BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

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BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by Ben Asaro »

I finally got tired enough of having to turn on my computer every time I needed to tune oscillators that I bought a BOSS TU-3S tuner. I put it at the end of the chain and it does exactly what it's supposed to do. Awesome!
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by The Elf »

I've learned not to trust tuners. They lie, they are not consistent and IMHO they are simply not capable of giving accurate enough guidance. The only 'tuners' I trust are my ears - I have a 'clean' tuning patch on all my programmable synths and I tune analogs to a digital reference.

Ears are also free and don't need a power supply! :D
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by Ben Asaro »

I’ve never had any issues yet, I think your recollection about tuners may be out of date. :)

I used to have a similar tuning patch on my KeyStep, but the KS isn’t attached to my modular, and it was a convoluted solution more easily solved with a tuner.

When I fire up the module I have to tune 16 VCOs every time. I’m not going to trust my best guess or the tuning knob on the VCO!
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by The Elf »

Ben Asaro wrote:I’ve never had any issues yet, I think your recollection about tuners may be out of date. :)


Only by two years at most. Every band that arrives with a tuner I do give it a chance - some are closer than others, but almost (not 100%, but darned close) every time it is out - some by as much as a quarter tone (hello Korg!). And when it says something is in tune there is so much leeway while the 'in tune' display continues to tell us everything is fine I know not to trust it.

As long as you have a digital synth somewhere tuning by ear is a doddle and more likely to result in perfect tuning.

I have no experience of the tuner you've bought. It might be fine. I just think they're a poor solution looking for a problem - a trusted reference and a pair of ears are far more accurate. :D
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by Ben Asaro »

I should clarify that I don’t have blind faith in the tuner, that’s my coarse adjustment to the oscillators at 0V. If something is off, I will adjust it when tracking. VCO drift is ever present once voltage is added and every VCO tracks pitch differently. I always have a C-4 and C-6 tuning patch set upon the NerdSeq as well, so I can adjust once there’s voltage present.

But not being able to know where the VCOs are at a glance with 0V is enough to drive one mad!
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by BigRedX »

The biggest historical problem with electronic tuners is that they didn't always have the same reference and that tuning two different instruments to two different tuners would result in instruments that were in tune with themselves but not always perfectly in tune with each other.

However IME in the last 10 years the accuracy of decent quality tuners has improved vastly. I have a Peterson StroboRack tuner which I use as a studio tuning reference and there is no difference between that and the tuner in my Line6 Helix. The only problem I have come across recently is that on some tuners where it is possible to change the reference pitch from A=440, you can do this a little too easily. At a Terrortones gig some years ago our guitarist managed to "adjust" her Boss tuner by accident. The on-stage sound at this particular gig was appalling, and consequently the only person who could hear that there was a problem was our drummer who was sandwiched between both amps. He kept trying to tell us something was out of tune but our tuners were telling us individually that everything was OK. Despite that we still got an excellent review from a reasonably important journalist who had come to see us! It was only at the next rehearsal that the tuning problem was obvious, as was the reason for it.

Having said all that I'd rather be able to use an electronic tuner to tune quickly and silently in a gig situation and maybe be a couple of cents out with one of the other instruments, than inflect "The Tuning Song" on an audience.
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by Alanqa »

What does it matter if it's not 100%? The very beauty of analogue is its fluid tuning.

If you are blessed (cursed?) with perfect pitch then yes your ears are more accurate. If not, a tuner will quickly take a well-drifted analogue oscillator within a cent or two of pitch. My oscillators can be a minor third off.
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by The Elf »

It matters because out of tune after a certain degree sounds horrible. Simply shrugging the shoulders is doing nobody any favours, least of all your audience. It takes seconds to tune properly, then the creative work can go on. It's never going to be 100% anyway, but at least if you have a good *common* tuning reference then everyone has the best starting point.

I've been at a session where the guitarist tuned to his dodgy tuner, the bassist tuned to the guitarist, the second guitar was tuned to the bass... and by the time the keys (Hammond and Rhodes, which could not be tuned) were added the band spanned almost a semitone. It did not sound good.

It wasn't my session and it was hard to keep my lips sealed, but I could see what was going to happen...
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by Eddy Deegan »

I've always taken the view that if a piece of music is in tune with itself then that's all that matters.

A lovely track pitched 25 cents above C#? I'm all over it - as long as it's internally consistent I have no issues!
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by The Elf »

Eddy Deegan wrote:I've always taken the view that if a piece of music is in tune with itself then that's all that matters.


But you still need a single tuning reference. That's my point.

Everything is fine until you want to add an instrument that can't be easily tuned, such as a piano or organ. Unless *that* instrument has been used as the reference - or it agrees with the previously chosen reference (which is why tuning references exist) - you've made a problem for yourself.

I never thought that the concept of simply being in tune would become a debatable subject! :headbang::lol:
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by RichardT »

Eddy Deegan wrote:I've always taken the view that if a piece of music is in tune with itself then that's all that matters.

A lovely track pitched 25 cents above C#? I'm all over it - as long as it's internally consistent I have no issues!


I don’t have perfect pitch, but I can often tell when an instrument is tuned sharp, for example. It can be quite an unpleasant experience!
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by blinddrew »

I really can't think of an occasion where I, or anyone I was playing with, was using an electronic tuner and it was anything other than perfectly in tune. I have four different tuners to hand, plus an app on my phone, and they all agree within a cent or so, across the full range of my guitar.
Only two of them work on the mandolin but they both agree, and only one of them works on the bass so I can't really comment about the bottom octave.
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by The Elf »

blinddrew wrote:I really can't think of an occasion where I, or anyone I was playing with, was using an electronic tuner and it was anything other than perfectly in tune.


I'll send you a couple! There's one ancient, battered old Korg that is accurate. The rest are out by as much as a quarter tone. Unfortunately I don't own them or they'd have been in the bin years ago! ;)

As for those that sit on the headstock - you'd be more likely in tune just guessing...
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by Ben Asaro »

The Elf wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
As for those that sit on the headstock - you'd be more likely in tune just guessing...



Those always struck me as being a gimmick. But I’ve never used one.
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Re: BOSS TU-3S: local tuning for my synths

Post by blinddrew »

Ben Asaro wrote:
The Elf wrote:
blinddrew wrote:
As for those that sit on the headstock - you'd be more likely in tune just guessing...



Those always struck me as being a gimmick. But I’ve never used one.


I have a Snark one that's brilliant. It's also the only one that will handle the low E on a double bass.
I just find this fascinating as it doesn't tie in with my experience at all.
Weird.
To hand I have my Snark SN2 tuner, a Fender PR388 tuner pedal, a really old Korg tuner that the model number has long since been worn off( :) ) and an Intelli IMT-500 that I fished out a new battery for just to test this. Plus the app on my phone. They're all within a whisker of each other. A whisker being 1 or 2 cents. If that's not close enough I see where we're disagreeing. ;)
In fact, I've just checked with a different guitar that has a built in tuner, so that's six devices, and that's also fine.

I find this really odd.
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