Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Behringer BTR2000 Racktuner: Swiss Army Device

It's a tuner, it's a rack light, it's a metronome, it's an A/B box... and it's only $59.00!

*****



I don't do a lot of gear reviews here, but this unit deserves a little of my time. For quite a while I've wanted a rack mount tuner, but none of the devices I was aware of could calibrate A to 432 Hz, which is the philosophical pitch I tune to. The Korg units only go qown to 438 Hz, and the lowest any of the others got to was a frustratingly close 435 Hz. Well, the Behringer calibrates down to 428 Hz, so, Bingo! "But, there's more!" as the old Ronco ads went.

Not only does the tuner calibrate A anywhere from 428 to 448 Hz, but it also will transpose any of those calibrations within a seven semitone range. You can also set it up to be a chromatic tuner, a guitar tuner, or you can set it to any one of several open tunings. There is also a Fine/Coarse sensitivity selector, and the unit has a built in microphone for acoustic instruments.

Beyond the tuner, however, the unit is also an LED rack light which has four elements, and so is quite effective at illuminating lower gear as well as the stage floor (Which is what I like rack lights for: Bad things can happen on dark stages). Then, it also has a built-in metronome which ranges from 30 to 240 BPM, which is right in the range I need to do my slow-play work with pieces, as well as the Modal Mastery series. Sweet.

The best of the fringe benefits is, however, without a doubt, the input selector feature. The rear panel has two inputs, and a simple button on the front toggles between them. I have been wanting an A/B device so that I can have both the Godin and the La Patrie plugged in at the same time - just picking up the other axe and pressing a button will make for much smoother transitions than unplugging/plugging in the other guitar would - and use whichever guitar is most effective for each suite. Now, I can do that.

Best of all though? It's only $59.00! Three Jacksons, threescore buckaroos!!! I got the one and loved it, so I ordered two more for my other rack systems.

As far as performance goes, it is slower than the Korg rack unit I used to use, but it also does not cost a couple of hundred dollars. It seems to work better on the coarse setting, and the calibration to 432 Hz matches up with my Korg hand helds perfectly well. Since the buttons have both quick punch/slow hold functions, the unit is complex enough that you neet to "RTFM" (Read The F'in Manual), but once you suss out the logic, it is consistant, and so the unit is very easy to use.

*****

Instead of calling it the BTR2000, I think it ought to be the HAL9000.



"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that."

*****



I used to love flying. Now, I hate it.

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