D'Addario NS Micro Violin Tuner

Edited: June 29, 2019, 4:24 AM · Has anyone used the D'Addario NS Micro Violin Tuner ?
Currently i downloaded an app on my iphone called "InsTuner" but was wondering if its more accurate to purchase a physical tuner?

Replies (25)

June 29, 2019, 5:35 AM · 5-6 years ago i got one (discounted, at an exposition).
Out of curiosity i tried to use it for some time, but in my opinion it was not so precise, so it was unuseful, for me.
I gave it away to a friend as a gift.
June 29, 2019, 8:04 AM · I've had one for some years now. I use it just for the A string. I then tune the violin to itself. I haven't found any electronic tuners that can tune all four strings to my satisfaction.
June 29, 2019, 10:15 AM · I have used it for years and it works fine for me.
Edited: June 29, 2019, 10:38 AM · It's cute and cheap, and useful in that it attaches directly to the instrument and doesn't pick up as much of the external sound as others, but is not as configurable and informative as an app.

" I haven't found any electronic tuners that can tune all four strings to my satisfaction."

Sadly DaTuner (Android only) was apparently sold by the author to an annoying company, but it certainly could. The paid version had custom temperaments, and some, such as Marpurg VIII had the violin notes set to perfect fifths relative to the A. I found it faster to use and 100% accurate. Of course there's nothing wrong with improving the ear and skill to do the same thing, although probably with less accuracy.

Why? Because when you tune the second string to the first, by changing the tension, you can also change the pitch of the first string. The degree depends on how close to in-tune the strings were in the first place, so the difference from in-tune can be improved with each iteration as the distance narrows, but unless you take the trouble to re-check, every form of tuning will have this problem, and you're more likely to have this problem when tuning strings relative to each other and not cycling around back to check the A and every other string.

That said, this is mostly nit-picking, and roughly right is what we generally achieve.

June 29, 2019, 3:31 PM · I have the Petersen iStroboSoft in my iPhone, and I don't believe that any of the hardware clip ons can exceed, or even equal the accuracy of that. It's a bit of an ego blow for me to realize that I can't equal it with my own hearing either. So I'm always left with the knowledge that if I want my violin tuned as accurately as possible, and I find that it does matter, then I have no choice but to go with the technology.
July 1, 2019, 9:08 PM · I have the Peterson StroboPlusHD tuner, a piece of hardware, not an app, and this has "sweetener" tunings available to help get the adjustments you want for your instrument.

It's accuracy is such that it would be best suited for tuning oscillators in a synth.

If you are fastidious about your tuning ...

July 1, 2019, 11:12 PM · I have both insTuner and iStroboSoft. I don't much care for Strobe tuners but iStroboSoft is very accurate. For just getting an A, insTuner is fine.
Edited: July 2, 2019, 5:42 PM · I've got a bunch of D'Addario NS Micro Tuners - in each case, in each bag hanging from a cello's neck (yes, they make them for cellos also - they clip on the bridge) - I've even adapted a violin one for my fatter viola by trimming the rubber "feet."

I prefer them to the other products that are designed for the same job (which I also have). I use one in orchestra and even keep it on the instrument if I have a string that is changing a bit so that I can check my tuning while there is lots of other noise going on.

It is not more or less accurate than a smartphone tuner, just has the added advantage of being independent of all intrusive sounds (and like all "hearing tuners," of your own ears as well).

July 8, 2019, 3:40 PM · I have one and it seems to correlate exactly with the readings on my strobe tuner app. It's also spot on the A if put a vibrating tuning fork (440 hz) on the bridge.
July 8, 2019, 5:25 PM · What do you all count as 'in tune'? A perfect GDAE or 'just' intonation? I want my instrument to be in tune with itself.

BTW Mark - that is probably the explanation: your ear is right, the electronics are wrong (for a string instrument).

July 8, 2019, 7:29 PM · No Elise, the Peterson iStroboSoft has "sweetened" settings that adapt it for various instruments. I use the violin sweetener which makes it operate in perfect fifths from the A.

The problem, if indeed there is one, is that human hearing has limited pitch resolution. There are "hairs" in our inner ears that are tuned to specific frequencies, and there's a frequency distance from one to the next. Until the frequency changes enough to trigger the next hair, humans can't resolve the pitch change. We can listen for interference beats between pitches, and extend our resolution that way, but a good digital tuner will always outperform human hearing. Sorry!

Edited: July 8, 2019, 8:38 PM · If the digital tuner out-performs the human ear then why worry? Nobody is going to hear it anyway - and besides, part of musical expression is to go out of tune. Obsessing with technological solutions to an emotional exercise surely can not be healthy - unless you plan to play to an audience of robots.

Besides, lets suppose some of your audience has better hearing than you do - children for example - what use is perfectly tuned strings going to be when as soon as you put a finger on the string the tuning is limited by your ear. Or do you propose to use an electronic tuner for every note you play? Pretty soon we are not talking about violins anymore but about Moog synthesizers (and their subsequent progeny).

Besides, even if you could play the note perfectly in tune because of your handy-dandy-realtime tuner - better not do any vibrato because you know what THAT means.

After three 'besides' I'm probably quite beside myself!

July 9, 2019, 7:30 AM · This sounds like the perfect tool for a musician playing to an audience of electronic tuners, but not too useful for musicians or human audiences..
Edited: July 9, 2019, 8:01 AM · I hadn't seen this thread, but by coincidence I saw a video where one was used and ordered one and it arrived yesterday. It seems fine, although smaller and flimsier than the photos make it appear. It's not very cheap. Usually with tuners I buy the cheapest, going on the theory that the components inside are all off the peg and all the same. I haven't compared it with my other cheaper tuners, but attaching them to the instrument is often a pain, and at least this one is designed to fit on a violin.

Some of you may find this gadget useful.

Edited: July 9, 2019, 10:06 AM · I prefer to tune to perfect fifths, by listening to the elimination of the "beat" that you hear when the strings aren't perfectly in tune. For quartet, "close tuning" is preferable -- flatter violin E, sharper cello and viola C.

I generally just rely on my tuner for the A, and do the rest by ear.

July 9, 2019, 1:34 PM · Lydia - as myriads of violinists have done before and after. If electric gismos become essential to play these bowed and fretless string instruments then I fear we have lost another aspect of the expressive intimacy that is (IMO) peculiar and unique to this set of instruments.
Edited: July 9, 2019, 11:55 PM · Elise wrote "part of musical expression is to go out of tune". True perhaps, but one has to learn to play in tune in order to make this practice a councious act rather than using that excuse as a cover for one's inability to play in tune. The same can be said about visual artists that can't draw using artistic license as an excuse, unlike Picasso for e.g. who chose to draw abstractly when he was actually a very skilled draftsman. The tuner that is being discussed here is IMO very effective, especially for those of us who aren't born with the gift of perfect intonation. It allows one to quickly glance over from the corner of the eye to confirm from time to time that bad intonation habits aren't being re-inforced rather than corrected. It's a tool, which has nothing to do with expressive intimacy. I don't know if you play with an orchestra, but sometimes when the flutes are blasting in your hears, it can be a challenge to ear oneself play. Such a tool is immensely useful in such circumstances.
July 9, 2019, 11:52 PM · Part of musical expression is to play MORE perfectly in tune, building the intonation around the chord rather than around the equal-tempered pitch. I would guess that really top-end tuners are able to algorithmically determine what the chordal intonation should be, not just the equal-tempered intonation.
July 10, 2019, 5:04 PM · "It allows one to quickly glance over from the corner of the eye to confirm from time to time that bad intonation habits aren't being re-inforced rather than corrected."

IMO its a temptation that should be avoided. Yes, the tuner can be useful as a general guide in the practice room - but only to make itself obsolete. If you are playing in an orchestra it is FAR more effective to learn to listen - there are so many instruments playing and but for the occasional modern piece, you will find your note out there or at the least a perfect chordal harmony. Indeed, you should also hear your own section.

I do not have perfect pitch, nothing like it and I do understand what you are saying as I've been through the same thinking but using a tuner while you play is a trap that will stop you from ever becoming confident in your own ear or sense of tune. Better to be a bit out and learn from it than be exactly on but be, as can be argued, addicted to an electronic device.

July 10, 2019, 7:03 PM · I've been using the same Sabine RT-1601 rack tuner for several instruments for over 20 years now with no issues, but of course for an acoustic violin you'll need your mic hooked up.
July 10, 2019, 7:36 PM · "IMO its a temptation that should be avoided. Yes, the tuner can be useful as a general guide in the practice room - but only to make itself obsolete. If you are playing in an orchestra it is FAR more effective to learn to listen"

Sure, ear training wins in theory. But in practice, many many people, including numerous professionals on recordings play out of tune without apparently being aware of it. Things have improved greatly over time, but the problem here is that people have and can still readily play out of tune without being aware of it. If a simple device can help fix it - and to train your ear further in the process as you better learn what is and isn't in tune -- then all the better. Better than shutting it off and imagining that you're in tune.

July 11, 2019, 4:04 AM · I guess we are talking about slightly different things: pulling off a performance and growth. An electronic tuner might help with the former (at least the intonation, though goodness knows what looking at a tuner does to your expression!) but IMO it will not do much for the training of your ear and playing, as we would surely love to do, without even thinking about intonation.
Edited: July 11, 2019, 6:16 PM · "I guess we are talking about slightly different things"

I think we really are talking about different things. I'm not even considering using one during a performance, and I think we're talking about using it very differently in "growth". Staring at the tuner continuously and using it instead of your ears would be a problem. Using your ears, and when clueless or uncertain, your eyes on the device as an assistant is what I'd suggest.

I think ear-forming happens in part through exposure and experience, but it can also easily go in the wrong direction - by becoming accustomed to the wrong pitches, they start seeming 'ok', or 'right' until we hear or see an alternative, and we also have natural limitations in where our hand shapes would like us to be, so it's again easy and generally more comfortable for us to just play wherever we land and take it as good enough or right instead of the trouble to either listen and judge, or measure, and then correct.

I'm going to drop off here - whatever it takes to get to learn the right pitch and to play it in the end is fine by me. People managed before there were any electronic tuners, so that also has to be fine.

July 11, 2019, 11:40 AM · I have been using one for a few months now.
It seems to be good, probably not perfect, but as my ear is not very well trained yet, it's better than nothing at all.
It's also much better than some of the online tuners I tried.
It's easy to use, robust and accurate enough for me, so all in all, I'd recommend it.
Edited: July 11, 2019, 12:16 PM · There are probably a few crossed wires in this thread. I can't imagine using a tuner while playing. The way to train your ears is by playing, not by tuning. When people only tuned by ear it wasn't because it was best, it was because it was all there was.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Corilon Violins
Corilon Violins

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Akiko Meyers
Anne Akiko Meyers

Nathan Cole's Violympics
The Violympic Trials

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases



Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins


Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine