Tuners? You just buy the cheapest and get on with it don't you? Not if you've ever tried one of the Peterson variety you don't, says Rick Graham!
Without a doubt, one of the most important elements of any player's rig, whether it be as part of a studio or live set-up, is a good, solid and accurate tuner. Although there are lots of options available today - in fact most music shops are stacked to the rafters with them - the subjects of this review, the Stomp Classic and StroboClip from the renowned US tuner company Peterson, both offer something just a little bit different to run of the mill tuners, They are both very feature-rich products, offering a wide variety of extremely useful and useable functions.
To give you an idea of what I mean by 'feature rich' some of the exclusive Peterson features incorporated into the Stomp Classic include: true bypass circuitry, a collection of new 'Sweetened Tunings', that include support for 7-string guitars, electric violin and mandolin-family instruments and Peterson's renowned built-in, fully adjustable, active DI. To make it even better (after all, appearances do matter!) the look of the pedal itself is inspired by the now classic Conn ST-11 strobotuner, which has become legend.
The main focal point of the Stomp Classic is the unmissable amber high contrast LED display, which is clearly visible whether in direct sunlight or on the darkest of stages, and offers a nod of the head to the iconic rotary wheel display featured on the iconic Conn ST-11. This display indicates tuning by giving the illusion of moving in a clockwise direction to indicate a sharp note and in an anti-clockwise direction to indicate a flat note, whilst a stationary display (or at least as stationary as possible) indicates a correctly in-tune note. The actual note name and octave position is also indicated in the lower portion of the display.
Not only is the Stomp Classic accurate to 0.1 cent, making it one of the most accurate tuners available today, but it also makes use of this accuracy with a collection of 'sweetened tunings' I mentioned earlier, which gives you access to ultra-accurate tunings suited to the varying physical properties of a wide variety of instrument types such as Dobros, pedal steels, electric violins and even instruments with Buzz Feiten tuning. Transposed tunings are also well catered for with a simple tap of the menu button followed by the plus or minus buttons to input your desired transposition in semi-tones. The pedal is also bang up to date, featuring a USB connection, allowing you to update firmware and create and share tuning presets available via Peterson's dedicated editing programme.
The DI element of the Stomp Classic offers a 0db, 10db and 20db switchable pad, a switchable ground lift and three modes of use, which are: DI, TB and Mon modes. With the default DI mode both the XLR DI output and the jack output are muted, while tuning with the tuner display only active when tuning. TB is the true bypass mode and Mon offers another useful variation.
With a heavy duty, die-cast chassis, this pedal has certainly been manufactured to withstand the rigorous demands of heavy use and is most certainly a robust and roadworthy piece of gear. It also features the very welcome addition of metal screw lugs which enable secure fastening to your pedalboard. The pedal can be powered either in the form of a 9v battery or a PSU, although I would expect the high contrast display to be quite demanding on battery power.
If you don't want a tuner this substantial as part of your rig, Peterson's less costly StroboClip is an extremely attractive alternative. It features the same unique and highly accurate tuning system in a compact and very easy to use device which can be clipped to the headstock of any guitar.
Overall, I couldn't fault either the Stomp Classic or the StroboClip. You are not going to find tuners more accurate than these (considering that most tuners sit in the range of 0.5 to 1 cents), which means that while you can undoubtedly pick up cheaper tuners these days, for the serious musician, there really isn't much in the way of competition. Couple that accuracy with the collection of sweetened tunings and the useful DI functions and it seems to me that Peterson has created a tuning monster. What's more, they even come with a three year warranty. Simply superb.