Snark tuners are affordable, there is a variety of available models, and many musicians either own one or have used one in the past.
The best feature about them – they have a well-known track record that you can rely on when you’re looking to buy clip on guitar tuners online.
Unfortunately, Snark doesn’t provide detailed information that you will want to know before you buy.
That’s why we’re here!
We look at the ST-2 and the ST-8 All Instrument Tuners to see what features they share and what sets them apart.
Snark ST-2 All Instrument Tuner
- Tunes Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Basses and All Instruments
- Pitch Calibration
- Tune with Vibration Sensor or Microphone
The ST-2 tuner is part of Snark’s Super Tight series of clip-on tuners. You’ll easily recognize this chromatic tuner by its sharp, red finish.
It’s rather simple in features with its wide display and 360-degree swivel clip design. It has both an internal mic and vibration sensor to offer both tuning options. The ST-2 also features a Tap Tempo Metronome and Transpose feature for use with a capo.
- Red finish
- 360-degree swivel head
- HD display
- Multi-instrument tuner
- Build quality
Snark ST-8 Guitar & All Instrument Tuner
- Faster processing chip
- "Stay Put" Clip
- Enhanced accuracy
The ST-8 tuner is very similar to the ST-2 as it’s also part of the Super Tight series of tuners. However, it has a black display, is simple to use with its rotating swivel head, and it only has a vibration sensor for tuning. It also shares the same features as the ST-2 with the Tap Tempo Metronome and Transpose mode.
- Black finish
- 360-degree swivel head
- HD display
- Multi-instrument tuner
- Lacks internal microphone
Snark ST-2 VS ST-8: Features
Let’s get into more detail about the differences between the two clip-on tuners and which would be the best buy for you.
Both the ST-2 and the ST-8 have an HD display in color that’s very easy to use. Display visibility is high under various lighting conditions which can be helpful under dynamic lighting setups on stage.
The LCD display will provide a colored needle that shows how close to pitch your tuning is when you play a note also providing the name of the note you play. As chromatic tuners, they have a transpose feature which is helpful when you’re going after non-standard tunings.
What are the display differences? The ST-8 displays perhaps one to two needles at a time while tuning until you reach the blue needle centered in the middle. The ST-2 is different in that it has a graduating scale display. The display features red needles that fills up the space as you get closer to tune and eventually meets the blue needle centered in the middle. If you’ve overshot the tuning, needles after the blue center will be displayed in green. The latter display makes it a tad faster to get in tune.
Snark tuners have been known to be accurate for open note tuning and can quickly tune to an E on a bass guitar. You can also drop tune down to an A, but drop tuning on a bass guitar has proven to be a little more than difficult as the tuner apparently displays discrepancies.
Both the ST models can be used to accurately tune multiple instruments, but with some feature limitations that may have bassists and saxophone players looking elsewhere.
For the price, the accuracy will serve well for many types of players, but if you’re looking for highly accurate precision for an extended range of players, you may want to spend more.
3. Tuning Options
The ST-8 features a vibration sensor that picks up vibrations to tune your guitar. The ST-2 features both a vibration sensor and an internal mic. The internal mic allows for tuning when you can’t clip the tuner to the instrument for whatever reason.
4. Pitch Tuning
Neither models have the option of Hz tuning for each string, but the ST-8Hz can and allows for even greater precision.
However, the ST-2 and 8 tuners are calibrated for A-440Hz. By using the Pitch Cal button on the backside of the swivel head, you can set a new tuning reference anywhere between 415-466Hz.
- Tune Using Hertz Frequencies
- Accurate to 1/10th of 1Hz
- Display Rotates 360 Degrees (works for right or left-handed players)
5. Swivel Head
The Super Tight tuners feature a 360-degree swivel head connection that can allow you to rotate the display in any position for the best visibility.
The clip-on design features a “Super Tight” connection with rubber pads to grip the surface on any part of the headstock.
6. Battery Life
Both models come with a single CR2032 battery. The ST-2 and the ST-8 tuners have built-in auto features that conserve battery life. It will automatically go into a “power save” mode by dimming the screen after 5 seconds of non-use of not hearing sound or detecting vibrations. Strum a note and it will light back up to full power once again.
Both models will also automatically shut down after 2 minutes of non-use, so essentially, you’ll never have to worry about forgetting to turn the tuner off. Battery life is exponentially extended due to these features.
Unfortunately, Snark tuners are not the most durable tuners around. Multiple reports of the connection arm from the display to the clip attachment are prone to breaking. The three, small prong connections on the arm that joins to the display head have also been reported to break.
You can make your own improvements to the plastic design by super-gluing where necessary if you must. The high-profile design of the swivel head also makes it prone to taking abuse from accidental bumps and movement on stage or in the guitar case.
To be fair to Snark, clip-on tuners in general are less durable than their pedal counterparts so you might need to make the choice between a pedal vs clip-on if ultimate durability is important to you.
The Verdict on Snark ST-8 VS ST-2
The ST-8 is an excellent tuner for guitars even with its vibration-only sensor. You won’t need the internal mic, since it doesn’t have it, because it just clips onto the headstock. Compatible for use with capos and with its built-in metronome, it’s a tuner made for the guitar.
The ST-2 is different with its display and internal mic designed for versatility for use with all instruments. If you have multiple instruments, you have the option of clipping it on and using the vibration sensor or clipping it somewhere in proximity and using the mic to get in tune.
What’s the verdict? Both tuners do the same job, will last a long time if you’re careful with them, and are priced so low that they end up being the best tuners in their price range. Now that’s how we see value in a cheap buy.
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Simon is a music lover, musical instrument player and passionate audio afficionado. When he is not playing the guitar or listening to music he is either eating tacos or snoring too loudly.