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Snark ST-2 vs ST-8: Which One is the Best?

If you think that there isn’t much of a difference between the Snark ST-2 and the ST-8, then you would be quite right. They both share quite a few features and a very similar price point. However, there is something that sets them apart, and that’s why I decided to put together this in-depth Snark ST-2 vs ST-8 comparison.

Tuners are Not Just for Guitars

They cover a wide range of instruments, certainly every stringed instrument. But you can check your pitch on woodwind and brass instruments as well. But whatever instrument you choose to use them with, there are two important requirements of a tuner.

First, they need to be easy to use, and you need to be able to read them easily. Secondly, they need to be accurate for the instrument you are tuning. Some tuners work better with certain instruments. I shall take a look at that a bit later.

Portable Tuners Aren’t New

Having a tuner for any instrument that you can easily carry with you has been with us for centuries. They are still used sometimes; we know them as tuning forks. 

The idea was that it was a set to a particular pitch. You could tune one string to that pitch and then tune the others using the first string as a reference point.

Today, most musicians use a digital tuner to carry one around with them. There are a variety of makes, but they mostly perform the same function.

Snark Tuners

Snark is one of these manufacturers and is well-known for its very affordable options. Unfortunately, they are one of these companies that don’t like to give you too much information about how they operate. Therefore, I cannot give you any info about where the products are made, etc. I can talk about both tuners, though, so let’s take a look at both, starting with the ST-2.

Snark ST-2 All Instrument Tuner

Snark ST-2

The ST-2, like the ST-8, is one of Snark’s Super Tight range. It is not something that you will be likely to lose due to its rather noticeable red plastic casing. 

The build quality doesn’t feel the strongest. However, the clip mechanism that attaches it to your instrument feels secure enough. The features are quite simple; however, they do their job. It has a nice display that is very visible, and the clip has 360-degree rotation.

Some Useful Additions

It is fitted with both a vibration sensor and an internal mic. There is a switch placed on the back, giving you the choice of which to use. There is a Tap Tempo metronome, and for when you are using a capo, a transpose option. It is a great tuner for electric and acoustic guitars as well as basses and most other instruments.

Snark ST-8 Guitar & All Instrument Tuner

Snark ST-8

Another member of the Snark ‘Super Tight’ range. There are one or two differences between the Snark ST-8 and ST-2, the first one you notice is the color. This tuner is given an all-black finish, which to some will be preferable. 

It measures the same size at 3.5 by 1.8 by 1.8 inches and weighs just under two ounces. The HD display is clear and easy to read and has a 360-degree rotating head. It has some of the same features as the ST-2 with its transpose option and Tap Tempo metronome. 

One major difference…

The most interesting difference between this and the ST-2 is that this model only has a vibration sensor. There is no internal mic. That means it must be clipped onto the instrument use it. As with the ST-2, the build does feel a little vulnerable, but the clip feels quite sturdy. Let’s look a bit closer at the performance and features of both.

Tuning Accuracy

Snark has a reliable reputation for making highly accurate instrument tuners. Guitars present no problems with this tuner for all standard tunings. Neither does tuning a bass guitar, and even the bottom E is found quite quickly, which is not always the case with some tuners. 

However, drop tunings on a bass are not so reliable on either the ST-2 or ST-8. That may cause some tuning difficulties for bass players that use alternate tunings, or even sax players.

Needles or Bars?

The tuning display is adequate, but I suspect it was built to be pretty, rather than overly accurate. Personally, I prefer “needle” versions over “bars.” Some will be happy with bars. Regardless, the color scheme of the bars is quite nice.

Considering the price point, the accuracy is acceptable. But if you do need a highly accurate performance, you might need to spend more.

Tuning Options

As I have already noted, the ST-2 carries both an internal mic and a vibration sensor. There is a switch to choose which you want to use. The advantage of having both options is that you can work with more instruments. 

Perhaps your instrument doesn’t have a surface suitable for clip-on use. In which case, the vibration sensor cannot be operated. This is where the internal mic can be useful. The ST-8 doesn’t have an internal mic which means you are limited to using vibration sensor mode only.

Neither the ST-2 nor the ST-8 has the option for Hz Tuning, although Snark does make a model that has that option. That is the ​​Snark ST-8HZ Super Tight All Instrument Tuner. It is one of the models you can consider if you require the highest level of tuning accuracy.


Snark ST-2 vs ST-8

Both the ST-2 and the ST-8 have a calibration setting of A-440Hz. As you may be aware, that is the modern tuning standard. The pitch of 440Hz is the “A” that is above “middle C.” A useful feature if you choose to use it is the Pitch Cal button. 

This is located on the back of the swivel head. It will allow you to change the setting to any reference that is between 415 and 466Hz. The pitch setting is displayed on the front screen.

Swivel Head and Display

While we are talking about the swivel head, let’s take a minute to look at it. As I have already mentioned, it has a convenient 360-degree rotation. That will make it a great tuner for both left and right-handed players

It has a clip-on design with what Snark calls a “Super Tight” fit. Both the ST-2 and ST-8 are fitted with durable rubber pads. When clamped onto the instrument, it is secure and won’t scratch whatever it is affixed to.

Screen visibility

Visibility is quite good, and the colored bar design is quite prominent. Both tuners work well in a range of lighting conditions, which is useful. The pitch of the note you are playing is displayed on the screen as you tune.

Screen differences between ST-2 and ST-8

In this Snark ST-2 VS ST-8 debate, the ST-2 has a display that features a graduating bar design. The center mark or the correct tune is colored blue. If you are below the note, the red bars indicate where you are. If you go past the note, they turn green.

Conversely, the ST-8 displays one or two colored bars as you move towards the blue center mark. It is not as quick to achieve the correct tuning as the ST-2.

A Downside…

If you are going to leave it attached while playing, there could be problems. It does protrude out quite a long way and is vulnerable to taking a few knocks. As the build is not that strong, this could cause damage.

The Battery Life

They both are battery-driven and use one CR2032 Lithium battery. The battery is supplied and is easily changeable. Both models have power-saving features. 

After five seconds of inactivity, they go into “power save” mode. After two minutes, they will automatically shut down. Therefore, you won’t need to worry about leaving them on. And these features will extend the battery life.

Are They Tough Enough?

Are They Tough Enough

While they have some nice features that are easy to use and cost-effective, there is a problem area. Most of the Snark range are not the toughest tuners you will find. 

I have alluded to that on a couple of occasions already. The clamping system is fine, but it is plastic which makes it vulnerable. All the joints and moving parts are plastic as well. That means there will be an element of risk.

But it is unfair to say that there are no other tuners that are the same. All clip-on tuners can be vulnerable. If you want a tuner that is virtually indestructible, then the pedal counterparts would be the choice.

Digging deeper…

Take a closer look at the Snark ST-2 Multi-Instrument Chromatic Tuner and the Snark ST-8 Super Tight Clip-On Tuner. And another Snark tuner for those that need a high level of accuracy there is the Snark ST-8HZ Super Tight All Instrument Tuner.

What Do I Think?

They are both good tuners. And considering their price point, they are also cost-effective. But why choose one over the other?

The ST-8 is a tuner for a guitar. It doesn’t need the internal mic because it will clip onto the headstock. It has a metronome and will operate with capos. Designed for the guitar, it works well and does the job. That is the big difference between the two tuners.

The ST-2, however, has a different display but, more importantly, is a tuner for more than just the guitar. With its built-in mic, it will operate with virtually any instrument and give you good results.

Snark ST-2 vs ST-8 – Final Thoughts

Would I recommend both of them? Weighing up all the pros and cons, then I would say yes. The features are good enough, and it is easy to use. It might not be the toughest tuner, but at the price point, it will be hard to find better value for money. Just choose the tuner that best suits what you will use it for.

Until next time, let your music play.

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