Wanna tune an instrument or a sample? I got you. As a guitar player and producer, I know how important it is for things to be in tune. Sometimes, it’s even hard to know if things are in tune or not. Let’s fix that today. I’ve tested basically every tuner plugin for DAWs such as Logic, FL Studio, Ableton, Cubase, Bitwig, and all of the other ones. The test was done with both a pure sinewave, as well as a 6 string acoustic steel guitar.
✅Small GUI ✅Lightweight ✅ Chromatic ✅Free 💠Windows 🍏Mac
It’s safe to say. GTune is the most popular tuner plugin. It just works and has a wonderful interface. It’s light on CPU, screen real estate, and your wallet. It has been my go-to and it works every time, even for 12 stringed guitar, bass, and samples too. This plugin is a blessing, I recommend it.
✅Feature Rich ✅Free ✅Themes ✅ Polytuning 💠Windows 🍏Mac
Download: https://www.meldaproduction.com (download the FreeFxBundle and then choose to install Mtuner separately)
Mtuner is perfect for those who want a big-sized plugin that can fit your whole screen. If you want to make it smaller, there is a setting at Settings->Style->Size you can use. Dive into hundreds of settings and fully customizable colors.
The tuning algorithm is superb, and though the plugin would have been better off with more instrument presets. It’s a solid tuner.
✅Clean interface ✅Tunes Bass & Guitar ❌Needle bopping around 💠Windows 🍏Mac
bx_tuner is a simplistic tuner with very few options. You can change the reference frequency and input frequency.
On my windows computer, it didn’t work too well, and the indicator kept bopping around everywhere. It was impossible for me to tune my guitar using this plugin. The interface is pretty good, but not perfect. There is a trial for this plugin, so you can always try it for free.
The Snail by IrcamLab
✅Good for tuning Samples ✅Resizable GUI ✅Feature Rich ❌CPU heavy 💠Windows 🍏Mac
There is a lot to say about “the snail”. It’s a very competent tuner, and it’s easy on the eyes if you ask me. I used it with great success and can only recommend it. While the interface may seem foreign, it’s very easy to learn how it works.
This one is especially good for people who like BIG UI’s, as you can make this one everything from small, to big, to full screen. It’s an impressive tuner, to say the least, packing a lot of features. However, it does use a bit more CPU than other tuners. If you want a similar but more lightweight tuner, try Spiral instead.
Polytune tc electronic
✅Small GUI ✅Light and Efficient ❌Only tunes Bass & Guitar 💠Windows 🍏Mac
Polytune is a simple tuner, that doesn’t share many resemblances with their other products. This is a dead-simple tuner with a very small interface. It’s perfect on small screens as the plugin doesn’t take up much space.
It features tuning for guitar and bass. It draws close to zero CPU and is super accurate. I fully recommend this one. *It does not have 432hz tuning but you can chance reference pitch from 435 to 445Hz.
Tune It! [Free]
✅Good Tuning ❌Buggy 💠Windows 🍏Mac
This VST is a relic from 2004. However, I got it to work on FL Studio 20. While this is not the best tuner, it absolutely works. The interface looks dated, and there are better alternatives. But if you want to try it go for it. It’s free!
Waves GTR tuner
✅Accurate tuning algorithm ✅Chromatic ✅Smooth needle 💠Windows 🍏Mac
GTR is an awesome tuner with a needle that doesn’t bop around everywhere. It’s rock-solid, with many options for tuning bass, guitar, and many scales. You can do 432Hz tuning with this one as well. By selecting which keys you want to be played, you can customize the tuning to any instrument.
Blue Cat Audio Hot Tuna
✅Good tuning algorithm 🟡Big GUI 💠Windows 🍏Mac
Download: Blue Cat Audio Hot Tuna
Hot Tuna works well for guitar tuning, and it scans the input signal really quickly. I do feel like the GUI could be smaller or be used more effectively, however it’s a nice tuner. It will set you back a few bucks. It has a theming system, but there are no themes to download, so you are stuck with the default.
MathAudio Chromatic Tuner
✅Lightweight ✅Small GUI ✅Unique 💠Windows 🍏Mac
MathAudio works differently than other tuners. It records when you play a tone, calculates the pitch, and then gives you a reading. It’s not really a live tuner. There is a trial version, and it works really well.
Photosounder Spiral [Effectively Free with perpetual trial]
✅Good for tuning Samples ✅Lightweight ✅Inspiring design ✅Unique 💠Windows 🍏Mac
Spiral is very similar to “the snail”, but it’s much lighter on CPU and has a simpler interface. It’s a personal favorite of mine. It doesn’t look like a regular tuner, but you’ll quickly learn how to use it. Turn the resolution and color gain knobs until you get your visual levels perfect.
Spiral is especially good for tuning samples because samples such as drums are not often pure tones. Normal tuners go crazy. However, not Spiral. This plugin gives you enough insight into what’s going on, to tune any sample correctly.
✅Lightweight ✅Small ❌Needle bops around ❌Not Recommended 💠Windows
Ctuner is a free guitar tuner. It has a small nonresizable interface with a needle that I found not to be too reliable. You can try it out, but it’s not the best. It didn’t even give me a clear enough reading to tune my guitar.
Tuna by Aurora [Free]
✅Accurate Tuning ✅Simplistic ❌Resizing GUI is buggy 💠Windows 🍏Mac
Tuna by Aurora is a free and simple tuner. It features 3 settings. The first is the reference pitch which you can change from 370 to 520Hz, the second is dark/light mode interface shift, and thirdly there’s a mute button. It works perfectly, though the needle may move in a kind of jaggery fashion. The GUI is fully resizable, though the resizing may be a bit buggy.
✅Feature Rich ✅Accurate Tuning ❌Buggy Trial 💠Windows
Chromatia tuner has many settings, and especially, many scales to choose from. You can tune basically anything with this chromatic tuner, and it has a lot of features. You can give the trial a spin!
T-1 Audible Tuner [Free]
✅Audible Tuner 💠Windows
T-1 Audible Tuner is a tuner that generates a tone, which you can tune after. It has many instruments and it does the job well. It’s nice to see this kind of tuner, as it’s the only one of its kind available as a plugin VST. It’s absolutely free and works well.
Built-in VST tuners
Many DAWs come with a tuner plugin included. Logic, FL Studio, Bitwig, Cubase, and a few more. Check your DAW and you probably have one in there already.