Snark Tuner Comparison: Which Will Be The Best Snark For You?

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Best Snark Tuner ComparisionAre you looking for a tuner for a beginner guitar player?

Do you have multiple instruments, but you want one device to tune them all?

Do you have limited funds to spend on a tuner?

When searching through the many available models of the best guitar tuners, it can be hard to decide between them all.  Some of the best advice given is to stay brand specific.

In this guide, we break down what Snark has in the market to make it easier to see what options you have.  Believe us when we say there is a wide variety, and we’re sure you’ll find one that will get the job done within your budget.

 

Snark Tuner Comparison Guide

This is a summary of available Snark tuners categorized by series or type with some generic specs you must know before you buy.  For an all-inclusive guide that looks at each Snark model, you’ll find your way around Snark jargon to identify exactly which tuner will work for you.

 

Snark HZ-1 Series

HZ-1 Tuner

  • Instruments: Guitar, Bass
  • Hz Tuning: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The HZ-1 is a chromatic, vibration sensor Hz tuning device.  With its one button operation, you can get in tune using the needles or you can tune it to the Hz frequency for 6-string guitars and 4-5 string bass guitars.  The LCD screen will display the Hz frequency for the string you’re playing.  Snark provides Hertz Tuning Charts for both types of instruments.

Even though it’s marketed for guitars and bass guitars, buyers have used it for violins, mandolins, and ukuleles.

It has Auto features that includes a dim display after 5 seconds of non-use and complete shut-down after 2 minutes of non-use.

 

 

Son of Snark Series

S-1 Mini

  • Instruments: Guitar, Bass
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The S-1 is a clip-on tuner for guitars and bass guitars.  It’s a chromatic tuner that uses a vibration sensor to help you tune in.  Its design allows for a rotating head where the body is placed behind the headstock for the horizontal display to be faced towards you.  If you’re left-handed, the body will be placed in front of the headstock.

It has the hall-mark Power Save features that automatically dims and shuts down the tuner after a certain amount of time of non-use.  The S-1 has a blue finish with red needles in the flat and yellow needles in the sharp.  The green, centered needle indicates you are in tune.

 

 

Snark Original Clip-On Series

SN-1X

  • Instruments: Guitar
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • Calibration Range: 415-466Hz
  • Flat Tuning: Yes
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The SN-1X has a vivid, blue finish that easily distinguishes itself as one of the Original Clip-on tuners.  It’s specifically designed for use with guitars with its chromatic vibration sensor.  Although it comes set with a default 440Hz tuning frequency, the setting can be changed, but it should be noted that it does not provide Hz tuning.

It features Flat Tuning for guitars with a capo, has a tap metronome, and it also has a Self-Testing mode.  This function ensures the Snark is operating as it should and will usually be activated when turning on the tuner.  It only takes a few seconds and then it will allow you to tune your guitar.

 

 

SN-5X

  • Instruments: Guitar, Bass, Violin
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The SN-5X is designed for guitar, bass, and violin instruments, and it features a Tap Tempo Metronome.  However, unlike the SN-1X, it does not allow for adjusting the Hz tuning frequency.

It’s a very simple chromatic tuner with a 360-degree swivel head that allows for standard and non-standard tuning.  You’ll know you’re in tune when the center needle and dot above it are lit green.  It has a Self-Test mode that runs for a few seconds after powering on the tuner, and it also has Snark’s hall-mark Power Save features.

 

 

SN-6X

  • Instruments: Ukulele
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The SN-6X is exactly like its SN-5X counterpart in its physical dimensions, black finish, and features.  The only difference is this tuner is specifically calibrated for tuning ukuleles.

It has Tap Tempo Metronome, Power Save features, and 360-degree swivel head function.

 

 

Snark Console Tuners

SN-3

  • Instruments: Guitar
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • Calibration Range: 415-466Hz
  • Transpose Feature: Yes
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 2x AAA

The SN-3 seemingly has it all from being a chromatic tuner to having been equipped with multiple, built-in features.  It has an internal microphone and a 1/4″ input jack for note detection.  It takes 2x AAA batteries to operate, but it has Power Save features to help conserve battery life.

The Transpose Feature is the exact same thing as a Flat Tuning feature that allows for tuning with a capo or for tuning non-concert instruments such as a B flat trumpet.

The SN-3 also has a Tone Generator which is essentially an electronic pitch pipe.  For scaling calibrations, the Tone Generator will play reference tones C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, and B.

 

 

SN-4

  • Instruments: All
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • Calibration Range: 415-466Hz
  • Transpose Feature: Yes
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 2x AAA

The SN-4 tuner is exactly the same as the SN-3 in features and functions with the only difference being a red finish versus the blue on the SN-3, and it’s made for tuning all instruments and not just the guitar.

The SN-4, like its SN-3 sibling, has the Tap/Met and Tone buttons on the topside, the input jack on the bottom of the left side, and the LCD display, Power, Pitch Cal, and Up/Down/Flat Tuning buttons on the face of the body.

 

 

Snark Super Tight Series

ST-2

  • Instruments: All
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • Calibration Range: 415-466Hz
  • Transpose Feature: Yes
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The ST stands for Super Tight and is the designation that sets it apart from other Snark tuners.  The Super Tight comes in with its extra strength grip on its clip-on design construction.

The ST-2 is the red model in the series that’s designed for tuning all instruments.  It has a Transpose Feature for guitars with capos or for tuning non-concert instruments in the B flat.  It also has a Tap Tempo Metronome and Power Save features.

But, what sets the ST-2 apart from other models in its series is its internal microphone.  It can be clipped onto an instrument for vibrational detection or clipped to something else in proximity for use with the microphone for note detection.

 

 

ST-8

  • Instruments: Guitar, All
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • Calibration Range: 415-466Hz
  • Transpose Feature: Yes
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The ST-8 is part of the Super Tight series of tuners.  It has all the same great features as the ST-2 with its Transpose feature, Tap Tempo Metronome, and Power Save mode.

However, unlike the ST-2, it’s designed especially for the guitar, but can be used for all instruments.  However, there’s a caveat.  Because it lacks the internal microphone that its counterpart has, it must be clipped onto the instrument in order to tune.

 

 

ST-8Hz

  • Instruments: All
  • Hz Tuning: Yes
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • Calibration Range: 415-466Hz
  • Transpose Feature: Yes
  • Tap Tempo Metronome: Yes
  • Auto Features: Yes
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The ST-8Hz is identical to the ST-8, but it also allows for Hz tuning for 6-string guitars and 4-5 string bass guitars.  So, it provides standard and flat tuning of instruments that you can clip on to, and it allows for individual Hz tuning and displays it on the HD LCD screen.

You can Hz tune your strings as many times as you wish, but then you must continue in ascending order as the Hz frequency gets larger on a guitar.  For bass guitars, you tune in a descending order as the Hz frequency gets smaller.

 

 

Snark Pedal Tuners

SN-10 Stage & Studio Tuner

  • Instruments: Guitar
  • Pitch Reference: A-440Hz
  • True Bypass: Yes
  • Battery: 9V

The chromatic SN-10 is a pedal tuner for the stage or studio.  It’s approximately, 4.5 x 1.5 x 2.5″ in size, so it’s compact and comparable to most other pedals that don’t take up much space.  It can run with a 9V battery, and with the large LCD screen and very bright and visible display, it will eat battery life if left on.  However, it can be used with an adapter that is not included in the buy.

It has true bypass, so it can be left on in a daisy chain but will mute the output when you’re getting in tune – no one wants to hear the band tuning up before a gig.  The pedal will hold up under constant use with its die cast metal housing, and it has both an input jack and mute output jack.

 

 

Snark Napoleon Tuners

N-5

  • Instruments: Guitar, Bass
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The N stands for Napoleon, and the N-5 model is designed as a chromatic, multi-instrument tuner.  It’s small and lightweight at approximately 5 x 1 x 2.5″ in size.  It has rugged construction, padded stay-put clamp, and the iconic Snark 360 swivel head that connects with a ball joint so you can always see the LCD screen.  How do you know when you’re in tune?  The display will glow green.

It comes with a detachable pick holder that can hold up to 3 picks and is placed over the top of the tuner.  Note: picks are not included.  It also comes with a small chord book in pamphlet style to “supercharge your playing!”

 

 

N-6

  • Instruments: Ukulele
  • Battery: 1x CR2032

The N-6 is the brown colored version of the blue N-5 Napoleon tuner.  It’s the same in features and function as the N-5 but is calibrated for tuning ukuleles.

Instead of an included chord pamphlet, it comes with a “Play Uke Like a Pro!” booklet to help get beginners playing like they’re in the islands.  Unfortunately, the uke model doesn’t come with a detachable pick holder.  Designed to be pocket-sized and stashed away easily for your convenience, the N-6 is a simple, compact, and “small but mighty” pocket, clip-on tuner.

 

 

Snark Features & Cautions

1

Instruments:

Tuners that are multi-instrument rated can be used with any instrument if it has a built-in microphone or vibrations strong enough for the tuner to detect.  Most of these tuners will work well for most stringed instruments.

 

2

Calibration Range:

Most Snark tuners will be factory set to 440Hz and can’t be changed.  However, some tuners do have a calibration pitch frequency feature where you can change it from the default setting to anywhere between 415-466Hz.

 

3

Hz Tuning:

This is a feature in which strings are tuned according to the actual frequency of the note being played.  The tuners with this feature will come with a Hertz frequency chart with the frequency value assigned to each string as a guideline.

 

4

Flat Tuning/Transpose Feature:

This is the ability to tune your guitar with a capo in use.

 

5

Display:

The displays on each Snark tuner may be different between series and type.  Some may light up only a couple needles at a time, and others may show a colored scaling range of needles.  It seems to be universal that “green” is the color for being in tune.

 

6

Clamps/Ball Joint:

All Snark tuners come with a clip-on clamp and 360-degree swivel head ball joint except for the Console tuners and Pedals.

The 360-degree ball joint is connected to the display head by 3 prongs.  While there are rare reports of the actual clamp breaking, the most common complaints regarding build quality is with the prongs and the connecting arm.

 

7

Power Save Feature:

This is the automatic features of the tuners that consists of a dimly lit screen after 5 seconds of non-use and complete shut down after 2 minutes of non-use.  It’s a battery-saving feature that old model Snark tuners lacked.  However, it seems Snark listened and have equipped this feature on all their tuners.

The only possible issue to consider is if you’re done tuning and you start playing before the tuner has timed out within 2 minutes.  It will continue to be active while you play which will considerably consume battery juice.

 

8

Finish Damage:

The rubber pads on the clamp can adversely affect the finish on your instrument, particularly headstocks of stringed instruments.  Snark tuners are not compatible with these types of finishes:

  • Nitrocellulose Lacquer
  • Polyurethane
  • French Polish
  • Oil Finish
  • Gibson guitars with Nitrocellulose finishes

Lacquer type finishes may be okay if your tuner is removed as soon as you finish tuning your instrument.  If left on for a long period of time, it can affect the finish and the clamp can also increase the risk of dents to the headstock.

Are you out of luck?  No.  Consider the ST-2 or the console tuners (SN-3, SN-4) with a built-in microphone, or the SN-10 pedal tuner.

 

The Snarky Way

As you can see, Snark is a very popular brand for three main reasons: variety, affordability, and their ability to accurately tune an instrument.  From Hz tuning, to built-in mics, and built-in metronomes, you can get all the help you need to get set up quickly before a performance without breaking the bank.

Do they make you a snarky player?  We think that’s more of a personality trait.

But, you can add more pizazz to your playing if you know how to get in tune.  You don’t have to be snarky to tune with a Snark.

Image Credit: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/200581 (CC Public Domain)

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While I don't have an arts degree in music, I have spent enough time around musical instruments & musicians to pass on some useful information. When I'm not rocking out to a sick beat on my stereo, you will find me sitting on a bean bag, in the corner of my room with a guitar trying to emulate the prowess of the great Mr Eric Clapton.