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Strobe vs Electronic Tuners For Inotnating.

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by cassanova, Apr 17, 2010.


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  1. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    I'm about to do the intonation on my bass. My brother was insisting that I should use a strobe tuner because they're better for this than a good quality electronic tuner is. Does it really make a difference?

    I'm thinking it really doesn't matter, but I'm open to the possibility that I'm wrong.
     
  2. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I used a Boss TU-12 tuner for years for intonation.

    For the last year or so I've used a Peterson Strobostomp 2. I find it much easier to get it right.
     
  3. chadhargis

    chadhargis Jack of all grooves, master of none Supporting Member

    Jan 5, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    I use a Peterson iStroboTune running on my iPhone to intonate. It's not so much that it has a strobe, but that it shows accuracy in "cents".
     
  4. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I use two Peterson tuners (one for each ear) but I hear great things about the Turbo Tuner....accuracy, capture, etc. Do a search. If I had it to do all over again, I'd snag one of those.

    Riis
     
  5. Joshua

    Joshua WJWJr Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    Connecticut
    The specs and price are enticing, but I still prefer the Strobo(I use the "flip") display.

    Depending on the quality of the standard tuner you use, you might be right. A good quality tuner, some patience, and a reasonable ear can get you very far.

    That said though, nothing gets you there more accurately than a strobe.
     
  6. Standard tuners are normally accurate to 1 cent. Strobes are generally accurate to 1/10 cent. Check the manufacturer's specifications.
     
  7. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    If it's not a virtual strobe, or a real strobe, it's not as accurate as it could be. Whether that makes a difference is where the issue is. I've done set-up work since 1977. I started in a guitar store with a real Conn Strobo-Tuner. After I left retail music I got by OK for the most part with various tuners using quartz timer systems (what they all use- despite the advertising hype most tuners wind up being about the same). It got to the point where I used a Sabine and a Boss TU-2 in series to average out the discrepancies. But I bought a Peterson VS-II as soon as I could and used one electric guitar that had never sounded right no matter what I did as the test. It took me about five minutes to get the G string on that guitar set so it sounded in tune all they way up and down, and in conjunction with all the other strings. I was sold.

    Here's the deal. The standard tuners aren't as accurate. They're fine for getting into tune on stage with everyone else. But if you're doing set-up and the tuner is only accurate to ± 3 cents (the published specs on the Boss TU-2), then when you set up the bridge, you could be off by as much as 6 cents. When you play the open string and it reads as in tune even though it's 3 cents flat, then when you play the fretted note and it reads as in tune except it's now 3 cents sharp, you've got a 6 cent error. That's going to be noticeable when you start playing with others.

    Now compare that to the Peterson virtual strobe technology. It's got an accuracy of 0.1 cent- a tenth of a cent. Now if you're setting up and get in-tune readings at either extreme, instead of being off by 6 whole cents, you're only off by 0.2 cents. That's why strobe tuners are better for set-up work.

    BTW, a cent is 1/100 of a half-step.

    John
     
  8. Thanks John; I never really caught 'why bother' with a strobe tuner these days. Dunno I'm gonna rush out & get one, but I now get 'why'.

    Gotta disagree on all (non-strobers) being about the same though; checking the spec's is time well spent when contemplating a purchase. In application as well; I think I lucked into a cheap clip-on that has no problem with a low B while my guitarists cheap clip-on has a problem with my low E.
     
  9. In Absentia

    In Absentia

    Jul 5, 2008
    Have you tried the Turbo Tuner? If not, I can't see how you could prefer one over the other.
     
  10. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    FWIW, though I use the Perterson StroboStomp 2 for in-house work such general tuning and intonation, I use the Korg DT-4 in strobe mode for stage tuning. The DT-4 is easier for me to read on stage and I keep it velcroed to my amp, plugged into the tuner out jack.
     
  11. cassanova

    cassanova

    Sep 4, 2000
    Florida
    Thanks for the input. You guys have me sold on strobes for their accuracy. I'm a bit surprised that they're $250 and up for some of them though...lol
     
  12. testing1two

    testing1two Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2009
    Southern California
    I use a Peterson Stroboflip for setups & studio work but I also have a Turbo Tuner on my pedalboard. The Peterson "sweetened" tunings really do work well but the Turbo Tuner tracks much faster and is easier to see.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    beat me to it!

    the turbo, which is analog like the old mechanical versions, is more accurate than even the peterson, tracks faster, and is cheaper at like $130.

    peterson set the bar with their virtual strobe stuff, but the turbo leaps over that bar easily.
     
  14. Bassman822

    Bassman822

    Sep 1, 2007
    Bessemer, AL
    I have and still use the Conn "lunchbox" strobotuner for instrument setup, but use a Korg GA30 ??? for gig tuneups
     

  15. Good post. Thank you.
     
  16. Joshua

    Joshua WJWJr Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    Connecticut
    http://www.turbo-tuner.com/pages/videos.htm

    vs. my own Stroboflip. I prefer the display on the Stroboflip.
     
  17. In Absentia

    In Absentia

    Jul 5, 2008
  18. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    I don't know about you but I don't tune while playing fast scales.

    I was thinking of getting the Trubo-Tune but that video showed me that it's response time/sensitivity isn't necessary for normal tuning and intonation tasks, and with the StroboStomp the display is more stable when the string is in tune. Thanks for the link, it saved me the expense of getting a Turbo-Tune.
     
  19. Joshua

    Joshua WJWJr Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 23, 2000
    Connecticut
    I'm confused, most probably due to not enough coffee, but what exactly about that video is supposed to make me prefer the TT display?
     
  20. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    alpha-music.com
    the video shows how much faster the turbo tracks, that's all. (that's why i won't gig with anything else).

    as for the display, you guys have it backwards.

    the turbo's display is driven directly by the string, so it's not that it's less stable, it's more accurate. it is in fact doing exactly what the string is doing, transients, overtones and all. it's an analog strobe.

    in that way it's 100% "stable", because there is absolutely no lag or processing between the string's actual vibration with all its complexity and what you see in the display. (hit it with sine waves from a synth and the display will show no "instability" because the sound has none.)

    on normal tuners, a "stable" display is by definition one that's not following the string. a tu-2 is very stable, because it has a 6-cent wide margin of error.

    the peterson is great, and way better than regular tuners, but it filters out everything but the octaves, leaving out information about overtones that the turbo (and real mechanical strobes) show. after using a peterson virtual strobe for years on my bench, the turbo was a big step up for me.
     

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