Tracker Bugs and Suggestions

Yeah, I know there’s a forum area for voting on feature requests, but my collection is pretty long, so I thought I’d dump them here. Some of these are feature requests, some of them are design mistakes (most trivially fixed), some are outright bugs. A few of the items would require work to implement, but I think the return on investment would be worth it to Polyend. Others would be trivial to fix.

My sole interest in the Tracker is as a MIDI sequencer, rather than as a groovebox. Thus I suspect the problems I’ve discussed below are a bit different from the common groovebox community issues.

ISSUE: 128 is not enough steps for a pattern for non-EDM songs. There are many situations where we want to create large melodies, or even entire songs, out of a single pattern.

SOLUTION 1: If the issue is memory, can we have the option to trade 1024 steps for only 63 patterns? Or 4096 steps in a pattern for only 15 patterns?

SOLUTION 2: Alternatively we can live-record across pattern boundaries. This is already sort of possible but is VERY cumbersome to set up and do, because while in pattern mode you can’t live record more than the current pattern, but in song mode you can’t start live recording. As a result at present you must:

  • Set up many patterns with the same configuration in Pattern Mode
  • Lay them out in order in Song Mode
  • Go to the first pattern in Pattern Mode
  • Start live recording
  • Begin recording notes
  • WHILE recording notes, switch to Song Mode before the pattern is over (!!!)
  • Continue recording notes

That is a very poor method. Instead, you should be able to start live recording in Song Mode on the current slot, and it automatically continues recording into the next slot, and when we are out of slots, it starts adding new copies.

ISSUE: Cutting and pasting slots in song mode does not change the slots – rather it cuts and pastes the underlying PATTERNS, overwriting them! This is highly counterintuitive and likely leads to a LOT of user errors. In fact I don’t think there’s a way to cut and paste pattern numbers in slots (!)

RELATED ISSUE: The Delete button works in song mode but NOT the insert button!


  • Cutting and pasting slots should just change the PATTERN NUMBERS for the slots. I should NOT modify the patterns [indeed nothing in Song Mode should secretly change patterns]

  • The insert button probably should do “Add Empty Slot”

ISSUE: 40 BPM is much too high a minimum speed

SOLUTION: Reduce the minimum BPM to perhaps 10 or even 1. I note that the Tempo effect can go down to at least 10.

ISSUE: Triplets are not supported.

SOLUTION: A quantize option should consider triplet entry. Also perhaps one might select groups of notes and select “triplets” or “triplets with 1 rest at beginning” or “triplets with 2 rests at beginning”. The notes are offset to create triplets, or possibly moved as necessary to a new track.

ISSUE: It is difficult to rapidly scroll in Pattern Mode

SOLUTION: Holding down some button would toggle “fast scroll” mode; perhaps this might be one of the 8 buttons immediately below the screen. This would allow the up, down, and jog wheel to scroll by 4x or 16x the speed.

ISSUE: Count-In and Metronome do not have visible cues. This makes them impossible to use without a speaker when sequencing MIDI

SOLUTION: Add visible cues, perhaps in the title bar. Additionally, it would be helpful to have as an option to set the MIDI channel and note to output a beep for both the measure and beat metronome beats as an option.

ISSUE: You often can’t duplicate a pattern (“too long”) even though you can cut and paste it to do exactly the same thing.

SOLUTION: This seems like a bug.

ISSUE: The Tracker can be set up to route MIDI from an external controller to MIDI OUT to play along while the Tracker is playing a song. That is nice. But it is exceptionally inconvenient to do so. You must:

  • Set up a track in ALL the patterns with the desired output MIDI channel
  • Move the cursor to that track (in pattern mode)
  • Switch to song mode
  • Play the song

RELATED ISSUE: There is no way to pass through CC data while playing! This makes it extremely inconvenient to change the filter cutoff via a knob on a controller while playing a song.

SOLUTION: would it be possible to just have an option to route MIDI In [OMNI] to MIDI Out on a certain channel? Including CC and PC messages.

ISSUE: There is no way to start, stop, or continue the emitted clock mid-song, such as at certain steps or patterns. This is an important feature for control of 8- or 16-step sequencers, or LFOs, on modular synthesizers. At present the Tracker cannot really be used with outboard step sequencers on modular.

SOLUTION: this should be an effect! I would make an effect called CLOCK which at least has START and STOP. It would have global impact on MIDI of course, but that’s okay.

ISSUE: When an instrument is selected on a blank step, it automatically adds a note, even if one is not yet desired.

SOLUTION: don’t do that.

ISSUE: When a note is deleted, the instrument and effects are also deleted if the instrument is a sample. But if the instrument is a MIDI channel, they are NOT deleted. This particularly problematic for ranges: deleting a whole range DOES NOT clear the steps if they’re MIDI channels! I don’t think there is any documentation for this difference. It looks like an error?

RELATED ISSUE: There is no easy way to select notes from Octaves 0…2, which are common starting range notes for modular synthesizers.

RELATED ISSUE: There is no shortcut to select FAD, OFF, or CUT. The only way to do it is to delete the note, (which goes to “—”), then turn the knob counterclockwise. This is inconvenient but more importantly it doesn’t work if the instrument is a sample, as discussed before.

RELATED ISSUE: There is no way to hot-select MIDI instruments.


  • Deleting notes always deletes instruments and effects

  • For NOTES: SHIFT + grid pad would pick
    Octave 2 (top row)
    Octave 1 (second row)
    Octave 0 (third row)
    OFF/FAD/CUT/— (bottom row)

  • For INSTRUMENTS: SHIFT + grid pad would pick a MIDI channel

ISSUE: When you have range-selected a track by instrument, selecting a pad will set all the instruments to the same value. But turning a knob will DECREMENT every instrument independently. I cannot think of any situation where that would be useful.

SOLUTION: It makes sense for the Knob to behave like this for Notes. It makes less sense for it to behave like this for the Effects, and it makes NO sense for it to behave like this for the Instrument. I’d make the behavior different, but perhaps you’re trying to be consistent if counterintuitive…

ISSUE: There is a popular outstanding request on your forum for 8 MIDI tracks and 8 sample tracks.

SOLUTION: I would be satisfied with simply an option of 16 or ideally 32 MIDI tracks (including polyphonic spillover) and NO sample tracks. This would make the Tracker a much more effective MIDI device.

ISSUE: When in song mode, if you press pattern, you go back to your previous pattern, NOT to the pattern in the currently selected song slot. That is very confusing!

SOLUTION: In Song Mode, SHIFT+PATTERN should go to the pattern in the currently selected song slot.

ISSUE: There is copy and paste, but there is not CUT and paste

SOLUTION: “Backspace” (SHIFT+DEL) is unused in most cases. Outside of text, I would repurpose SHIFT+DEL to be CUT, that is, both a COPY and a DELETE in that order. This should work in both Pattern Mode and in Song Mode.

ISSUE: INSERT will move steps down to insert new ones. But DELETE just clears them. There does not appear to be a way to delete steps, moving the later steps BACK UP to take their place.

SOLUTION: SHIFT+PLAY is presently not being used. Perhaps it might be repurposed as a Delete-and-remove rather than as just a CLEAR.

Or perhaps it’s be better to use SHIFT+DEL for this purpose, and use SHIFT+PLAY for the “Cut” behavior in the previous issue…

How kong did it take you to write this?

Honestly, I think this is gonna get overlooked unless you actually follow through the proper way to suggest features and/or report bugs.

(Just one answer: I don’t make EDM and 128 steps is long enough for me ;)).


:slight_smile: Of course! But honestly, 128 steps is not long enough for many music styles, certainly not stuff I do. I note, for example, that Renoise is 512 steps. Heck, even in LSDJ, which has only 16-step “phrases”, can connect them into larger phrases all the way up to 4080 steps.

I think it would be reasonably straightforward to trade maximum step length for total number of patterns.

Another option would be to build and transition to new patterns on the fly when doing live note recording until the musician stops recording.

What you want is a modern kind of Yamaha QY700.
There is a linear sequencer with 32 tracks and a pattern sequencer with 16 tracks, running in parallel.
Of course, pattern sequencing wasn’t the shit back then, so it is not exactly what you would expect from a pattern sequencer nowadays, but it was going in a good direction.

I still don’t understand the thinking of manufacturers today, where nobody has the beauty of linear sequencing on the radar. Especially in combination with pattern sequencing!

It’s good to have the choice between those two ways or being able to combine them.

No song mode in no machine ever did it for me. In the end you need linear sequencing to put a proper track together, making breaks, adding melodies, bringing in variation, etc.

At least for me.

Believe it or not, I own a QY100, and have published a large analysis on step sequencers and linear arrangers. At present there are maybe only three standalone machines which can serve, sort of, as linear arrangers on the market. That’d be the Deluge, whose sequencer (and arranger) has a lot of other problems, the Akai Force, which is hardly what you’d call portable, and maybe the Maschine+. There are a few machines which can kind of be hacked, including the Tracker, the Oxi One (badly), etc.

I’m not asking to turn the Tracker into a linear arranger – but a longer pattern length would go a long ways towards helping people who need that facility.

Got it!
Where can I read this analysis? Would be interesting…

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