Tracker Mini first impressions

My first, first impressions of the Mini were rather low, actually. My biggest disappointment out of the box were the buttons. I thought they felt very cheap, and while I still don’t love them, I have warmed up a bit to them. I also have an M8 and a NerdSeq, so the difference in button experience is quite large compared to those. On the plus side though, the Mini is a lot quieter when in use compared to the M8.

I’m not a huge fan of the coating. I would have preferred a normal smooth plastic instead of the soft touch. I know that the claim is that it won’t become “sticky” touch, but I don’t know - I really hope that claim is true. I would have also appreciated an aluminum faceplate like it’s big brothers. I don’t think it would have added too much to the weight.

And then I have encountered a fair number of freezes/bugs/odd behavior. Nothing that has been show stopper and usually restarting gets everything back in order. This I’m not as concerned about because I am very positive on them getting resolved (and I will do my best to report anything that I can recreate consistently).

All that said, the Mini has grown on me quite a bit over the first week! I had the OG Tracker, but let it go because I really, really wanted an internal battery. I never like using a power bank because they always slip in between the cushions on the couch or I have to get up quickly and forget about it and then fling it across the room. Yes, I am very much a couch producer. :slight_smile:

I picked this up because, while I love my M8 and it is NOT being replaced, I wanted 1) better battery life (see comment above about power banks), 2) a bigger screen for my aging eyes, and 3) an onboard mic. All of these have been great, IMO. I kind of love the destructive audio effects, too - especially the bitcrusher to dial in that perfect amount of aliasing. So good. I think the delay and reverb are great, too (thank you for the reverb algo, Emilie).

I used to not think stereo sampling was a big deal. I was wrong - it is. It really does add more space that you just can’t get with mono samples, even when using all the panning, reverb, and space tricks/effects. They sound really good on the Mini, too. In fact, the Mini has a very, very pleasing sound quality overall.

Thank you for reading my short story. I am really excited to see where the Mini goes. There are a lot of great ideas already in the Wishlist. Even if none of those happen and we just get bug fixes and stability improvements, that will be just fine with me.


Those of you missing a speaker (I don’t :sweat_smile:) be aware of Mini MIDI Keyboard - #43 by SeanMichaelJohnston and share encouraging emojis with them. :loud_sound:


Not much of a first impressions now, but wanted to capture my 2 cents with the tracker mini. Reflecting how LSDj got me into making music.


The lack of pads was my main reason for the return otherwise i thought it had a lot of potential… I also thought the lack of jog wheel would bother me but i actually prefered the buttons in that realm… I think if the price point was slightly lower I would have adjusted eventually but i found, for my workflow anyway, for me to get the full joy out of it i needed a midi keyboard which took away the portability… Still a cool device though…

Even though you returned yours, please vote for the future implementation of “pads” using the existing buttons if you can/want: Alternate Note Entry Mode - #39 by Pizza2047


Sure thing… not sure where they would put them but if it did have pads i would still have my mini…

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Thank you! The hope is that they implement the usage of the 8 contextual screen buttons to be used to play samples.

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Still waiting for actual STEREO sampling for the Tracker Mini…
I can’t believe we still can’t sample in STEREO on a device that plays stereo samples.
:face_with_peeking_eye: :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:


Can’t wait for that to come out. It’s been a long wait so far… :wink:


@junebug It’s ready :slight_smile:
See Tracker Mini Firmware 1.1

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I received mine today, installed 1.1 and tried it for a few hours ! :slight_smile:

My first impressions :

  • At first, the sequencer quickly leads me to buzy rythms. I’ll see when I’ll get used to it how it influences my music.
  • The Fill function is amazing, options seem endless and it really helps getting started very quickly and experimenting before fine tuning.
  • The instruments are great, I can easily create the sounds I have in mind. And having access to a simple wavetable synth is great. Even the monophonic granular treatment sounds better than I expected. Sample editing is very nice on the machine.
  • The UI is very well thought out and I quickly found my way.
  • The reverb sounds great.

What could be improved IMHO :

  • I’d really like to be able to change instrument from the Instrument Paramters and the Sample editor pages.
  • The buttons doesn’t seem to have been designed to last. I have to press quite hard on the shift button when I use it, otherwise it often turns off while still holding it.
  • I really don’t like the sound of the filter, its response to the envelope doesn’t sound smooth to me. It’s quite hard to get creamy basses with the wavetable instrument.
  • Speaking of the envelopes, they’re not snappy enough I find.
  • I know it has been improved, but I have some doubts about the clock, but perhaps that was because of my first attempts, I’ll see on future more serious projects.
  • I’ve very quickly tried the limiter, but wasn’t very convinced at first.

Overall, it’s a great instrument, very well thought out and inspiring. In a few hours it gave me many ideas for differents musical applications. I’m curious to see how it be integrated in my workflow in the future.

Great job Polyend !


Welcome @ikkini and i hope the Mini gives you countless more hours of fun! :partying_face:

Do you mean to change the active instrument for use within those two screens? You can actually do that already. Hold the Instrument key and press + or - to switch between instruments.


Oh ! I didn’t notice it ! :flushed: I haven’t fully RTFM ! Sorry for that and thanks for your reply ! :sweat_smile:

It’s all good, just happy to help when i can :blush:

This is my first foray into the tracker workflow so I really didn’t know what to expect, I come from a sp404 / Maschine workflow so very different.

So far I’m really enjoying it, it forces me to make music in a different way and I find myself really having to think more about the details of how I want my music to sound. Loving the portability! I find the buttons a bit clumsy, like I need to think about which thumb to use etc… but I think I’ll get quicker at this as time goes on and my muscle memory kicks in.

The screen seems fine to me, you can’t see it from slightly different angles but it’s made no difference to me when using normally. I don’t mind the buttons, some clickiness would and I have found the shift button doesn’t work as well when I hold one side of it. The soft plastic feels nice in my hands but can be a bit slippery. Performance mode is really fun!

I would have liked more midi control, especially performance mode, for example ability to mute/unmute, change patterns for all track at the same time and trigger the performance preset values all using a midi controller. I never owned or used the OG tracker but the buttons look like they’d be a lot of fun for this.

They’re my thoughts, but overall I’m enjoying it so far!


Just receive my tracker mini, looks very promising !
I’m sampling all my kitchen-ware right now :slight_smile:

Can’t wait to dig in and plug it to my hardware synth !
About that I just want to share a little disapointment : there is only one “Minijack to MIDI DIN adapter” in the box :frowning:
Too bad! I have to buy a second one …


:laughing: Hope you have a lot of fun! :partying_face:

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First impressions as a complete tracker newbie:

Very first impressions

  • Nice packaging and presentation. It felt nearly as much like a pro unboxing as the Push 3 Standalone.
  • Starting up the demo song almost blasted out my eardrums. Setting the default volume at 0 dB for a brand new product with no obvious way of decreasing the volume is an bit of an odd choice. Luckily the headphones seem to be ok… :thinking:
  • Every other demo song would start from somewhere in the middle of the song when pressing Play. Was that where they were in the song when pressing Save, maybe?


  • The battery life is truly awesome! Good enough that I don’t even think about plugging it in sometimes because it seems to last for at least 5-6 hours.
  • The form factor is neat overall. Building some muscle memory takes time but after a few days, I’m getting faster and faster. I’m 45 years old, so neuroplasticity isn’t what it used to be. :see_no_evil:
  • I do wish there was some form of “more analog” form of expression on the device, like a touch strip or even something similar to those volume encoders on Game Boys on the sides. It would have been nice to be able to assign them and use them for on-the-go expressiveness like opening up a filter and things like that. I guess you can plug in a small usb-c midi controller but that defeats the purpose of the portability to me.
  • The screen has a relatively poor viewing angle and interestingly seems optimized it for viewing at a slight angle from below, which makes sense on the Tracker+ maybe, but less so for the Mini since it’s in your hands and aimed straight at your face.
  • Something else to consider for a future hardware iteration: shoulder/index finger buttons. This would have made it faster to work with. Also, less “mushy” feeling buttons would be nice.


  • The actual concept of tracking isn’t hard to understand. My background is with Elektron digi boxes and I’m also an old computer scientist, but I wouldn’t say I’m that technical.
  • I do feel like the way each track in a pattern plays at the same speed and has the same total length is leading to a lot of redundant sequencer data. This is a part of the MPC workflow that I dislike that the Elektron workflow solves neatly by allowing each track to play back at an X-factor of the project BPM, e.g. 1/2X for half speed. This is really nice when programming a chord progression because rather than having to scroll all the way down to step 33 and then step 65 for those notes, you can program them all within a short 16-step sequence while the full pattern still runs for 128 steps. I’d love to see something similar on the Tracker because although you can get pretty fast with selecting and copying and pasting steps, it gets tedious when you need to maintain a small tweak to a track’s sequencer data by pasting that change over all the repeated bars and patterns. So, somewhat ironically, although the tracker workflow is (at least in my mind) about efficiency and speed, the Polyend pattern paradigm kind of slows me down. I’ve read up on the Dirtywave M8 and see that that’s probably where I got the impression that trackers are about this level of efficiency because it uses what’s known as “phrases”, which are essentially 16-step clips that you can chain into patterns. I guess Polyend went with a different paradigm but the tradeoff is you have to do a lot of copying and pasting.
  • The Fill modes are very useful and I think you can get pretty fast on this thing by leveraging features like that when laying down the foundations of a new song. I do wish there were more than two FX slots though, especially since velocity already counts for one of them.
  • I really like that it automatically restores your last project when powering it up, even if you didn’t save it before shutting it down. That’s very reassuring.
  • Another workflow related issue is how EQing something requires you to stop the playback, edit EQ parameters, preview the change in isolation from the musical context you’re in, and then printing that change (whether you got it right or not) onto the sample. I find this to be a difficult workflow to wrap my head around and I find myself having to basically ignore EQ:ing because it’s too fiddly and takes too much time to get right. It’s like the SP-404 workflow in that you need to print your EQ onto the samples, but it’s actually slower than the SP because you can’t preview the EQ live in the context of the music.

Sound quality

  • The demo songs are quite glitchy and weird. I would have loved to see more “radio ready” music in there too to get an idea of what’s possible. I don’t know if this is just the vibe they’re going for (trackers are perhaps more tailored to genres I’m not that familiar with).
  • Anti-aliasing is on by default but there’s still a lot of aliasing, especially when pitching up a sample. Digitakt is often described as dark and slightly lofi but the Tracker is a notch more lofi to my ears.
  • The reverb sounds good, but it’s not very configurable. I was really surprised that there’s no high pass filter or EQ for it other than damping. Am I the only one being concerned with not muddying up my mixes…?
  • Same with the delay, it only has a LP filter. This is a disappointment because I often high pass the delay on the Syntakt so even the bass track can get some nice delay tails when sweeping up the filter.
  • Same with Instruments. The fact that they lack an EQ or Base Filter is problematic to me. I see that an old request was closed, but I’m thinking that’s for the old-gen hardware so I filed a new one.

Four days in, I already have a proper song coming together and the lead is made using my own voice, which is a first for me! :slight_smile:

I’m now digging into the way Song Mode works. I accidentally almost erased half of the work because I assumed that pressing Delete on the cells in Song Mode would only mute those parts, but it looks like it literally erases the sequencer data if you do so. Pretty scary stuff if you ask me! I see that there’s a feature request for this too, but it’s already been closed without a clear explanation of why (other than “taking Song Mode to another direction”).

Looking forward to digging in much more over the coming week.


This is important, the ability to noodle and feel your way around before programming things in. It’s my #1 wish for the Mini actually.

I think they can figure it out. The unit has 8 screen buttons, that’s perfect for an octave of notes in a fixed scale (eg D Minor) and it would work equally well as a set of 8 drum pads in a pinch. I’m envisioning the ability to hold down Shift+Note to activate a “pad performance” mode where those 8 buttons become an octave of notes or drum pads/slices depending on the instrument type. The +/- buttons could shift octaves, and this could work with both live recording of notes and, above all, pure noodling.