Out of the box, this large tuner flaunts its rugged, military-style palette with a no-nonsense demeanour. Dark olive-grey plastic forms the enclosure of the device, accented with black and a large silver ring around its display screen. Suffice to say, build quality is top-notch here – the tuner even includes a handy kickstand on its back. One can easily expect decades worth of use out of this tuner, and you can even remove and exchange the rechargeable lithium ion battery.
The StroboPlus HD is accurate up to 1/1000th of a semitone, which is pretty much as accurate as it gets. Tuning and text graphics are displayed on its immense semi-circular LED screen. The display is backlit with a pleasant orange glow and renders visuals extremely well, offering clarity even on the dimmest stages and the most glaring outdoor gigs. Large rubber buttons and a rotary encoder allow quick and easy access to the device’s array of functions, including strobe tuning, pitch tuning, and if purchased, a metronome.
As one would expect from a Peterson product, tuning was an absolute breeze with the StroboPlus HD. The smooth-scrolling strobe bars travel clockwise if the note is sharp, anticlockwise when flat, and remain stationary when the note is in tune. I tested the device both through its quarter inch input jack and its inbuilt microphone, and was left floored by how intuitive, speedy and accurate the entire process was.
Under the hood, this tuner conceals several more features – the most interesting one being Peterson’s ‘sweetened tunings’. These are a collection of suggested micro-tuning adjustments for a myriad of instruments that claim to “optimise your tone”. There are a tonne of variations here, compensating for three-barrel Telecaster bridges, to stretched tunings for a 47-string harp. Although, when trying out one of the sweetened tunings for an acoustic guitar, I found the tonal differences to be almost negligible. While not necessarily being better, they’re certainly different.
Additionally, the StroboPlus HD is seemingly future-proof with healthy online support. While connected to a computer, you can utilise Peterson Connect – a Google Chrome browser extension – to update your tuner to the latest firmware. Savvy users can even create their own sweetened tunings and push them to the tuner for immediate access. These personalised tuning settings can even be shared online to the Peterson community. The tool also allows you to buy the optional metronome and have the feature unlocked on your device – which certainly raises some eyebrows. The hardware itself is already capable of performing as a metronome, which just makes this seem like a quick cash grab.
Sans the missing metronome, the Peterson StroboPlus HD does what it’s supposed to do, and does it outstandingly well. With rock-solid build quality, unrivalled ease of use and great online support, this tuner will undoubtedly find a home with the most discerning musicians and instrument builders.