Episode 031: Tuner Salad Sandwich

Tuners come in many different types and form factors. How do you pick the right one?

What kinds of tuners do you have?

  • Dave:
    • Mostly I use my TC Electronic Polychromatic tuner – 4 years
  • Paul:
    • I have an app for that. No really.
    • A Boss TU-2? type tuner… the kind you can plug into about the size of a battery pack
    • A Snark clip-on, but I keep losing it 🙂
    • Mainly use the tuner in my multi-effects pedal. It’s quite accurate.

Have you used any others, like at a studio?

  • Dave:
    • If I’m recording at my home studio, if the interface has a solid tuner, (Line 6 POD)
    • I also use a clip on with acoustic basses
  • Paul:
    • A Petersen strobe tuner… typically the best kind I’ve seen but too expensive for me to keep around in the home studio

Pros and cons, price range, recommended units

  • Built-in (like on an ABG)
    • + Can’t beat the convenience!
    • – Tend to be cheaper so the mfr can cut costs, can be off from standard tuning
    • – If you leave it on it can drain your battery
  • Clip-on for headstocks
    • + Super portable, you can almost afford one per instrument
    • – Also can be inaccurate
  • Pocket sized
    • + Take standard batteries
    • + Usually somewhat better detectors
    • + Some also have a mic for tuning
    • – Not as convenient, usually don’t have a passthrough so you need an amp with a tuner out
  • Pedals
    • + Fit right into your pedalboard
    • + Tend to be very accurate
    • – (Same risk of buzz, i/o issues like other pedals?)
  • Rack mount
    • + Very accurate
    • – Expensive, heavy addition to equipment
  • Studio quality
    • + Most accurate
    • – Most expensive

Tips for live vs. studio

  • Make sure everyone tunes to the SAME tuner
    • Don’t find out tuning problems as you’re mixing later 🙁

Photo by Andrew Imanaka, licensed CC-BY 2.0.

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