Price paid: $ 59
Purchased from: Peterson
Ease of Use — 9
Peterson is both iconic and a leader in musical tuner technology, and they just upped the ante in standards with the new StroboClip HD. Weighing in at only 1.6 oz and less than 2.5 inches long, the one-inch clip opening is sufficient to attach onto any stringed, woodwind or brass instrument, and I was even able to clip it on the end of a 7-string headless guitar. As well, the screen can rotate 360-degrees and be flipped vertical, horizontal or anything between.
Visually, the StroboClip HD makes it very easy to use, with nearly twice the screen pixel resolution over the previous Peterson model – and that means very smooth tuning action and real-time response as you view the strobe band rotating to the left (the note is flat) or to the right (the note is sharp). For those unfamiliar with a strobe tuner, once the strobe band (think of a wheel turning) stops moving, then tuning is dead on. The display is bright, crisp and the control buttons easy to use during navigation of the functions. The video below demonstrates how to use this highly diverse tuner:
Sound — 9
There are several features with the StroboClip HD, including the ability to change the Concert Pitch Reference, 390-490Hz, which may not mean much to the average guitar player, but certainly holds value with orchestra musicians. However, a most impressive aspect is the over 50 Sweetener settings that make an instrument sound ‘sweeter’ by slightly adjusting each note to compensate for common tuning problems specific to an instrument. You can select a basic guitar or bass setting, but also one for a 7-string guitar, a Dobro guitar, an acoustic, tuning in DADGAD, etc. And this does make a difference, as the notes, when playing, actually take on a different characteristic or tone than if using a typical chromatic setting – it does sound sweeter! And there are various Sweetener settings for Bluegrass instruments (e.g., banjo, uke and mandolin), lap steel, lute and viols, several orchestra-based instruments, sitar, bagpipes, etc.
And Peterson did not forget about drop tuning or capo tuning transposition. With this feature you can tune using the standard note name (e.g., E, A, D, G, B or E), select how many semitones you want to go down or up and tune according. This way you don’t have to calculate the transposed note name and can tune in a more standard manner.
Reliability & Durability — 9
When purchasing a tuner, it’s all about accuracy. The Peterson StroboClip HD has a tuning resolution of .01 (1/10th) cent (1/1000th of a semitone), which makes it even more accurate than the tuner I’ve been using in my Axe Fx II processor (this was particularly evident when using the Sweetener option, as explained under Sound). As impressive, this little tuner is firmware updateable, allowing you to maintain the latest technology in tuning quality and even create custom settings. You will need to purchase the USB cable separately, however.
Overall Impression — 9
At the size of a Bic lighter, the StroboClip HD can fit in any music case or remain non-intrusive if left on a guitar headstock. It is made of high-impact material (to prevent breakage if you drop it) and the standard CR2032 battery provides over 20 hours of consistent tuning time, which means if you tune an instrument once a day for two minutes (if it takes that long) you would need to replace the battery only once every two years. With an easy-to-read screen and with so many features (as well as keeping your most used features/settings locked at the top in memory if desired), it’s difficult to find a better tuner for the money.