Tuesday, July 23, 2013

tc electronic Polytune iPhone Guitar Tuner App Review


I love that my iPhone can do all kind of things so that I don’t have to carry around as much stuff anymore when I travel. I have not taken a camera on vacation in years, calculators are a thing of the past, and address books and planners have become redundant. Well, I don’t have to take a metronome or tuner with my anymore either.

I really like the way my Peterson Istrobosoft app works a lot like it pedal brother, so I was hoping the Polytune app would be like the tc electronic pedal, but it turned out to be a huge disappointment and a waste of 5 bucks.

This is really quite a surprise, because everything about the app looks good on paper (or the screen). The biggie is the Polytune technology, which allows you to strum all of the strings and get a snapshot of which ones are out of tune. Then you can pluck individual strings to fine tune them. This works very well on their pedal.

It also can be customized so that you can choose guitar or bass modes, and 5 semi-tones for drop tunings. The reference pitch can be changed, and it has a claimed accuracy of 0.5 cent – the same as the pedal.

A neat feature this has is that you can change the color of the display “LEDs” in case you are colorblind and have trouble seeing them. Also, it uses the phones microphone, so you do not have to plug the guitar in. Their pedal cannot do either one of these.

As with most tuner apps, there are plenty of customizable features, and all of this stuff is menu-driven, so it easier to make these changes than on the Polytune pedal. By the way, it will save your changes, so you do not have to set it up each time you use the app.

After I downloaded the app, I was amazed at how much more quickly it would load than the Peterson app. I mean, it comes on instantly without have to wait for the intro screen to turn off – this is a plus. But that was it for the plus column.

The Polytune app just does not work very well. When strumming all of the strings it goes into the multi-string mode and flickers on and off so that I cannot get a good fix on which strings are flat or sharp. It does this even with no background noise, and on every acoustic guitar that I tried – my Martins, the Takamine or the Masterbilt.

When playing single strings it was unable to hold a single tone for very long and would show all of the overtones in rapid succession. It did not matter if the strings were plucked or picked. When I could get a string to stay on the screen for a while it was about half a tone off. I doubled checked my settings, but it was not in a different tuning mode.

This app does nothing well, and I feel like I wasted my time and money. There is nothing else to say.

Should you take a chance and want to try this thing anyway, the tc electronic Polytune app is $4.99 from the iTunes Store. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though.



  1. totally agree, it's useless

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