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.
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:
- Four tuning assistace arrows on each side of the note name to increase accuracy.
- Automatic pitch detection and easy to read display.
- Dual ball-hinge support arm for flexible tuner positioning.
- Cushioned contact points on the tuner clamp.
- One-handed open and attach operation of the clamp.
- Choose from three backlight colors (red, blue, white), or turn the backlight off.
- Sharp and Flat indicators for additional tuning applications.
- Both clip contact points are cushioned.
- Uses popular CR2032 batteries, easy to find when replacement is needed (batteries included).
- Adjustable calibration from 430Hz to 450Hz.
- Lightweight: weighs less than 2 ounces.
A Closer Look Hands-On Video
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.