We have talked about affordable pedals countless times. Each time I see something cheap, I get surprised with the price and immediately feel like I have to get my hands on it and try it out. The price tag seems to be lowering with each new release and when I think it can’t get any more inexpensive, I see a stompbox that surprises me once more. That’s exactly what happened when I first came across Monoprice Chromatic Tuner. I couldn’t believe my eyes, since it costs way less than your dinner (and I mean the homemade one, not the fancy meal at a restaurant and not even a take-out). I got intrigued simultaneously, gathered all the change I had stocked up in my pockets (to be more precise, on my bank account) and went online to purchase the unit. Though I didn’t have high expectations towards it, this little baby managed to awe me a couple of times. There’s no way you will expect anything you are getting here, since this inexpensive pedal can perform better than some other tuners out there. And I’m not even exaggerating. Of course, Monoprice Chromatic Tuner should be taken with a grain of salt, but its functionalities will make it worth your money. If you want to take a risk and buy a tuner that is ridiculously cheap, then keep on reading to understand what you’re getting here. Let’s get started!
You know how price doesn’t always indicate the quality? Well, Monoprice Chromatic Tuner is exactly that case. I would not even have imagined what I was getting when I started researching about its capabilities and luckily, I was amazed with the results. The build quality is decent, but nothing to write home about. The chassis isn’t made out of plastic, it utilizes metal material, but it’s not as sturdy as its higher-end rivals. It won’t break apart in your hands, but you have to take care of it and treat it like a gentleman. What is more, this baby has the tuning range between A0 (27.5Hz) and C8 (4186Hz), which means it can respond to all the notes you would need in practice. Don’t mix it with a polyphonic tuner, though, this fella can’t perceive chords (and it is not supposed to). Monoprice Chromatic Tuner has adjustable calibration that varies from 436 to 445 Hz. The chances are you won’t have to mess around with it, but just in case your set-up doesn’t seem to work, you can always change this setting and start utilizing the unit. This pedal has a small footprint, which means it won’t require that much space and fit in even in the tiniest crevices. Typically, it uses batteries and an adapter in order to get required power. But this thing will eat up your batteries, so unless you are fond of swapping them every minute, you’d better employ a power supply. One of my favorite features about Monoprice Chromatic Tuner is that it has two separate outputs. Normal mutes the signal and enables you to tune your guitar without emitting any sound, while Bypass ignores the whole circuitry and transfers your signal without interfering with its qualities. As you can see, this puppy knows what to do and how to do it and that’s all we need from our tuners.
It might come as a surprise, but our beloved Monoprice Chromatic Tuner has more control than you would initially expect. You won’t find anything extraordinary, but you still have a couple of buttons apart from the typical footswitch (and we have to appreciate that effort). Below the large LCD display that displays your notes the way it should, you will notice two buttons. Pitch Button acts as a calibration control and allows you to change the frequencies with ease. The display will light up with 0-5 when 440-445 Hz frequencies are selected, and with 6-9 in the case of 436-439Hz. The second button is called Flat Button: it enables you to employ three flat tunings that will be visualized on the LCD. The combination of the screen and the buttons makes it really easy to just plug in your guitar, strum the strings, make necessary adjustments and be done with the whole process in little to no time. There is one thing you should keep in mind in the control section – the footswitch is quite stiff and has an audible click once pushed, but because of the muting capability, nobody will hear it. It is a minor flaw that you will get used to eventually.
The sound of Monoprice Chromatic Tuner is determined by its responsiveness. Though it might have some issues with extended range guitars, it will perform wonderfully with 6 string instruments. It tracks and recognizes your notes quite well, which means you will have hardly any trouble during the tuning process. It responds equally to electric, acoustic and bass guitars, which means you can have a single tool for all your instruments. This cuts the cost of the pedal even more and takes us to unimaginable places. Monoprice Chromatic Tuner operates noiselessly (regardless of the click we mentioned above) and doesn’t affect your sonic palette. It doesn’t suck your tone and neither does it color it in a weird manner. It’s really transparent, which is really unexpected at this price point. But somehow this brand managed to capture all these great features in such an affordable package while allowing for only minor flaws. Monoprice Chromatic Tuner is a spectacular unit in my opinion!
On the whole, Monoprice Chromatic Tuner can compete with a number of more expensive units. It has wonderful tracking and will provide you with great experience from the very first second of activation. Though the build quality isn’t the best, it will still last you long enough if you take good care of it. Just caress this fella and you’ll be fine. It is an amazing value for the small price you pay and offers a surprising level of performance. Try it out yourself and you’ll see why I love this one so much. Good luck!
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