Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner Review

manufacturer: Korg date: 03/26/2010 category: Guitar Effects
Korg: Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner
The pitchblack Chromatic Pedal Tuner offers you high precision advanced functionality and sleek style to make it Korg's most advanced guitar/bass stompbox-style tuner yet.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Ease of Use: 9.7
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reviews (3) 26 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 10
Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner Reviewed by: Hakael, on july 24, 2008
9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 75

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.5
Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner Reviewed by: jamie_hough, on march 30, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Ok, this is 'just' a tuner pedal so it's certainly easy to use, however it's this ease of use that makes it so much different to the huge amount of other tuner pedals out there. I've tried the Boss TU-2 in the past and was not impressed with it - to me it performed exactly the same as a handheld tuner and with a 60 pricetag I couldnt justify it. The Korg however is (slightly) cheaper and much easier/satisfying to use, I just had to get one. The manual is simple and straightforward going into the right amount of detail about the pedals 4 different tuning functions. The functions are basically just 4 different display modes which lets you 'personalise' how you tune up - it's a nice touch but I'm not convinced many people will use anything but the first mode. // 9

Sound: Well obviously this doesn't give any kind of sound effect to your guitar but what it does do is give you true bypass - when you click the footswitch in your sound is muted and wherever it is placed in your effects chain, the sound wont be affected in any way. This is perfect for some sneaky tuning inbetween songs at gigs and also means that you don't have to worry about it affecting your tone - the Boss version does not have this luxury. // 10

Reliability & Durability: To be honest I'm not familiar with Korg pedals so I'm not sure if they are known for their Reliability & Durability or lack of. This pedal seems tough enough though so I wouldn't need to take a back up to a gig. It's also got a nice sloped design on the face of the pedal so your foot will connect with the pedal more naturally, eliminating an awkward stomp that might damage the pedal. // 9

Overall Impression: It's hard to get excited about a tuning pedal, but this one really is worth going out of your way to look into. When you compare it to handheld tuners in particular, you will instantly 'feel' the difference - none of that random fluttering that plagues the handheld varitites. The way the lights 'swell' so accurately are it's main feature for me - it gives you an accurate reading for how slightly sharp/flat you are by using a swelling technique that is hard to describe here. The lights are also extremely strong - they will show up perfectly outdoors on a bright day and obviously in a dark gig environment. I'd be gutted if I lost this pedal and would instantly buy another one. I'm trying really hard to find a negative point about this pedal - nothings perfect and I hate giving straight 10/10 reviews - but this really doesn't have any noticeable downsides. It is what it is - a tuner pedal, but this just happens to be a very accurate and easy to use one which is certianly refreshing considering the huge amount of other uselss tuning pedals/handsets that are on the market. // 10

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overall: 9.8
Pitchblack Chromatic Tuner Reviewed by: osXtiger, on march 26, 2010
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 49

Purchased from: Amazon - Music Alley

Ease of Use: Well, It's a Tuner Pedal, and as such, It's the simplest thing in the world to use. Plug your guitar into the input, plug amp/other pedals into the output, press the button on the front of the pedal and tune away! The Screen is bright and VERY easy to read. The note detection is quick and precise. If you want more variety in your tuning pedal, this has 4 different tuning display modes for you to choose from which can be selected by a button on the back of the unit (The side that faces the crowd). Meter: This is the default tuning mode that pretty much all of us are used to. if the light on the meter is to the left, the note is flat. If the light is to the right, then the note is sharp, and of course, if the center green light is on, the string is in tune. Strobe 1(of 2): The lights will travel across the meter from left to right if the note is sharp and right to left if it is flat. Simple. Strobe 2: similar to Strobe 1 but much easier to read. If the note is flat the LEDs to the left of the center light will strobe from the center to the left and if the note is sharp the LEDs on the right will strobe from the center to the right. Mirror: This one is far too difficult to explain in words, but it is easy to read once you get used to it. This pedal can also be calibrated from 436-445HZ if necessary with a button on the back of the pedal (The side that faces the crowd). // 10

Sound: I use an Epiphone SG-400 with a Peavey Vypyr set to the Fender Twin Reverb setting (For testing cleans) AND to the DXL setting (for a high gain setting). This pedal is placed first in the chain (Right after the guitar) When the device is activated, it automatically mutes the chain for you and there is no popping noise to worry about. The pedal uses true-bypass when switched off so there is no "tone sucking" to worry about. Fantastic! // 10

Reliability & Durability: Everything except the bottom of the pedal is made of Die-cast metal, so it's 90% durable at least. The underside of the pedal is made of plastic with two rubber feet for prevention of slippage. The battery compartment access is a plastic clip cover which isn't the best choice for a pedal. But, the pedal isn't going to break on you, so I can confidently say it isn't going to break during usage. It looses two points for the plastic underbelly, and gains another one just because I honestly think this thing is built to last. // 9

Overall Impression: * The pedals note detection is quick and accurate. What more can you ask for. * The screen is bright and easy to read with multiple modes for your choosing. * The button is easily activated and will not hurt your bare foot if you end up using it in your bedroom. * It doesn't suck on your tone and mutes the chain with no popping noises when activated, so all you tone-freaks out there can breathe easy with this thing in your chain. It's cheap(er than most tuner pedals), But it is a very good build quality. The only downside (which isn't all that severe) Is the plastic battery cover. If this pedal was ever stolen, I'd certainly buy it again without even bothering to think about any other tuner pedal. // 10

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