An accurate tuner is an essential tool for live performance and studio work, but especially so for doing guitar setups, an application in which Peterson’s strobe tuners have become the closest thing there is to an industry standard. Peterson’s new StroboPlus HD is accurate to 1000th of a semitone and has a very large, smooth-scrolling, back-illuminated LCD that shows the virtual strobe bars moving clockwise if the note is sharp, anticlockwise if flat, and remaining stationary when the note is fully at the target pitch. The StroboPlus HD offers a choice from standard equal-temperament tuning, over 90 so-called ‘sweetened’ tunings (including the Buzz Feiten tuning system) and (multi-octave) piano-style stretch tunings. Input can be via a guitar cable or the built-in microphone, and an optional headstock clip may also be used for tuning acoustic instruments that have no pickup.
Custom tunings may be programmed using the free-to-download PetersonConnect utility (Mac and Windows) via the built-in USB port, which is also used to charge the device’s lithium ion smartphone-style battery. Quarter-inch audio In and Thru jacks are fitted, along with a headphone jack and a ‘Vibe’ socket. The last of these allows Peterson’s innovative BodyBeat Sync metronome facilities to be added to the StroboPlus HD, although this requires a chargeable firmware update. The Vibe output feeds the optional Vibe Clip to provide tactile tempo feedback.
Control of the unit is via just five large buttons below the display and a rotary data encoder which incorporates a push-to-enter switch. Buttons select Power On, Mode (visual, audio or, if installed, the optional metronome), Man/Auto/Tap Tempo, Start (to hear the audible pitch or to start the metronome) and Preset/Store. The chunky plastic case includes a fold-out desk stand, and there’s also a tripod mount for use with Peterson’s Pitch Holder. Concert ‘A’ may be set from 390 to 490 Hz and the unit powers off automatically when it has not been used for 10 minutes, in order to extend battery life. The user can save the 10 most useful configurations as presets and transposition can be applied to all tunings for those who use drop or capo tunings.
Despite appearing to be bristling with features, the StroboPlus HD is quite straightforward to use, at least in part because the large high-resolution display is both very clean and stable. No PSU is included, so you need either a computer or USB PSU to charge it (those are cheap enough and most of us probably already own several!). As shipped, the preset menu contains only the equal-temperament option, so you have to add any others you may choose to use — but on the plus side it means you don’t have to wade through lengthy menus to find the tuning you want, and it helps you avoid tuning to the wrong preset by mistake! I tried out the app and found it very easy to drag and drop the tunings into the preset area as needed. Finally, the software can be updated via USB as new tunings and features are added, so you’ll never get left behind. All in all, the StroboPlus HD is an excellent addition to the virtual strobe portfolio. Paul White
£95 including VAT.