Peterson VS-S Strobostomp

Looks can be deceiving. Good things come in small packages.
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You can apply both sayings to the Peterson VS-S Strobostomp. The Strobostomp is a “virtual” strobe tuner, accurate to 1/10 cent, and a DI. Its case is lightweight, and feels like plastic. In fact, it’s made of aluminum — and there are pictures on the Peterson site of a Strobostomp being run over, dragged behind a vehicle, then tossed in the air to be hit by a baseball bat before finally landing on the pavement. The scarred box is then shown to be working after this “demo.”

You can adjust concert pitch from 433 to 447Hz, and there are 10 preset and two user temperaments. The entire temperament can be shifted in semitones to support capo (up to five frets) or drop tunings (as far as four semitones).

The Strobostomp can run off a 9v battery or an external wallwart. A DC power out jack lets you daisychain other pedals from the same power supply. There are 1/4" input and output jacks, and an XLR for DI output. A DIP switch inside the battery compartment controls ground lift for the DI and two monitoring modes. In Tuner Monitoring + DI Output mode, incoming signal is routed to both the 1/4" and XLR outs, and the tuner is active all the time. Step on the footswitch and the outputs are muted for silent tuning. In 100% True Bypass mode, the incoming signal goes through the tuner only when the footswitch is off, which also mutes the outputs. With the footswitch on, the tuner is off and the signal flows straight from input to outputs.

In use, this thing works great. The backlit LCD “strobe” is easy to read, and the DI is clean and uncolored. Tuning is straightforward and accurate: the Strobostomp worked well on electric and acoustic guitars (with pickups), as well as electric basses.

At $309, the Strobostomp isn’t a bargain basement tuner. But for the price you get an excellent, lasts-a-lifetime tuner and DI that offers features not found on any other stompbox. Highly recommended for stage and studio.