Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Choice of classical guitar strings and technical issues connected with their use.
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joachim33
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Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by joachim33 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:11 am

After a period of Savarez Cantiga New Christal I changed for a set of D'Addario EXP 46 and wasn't quite happy.

I was first expecting some intonation issue, but then downloaded a few more tuning apps. I was surprised at the spread. If I tuned with one app and checked with an other app, differences like 4 cents are not uncommon.

So this adds an entire new dimension to the string comparison business: how do you tune it, which apps did I use? I am a lot happier with the D'Addario's with Guitar Tuna than with ProGuitarTunerLite. I am wondering what that tuner would do to Savarez strings - better or worse.

I forgot hardware is iPhone 6s.

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:58 am

On my iPhone 6s+ I ended up using TunerPro app by Witbosoft. To my ears it comes closest to what I would consider a well tuned guitar, though I always do the finishing by ear using octaves of A on different strings and checking with some other tones. Before I used Strobo Tuner app by Peterson but didn't really like the process of tuning and the results. Quite nice is also ClearTune by Bitcount, not as accurate as TunerPro, but offers a lot of specific tuning schemes.

As a clip tuner D'addario is hard to beat IMHO. Peterson is also OK but it fell apart after a while which is not amusing considering the price.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

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joachim33
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by joachim33 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:17 pm

rojarosguitar wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:58 am

As a clip tuner D'addario is hard to beat IMHO. Peterson is also OK but it fell apart after a while which is not amusing considering the price.
Which model of a clip tuner? They have a few.

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joachim33
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by joachim33 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 7:20 pm

The question I have is essentially the following: someone using a different tuner (app) depending on the strings they have on their instrument?

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rojarosguitar
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by rojarosguitar » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:22 pm

Daddario PW-CT-12 Micro Headstock Tuner...

No, I use always the same apps/tuners regardless of strings.
Music is a big continent with different landscapes and corners. Some of them I do visit frequently, some from time to time and some I know from hearsay only ...

Rasputin
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by Rasputin » Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:45 pm

+1 for the D'Addario micro headstock tuner.

I used to use Cleartune on iOS, which was great but not as convenient as the headstock tuner. I still have it of course. I did a quick check and the two are in near-perfect agreement. My low E is spot on according to the headstock tuner, whereas the needle on the Cleartune quivers a bit in the middle then falls to the flat side and ends up showing 4 cents flat. On the odd occasion when it didn't seem to be able to make its mind up I would check the harmonics - it shows the harmonic on the 5th fret as spot on, so I wouldn't count this as a discrepancy so much as a demonstration that the headstock tuner is more convenient.

I think the difference is probably in the way they deal with the fact that the pitch changes slightly while the note is sounding. The extent to which this happens is probably going to depend on the strings. Different devices or apps for different strings still seems a bit extreme to me, got to say.

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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by BellyDoc » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:10 pm

How much does app to app variation matter if you're solo? If the note to note frequency ratios are basically consistent then the only thing you risk is relative tuning issues with another instrument.

I have an old Conn ST11 strobe tuner that's been factory repaired and runs beautifully, but it's mostly an educational aid. 99% of the time I tune with a clip on super snark that's far less accurate and I'm happy with the result.

Of course, I'll also be perfectly content with a Budweiser if craft beer isn't available, and I microwave leftover coffee from the office pot rather than make a fresh one if all I want is the one cup... so your mileage may vary.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Sir Isaac Newton

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joachim33
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by joachim33 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:22 am

BellyDoc wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:10 pm
How much does app to app variation matter if you're solo? If the note to note frequency ratios are basically consistent then the only thing you risk is relative tuning issues with another instrument.
It matters if the shift is not consistent between strings. In my case, it was on open 3rd string (G) and the 4th string at the 2nd fret (E) which is part of a Em accord. I had horrible beats. Using a different tuner largely eliminated the issue. To me it makes perfect sense that the differences in filtering and algorithm inside the app/tuner cause slight differences. 4 cents relates to a precision of 0.23% (about 0.5 Hz at the pitch we discuss).

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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by Mark567 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:17 pm

I just bought the Peterson iStroboSoft for $10 and I couldn't be more pleased with it.
Strikingly more accurate than any of the other apps I've tried.
2014 Marlon Navarro student classical 640mm
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Mark567
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by Mark567 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:20 pm

Sorry, I forgot to mention I bought the iStrobosoft "app" for iPhone.
2014 Marlon Navarro student classical 640mm
2000 Cordoba 40R 650mm

es335
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by es335 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:55 pm

I mainly use Peterson's Stroboclip. Though not as robust one would expect athis price tag, I didn't have any mechanical issues over 4-5 years up to now. The other alternative I'm using is iStrobosoft. I like its tuning display better than Stroboclip's but the iPhone's microphone is of course less sensible and selective.

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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by SteveL123 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:40 pm

BellyDoc wrote:
Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:10 pm
How much does app to app variation matter if you're solo? If the note to note frequency ratios are basically consistent then the only thing you risk is relative tuning issues with another instrument.

I have an old Conn ST11 strobe tuner that's been factory repaired and runs beautifully, but it's mostly an educational aid. 99% of the time I tune with a clip on super snark that's far less accurate and I'm happy with the result.

Of course, I'll also be perfectly content with a Budweiser if craft beer isn't available, and I microwave leftover coffee from the office pot rather than make a fresh one if all I want is the one cup... so your mileage may vary.
Hey BellyDoc, do you know what the Conn ST11 use as a reference? Does it use AC line frequency?

If you have an Android phone, can you check the accuracy of gstrings free with your ST!!?https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... ings&hl=en

I've been using it on my 3 year old Galaxy S5 (works equally well on an even older Galaxy Note 2). It's an amazing tuner. I can have the TV on and the phone a few feet away from a guitar and gstrings has no trouble with the background noise. It has a needle scale with cents markers and also a digital frequency readout. Make sure to choose the carrot color theme for best contrast.

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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by astro64 » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:37 pm

I have found both the older Korg AW2 and Peterson strobe clipon tuners to be more accurate than the small D'Addario Planet Waves micro headstock tuners. But they are bulkier, of course.

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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by BellyDoc » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:29 pm

Strobe tuners are brilliant. they're very different than digital tuners in mechanism. I apologize if you already understood this.

The "reference" in the strobe tuner is a the RPMs of a spinning disk. There is a specialized drive motor and associated control circuitry to hit a very precise RPM. Behind the disk, a series of small neon bulbs are activated to flash based on the waves of electric current that are the sound signal coming from the microphone. If the flashing is happening at the speed of the rotating disk (or twice that rate or 4 times, etc..) then it looks like the disk is standing still. If it's off just a tiny bit because the note is sharp or flat, then it looks like the disk is slowly turning to the right or left, depending. The unit can be calibrated by using an internal calibration circuit that sets the strobe flashing at a fixed value (probably 440Hz) and then a calibration knob can be used to fine tune a correction to the RPM, but ever since I sent this thing in for a factory refurbish, there has been zero need to adjust it.

Here's a video on how a strobe tuner works:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8KHeyT6xB0

Basically, what it's doing is creating a real-time visual representation of beat frequencies between a played note and a reference frequency (implemented as a spinning disk RPM). I believe the apps that are "stobe" type as mentioned above also use a similar strategy, combining signals to display beat frequencies, but they're digital simulators of this otherwise analog technique.

Contrast this with the mechanism of a digital tuner which reads the frequency of voltage peaks for a short period of time and then calculates and reports the resulting averaged rate as a note name +/- a correction in cents compared to a library of reference values... then it updates. How good it detects with a microphone or vibration sensor, how it filters the signal, how it handles response speed versus accuracy, how fast the display reacts - that's all proprietary stuff and I'm certainly not qualified to critique. For the smartphone apps as opposed to dedicated tuner devices, I would think there are probably additional variables that include things like the potential for magnetic pickup of pocket dust into the microphone hole, or muffling from the different types of protective cases. These are things that make generic comparisons of apps potentially problematic compared to the individual end-user's personal device.

For my purposes, it's all good. I used the Guitar Tuna iPhone app last when I most recently restrung my guitar. It was very helpful as I brought each string up tension through the scale because it graphically showed me the rise in tone I get with each twist of the knob. My clip-on can also do this but for me the line graph display on the phone screen is more intuitive. Side by side, when the strobe tuner shows me on the mark, so does the clip-on and so does the app. However, the clip on doesn't react much to the response compared to the strobe. The Guitar Tuna app demonstrates note wavering, but the response is blunted compared to the strobe tuner. I have another app called Tuner Lite with a simulated needle gauge, and it seems over sensitive to the point of being difficult.

I did play with some online toys at one time, like a web app "tone generator" that plays a pure sine wave tone at a given frequency that you can adjust. I found a couple of versions and was mildly annoyed to find that when I played them simultaneously at the "same" frequency of 440, I heard HORRIBLE beat frequencies. Obviously, they did not agree. Similarly there's YouTube implementations of recorded tones... and I begin to question exactly what the gold standard should be.

At some point, though, this goes beyond what's relevant for me and my Sor Opus 60 studies, and onto a tangent.

My belief is that this road could easily lead me to microtonal madness! I recognize that there are inherent imperfections in the equal tempered scale to start with, and predictable intonation challenges with fretted strings. For this reason I prefer to do a quick open string tune with the clip-on, or relative tune by ear at the 5th fret, accepting, for now, some of the roughness of sonorities between notes at higher frets as part of the natural sound of my acoustic instrument.
"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." -Sir Isaac Newton

Armin Hanika 56PF

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joachim33
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Re: Tuners and Strings - Have you ever compared tuning apps?

Post by joachim33 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:34 am

Hi

Following the discussion here I got a D'Addario NS Micro Tuner as well. When I first saw it, I was really surprised how small it is.
When putting the clamp at its widest position I can just push it on my headstock. Could do with a wider setting.

It sits very high - I am using a footstool- which makes the metronome unusable. Comparing to the GuitarTuna app it seems about 2 cent sharp. Don't ask me which is correct. This 2 cents seem pretty reproducible. Based on this I would currently estimate the read out to be precise to 1 or 2 cents.

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