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Inconsistent and inaccurate Tuner!!!

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Actually, my electrics are both BFTS (Tom Anderson). I don't bother with the offsets anymore, since I forgot to put them back in on a couple occasions after I did a reset. I normally use no offsets for my acoustic (you really don't need them with BFTS acoustics) and I use the "tune to E" method very successfully on electric (except I always tune the low E string fretting at 2 and tuning F#).

 

But when I put them in, it worked just peachy for me (and see DI's explanation of the tuning accuracy above. It is accurate to 0.1 cent.

Peter, I understand DI's explanation perfectly. I understood it perfectly long before he explained it again today.  If the display granularity was +/- 6 cents the tuner would be just as accurate just less useful.  For some of us, +/- 1 cent would be more useful.   Some argue we're already at +/- 1 cent. and I disagree.   If you fine-tune with your Strobosoft are you less happy?  That's a rhetorical question.

 

Texasdave

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When connected to editor, it seems I can't get the tuner to come on at all.  When disconnected, I recently discovered that it appears to work in a "momentary" switch mode only.  I ran into this problem after doing my very first update.  I put off returning it long enough for a new update to come out and the problem went away.  Then when I recently updated the new beta, viola!  I'm baaack!  I'm not sure about the tap tempo working or not as, I must confess, I've evidently never quite comprehended its proper use.  I've not gotten 'my' expected results from any tap tempo I've ever used on any pedal.  It 'seems' like a no-brainer to me, but there's something I'm not getting.  As for the tuner problem, I'll just use it in momentary mode until another update comes out and hope it corrects itself.  I don't want to be without the unit long enough to send it in.

 

That sounds worthy of a Line 6 Support Trouble ticket.

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That's weird... Is this while only connected to the editor, or all the time?

When connected to editor, it seems I can't get the tuner to come on at all.  When disconnected, I recently discovered that it appears to work in a "momentary" switch mode only.  I ran into this problem after doing my very first update.  I put off returning it long enough for a new update to come out and the problem went away.  Then when I recently updated the new beta, viola!  I'm baaack!  I'm not sure about the tap tempo working or not as, I must confess, I've evidently never quite comprehended its proper use.  I've not gotten 'my' expected results from any tap tempo I've ever used on any pedal.  It 'seems' like a no-brainer to me, but there's something I'm not getting.  As for the tuner problem, I'll just use it in momentary mode until another update comes out and hope it corrects itself.  I don't want to be without the unit long enough to send it in.

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Please stop using the word "inaccurate" if you don't know what it means. Misinformation spreads on the internet like wildfire.

 

If you want Helix's tuner to have more granularity, vote it up on IdeaScale.

Hello I replay because I have used the word "inaccurate" and I think to know what it means!!!

First of all sorry for my english I'm from Italy and I do my best to explain what I Think!!!

No one doubts that the tuner Helix can read up to 0.01 cents.

The problem is that what it shows does not match this.

When the green segment is stable my note at 440Hz could be accurate to 0.01 or 0,2 cents! for example ( I'm not sure about the lag)

Now even if the potential of the tuner is 0.01 but did not properly notify you understand well that the result in this case is a poor accuracy!

Now that you have explained to me that the problem is in the granularity I understand that is not a tuner problem but the tuner interface.

The reality is that  we have to do with user interface and not with the design.

Then I do not understand why you make a tuner so accurate and then measure it in no accurate way!

I gladly accept the explanation and commitment to improve the granularity but do not understand why it's difficult to  accept that for someone it is more important than others to have a tuner with a more precise feedback.

I heard some comments saying "if you are in tune with the band then it is ok" ... .. "the Peterson is used for other purposes not for the guitar" ... .Well I will be strange but when I tune my guitar with Peterson my guitar to my ears sounds better! Then it is true with the pressure on the strings and tremolo everything is relative but since the Helix as you say is accurate up to 0.01 cent means that you think is useful that precision level otherwise you would have produced a tuner with a accuracy of 0,3 cents !!!

So it would be nice that those who want  can enjoy  the power of the tuner with a feedback compared to 0.01 cents.

Thanks anyway for  answers and I trust in the updates.

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Regarding doing testing on your own, I guess my question would be how accurate are the sine wave generators themselves? Is there a way of knowing that a wav file claiming to play a 440 Hz signal is dead-on? I imagine that's a lot more to doing such testing than that. I know DI has mentioned that they tested the Helix tuner using gear costing in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Fair question. I used my Peterson VS-1 and a "Hz to Note " calculator to do some preliminary testing. I calculated expected note values for specific frequencies across a range and compared generated static frequencies with my Peterson using the cents adjustment on the Peterson to find the "best fit." The "Best fit" was in line with my calculated expected values, both sharp and flat. I also made a second test with different sine wave software on a different device to further validate the data. As for the sweep, I observed the sweep on the Peterson and other tuners to verify the range. My "at best +/- 2.3 cents granularity" is rounded in favor of the tuner and I'll be very surprised if 10s of thousands of dollars worth of sine wave generator can provide a different answer. That wave file will show flat, in tune, and sharp on any tuner of similar accuracy and capable of displaying finer granularity than +/- 2 cents at A440 .

 

If the Helix was in fact displaying +/- 1 cent,the expected response over the 30 second sweep I've posted would be about 8.5 seconds of "flat," 13 seconds of "in tune" and 8.5 seconds of "sharp." Add whatever wiggle room to those numbers you choose.   In my testing, the Helix will not display any change at all.  The sine wave sweep is well within margin of error  for this test.  I encourage you to try it for yourself.  

 

I'd say bringing it up with CS in a support ticket is probably the best way to contact Line 6 in an official way.

I opened a CS ticket and I tried, unsuccessfully, to verify that now-legendary DI quote. What I got instead was this:

"When both arrows are lit, Helix will be within 1-2 cents above or below equal temperament."

 

Where I live, that's +/- 2, as in, the best you can expect. I'm going to state for the record that I find ambitious. I have done other testing, this sine wave sweep was merely an easy way for people to test the assertion on their own machine.

 

FINALLY, let me say again that this is going to likely be a non-issue until the Editor is finished and distributed.  I'm convinced that there will be an update at some point.   I have the upmost respect for @digital_igloo for his efforts to liaison between development teams and end user, and I hope my efforts here are seen as constructive.   I'm trying to remove ambiguity from the conversation.  I probably haven't. 

 

Regards,

Texasdave

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It's like having a clock that's accurate to the second because it sync's with the atomic clock but is missing the second hand or the minute hand.  

 

This right here seems to be exactly the problem based on answers and responses from the line 6 peeps. What use is minute accuracy if you can see it?! Hopefully it'll be an easy fix to add granularity. In the meantime i'll keep using my polytune clip. It's a shame this hasn't been addressed yet but I still love the helix!

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Accuracy is directly related to granularity/precision. It is incorrect to state that something is accurate beyond its measurement resolution and error tolerance (which includes all intermediary truncations). It is like the old joke, "measure with a micrometer, mark with a chalk, cut with an axe". When someone asks how accurate the cut is, you must include the error margin of all combined actions, you can't just say it's accurate to 1 micron.

 

When I forget to use the custom BFTS mode on my Turbo Tuner I definitely notice it. I can live with the error, but my ear thanks me when I tune with those offsets. Those offsets contribute to the accuracy of the tune, while the precision of the Tuner remains the same in both Chromatic and BFTS modes. This is because the precision of the TT is sufficient to resolve the additional accuracy of using the BFTS offsets.

 

When a tuner has excessive granularity, it is difficult if not impossible to tune accurately (unless you're lucky enough to have a very forgiving ear). Hysteresis between the bars further decreases the accuracy. That means talking about accuracies better than what is resolvable on the display (including intermediate filtering such as hysteresis) has no meaning in the context of using a given tuner.

 

Technically, the precision of the Helix tuner may be very good at the edge of the detection thresholds (ie. the change between one bar and the next may be at some repeatable point with an error tolerance of +/- 0.1 cent). But, if those edges don't align with the centre frequency of the note, then the tuning point must be interpolated between adjacent measurements (which is very difficult considering a non-linear frequency to angle relationship at the tuning peg); therefore, the Helix tuner has an accuracy equal to or worse than the granularity of the display.

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Accuracy is a complicated word in the English language.  It has both broad and narrow definitions.  The fact that this page in Wikipedia even exists is testimony to that. Line 6 holds close to a narrow scientific definition in order to differentiate between  the tuner circuits' ability to determine a frequency and the current display's level of precision that we rely on to know what that frequency was.   If narrow definitions move the discussion forward, I'm all for it.  

 

 

  Guts are great; display, for some people,  could use some more hash marks.

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IMO a good tuner is all about the display.  Resolution is critical as is stability of the display.  It makes no sense to have  a dead on measurement system if the display throws away the data. 

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I think the tuner is pretty good/accurate.

Ran into a small issue the other day where I was tuning... and it didn't seem like the tuner was registering my guitar well.

I checked my guitar level/tone knobs... pick-up switch etc. All seemed fine.

Turned the tuner off to check my guitar was coming through... which it was...
Turned the tuner back on... and suddenly it was registering well...

I put that down to a little bug there... difficult to reproduce a problem like that as it seems to be a freak occurrence.

 

 

^^^ Guy's have a point.... those blocks could be thinner and in larger quantities. Would give people more confidence in it.

I'd say, adjusting the visual representation of the tuner, is not AS important as a potential visual representation of para-EQ on screen and audio signal metering graphs.



 

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Much as I've stayed out of this dogfight, I do have to say that I encountered this issue the other day - all strings "green bar/both arrows" and yet something seemed a bit off.  Checked against a couple other tuners, and sure enough they showed just a tad of drift on a few strings. Tweaked according to them and was fine, no change on the Helix display.

 

So perhaps a bit of tweaking is in order.....

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I love the fact the Helix tuner is so easy to read, but yes it would be great if there was also some kind of strobe arrows >>> - - <<<<< at the top of the display to help us fine tune within the centre of the green bar.

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Accuracy is a complicated word in the English language.  It has both broad and narrow definitions.  The fact that this page in Wikipedia even exists is testimony to that. Line 6 holds close to a narrow scientific definition in order to differentiate between  the tuner circuits' ability to determine a frequency and the current display's level of precision that we rely on to know what that frequency was.   If narrow definitions move the discussion forward, I'm all for it.  

 

You can't correctly state that the proverbial axe cut into a block of wood is accurate to 1 micron; and for the same reason Line 6 can't correctly state that the Helix tuner is accurate to 0.1 cent.

 

There might be some subset of the measurement system that has excessive accuracy beyond the final measurement result. But, that can only be stated specifically as the given subset. The "tuner accuracy" is the total system measurement accuracy of all relevant subsystems, not the accuracy of a chosen undefined highly accurate subset.

 

Digital tuning is inherently as accurate as the total combination of: the AtoD crystal oscillator stability, the sampling bandwidth/duration, signal to noise ratio, the frequency detection algorithm, detection speed/accuracy/stability tradeoff, post detection filtering/hysteresis, the output granularity.

 

Making the Helix tuner more accurate seems to be as simple as adjusting the display granularity, as that sounds like it's the weakest link in the chain. Although, I do wonder why they chose such a low resolution in the first place.

 

But, I'd be even happier if they added a linear strobe display directly below/above (or instead of) the huge tuning bars. Unfortunately, that is a much bigger change that would most likely impact various points in the software stack. To do properly, the raw signal needs to be re-sampled (digital circular sample rate conversion) against the expected reference note frequency (as detected by the existing tuning algorithm), and filtered for graphical visualisation. None of this garbage where the strobe is just an output visualisation of the tuner's detected note; the strobe MUST be based on the resampled raw filtered input, otherwise don't bother.

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Wow, this morning, my buddy and I both used our Helices in Church.

We were both in tune with the rest of the band... Wow... how did THAT happen...

B)

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Wow, this morning, my buddy and I both used our Helices in Church.

 

We were both in tune with the rest of the band... Wow... how did THAT happen...

 

B)

My guess is both of you had Snarks.   :rolleyes:

 

I'm just kidding.  Most of the time I'm good to go after using the tuner.  But occasionally, I'll notice something isn't quite right and I'll check it against a Snark, or Polytune, or even by ear and a couple of the strings will be 'just' off a bit.  Enough to notice in a band setting?  Probably not. 

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Any one of us will put the guitar out of tune more, and more often, by sloppy fingering than any difference in the accuracy or granularity (take your pick) of the Helix tuner vs. any other.

 

Especially if you happen to use a JTV-59 with the jumbo frets. Try playing a A-chord, depressing all 3 fingered strings fully to the fretboard, and tell me the sound is in tune. The fingered strings are all sharp - more sharp than any tuner will be responsible for.

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Wow, this morning, my buddy and I both used our Helices in Church.

 

We were both in tune with the rest of the band... Wow... how did THAT happen...

 

B)

 

"Good enough for rock and roll" vs "orchestral dissonance" really depends on what and how you're playing. It also depends who's listening and making the call. I need to tune to the attack, and press slightly harder on legato runs to compensate, otherwise I get flack from the violinist. If the guitar is slightly out during a rhythm section, no one seems to notice or care.

 

Dissonance is most noticeable when playing legato unison and some harmonies. BFTS and a decent tuner makes everyone happy. 

 

That being said, the Helix tuner is definitely "good enough for rock and roll". But it'd be nice to take it to that next level. Although, for me it's mostly academic, as I don't expect to see Line6 including BFTS offsets, or adding the ability for a user to program in their own.

 

Any one of us will put the guitar out of tune more, and more often, by sloppy fingering than any difference in the accuracy or granularity (take your pick) of the Helix tuner vs. any other.

 

Especially if you happen to use a JTV-59 with the jumbo frets. Try playing a A-chord, depressing all 3 fingered strings fully to the fretboard, and tell me the sound is in tune. The fingered strings are all sharp - more sharp than any tuner will be responsible for.

 

Compensated nuts and BFTS help with the chording/fingering issue. Individual errors also add up, and generally aren't too bad for most note combinations. But, every now and then, a +2c string adds up with a +3c fret, a +2c fingering error, and a -2c string, a -2c fret and 0c fingering error, for a total of 11c. Having the tuner start with a decent level of accuracy takes out the initial error.

 

Since tuning and intonation are also player dependent, you need to tune (and have the guitar intonated) based on how you play. If you strum hard (and want to remain in tune with other instruments), then it's a good idea to tune to the attack. If you grip hard and/or have deep frets, make sure the guitar is intonated with your grip taken into consideration.

 

BFTS, a careful setup, and a decent tuner get me to the point where I can play an 'A chord' without cringing.

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Or maybe some are musicians or players... and some are just measurebaters... (just kidding... sorta...)

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Wow, this morning, my buddy and I both used our Helices in Church.

We were both in tune with the rest of the band... Wow... how did THAT happen... B)

Ditto to this. Our axes made some good good sounds this morning.
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Or maybe some are musicians or players... and some are just measurebaters... (just kidding... sorta...)

Clearly you've never played with a bunch of stuffy orchestral musicians before. Probably doesn't matter much to the audience though.

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Clearly you've never played with a bunch of stuffy orchestral musicians before. Probably doesn't matter much to the audience though.

 

I have. They never belly ache about tuning. They just do it and get on.

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It seems that some people have a tuner that works perfectly, and some have one that doesn't.

 

The tuner on my Helix is no good at all, it doesn't matter that some posters have a tuner that works and tell me therefore mine works because it doesn't; or that I'm pressing the strings too hard or any other such nonsense.

 

So we either have different helixes acting different or people that can't tell when things are out of tune.

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It seems that some people have a tuner that works perfectly, and some have one that doesn't.

 

The tuner on my Helix is no good at all, it doesn't matter that some posters have a tuner that works and tell me therefore mine works because it doesn't; or that I'm pressing the strings too hard or any other such nonsense.

 

So we either have different helixes acting different or people that can't tell when things are out of tune.

 

how are you determining that it doesn't work? What is your method? I'm genuinely curious.

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... or that I'm pressing the strings too hard or any other such nonsense.

 

....

 

Nonsense? As I'm sure you know, that's how string bending works. You change the pitch by bending the string. That can happen both vertically and horizontally on the fretboard. It can be accidental rather than intentional, and it can be definitely be caused by a 'heavy' or inaccurate touch when fingering. Guitars with jumbo frets like the JTV-59 almost guarantee tuning issues when played with a heavy touch. The resulting out-of-tune sound can be greater than the Helix tuner issue you are having.

 

That's physics - not nonsense.

 

EDIT: And to be clear. I never said YOU were pressing the strings too hard. I said that ALL of us sometimes cause our perfectly-tuned strings to go out of tune with our fingering, intentional or not.

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Nonsense? As I'm sure you know, that's how string bending works. You change the pitch by bending the string. That can happen both vertically and horizontally on the fretboard. It can be accidental rather than intentional, and it can be definitely be caused by a 'heavy' or inaccurate touch when fingering. Guitars with jumbo frets like the JTV-59 almost guarantee tuning issues when played with a heavy touch. The resulting out-of-tune sound can be greater than the Helix tuner issue you are having.

 

That's physics - not nonsense.

 

Yup.

 

I'm still waiting for some evidence that the tuner puts you out of tune with the band. All I've seen is measurebating with numbers and comparisons... and my experience with my Helix and my buddy's is that both get our guitars in tune just peachy.

 

When I plug in the BFTS offsets for my electrics and compare, I can see the difference in the tuner and hear that it's more accurate.

 

But unless everybody is playing with a super-gentle touch with brand new strings on a newly intonated guitar, I don't see how these little numbers count for anything.

 

I'm in tune with the band. That's what I care about.

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I am determining it doesn't work by tuning the guitar with it!

 

It doesn't work, it is out, it is not in tune!

 

I can tell by ear and I can tell by using another tuner, my helix can easily be 3-4 cents out!

 

Of course I know how string bending works I have been playing the guitar for nearly 40 years but if i'm not passing a string with my left hand when I am tuning how can it possible have any effect on the tuner in the helix? So its nonsense!

 

As I said before maybe some helixes do not tune well, I know this sounds impossible as it is a digital device and we are all running the same code but I can guarantee that the tuner on mine is well out. Offsets are off and ref is set to 440.

 

Maybe there is a bug where offsets are turned off but somehow offsets are being used by the tuner who knows, all I know is that mine is well off in its tuning.

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We're looking at it from two different perspectives. You are looking at frequency differences at the tuning stage, and you are hearing and seeing a difference of a few cents. I'm not arguing with you about that. Your ears are probably better than mine. I am saying that difference is a relatively minor piece in the context of what really matters - what your tuning sounds like while playing. To me, if I am in tune with the band and my playing is sufficiently accurate to keep my strings in tune with each other, then I'm satisfied. I agree that it would be best if my tuning were accurate to +/- 1 cent. But I probably wouldn't notice it while playing, and I would still have to retune between almost every song if I want to keep it that way. The Helix tuner is perfectly adequate for my needs.

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Ok I used an audio function generator inputing a sine wave to the helix.

 

I altered the frequency to get the range that the Helix thought was in tune for a Low E and a High E.

 

Low E - 82.269 hz to 82.551 hz

High E - 329.042 hz to 330.186 hz

 

here are these values in notes/cents:

 

Low E

82.269 hz E2 -2.89 cents

82.551 hz E2 +3.02 cents

 

High E

329.042 hz E4 -3.07 cents

330.186 hz E4 +2.93 cents

 

So the helix has a range of about 6 cents where it thinks the signal is in tune.

 

That is pretty inaccurate.

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Good information. Thanks for doing that. While the 'in-tune' range spans nearly 6 cents, the maximum that either string is out of tune is about +/-3 cents. I expect that's pretty consistent across all Helix devices; it's likely not just your device and the few others that have pointed it out here. It's probably the case for my Helix too - enough to be audible while tuning if I really paid attention, but I've never noticed it while playing.

 

Perhaps the range will be narrowed in a future firmware update.

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All this technobabble is beyond me. All I know is that when my Helix says my guitar is in tune, it is not correct, and I confirmed this by using other tuners. I can't tell you numbers-wise what the offset was, but it was enough that I was frequently finding myself out of tune with the rest of my band. If it's an issue of granularity, they having the option of increasing the granularity display would be most appreciated. Right now, its a bit of a pain and gives me tuning anxiety during gigs because it's enough that it's noticeable, so even after I tune, I usually have to tune by ear against my other guitarist to ensure that everything is good. I have neither the time nor the interest in doing extensive testing to identify or provide evidence of this issue. But it's an issue for sure. I just want to plug in, tune, and play. Never had a problem with my HD500 so I know Line6 can make a reliable tuner. 

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Yup.

 

I'm still waiting for some evidence that the tuner puts you out of tune with the band. All I've seen is measurebating with numbers and comparisons... and my experience with my Helix and my buddy's is that both get our guitars in tune just peachy.

 

When I plug in the BFTS offsets for my electrics and compare, I can see the difference in the tuner and hear that it's more accurate.

 

But unless everybody is playing with a super-gentle touch with brand new strings on a newly intonated guitar, I don't see how these little numbers count for anything.

 

I'm in tune with the band. That's what I care about.

 

Then there must be something wrong with my Helix/guitar combo. Or maybe I'm using it wrong.

 

If you can differentiate the -1c and -2c BFTS offsets with the Helix tuner amidst the +/-3c error that I seem to be getting, then there must be something wrong with what I'm doing. With the Helix tuner, my Tom Anderson Drop Top doesn't seem to bring that BFTS chording magic that I'm so used to hearing.

 

At the risk of being labelled a 'measurebater', I also measured the error to see what was happening, and found the same kind of wide 'in tune' range of around +/- 3c as the two posters that provided detailed evidence. After I've tuned with the Helix, I have to fine tune with my Turbo or iStrobostomp app and bring it much more into tune.

 

 

Yes, the guitar is inherently never perfectly 'in tune', but there's a threshold at which the ear says, 'this is adequate'. I'm guessing that threshold is different for different people.

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....

 

Yes, the guitar is inherently never perfectly 'in tune', but there's a threshold at which the ear says, 'this is adequate'. I'm guessing that threshold is different for different people.

 

I think you've hit the nail firmly on the head right there.

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I think you've hit the nail firmly on the head right there.

Yup. I wouldn't want prefect pitch. To always know when something is the tiniest bit off, must be maddening. I think I'd go nuts.

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I don't know how to say what I'm thinking without sounding like an arse so let me try it this way....

 

After you tune your guitar with your Strobe....  play notes up and down the scale watching the strobe to see how "in tune" they are.   I think you'll find the notes you tuned, without fretting, are the only few notes the strobe doesn't drift a little. 

 

Now... in "principle" it seems Helix has enough horsepower to be more granular so from that aspect I agree just because this is a flagship unit.  

 

But geez...  what music are you guys play'n ??

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Much as I've stayed out of this dogfight, I do have to say that I encountered this issue the other day - all strings "green bar/both arrows" and yet something seemed a bit off.  Checked against a couple other tuners, and sure enough they showed just a tad of drift on a few strings. Tweaked according to them and was fine, no change on the Helix display.

 

So perhaps a bit of tweaking is in order.....

 

This has been my experience as well.

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I think the tuner is accurate, IF outside noises aren't causing your guitar to vibrate and in turn making the POD tuner needle move around too much.  Especially with my James Tyler Variax.  Sure, I could turn off the modeling and tune off the magnetic pickups.  Since I don't use the mags at all now, I'd rather not introduce a lot of wear and tear on a knob that might require a 90 minute drive each way to get it repaired.   Considering the clip-on Petersen head stock tuner.

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I think the tuner is accurate, IF outside noises aren't causing your guitar to vibrate and in turn making the POD tuner needle move around too much.  Especially with my James Tyler Variax.  Sure, I could turn off the modeling and tune off the magnetic pickups.  Since I don't use the mags at all now, I'd rather not introduce a lot of wear and tear on a knob that might require a 90 minute drive each way to get it repaired.   Considering the clip-on Petersen head stock tuner.

 

Are you sure you posted this in the right place? You mention the POD and this is a Helix forum. Additionally the tuner was upgraded mightily in the firmware update before last and this topic has been pretty much retired as a result.

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I was hoping to solicit more feed back on using Line 6 tuners with JTVs.    Already milked that cow on the HD forum.

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I was hoping to solicit more feed back on using Line 6 tuners with JTVs. Already milked that cow on the HD forum.

You're searching for a magic bullet that doesn't exist. The guitar is what it is, and the tuner is what it is. There's no mysterious setting or secret handshake that will make the symptoms you've described go away. I've tuned the JTV in bars and clubs as noisy as they come. Assuming that your not standing behind a full-throttled F-18, nothing in your environment is gonna rattle a solid body guitar (acoustic or semi-hollow, under the most extreme ear-drum shattering conditions...MAYBE) to such an extent that it's screwing with the POD's onboard tuner...if that's what was happening, PhD's from Cal Tech would be showing up at your gigs, setting up seismographs, and telling everyone to flee...

 

Buy the clip-on...problem solved.

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