Vitaltuner Screen Shot

App Review: VITALtuner

I’ve been using the ClearTuner App for a while now as my main guitar tuner at home.  It’s easy, accurate, looks nice, and is affordable.  I even listed it #1 out of the available guitar tuner apps.

But I might have found a new love…  After looking at VITALtuner, by Otreus Apps, I have to say that I’m impressed. Here’s the basic stats on it, followed up by some ‘pros’ and ‘cons’.


UPDATE:

Looking for real, actual, plug-your-instrument-in guitar tuners?  Check out the post I’ve written up on the best guitar tuners that will match any guitar player’s style. 


 

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VITALtuner

by Otreus Inc. | Website
Platform: iOS
Reviews: 9 (5 stars)
Overall Reviews: 12 (5 stars)
Price: $4.99  

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The Pros

  • This app has four modes: Advanced (what most folks will use), Easy, Stage, and Stage-bright.  I’m not a fan of using apps on stage, so I probably won’t use the stage versions.  But the Advanced layout is really helpful.  It uses a traditional needle to show tuning status and shows pitch value on a grand staff.
  • It works with all sorts of instruments.  It includes a ton of string instruments (banjo, bass, guitar, mandolin, etc.), as well as wind instruments (trumpet, flute, oboe, tenor saxophone).  130 instrument tunings are included.

Personally, I’m most excited about these three features:

  • Alternate tunings.  VITALtuner includes a variety of alternate tunings for guitar, dobro, bass, and more.  DADGAD, Open G, and even exotic tunings like “Mi-composé” are included.  Of course, if you know what tuning you want, you can always just use a standard chromatic tuner and go from there.  But there’s something nice about simply browsing a list of tunings.  It’s inspiring and helpful.
  • Dobro tunings.  The app includes a whole group of alternate dobro tunings (Open G, Open A, Open D).
  • Temperament and “Sweeter Tunings”.  As piano tuners will tell you, not all tunings are created equal.  Pianos usually use Equal Temperament (every note is exactly the same distance apart).  Many other instruments and styles use Just Intonation (distance between notes is based on a ratio; the difference is subtle).  The important part for us is that VITALtuner lets you choose a “Temperament” that is suited to guitar.  It takes into account the tendencies of an acoustic guitar to go sharp or flat in certain ways, and adjusts for those idiosyncrasies to create a ‘sweeter’ tuning.  Really amazing.

The Cons

  • Price.  $4.99 is steeper than the average app.  ClearTune is $3.99 and, of course, there’s a host of free tuner apps out there.
  • It’s a new app.  So all the kinks aren’t quite worked out.  When I tried to look at charts of the different Temperaments, the app crashed several times.  That was the only error, though.

The Verdict

You get what you pay for.  The app is a bit pricy.  And hopefully new updates will keep the functionality up.  But, overall, the app seems amazing.  I’ve never been inspired by a tuner before.  It’s always just a functional piece of equipment.  But browsing the alternate tunings, and using the ‘sweeter temperament’ to optimize my acoutic guitar has changed that.

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