Home

*

Clamps

*

Tools

*

Barrels

*

Sinking

*

Marking

*

Shaping

*

Grooving

*

Burning

*

Strobes

*

Tuning

*

Painting

*

Chroming

*

Downloads

Strobe Tuners

Strobe Tuners are an essential tool of any pan tuner. You should not even attempt to tune a pan without a strobe tuner. Guitar tuners and virtually all tuning apps are worthless when it comes to tuning a pan.

The main reason for this is that on pan notes, the overtones that are generated on the panel are not natural harmonics of the fundamental frequency of the note panel. Think about that for a minute. When you pluck a string or blow a note on a woodwind, there's an entire harmonic series that forms naturally as a consequence of the note being generated.

On a pan, that's not the case. There's a random group of pitches that occur. Now, a skilled tuner can force these pitches to be harmonically related to the fundamental frequency, but they don't have to be related. A pan tuner has to listen to each of those extra frequencies and adjust the panel so that there is a fundamental, octave, fifth, second octave, and so on - in other words, he/she is manually having to construct a series of harmonics that mimics the natural harmonic series on a woodwind or a stringed instrument.

A guitar tuner/app assumes that the harmonic series is present, and doesn't try and deduce whether those extra frequencies are harmonically related or not.

A strobe tuner is able to detect how those frequencies behave and how they are related to each other. So for example, the device can tell you that the fundamental is slightly flat, the octave is in tune, the fifth is a little sharp, and the second octave is so far out of tune that its not even present in the mix, as it were. And it can do all of this at the same time. It's an extremely elegant, simple analog device.

Until very recently, strobe tuners were really only available from the Peterson Company in Illinois. They are expensive, fragile, and bulky. Peterson came out with several attempts a digital "strobe", none of which were useful to pan makers as they were not actual strobes and did not function in the same way. In about 2005 I worked with one of their developers who was adamant that an actual digital strobe "could not be developed to run on a PC".

In 2012, Lino Schraudolph developed Linotune, which is an actual digital strobe that runs just fine on a PC (and a MAC and an iPhone and...). I was fortunate enough to be involved a little in the development of the interface for the software. I use it exclusively when I am travelling and tuning pans. You can find out more about Linotune at www.linotune.com.

This is a Conn Model 714 Strobe tuner, manufactured sometime between the mid 1960's and 1973. It has the original ceramic microphone, and is in complete working condition! This is the same model as the first strobe tuner I ever worked with, back in 1982. It runs on VALVE technology, which means you have to calibrate it about every 5 minutes as the valves heat up and change their characteristics. I acquired this particular unit in June 2014. This is a newer Conn Strobotuner, pre 1983. Acquired in June 2014 along with the model 714. This is also a working unit, but does not need to be continually calibrated as it has solid state electronics and not valves. However, it does need to be calibrated everytime it is turned on. The classic Peterson Model 520 strobe. This is a work-horse of many pan tuners, and is a reliable device. Also requires initial calibration on power up. Linotune running on my laptop. Really nice to be able to run multiple strobes next to each other, never needs calibration unless you are tuning to some other standard than A440. It's also very affordable compared to a physical strobe.


Copyright (c) Pantuner, Inc. 2018