At $9.99, this is the most expensive app on my iPhone, but it's worth every penny. In fact, having now used it for a few months, I'd pay twice this and still feel like it's a great value. I've been working on a record with an artist called Sea of Bees, and almost every song used a capo on the guitar, which made tuning and subsequent overdubs just that much more challenging. We have BOSS and Korg tuners and even an original Peterson Strobe Tuner at The Hangar, but iStroboSoft outperformed them all, even with the built in iPhone mic. Peterson offers an upgraded capsule mic for acoustic instruments and an adapter cable that allows a 1/4' unbalanced guitar cable to plug directly into the iPhone for electric guitars, which give even better results. After installing this app halfway through making this record, we spent much less time tuning guitars and had no tuning issues subsequently. When tuning, the display reacts extremely quickly and gives four different tuning references: the note; a sharp/flat indicator; the familiar Peterson Strobe display; and what I found to be the most useful -a real time readout of how sharp or flat you are in cents. It's super easy to tune a guitar by watching the cents readout until you're within a few cents of the note, and then use the strobe display to fine tune the note. The app has some nice options like an input boost and an intelligent noise filter that can be enabled. This is a professional tool and allows you to change the tuning reference from A = 440 Hz to a different reference, and it also allows for dropped or capo'ed tunings in a range of +/-1 octave in half steps. This makes every other tuner app I've seen and used for the iPhone seem like a toy. iStroboSoft is so good, in fact, that it would be a good argument for buying an iPhone or iPod touch if you were thinking about that purchase. (With the iPod Touch, there is no built-in mic, so you'll definitely need the accessory mic.) ($9.99 download, adaptor cable $12.99, mic $11.99; www.istrobosoft.com
Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.