Peterson StroboSoft Tuner

Last year, Peterson — the world’s oldest and most respected tuner manufacturer — entered the software market with the release of the StroboSoft software tuner.
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FAST FACTS
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Applications
Studio, project studio, broadcast, postproduction, sound reinforcement

Key Features
Supports 11.025, 12, 22.05, 44.1, 48, 88.2, and 96 kHz sample rates (11.025, 12 auto-select only); 27 built-in tuning instrument presets including standard tunings; 59 alternate tunings for various instruments (Deluxe Version); easy chromatic tuning of brass and woodwind; two interface options — a Standard Chromatic Strobe Tuner and an Exclusive Instrument Tuner featuring Sweetened tunings for fretted and unfretted instruments; oscilloscope; spectrum analyzer

Price
Download $79.99 Deluxe, $49.99 Standard; Boxed $109.99 Suite

Contact

Peterson | 708-388-3311 | www.StroboSoft.com

PRODUCT POINTS

Plus

  • Low Price
  • Extremely accurate
  • Easy to use

Minus

  • Main window size can’t be changed (Peterson assures StroboSoft’s new version will have a “mini” mode to make the display smaller – Ed.)
  • Not available as a plug-in (Peterson projects VST will be available to all in July, with a free upgrade extended to Suite users – Ed.)

SCORE
This software tuner is an indispensable tool well worth its priceLast year, Peterson — the world’s oldest and most respected tuner manufacturer — entered the software market with the release of the StroboSoft software tuner. They are now the first ever tuner manufacturer to offer both hardware and software tuners. StroboSoft is a software-based strobe tuner that provides 0.1 cent tuning resolution without the addition of any special hardware. The application is available in three versions: the Standard Version ($49.99), the Deluxe Version ($79.99), and the StroboSoft Suite ($109.99) - a boxed Deluxe version along with a Tuning and Intonation DVD, a full users manual and a sound card adapter jack that converts a mic/instrument cable to the standard 3.5 mm computer input.

Features

StroboSoft has a pitch accuracy of 0.001 semitone (0.1 cent) and a note range of Eb0 (MIDI note 15) to Eb8 (MIDI note 111). Its frequency range is 20 Hz – 5 kHz with an accuracy of 0.005 Hz (frequencies and notes can still be measured below 20 Hz and above 5 kHz, but not with the same level of accuracy). It has an auto-sample rate but includes selectable rates of 22.05, 44.1, 48, 88.2 and 96 kHz.

If running on a Windows based computer, StroboSoft requires a 1 GHz Pentium or equivalent processor running Windows 2000/XP/Vista with at least 256 MB of RAM (512 MB recommended). If running on a Mac, the processor must be at least a G4 running Mac OS 10.3 or higher with at least 256 MB of RAM (512 MB recommended). Both Windows and Mac systems require that the computer is equipped with a sound card with mic/line input, a video card with True Color 24-Bit capability, and 30 MB of hard drive space. No special sound card is needed to attain optimal tuning results.

StroboSoft has 27 built-in tuning instrument presets that include standard tunings or the ability to choose from over 50 alternate tunings for various instruments (the alternate tunings are only available with the Deluxe Version). The application also allows easy chromatic tuning of brass and woodwind instruments. Alternate tunings not included as presets can be stored and recalled.

The nearly 40 exclusive Sweetened tuning presets can be applied to the standard tunings to allow more precision when playing certain chords. These presets address inherent instrument problems without decreasing the ability to play in a lot of keys. These presets make the strings more consonant and eliminate the need to retune or tweak the tuning afterwards. The Deluxe Version also offers full support for Buzz Feiten-equipped instruments by providing presets for open string and intonation setting built-in. The application contains 12 built-in temperaments (including Equal Tempered) and the Deluxe version allows an unlimited number of user temperaments to be created and saved.

StroboSoft Deluxe provides two different interface options: a Standard Chromatic Strobe Tuner and an Exclusive Instrument Tuner featuring nearly 30 custom sweetened tunings for fretted and unfretted instruments including instruments featuring the Buzz Feiten Tuning System.

The the application also includes valuable, even though not exceptionally powerful, features including an oscilloscope (which can be helpful in analyzing noise) and a spectrum analyzer (which provides harmonic detections and visual recognition of fundamental frequencies).

In Use

StroboSoft installed and authorized in a snap. In no time I was ready to tune like a pro. The Chromatic Tune mode is most like the traditional Peterson strobe tuner and it can be set to automatically select a note or the notes can be selected manually. The tuner’s transposition can be set to different keys and the base reference from 440 Hz can be tweaked.

I work with a lot of independent bands and, for some reason, being independent seems to have a strong correlation with not realizing the importance of playing in tune or even owning a tuner. Having StroboSoft constantly running has frequently been a godsend. I send a mult of the signal that I’m recording to my laptop running StroboSoft, and I’m able to always be aware of the tuning of the instrument that I’m recording.

I found it extremely helpful that the Left and Right selectors allow you to individually access the left and right channels of a stereo input. When tracking multiple instruments, there can be two instruments simultaneously connected, one on the left channel and one on the right, making it easy to switch between these instruments without physically reconnecting them.

Unfortunately, StroboSoft and Pro Tools|HD cannot be used simultaneously (this will soon change as the next version of StroboSoft can be used as a VST plug-in and users with FXpansion Wrappers can adapt the VST for RTAS use.). This is not a problem with other DAWs or Pro Tools|LE systems. In order to keep StroboSoft running at all times, I installed it on my laptop so it doesn’t interfere with Pro Tools’ operation. This allows the tuner to be active and visually accessible at all times. I wish the application provided the ability to change the size of the tuning window to either a smaller footprint or full-screen (so the tuner can be easily seen from across the room).

At first, I considered StroboSoft’s Spectrum Analyzer to be a bit gimmicky; after a bit of use, however, I found that it allows me to immediately get a feel for what type of input signal StroboSoft is looking at. If I see that there are spikes or a large amount of background noise then I know it will be helpful to activate the Noise Filter.

Summary

After using the Peterson StroboSoft Tuner for several weeks I’ve found it to be an indispensable tool well worth its price. The application’s accuracy is unmatched and it is quick and easy to use.