Polyend Play+, groovebox gets a plus version with synths, stereo samples, and more

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Polyend Play+, the grid-based groovebox gets a plus version with more processing power, adding new synth engines, stereo samples, and more.

A highlight of Superbooth 22 was the Polyend Play. Teased days before, it was officially presented in Berlin. One feature that stands out about this grid-based groovebox is the built-in sequencer engine. Deep and sophisticated but useable very playfully.

The weakness of this is the sound engine: no internal synths, and mono sample limitation… Polyend has recognized this and now shows the Play+. Same hardware but with a new core. That’s less than two years after its initial release. There is an upgrade option! 

Polyend Play Plus

Polyend Play+

Play+ is a new/old sample and synth-based groovebox with 16 tracks. Old because Play+ retains the original Play design and powerful, fun sequencer engine. This includes various play modes, hands-on MIDI mangling options, randomization, and more. 

The core is new. A new, more powerful processor powers the Play+ which makes more features possible. There is a hardware upgrade path for Play users. 

One of these new features is a new stereo sample playback engine, allowing for a more nuanced and expansive sonic journey. It ships with all-new stereo sample packs, expanding the factory library to over 5000+ professional samples.

Four Synth Engines

A highlight of the new Play+ are the four distinct synth engines, giving the Play+ 8 synth voices in total. Something many have wanted. And according to Polyend, there will be more synth engines in future updates. 

The first is called ACD, a TB-303-inspired Synthesizer engine. In Polyend’s words: “a recreation of the iconic single-oscillator monophonic analog synths that transport you back to the golden age 

Then, FAT is an analog modeling synth engine that brings the lush, vintage warmth of classic analog synths to the Play +. It has a classic subtractive design with oscillators, filters, etc. 

Polyend Play Plus

Next to this is a virtual analog polysynth (VAP) engine that hosts a dual-oscillator architecture with a versatile modulation matrix. Again with a subtractive design but is made for poly sounds.

The fourth and last synth engine is WTFM. It’s a unique 2-operator FM synth engine utilizing wavetable oscillators driven by a 3x feedback system. That sounds like a fun engine.

All four engines will ship with various presets made by sound designers, giving you instant new timbres to explore. 

Multi-Track USB Audio 

The new processor also enables multi-track USB audio. With the Play+, each track can be sent to your DAW separately, ensuring precision and flexibility in post-production.

In detail, you can send up to 14 tracks via USB to your system and process them further using external effects and more.  This allows you to process or mix your tracks very flexibly.

Updated Sequencer

Play+ features the same fun sequencer as the original that constantly inspires, thanks to its built-in MIDI shapers. However, Polyend benefited from the opportunity and updated it too. 

It now features a new piano roll editor made for building melodies. It also comes with a beat & melody fill functionality to inspire, enhance, or completely change your track. Plus, you get a new scale filtering option that forces Play+ to input and output only notes that fit the selected scale—a very handy new function.

Polyend Play Plus


The backside remains unchanged and features the same I/O as the original Play. It includes a stereo line/headphones out, a type B minijack-based MIDI in/out, a microSD card slot, a USB-C port, and a power on/off button.

Pricey Upgrade Path

But these new features have a catch. It is not a free upgrade for existing Polyend Play users. A processor replacement is required here. This upgrade costs $399/€399. That’s half what the Play has cost so far. I asked Polyend how the upgrade works. Piotr from Polyend answered:

Send in your original Polyend Play and we will upgrade your unit.  Ship your original Play to us locally* (US, EU, UK, and Australia), once your unit is received, we will simply ship you a new Play+. 
After you complete the checkout process for an upgrade details on returning your Play will be provided.  Customers are responsible for shipping costs.  If you are outside of these areas you can ship to the closest office at your expense.
In the case of Play+ returns the original device will not be returned to the customer, and the upgrade credit of $399 will be issued as store credit.  Monetary payment minus shipping fees will be returned via the payment method used at checkout.

Polyend Play PlayPlus upgrade

First Impression

I’m conflicted about the release. On the one hand, I think it’s great that the user request has been implemented into reality. The new features are excellent, especially the synth engines. Stereo sample support and multi-track USB are also great further developments.

However, the upgrade path casts a shadow. I welcome hardware upgrade options, but I find it very pricey, especially because the hardware only came on the market in May 2022. So, one year and seven months.

It feels a bit like the annual hardware updates of smartphones, except that you get software updates with new features there. Here the new processor is a kind of dongle for the new features. In addition, the price of the Play will be reduced by 300€/$ to $499/499€, which is an instant loss of value. Apart from this price change, the Plus will cost the same as the Play in 2022.

In conclusion, new buyers can explore the new features much more cheaply than existing customers. I welcome hardware upgrades, but not at such prices.


Polyend Play+ ships in November 2023 for $799/799€. The price of the original Polyend Play drops to $499/499€. Existing users of the Polyend Play can upgrade to the + hardware for $399/399€.

More information here: Polyend 

Hardware Grooveboxes News


  1. You may consider the upgrade to be expensive but Polyend should be applauded for offering this, makes for a far more sustainable future.

    • absolutely, as I said: I welcome hardware upgrade but $399/399€ is tough for users who bought it in mid 2022 for $799/799€.

  2. So. Another company I will never buy from again. Pity, because the products are cool, but this is just abusive. Destroys value.

  3. What a bummer. There’s no way they didn’t have an inkling that this was coming when they released the original Play… you can’t just crank out new hardware in a couple of weeks, it takes time to source parts and stuff. It makes Polyend look kinda slimy. Like they sold us an incomplete product instead of waiting until they had a solid release candidate. And $399 is way too much.

    • It almost feels like a Kickstarter campaign. This is strange, because I owned a Polyend Medusa for a while and back then, they had pretty good firmware support.

    • what an obtuse stance.

      ben jordan explains some of the reasons for this upgrade path.(mvp, covid, shipping crisis, component shortage)

      they had to design around thses circumstances. and even if it werent the case, you are buying tools not making investments, and strategies like this for are far more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

      “abusive” lol get a grip jfc.

  4. i read this on gearnews, but on the website is nothing to find about the “plus”
    thomann writes : “prduct out of order”…?
    in the net i dont find snything about the plus…

  5. It’s been a few months already since it was was released, so I guess we should expect a paid Tracker Mini+ hardware upgrade any day now? 🤣

  6. I have multiple polyend products including the Play. But I will never buy from them again

    (edited by the admin – personal opinions welcome but those who wish harm are not okay. sorry)

  7. I have had a Play since it came out. Great device. I will upgrade because I want the synths and the ability to use stereo samples. I’ve never bought a piece of gear and thought “this will be the top of the line forever and ever amen.”

    If you have an original Play, you still have exactly what you paid for. I can’t remember the last time I saw an instrument upgrade offer, except from music stores renting out student instruments.

  8. I had Deluge before and it’s nice but synth engines were weak there.
    Now I’m very interested in the Play Plus, I was looking for standalone groovebox for a lot of time, I had also Mpc One – but it has too computer like workflow (on Deluge the workflow is very quick after you get used to it, really quick).
    It’s very nice that Play Plus is introduced now.

  9. Hello

    it is weird that Polyend has not applied prince drop (499 €) to the Play yet. It is still listed at 749 euros on Polyend website, as on most of the online European stores And most of the stores do not have the Play, in stock* (listed at 749 or 499 €).



    * In few weeks, will the store received, not new but refurbished Play by Polyend who may recycle old Play motherboards when the will upgrade old Play to Play+ ?

  10. All I’m going to say is Orba 2. Respect to Polyend for offering an upgrade. Everyone is feeling the pinch financially so I can see peoples displeasure at that upgrade price.

  11. Couldn’t they have just done a firmware update to add functionality? Polyend are usually good with that, I remember after 3-4 years of owning my Medusa there was a 4.0 FM engine update.

    Regarding the play wave table FM.. I think that’s the same engine as the Medusa, FM 3OP.. it’s the only FM I know of in a hardware package that can modulate wavetables

  12. Just wondering, do they replace the whole PCB or only the MCU (in some cases the more powerfull versions of the same MCU family are pin compatible?), or do you get a completely new unit?

    Nonetheless, as i already owm a play i will wait for the play++ with line input for sampling before i upgrade, if i ever will. 😉

  13. I’m done with Polyend, I think. I love their early products. I have 2 seqs that I use with my modular and Medusa is pretty great. Prior to getting the second Seq, I asked Polyend about the midi implementation on the Play. They inferred that it would do everything that the Seq does and more, so I got one. Not really the case, so I got a used Seq and am happy. I wish I hadn’t procrastinated selling the Play. It doesn’t really make a lot of sense to sell it at this point.

  14. Let me make sure I have this straight. The OG Play cost $499, the Plus will be $799. The upgrade is $399. So if you had picked up a play back in the day and want to upgrade, you’re paying the cost difference Plus $100. Hence the name lol. I guess that little extra is for labor.

    Y’all know Polyend could have just done like Elektron and called the Plus a “Mk II” product, and never offered a hardware upgrade at all? Would that have really been better for your “investment?”

    I think the only people that have a legitimate beef are the early adopters who dropped $799 for an OG Play. Polyend should treat them a little better and maybe do the upgrade at a discount.

    I’ve always wondered how much of these instruments are actually being used to make music, and how many are just being traded around. Add a cash-strapped economy, and you’ve got a recipe for severe bellyaching.

    • Many people buy such devices with limited budget. For many $799/799€ is a lot of money and they expect to have a product that is up to date for the next 3 years. I 100% understand the miscontent of the people who are then asked $399/€399 to trade in their device. At the same time, new people pay the same price as them. I would feel ripped off after a year and 7 months of using it.

  15. A lot of this was due to factors Polyend had no control over. They had to work around the chip shortage. They probably couldn’t have waited another year to get the chips. So it was either release the Play as it was, or call it a day as a company. And it doesn’t help that they sold the first batch at $799. A cleaner way to do this would have been to not offer the upgrade and call it a Mk II product. Less hurt feelings at least.

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