This Snark tuner review will look at the following:
- Design & build quality
Snark have developed a range of tuners. This article will discuss their clip-on varieties – the SN-1, SN-2, SN-5, SN-6 and SN-8 Clicking on the model number will take you to the tuners specific features.
The Snark chromatic clip-on tuner is currently available in four models and three colors. The SN-1 (blue) has been primarily designed for use with a guitar. So for instance it works well with my base guitar tuning it by vibration only. The SN-2 (red) on the other hand can be used to tune all stringed acoustic instruments by using the vibration feature or by sound using its built-in microphone. The sound feature allows you to clip the tuner to something other than the instrument which in some cases may be useful. The SN-2 also tunes to a wider range of notes than the SN-1 making it the most popular model due to its versatility.
Both the above described tuners have a built in metronome which is visible but sadly not heard. The metronome can be set by tapping the required timing or via the up/down buttons on the back of the unit, which is a nice setup. Also they include pitch calibration and transpose for guitar.
The pitch calibration setting allows you to change the pitch reference to anywhere between 415 and 466Hz and the transpose feature is aimed more towards those playing with a capo. Snark really did have the working musician in mind when developing this tuner.
The SN-5 (black) and SN-6 (black) are not quite as popular as the models just discussed. The reason is, these versions are more basic and do not have the visible metronome, pitch calibration or transpose and only tune by vibration. The SN-5 is really a knocked down version of the SN-1. The SN-6 is identical to the SN-5 but is specifically designed for the ukulele. Remember the SN-2 can be used to tune most instruments with the exception of brass instruments.
The tuner is powered by a 3V lithium “button” battery which is easily replaceable, however you really shouldn’t need to replace it due to the Snark’s power saving features and the batteries long life.
Design & Build Quality
The Snark SN-1 and SN-2 have a rubberized coating making them more athletically pleasing and less prone to damage if dropped etc. The SN-5 and SN-6 are of a more basic plastic construction. That said, the basic design of all the models is pleasing. The digital display is multi-colored, large and well lit for tuning ease – great for dimly lit environments. The rubberized clip-on grip keeps the gadget firmly in place on the scroll without damaging the instrument and the swivel feature allows you to pivot the dial from two separate points allowing you to see the display from the most awkward angles.
The power switch is the only button on the front of the device and big enough to get your finger to in a hurry. The metronome button is on the edge, and the lesser – accessed increment/decrement and calibration buttons are on the back. It’s a good intuitive design that allows you to negotiate the device with ease.
The most noticeable part of my testing was how responsive the Snark tuner was. There’s no waiting for the tuner to register a pitch change and the “hold” feature (that freezes momentarily when it detects a steady pitch), is spot on, which mean you never miss locking in the centre frequency of a string. The tuner is both fast and accurate.
So the main differences between the SN-1 and the SN-2 are that the SN-1 lacks sound tuning, needs to be attached to the instrument and is best used for tuning a guitar. The SN-2 also tunes to a wide range of notes. The SN-5 and SN-6 are more basic in both construction and features.
Both the tuning meter and pitch display are made up of bright LEDs which are far more superior to the LCD screens of many a tuner out there – making this ideal for low light scenarios. The colors (red, green and yellow) are used on the meter to measure the musicians intonation.
Similar to the evolution of digital watches, where accuracy is a given, many modern tuners give you very precise and accurate tunings. Beyond this we consider design, ergonomics, and the tuners feature set. Aesthetically, when perched there on your instrument, it looks the part. But it’s the versatile positioning, transposing, calibration, and metronomic features and not forgetting the brilliant and visually superior display, that make the Snark tuner a great gadget you will find you can’t tune without.
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