TC Electronic PolyTune Mini – review

TC Electronic PolyTune Mini - tuning distilled.

TC Electronic PolyTune Mini – tuning distilled.

When the TC Electonic PolyTune was released back in early 2010 it took the world by storm. No longer was it necessary to check one string at a time. You could quickly strum all of your strings, and get a quick idea of what strings were out of tune, and then focus on those quickly and easily.

Now that the PolyTune has been out for a while, and others have tried to imitate, TC Electronic have taken the PolyTune concept one step further. They have dramatically shrunk the form factor, providing the same great easy to use polyphonic tuner in a pedal about 1/3 of the size of the original PolyTune.

The PolyTune Mini is a godsend to those desperate for pedal board space, but still want a fully-functioning, accurate tuner available to them. Just like the PolyTune, and the PolyTune iPhone app, which I have reviewed previously, the PolyTune Mini packs all of the power associated with its predecessors, and is the launching platform for the new drop tuning and capo capabilities.

With the same processing power as the original big brother PolyTune and Polytune app, the Polytune Mini is very quick to detect the notes played, and their pitch, both in polyphonic and chromatic mode. Switching between polyphonic and chromatic modes is also instantaneous.

Polyphonic mode isn’t the most accurate way of checking your tuning, but it’s perfect for quick checks on stage. Most people won’t notice a few slightly flat or sharp strings during your performance.

Chromatic mode is fantastic though. With +/- 0.5 cents accuracy, the PolyTune Mini is not far off the performance of a good strobe tuner. The PolyTune Mini fared really well when I compared it against the iStroboSoft iPhone app.

The PolyTune Mini is the launching platform for the new drop tuning and capo modes. This firmware upgrade will also be available for the regular PolyTune models. These new modes are nice and simple, and require no extra work to start using them. Just tune your guitar to your desired drop tuning or stick your capo on, and the PolyTune Mini detects your tuning  automatically. No need to hit buttons or switches required.

Like the regular PolyTune, the PolyTune Mini build quality is rugged and ready to withstand any abuse. The soft touch true bypass switching means no tone suck, just clear signal straight through the PolyTune Minis’ path.

Due to the size of the PolyTune Mini there is no space to fit a nine volt battery, and there is no additional power jack to power other pedals or firmware port. The lack of firmware port is no real biggie since the PolyTune Mini already has the new drop tuning and capo modes, and if you are needing a small tuner like the PolyTune Mini due to real estate constraints you probably already have a power supply on your board.  The PolyTune Mini is also a bit cheaper than it’s bigger sibling.

Overall the TC Electronic PolyTune Mini is an amazing advancement on the original PolyTune. To be able provide a much smaller footprint, and still have the important parts of the original PolyTune at a cheaper price is phenomenal. Anyone that is desperate for pedal board space, but still wants a great tuner should be getting their hands on one of these.

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