There are a lot things I love about the Play but what disappointment to discover some of its missing features or features that I was expecting watching videos and reviews…
I was really excited by the chance parameters but then I discovered that you can only have one chance parameter per step
Automations are not continuously recorded like on the Circuit Rhythm or the Oxi One or partially the Op-Z. For ambient music, it is really disappointing.
No true polyphonic midi tracks !!! OK, I can live without this one using the chord mode but I mean it is at least confusing from the manual or I might say completely misleading or false advertisement.
These are not issues that can be anticipated reading the manual or watching videos unfortunately.
I will keep it for the moment, hoping for these features to be implemented soon. But I won’t if it is not the case.
I don’t think any of these features are ‘missing’, they’re just slightly different to what you expected.
Other than trackers with multiple lanes (PT/M8), I can’t think of another similar groovebox that gives you multiple chance parameters per step.
Linking automations to each step rather than recording them continuously makes more sense to me, with the way I use the Play. But if you’d like continuous recording then you can write a feature request on this forum.
Another problem with the chance action feature is that you can’t control value range of the parameter that is randomized. The octave up action often goes too high, microtune applies too much detuning, humanize moves notes too much off the grid and so on. The only usable action to me is play step.
I’m not totally happy with the randomize function either as I can’t randomize most parameters individually. For example, I want to randomize just panning, there is no way to do so, only the Space mode, but it’ll affect Delay and Reverb too, which is not what I usually need. No way to randomize sample start and sample end, bit depth, repeat and so forth. In the MIDI mode, only Filter CC can be randomized.
Polyphonic midi tracks are missing because they are advertised as polyphonic on the website but they are not implemented as polyphonic.
Continuous automations are missing because it is advertised that you can live record knobs but this is not implemented: try on the filter in live record, it won’t change continuously the sound but just the value for the step. No other groove box does that. I tried on the novation circuit, op-z, oxi one, mc 101…
I agree that chance and randomization is the speciality of the Play but then why limiting it to just one parameter per step.
Anyway, like I said, I like it but I would have expected Polyend to be more accurate/transparent on the feature set.
In the end the Play is a step sequencer. The fact that values are recorded by step is a reasonable expectation. Recording continuous automation is a good idea. There is no wish created for it and I only recall a related discussion on Advice on sequencing smoothest as possible CC automations / sweeps? If it is important to you, you could create that wish.
Some people seem to have a great time using the Play for ambient: Play for ambient
But no product is perfect and different users will find different pros and cons. After your research, have you found another product that would be a better fit for your music production than the Play? You mention some alternatives. Would you choose them instead of the Play? Honest question! In the past I have considered all the ones you mention (and more). In the end, the Play (and now Play Plus) is the one that ticks more boxes in my list, and (most importantly for me) it is easy and fun to play with.
The fact that you only can apply only one chance per step is for me the most important missing feature. With multiple chances for step it would be the best sequencer. Hope they will implement this important feature
I was expecting them to be per step but they are not really per step. For instance, on the OP-z or the Novation Circuit Rhythm they are per step, meaning that on a long sample, the values change on each step of the duration of the sample or synth. On the Play they change only on the step that trigger the sample.
I agree. I don’t think they are essential. Every one needs different features. It is more than they are expected after reading the manual or the website…
You can surely do ambient with it.
Like I say, it still a great machine. My main complaint here is that some information is misleading. So I am disappointed because I read the manual and watched videos before buying it and none of them clearly showed the limitations…
As a customer I think it’s normal to expect the provided information to be accurate.