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One of the better electronic tuner/metronomes
on December 14, 2012
There are quite a few pocket sized electronic tuner/metronomes out there for musical instruments, and many of them are not very distinguished in terms of utility, functionality and quality. This Korg model is the best one I have seen, and at an affordable price. Korg is or course a leader in this field, and Yamaha's "Dr. Beat" metronomes are more powerful and flexible, but this little unit does pretty much anything a busy musician needs.
The tuner is intended for instruments that make a reasonably sustained sound, so it is not a guitar tuner. I have not tried it for pianos, harpsichords and the like. I think it is best used with wind instruments or others that can produce tones os a few seconds duration not counting the decay.
The tuner has a sweep needle that is part of the large backlit LCD display. You can turn the backlighting off to save battery power. There are also three bright LED lamps for Flat, In Tune, and Sharp, allowing you to tune when too far away to read the LCD sweep needle.
The tuner allows tuning to different pitch standards over the range 410-480Hz, with A-440Hz being the default, and the display shows this number in large digits, and also shows the note name, e.g. Ab, etc.
The tuner can listen to your instrument, either through its built-in microphone or by plugging the cable from an electronic instrument into the 1/4" phone jack on the side of the unit. The tuner can also produce any pitch, either over the built-in speaker or silently throught the 1/8" headphone jack.
A nice feature is the "Sound Back" which plays back the in-tune pitch that is closest to the pitch you play with your out-of-tune instrument. For example, play your instrument, the unit determines that you are playing a somewhat flat F, and it then plays an in-tune F through the speaker, and you can adjust to match it. The tuner can accurately respond to notes over an 8 octave range.
As far as I have been able to determine, this tuner does NOT allow tuning to historical or alternate temperaments, so it is always 'equal temperament', which suits most modern music played on wind instruments. I doubt if a piano tuner would find this unit very useful.
The tuner and the metronome are autonomous, like having a separate tune and metronome in the same case. Each can be turned on and off separately, and you can in theory use both at the same time if you can figure out a way for that to be useful.
The metronome allows you to select tempi in one beat-per-minute increments over a 30-252 BPM range. You can separately select any of several (actually 15) beat subdivisions, or beat emphasis points, so that when you select '3' for example, the metronome will play one beat with one tone, then the next two beats with a different tone, so you can keep track of the first beat of each measure. You can also select things such as triplet subdivisions within a beat, but this unit is not as flexible in this regard as a fancier metronome such as the Dr. Beat. However, like Dr. Beat, this metronome DOES have the Tap Tempo button; you tap the desired tempo on a large button and the unit automatically figures out the tempo number. You can use this simply to display the tempo you tapped, or you can use it to control the action of the metronome.
The metronome can be stopped and started without losing the settings.
The unit used two AAA cells for its battery.
Weight is about 3.5 Oz, or the same as a typical CD in its jewel case. The dimensions are 111 x 74 x 18 mm / 4.37 x 2.91 x 0.71 inches.
The unit comes in either black or white case colors.