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The Turbo Tuner!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by bongomania, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs

    Now, I know the rule is that tuner threads are supposed to go in "Misc", not "Effects", but for at least a year all of them that I've seen have been in "Effects", so here we are. Mods can move it if they wish.

    Back story: My Strobostomp started acting up a few months ago, making weird digital glitchy noises. I verified that it was nothing simple/mechanical that I could fix, and that it would cost a minimum of $80 (including postage both ways) for Peterson to fix it. So I dumped it and got a Korg DT10. I had the damnedest time trying to get a clean, quick reading on the low B with that Korg, in spite of the dozens of posts I had read saying "my Korg tunes the low B just fine". I don't know if I was doing something wrong, or if I just have a different understanding of the phrase "just fine", but I could not get a clean low B reading in under half a minute. Whenever it can't quite read the pitch, it just acts like there's no signal at all. So I grew very frustrated and unloaded it quickly- even if I was doing something "wrong", I never had an issue with the Strobostomp, and I hate fighting with stupid gear. So what next? A new Strobo2 or Stroboflip at $200?

    Or the Turbo Tuner at $130? :)

    It's a strobe tuner, not a strobe emulation. They claim an accuracy of under .01 cents, guaranteed to stay within .02 cents for the life of the product or they'll recalibrate it free. It has a ton of eccentric programmable tuning options that most of us will never use. ;)

    It works fantastically on the lowest notes! It gives an instantaneous reaction to every little change to the pitch and amplitude regardless of whether the string is anywhere near the 12 tone scale, and regardless of how low you go. I was able to quickly and easily detune down to low D with a solid, consistent reading on the LEDs. I even got a decent low C#. Below that it was not able to grab a pitch, but I actually am pretty sure that was because I was detuning a .130 string at 34" scale, not because of any inability on the part of the tuner. It actually grabs those lowest frequencies faster than the Strobo- the LEDs actually react instantaneously, no waiting for the computer brain to process the signal.

    The LED readout is clear, bright, and intuitive (once you know how strobe tuners read). Unfortunately it's a bit small. And the LCD screen is way, way too small. If it's on the floor and you're standing, you can probably read the LEDs OK but not the LCD. In bright sun or stage light though even the LEDs would be difficult to see.

    Also it's in a plastic housing, with no bypass switch. It's just "on", in series with your signal path. I tested it pretty carefully and did not hear any alteration of my signal with it in the chain; but I only have an active bass right now, I'll have to test it again with a passive. Either way I'll probably make or buy a little A/B switch box for it, just for muting. Another annoyance is the location of the DC jack, off the top right. On a crowded board that would be inconvenient.

    So, long story short: I love it for tuning. It's faster than the Strobo and far superior to any of the cheaper tuners in terms of reading difficult signals. It's not well designed for live gigging pedalboard use, but I am willing to live with that for my purposes. It delivers top-quality pro accuracy at a much lower price than Peterson.
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Cool review. I'll leave it in effect for a few days because this is "pedal tuner" that many probably hadn't heard of. I know I hadn't.
  3. assboglin

    assboglin Banned

    Jul 13, 2007
    Very cool. I use a rackmount Korg tuner which is very quick with my low C# (we play tuned down a half step normally so that's our dropped D).
  4. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    bongo, you still using this one? Are you using it live on your board?
  5. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I am still using and loving it, given the strengths and limitations I described.

    I haven't been gigging recently so I haven't used it in a live context. If I was going to be performing live, I could use it- in conjunction with an external switcher box. The LEDs are bright enough that I think visibility would be acceptable; and maybe I'd have to bend down to squint at the LCD screen if I wasn't sure which note I was tuning, but that shouldn't be much of a problem either way. OTOH I suppose an external switcher box would bring the total cost up to the same as a Strobostomp.

    One thing I may not have made clear in my review is that the low D and low C# I mentioned were not detuned from a low E, but from the low B string. IOW an octave lower than the "normal detuning" that I think assboglin was describing.

    Anyway, it's still by far the best tuner I've ever used, in spite of its limitations wrt stage use.
  6. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Would using something like this from the tuner out of my Boss volume pedal make so it doesn't effect my signal chain?
  7. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I'm not sure about the Boss specifically, but the tuner out on some passive volume pedals, in combination with some tuners, is a recipe for tone suck. It might be fine in this particular combo, I don't know. FWIW with my present bass (a MIA Fender Dlux) I do not hear any alteration of my signal just running straight through the tuner.
  8. lawsonman


    Dec 19, 2005
    NW IL
    I like my $14 Korg.:D
  9. watspan


    Nov 25, 2002
    madison, wi
    I bought one--very fast ship from the company (2 days it arrived) battery installed, easy to use, extremely accurate nice cordura carrying case. I'm happy!
  10. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    FYI: The turbo-tuner input is hard-wired to the output, no tone suck at all.
  11. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    i know this is on old tread but bongo are you using the st-300 now??
  12. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    or at least a 200, the stage tuner that followed the bench tuner @bongomania was talking about?

    either way, his review is dead-on! i get annoyed when using anything besides a turbo tuner; i have several, one for each pedalboard for all my different instruments, and also one on my repair bench. been using nothing else since back when bongo posted the original review.

    everything else just feels slow and "dumb" by comparison.

    i just got the 300 mini for my bass pedalboard and it's even better! the actual tuning part is the same (being analog) but the "digital" part that recognizes the note and switches the analog tuning display is now even faster than before, especially on low bass notes.
  13. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    walterw your name makes me think of walter woods amps.. lol..
  14. Made me think of Walter White from Breaking Bad. :wideyed:
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    I got a 200 a while back, and haven't felt the need to upgrade to a more recent model.
  16. bridgecables


    Jan 11, 2016
    I know this is old, but this is awesome. I've been tuning my low F#/E with the first harmonic. Even my PC based tuners / piano tuning softwares only go down to G0. If I ever buy another tuner it'll have to be something like this.
  17. Adienn7


    Jan 26, 2007
    that's the sign of a great pedal.

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