Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner review by Korg

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Ease of Use: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.1 (47 votes)
Korg: Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner

Price paid: $ 75

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
I've placed this pedal at the very front of my effects chain (after the guitar). My current chain consists of (from the guitar) the Korg Pitchblack > Boss NS-1 (loop) > Dunlop 535Q Wah > EHX Metal Muff > MXR 10-band EQ > Boss NS-1 (return) > EHX #1 Echo > Epiphone Valve Standard 15watt tube combo. Upon placing this at the head of my current setup, I didn't notice any added noise what'soever, which is what this pedal is supposed to do. It's 100% true bypass circuit allows it to sit completely transparent in the effects chain, only making itself known when you hit the Switch to tune up your instrument (which then mutes the chain). There's also no pop or snap with switching the unit on or off during use. The unit performs quickly, with very little lag, and without that odd "flutter" I've seen on other handheld tuners, which can sometimes make tuning difficult. I noticed with a very slight amount of hiss in comparison with the Boss TU-2, placed in the same point in the effects chain. The Planet Waves tuner performed like the Korg, without any noticeable noise difference.

Overall Impression — 10
For a gigging performer who needs to be able to tune quickly between numbers, or just someone that likes the convenience of being able to tune their instrument quickly, accurately, and without the need to mess with cables and handheld tuners, this is definitely one of the handiest pedals you can place on your pedal board. If it was lost or stolen, I wouldn't think twice about replacing it. The biggest selling factors for me were it's compact size, solid construction, it's 100% true bypass, and it's bright and easy to see readout. Everything else, such as it's four different display modes, and DC output are simply great bonuses to have in a pedal that really doesn't need all that much. It's simple to use, a lot less confusing looking than others, and does what it's supposed to do, accurately, transparently, and reliably. I chose and purchased this over the Boss because of it's difference in cost, it's considerably easier to view readout, and the lack of noise. The Planet Waves tuner pedal was my next choice, however because of what I consider to be a very bad design flaw (the clip that retains and holds the pedal switch, that you would disengage if you were to power it with 9v batteries, is made of a cheap plastic and commonly breaks on the Planet Wave units) was a really big turn off. There really isn't much else that I wish the pedal had. I like it for its simplicity and it already has many features that I probably won't even use.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This pedal is very reliably built with an aluminum, Die-Cast casing. It seemed to be even more solidly built in comparison to the Boss TU-2. The Switch is a smaller "button" Switch, like those found in many EHX pedals, only without the hard, mechanical clicking sound. The readout was, in my opinion, the easiest to read of the three. Large, bright LEDs ensure it's ability to be read even in bright sunlight. The LEDs that "guide" you in tuning the instrument are also large, bright, and easily understandable. In comparison, I had some difficulty in reading the Boss TU-2 in brighter locations. The Planet Waves was considerably better than the Boss in that respect, but I still overall found the Korg to be the easiest, and most comfortable to read.

Ease of Use — 10
This is a fairly straight forward, sleek, simple, and easy to use Chromatic Tuner pedal that you can leave in your effects chain to tune up your guitar without the need of disconnecting/reconnecting cables. It's manual is simple to understand in explaination of all of it's surprisingly numerous functions. Out of many of the tuner pedals I've considered, this is the least cluttered looking, and does it's job as expected. For purposes of comparison, I tested this unit out against the Boss TU-2 Stompbox tuner, and the Planet Waves Chromatic Tuner pedal.

19 comments sorted by best / new / date

    This is "THE" tuner for stage use, nothing but what a tuner is suposed to be and do. Very accurate, easy to read, super well build, could we say even looking cool? (well Ill do think so), small size. The Pitchblack is a win from wherever you look at it.
    This pedal kinda reminds me of the old Knight Rider episodes :p:
    Side Effect
    I bought one a couple weeks ago. Great tuning pedal. I would put this way above the Boss TU-2 which I also owned but quickly sold once I picked this one up.
    6_Feet_Below wrote: ya its great but 75 bucks?
    he must be used to the good ol' $15 hand-held tuners. First of all those ones aren't chromatic, they run off batteries (which is a MAJOR turn off for me), and they aren't half as durable or accurate. I would gladly pay $75 bucks for this puppy seeing as how the only ones I've been pleased with after trying were around $168.
    it's chromatic, so yeah it does, even without pressing any buttons! chromatic tuners ftw
    I just got one for $55 U.S. brand new out of the box. I got it from Tom Lee Music, Hong Kong. It's a brilliant pedal, tunes with ease, even my friend who hasn't tuned a guitar before tuned it perfectly, without asking me what to do. Hands down best tuner for under $100.
    I have one of these. After chatting to Paul Gilbert and his tech I checked one out and bought it instantly.It is far more accurate than my previously beloved tu2. Good enough for Pablo definitely good enough for me.
    MoonBoots432 wrote: But is it accurate!?
    Very. Detection accuracy: +/- 1 cent
    6_Feet_Below wrote: ya its great but 75 bucks?
    Usual price I see it run at is approx. $89.95 USD (I got an exceptional deal on mine, brand new). Planet Waves retails for approx. $84.99. Boss TU-2 (which also seems to be a very popular pedal) is approx. $99.99. Well made tuner pedals can run anywhere from $50 to $200. I thought this was an exceptional buy due to it's features, ease of use, and construction.
    Hakael wrote: I didn't notice any difference in town, at least by ear. The Planet Wave tuner also performed quite well, except for the aforementioned "design flaw." I did notice a slight change with the Boss. Although it was very slight and unless you were really working hard on listening for it, probably would not notice.
    tone=tone That's what I get for typing while I eat. lol
    I didn't notice any difference in town, at least by ear. The Planet Wave tuner also performed quite well, except for the aforementioned "design flaw." I did notice a slight change with the Boss. Although it was very slight and unless you were really working hard on listening for it, probably would not notice.
    I guess a tuner could be one of the (very)few items that could score a 10. This one actually looks great, Ill be looking into one. Hopefully theyre all as well-built as that^ one seems to be.
    With the fairly big collection of pedals I have, I have to say this is my favourite. its really satisfying to use and makes you feel like youve mastered it straight away (unlike other pedals that make you feel like your not using them properly) - this pedal is a must buy for anyone...beats any handheld tuners or other tuner pedal models...