iPhone app review - tun-d Free

2 Jan 2011

iPhone app review - tun-d Free

As I have previously reported there are an increasing number of ukulele apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch available on the app store, and thankfully many of them are free.

In this blog post I give you my short review of the tun-d app, which is a simple but stylish stringed instrument tuner.

It works on iPhone and iPod touch (and presumably, the iPad) though subject to reservations (see below).  Its also free.

Its a super simple app that uses the iPhone speaker to listen to the individual strings and it gives a tuning representation on the screen

Standard tuner display set up for standard guitar

 A pluck of the string gives a representation on the grey bars above where the tuning is red on the far left shows a very flat string, and red far right a very sharp string.  As you tune and get closer the representation gets closer to the middle segment and eventually turns yellow, and then green when bang on tune.  Simple.

The app is clearly made for a whole range of stringed instruments, not just ukulele, and hitting the little gearbox symbol top right  gives you a large set of choices for what you want to tune, including open chords on guitar (in a variety of flavours), modals, chromatics, plus tunings for Dobro, Ukulele, Banjo, Mandolin, Cello, Violin and Viola.

My complaint here is that it only provides for GCEA tuning on the ukulele, and presume there is a similar lack of alternate tunings for other non guitar instruments.  There is a non-free Tun-D which costs £2.39, but that says nothing about whether it allows alternate tunings for uke, so no idea why you would pay for it!

Accuracy with the iPhone is however good, with a wide range on the tuning scale  to play with.  I compared a tuning to an expensive Korg tuner I sometimes use and it was pretty much spot on.

Accuracy with the iPod Touch however was less good - down to the fact that you need to use the microphone in the headphones to pick up the sound.  This is not only clumsy, but I found I really had to pluck hard to even get a response.  The lack of microphone on my ipod (v3) is not the apps fault, and of course the new touch has a microphone, but the lack of sensitivity is the apps fault, and makes it tough to use.

In summary - these things are free, and they do what they say on the tin.  Its hard to knock them for that reason.  

Personally, I would always carry an actual tuner, but in the case of loss or battery failure, these are a good backup I suppose.  This is however clearly aimed more squarely at guitar, so I would avoid if you want an alternate tuning on ukulele than standard GCEA.  Thats not to say ukulele apps are no good - I still regularly use my Ukuchords app which I reviewed on this site HERE, (its brilliant) but for tuners, they are really only a backup.  Hey ho, its free...

The iPhone version works well, but lack of tunings gives it a 7/10 for me.  I remain concerned with the microphone sensitivity on the iPod Touch so its a 5/10.

Besides, there are a ton of free tuners on the app store, so work your way through them!

The app is available for download HERE


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