TC Electronic PolyTune 2 – review

imageTC Electronic announced the PolyTune at Winter NAMM 2011 to huge fan-fare. Its revolutionary polyphonic tuning, which allowed the user to check all strings tuning with the strum of the guitar really changed the market. Then the PolyTune iOS app was released, giving guitar players the same great tuner in software form. Last year TC Electronic released the PolyTune Mini, the PolyTune shrunk down into a small form-factor, perfect for crowded pedal boards. Just when you thought TC Electronic were done with the PolyTune they’re back with the evolutionary PolyTune 2.

The PolyTune looks pretty much identical to the classic PolyTune. It sports the same high quality white enclosure, with solid switches and jacks, and large easy to read screen. It has the same fantastic polyphonic tuning mode that allows the user to quickly check all the strings in one strum, and the accurate chromatic tuner for checking single strings. You can switch between drop-D, capo, drop-tuning and of course standard tuning. The additions to the PolyTune 2 are pretty special though. TC Electronic listened to the feedback from PolyTune users. The screen is now a super bright display, with the added feature of auto-dimming in low light. What makes the PolyTune 2 special is the huge addition of a super accurate strobe tuner with the tuning accuracy of +/- 0.1cent.

To test the new features of the PolyTune 2 I compared it against my PolyTune Mini. I tested the PolyTune 2 for checking open string tuning, and checking and adjusting intonation.

First up the, the screen comparisons. As soon as the PolyTune 2 is switched on it is obvious how much brighter the screen is compared to the earlier PolyTune versions. The green colour is particularly more vibrant than the yellow colour on the earlier incarnations. The automatic dimming of the screen in low light conditions is a particularly nice addition too.

Polyphonic tuning mode works just as nicely on the PolyTune 2 as it has on the earlier versions. It allows the player to quickly check all strings for relative tune, then allowing the player to check any problem strings in chromatic or strobe mode. The PolyTune 2 also picks up switches in tune like E standard to drop D without fuss.

Chromatic mode has the same +/- 0.5cent accuracy as the previous PolyTune models. This accuracy is perfect for checking tune for practice and shows. The next feature however is what makes the PolyTune 2 truly special.

Strobe tuner mode makes what seems like a small, but actually is a very significant addition to the PolyTune 2. Everything seems pretty much in tune when in chromatic mode, but start using the polyphonic tuning mode, and you get a much more accurate view of the state of your guitar’s tune. The +/- 0.1cent accuracy makes strobe tuning mode especially important for setting a guitar up and getting the intonation of each string perfectly in tune. What looks perfectly in tune in chromatic mode suddenly is just a bit out. Get everything intonated nicely using the easy to read strobe tuner layout and the guitar sounds just that little bit better.

The build quality of the PolyTune 2 is just what you would expect from TC Electronic. Solid enclosure, top quality jacks, and the great soft touch true bypass switch that ensures no loss of tone when the tuner is bypassed. The neatly designed coin operated battery compartment makes battery replacement nice and easy. If powering from a power supply is the preferred solution for power the PolyTune can share out power to other pedals.

Overall the TC Electronic PolyTune 2 is a fantastic update to the wildly successful PolyTune series. TC Electronic have really listened to users and offered up everything they could possibly want. The strobe tuner is a brilliant addition, making an already great tuner possibly the perfect tuner. The extra bright screen is also a very welcome feature. Anyone in the market for a new tuner should definitely check out TC Electronic’s latest offering, it may very well be the last tuner anyone would ever need.

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