Monday, November 28, 2011

Boss TU-12EX Tuner Review


I am sure that you all read Rex and The Bass every day and are still agog over my legendary review of Boss TU-12H tuner. Perhaps you wake up every day waiting for me to review its new brother, the Boss TU-12EX. Well, you wildest dreams are about to come true.

Boss introduced the TU-12 back in the 1980s, and it was the first and most popular of the new breed of reasonably-priced compact automatic tuners. There have been continuous updates and improvements over the years, and the TU-12EX has finally taken care of my biggest dislikes of the TU tuners, and has given me motivation to retire my trusty TU-12H.

The TU-12EX is still a little plastic box, although it is now a more fashionable black and gray, and it is thinner than before. This will make it easier to fit into gig bag pockets and hard case guitar cubbies.

The input and output jacks are still on the right side of the case, along with an AC adapter port. It is nice that “INPUT” and “OUTPUT” are identified in easy to read script on the front of the unit, instead impossible to see embossed letters on the side. This was a beef of mine with the TU-12H.

My other big problem with the TU-12H was that I would forget to turn it off, and the battery would die (which happened more often than I would like to admit). The TU-12EX has a battery-saving Auto-off, thank god. By the way, this tuner does not use the expected 9-volt battery; instead it uses two AA batteries. Hmm.

There is still no LCD screen on the TU-12EX, as it uses the traditional (and easy to read) orange-faced needle gauge with the arrow LEDs on either side. It now will beep at you when you are in tune (Accu-Pitch!), which is not something I care for but some folks might like it. You can turn this feature off.

The control switches are different tahn before. The slider switch is gone, having been replaced with a power switch and selections for chromatic/guitar tuning and pitch adjustment switches. They were really easy to figure out, so there was not much of an adjustment period for me.

It is set-up to automatically tune 5-string basses and 7-string guitars, and also has a flat-tuning mode so you can tune in half steps. It has a built-in piezo microphone for tuning acoustic instruments and has an 8 ½ octave range that accurate to 1 cent.

Surprisingly, Boss also included 5 octaves of reference pitches (in half steps), in case you want to tune by ear. The tuner is adjustable ( A438 to A445) for tuning to another instrument (or Steve Perry) that may not be perfectly in tune.

I have used this one for the past few months and have been very happy with it. It is accurate, and it discerns what string is being tuned very quickly, and does not switch randomly between notes. It is a peach.

The price for the Boss TU-12EX is still reasonable, considering its accuracy and features. It has a list price of $137.50 and a street price of $99.00. If you need a new tuner, you ought to check one out.


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