Korg DT-4 Chromatic Tuner Review

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It’s been a year since I rediscovered music by picking up the ukulele. Now I’m completely obsessed with this little instrument and in addition, all the accessories that go along with them. Ok, there really aren’t THAT many ukulele accessories… But, one accessory that I use every time I play is a tuner. As a result, I’m always on the lookout for an easier to use and more compact tuner than my current favorite, the Intelli IMT-500 Chromatic Tuner. That’s why the Korg DT-4 caught my eye the other day while flipping through a Muscian’s Friend catalog. I ordered one, and now you get to hear all about it.

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The reason’s why it piqued my interest is that it does not need to be clipped on the headstock like the IMT-500 and of course, it has pretty LEDs. What can I say, I’m like a bird that is attracted by shiny blinky things.

Specifications

• Wide Detection Range of A0-C8
• Adjustable Calibration Range of 410Hz-480Hz
• Built-in condenser microphone
• Designed for low power consumption

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The DT-4 is about the size of a can of Skoal. Ok, maybe it’s smaller… What do I know about Skoal? It’s 2.5 inches tall and 0.875 inches thick. Just the right size to fit in the pocket of your instrument’s case.

The front of the tuner has the LED display and a built in microphone in the bottom Left corner.

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The back has the battery compartment.

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Included with the DT-4 are two AAA batteries (not the ones shown though…).

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I mentioned the built in microphone. That’s used if you want to tune an acoustic instrument. If you have an electric instrument, you can plug into the 1/4 jack on the side.

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The top edge is where the control buttons are located. There’s a power button, display button and the up / down calibration buttons.

This chromatic has three different display modes to help you tune.

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Strobe mode shows three lines that rotate clockwise or counter-clockwise around the detected note when you play pluck a string. If the note is sharp (too high), the lines will rotate clockwise. If the note is flat (too low), the lines will rotate in the opposite direction. As you tune the string to the correct pitch, the rotation will slow down and then stop. Red arrows above and below the displayed note will also appear to let you know you’ve correctly tuned the string.

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Meter mode works more like the IMT-500 as you are trying to get the top center LED to light up, along with the Red arrow. If your string is sharp, the LEDs to the Right of the center will light up. If flat, they will light up on the Left side. As you can see from the image above, the note is flat because the center LED is not lit up, an LED to the Left is instead.

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The third mode is called the Mirror mode. With it, the idea is to tighten or loosen the string that you’re trying to tune so that the lines on either side of the display will come to the top center as just one line. Red arrows at the top and bottom of the display will also light up when the string is in tune.

The Green and Red LEDs are really bright, so this tuner would be great for use on a dark stage. Also, if the DT-4 doesn’t detect any sound for 10 minutes, it will power off automatically.

The Korg DT-4 is a relatively easy to use tuner and has an accuracy of better than +/- 1 cent.. However, doesn’t feel as precise as needle style tuners when you’re trying to use it because it seems to be really sensitive. I find that I it takes me longer to tune with this tuner because just as I think I have a string in tune, it will tell me that it’s a little sharp or flat again. I know that professional musicians will argue that the Intelli IMT-500 tuner is not a very precise tuner, but it just feels easier to use, so I continue to come back to it. I don’t play in a band or with other instruments, so I have not noticed that it is doing a poor job tuning, at least not to my ear.

I don’t hate the Korg, but I still prefer the IMT-500. What I would really like to find is a tuner similar to the IMT-500 in size and ease of use, but one that doesn’t need to be clipped on the headstock of my uke.

 

Product Information

Price:$80.00
Manufacturer:Korg
Pros:
  • Compact
  • Works with electric and acoustic instruments
  • 3 display modes
Cons:
  • Takes some practice because it is sensitive
Posted in: Music Gear

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Robert Carter January 22, 2009, 3:57 pm

    Have you tried the Korg GA-40? It simulates a VU meter with an LCD screen and the response time is really quick. No bells and whistles, but it works great.

  • Julie January 22, 2009, 4:27 pm

    @Robert: I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the tip :)

  • Fran T. January 23, 2009, 2:44 pm

    The Korg GA-40 is great. I have an earlier version and best of all: only $20!

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