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Intellitouch PT30

The New "Classic" Tuner from OnBoard Research
A Hands-On Review


If you believe that perfection is developed over time, you might be interested in the Intellitouch PT30 tuner from OnBoard Research.

OnBoard Research introduced the first "contact" tuner back in 1997. Until then, electronic guitar tuners used two common methods to detect pitch: a built-in microphone, or a direct connection from your instrument. Contact tuners (also known variously as headstock tuners, clip-on tuners, or piezo tuners) detect the pitch of your guitar through the vibrations produced when you pluck a string. To work, they must be in contact with the instrument creating the vibrations.

SIDEBAR: Contact tuners, such as the Intellitouch PT30, use a device called a piezoelectric sensor to determine pitch. Peizoelectric sensors detect movement or changes in pressure. These changes produce electric signals which are amplified and processed for a variety of applications, including medical, automotive, telephony, and music. In guitar tuners, these electric signals are compared to known frequencies to determine the pitch of your string. The tuner can then create a display to inform you if your note is too sharp, too flat, or just right when compared to the closest pitch.

OnBoard Research recently began phasing out their flagship PT1 and PT2 tuners to introduce a lineup of tuners with new features and functions. The Intellitouch PT30 leads the way.

This review is a bit different from the others on this site. I will list a few of the key features of the PT30, then link to a video that give an closer hands-on look. Below the video, I will summarize my experience with this tuner.

Key features of the PT30 include:


A Closer Look Hands-On Video



Final Comments

Some people may wonder, "How fast and accurate is the Intellitouch PT30?"

I wondered myself. So, I took another headstock tuner that I had used successfully for over a year and attached both, side by side, on the headstock of my acoustic guitar. I then tuned and watched to see the response of both tuners.

The PT30 seemed to react just a fraction of a second after the other headstock tuner, but because of the PT30's eight direction arrows I felt that I had more information. This additional information from the PT30 helped me tune faster and with more confidence than the other tuner.

I know from personal experience that some headstock tuners had problems with certain guitars, or with certain notes (especially when used on a bass guitar). I did not experience any problems when testing the PT30.

Finally, I can't say enough about how important something as simple as adding cushions to the clip contact points can be. The PT30 cushions both contact points on the clip. With the headstock tuner I had been using, only one side of the clip is cushioned. After several months of use I began to notice microscratches on the finish of my guitar. Clearly the cause was the tuner. (Since then, I've added elecricians tape to that tuner to stop any additional scratching.)

If you are interested in the PT30, other tuners from OnBoard Research, or other guitar tuners, I encourage you to visit Select Sounds Tuners page.




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