according to TC Electronics it gives a “0.1 percent tuning accuracy”, which apparently is very good... I found it great if you wish to tune from somewhere else on your fretboard other than the open strings as it is a fully chromatic tuner, also ideal for checking intonation. Cleverly, it features a 'Tuning Magnet' which slows down the needle once you get to the desired pitch. MonoPoly instantly recognizes whether you play one or more strings and replies with the appropriate poly or monophonic tuning mode. This new pedal also stores your preferences both pitch and tuning mode, it keeps this information even when you have powered down.
There are two buttons on top of this pedal. One that changes modes, normal or strobe and between bass or guitar. The other button gives you different tuning options such as drop D and capo tuning modes, which is very handy. The only thing I did find is that some of the tuning options are quite hard to read when displayed as LEDs, but it's still a great feature. One of my favourite things on this new pedal is the DC out. This is a great option meaning you can power another pedal from this one. If you are maxed out for outputs on your pedalboard power supply then this option is fantastic, every pedal should have this! It also comes with Velcro to help you fix it to your pedalboard.
TC Electronic seems to be at the top of its game when it comes to delivering user friendly, reliable, well built products, and this latest Polytune is no exception. Just when you think nothing could be added to a tuner, especially ones as good as the previous PolyTunes, along comes TC with some great up-grades and always at very user-friendly prices, it seems. If you already own a Polytune you will know just how great they are and may well be tempted by this new one. If you don’t already own one, then you really need this in your life.