Cherub WST-720B Wired Clip Tuner and Metronome
The Cherub WST-720B is a wired guzheng clip tuner, metronome, and pitch pipe. It’s one brand of a classic style of wired clip tuner that have been around for some time.
Americans may be more familiar with guitar clip tuners. Much like the MeIdeal clip tuner reviewed earlier, guitar clip tuners put everything into a small clip that can be attached anywhere on the instrument, drawing power from an internal button battery. The major issue with these is finding a place where the clip picks up the vibrations but where you can still see the screen. Wired clip tuners take a different approach.
Wired tuners expect you to place the tuner somewhere you can easily read them, perhaps on a nearby table or music stand, and then attach the clip sensor to a convenient place on the instrument. Guitar-style clip tuners can be left on the instrument. The Cherub WST-720B is a fine example of a wired guzheng tuner. I purchased this one in China for $13. That’s a reasonable price for the US and a little expensive for the Chinese market. Looking on TMall (in January of 2019) the listed price of ¥70 for this wired tuner puts it firmly in the middle of the price range. The all-in-one tuner and wrench from cherub goes for ¥120 while cheaper wired tuners go for ¥30-40.
Read on for more details.
Cherub is a brand of products put out by Wei Ke Technology (蔚科科技) a musical instrument accessories company founded in Shenzhen in 1998. Cherub's WST line of tuners is only distributed in Asia, so getting one of these requires waiting several weeks for a boat to bring it over. Bigger product numbers appear to indicate newer products, and the 720B certainly seems newly made.
Though newly produced its style is boxier and older looking. It features a large two-color liquid crystal display, three indicator lights, six buttons, a headphone jack, and the clip attachment jack. There’s a lot on this device so let’s break it down.
The tuner has both a microphone and clip mode. Clip mode activates if the clip is plugged in. If the clip is unplugged, the tuner uses the microphone on the front of the instrument.
Functions are controlled by the row of buttons. First on the right is the power button. Next is the Mode button. Press it to cycle between tuner, pitch pipe, and metronome modes.
The next two buttons are marked with arrows pointing right and left. When on the tuner, these buttons change the A frequency - 440 by default.
The right most two buttons are marked with arrows pointing down and up. The arrow pointing down toggles between an automatic or “chromatic” tuning mode where it shows which of the 12 diatonic notes is closest to the sound (7 notes + 5 sharps and flats). Press this button again to turn to guzheng tuning mode. Here you specify the key you are trying to tune to, and the tuner shows the closest string number and the target diatonic note. For example, 8A or 21D.
The left-most button, the one marked with an arrow pointing up, changes the key when in guzheng-tuning mode. It has no effect in chromatic tuning mode.
The Tuning screen shows the reference frequency (usually 440 Hz) the key, if in guzheng mode, and a range of +- 50 cents. Once the tuner picks up a sound, it replaces the Key with the note it is picking up. The range has a bar that moves to indicate how close the sound is to the target pitch. Beneath the display are 3 lights. The two on the ends light up red to indicate the note is flat (left) or sharp (right). The center light shines green when the sound is in tune.
Cycling the mode button lands you on the Pitch Pipe. It displays a note, a reference frequency, and plays the sound of the selected note. The up and down arrow buttons change the note and the left and right arrow buttons change the reference frequency. Pitch Pipe mode cycles through the notes that are part of teh tuning selected in Tuning mode. If Tuning mode is in key of D, the pitch pipe cycles from 1D to 21D, the number indicating the string the pitch corresponds to. If the tuner is in chromatic mode, the pitch pipe cycles through the 12 diatonic notes in octaves 2-6. In this case, 3C is the scientific notation for the C of the 3rd octave on a piano keyboard. Octave 2-6 are the extremes of the range of typical guzheng tunings.
The volume dial at the top of the device changes the loudness of the played tone.
Cycling the mode button lands you on the Metronome. The metronome plays two types of beep- a low pitch to mark the notes and a high pitch to mark the measure. The digital display shows an animation to visualize the timing. The right and left arrows change the Beats Per Minute or BPM. It covers a range from 30 to 280. The down arrow button changes the beat pattern. Patterns are:
One Quarter Note
Two Eighth Notes
Eighth Rest, Eighth Note
One Triplet or Three Eighth notes
One Eighth note, one eighth rest, one eighth note
Four Sixteenth notes
One Sixteenth note, one eighth rest, one sixteenth note
The up arrow button changes the number of quarter notes in the measure. It ranges from 0-9.
The volume dial on the top of the instrument controls how loud the beeps are. There is also a headphone jack so that you can listen to the metronome in private (maybe to keep your neighbors from going crazy from the beeping).
Lastly, there is a little folding stand on the back to help it stay upright on a table.
The screen is dimmer than I would like. It is not backlit.
The multiple uses of the buttons are a little confusing but I can understand the desire to make the device simpler.
The fold out stand on the back is very small, leaving the tuner a little unstable. I wish either the stand was bigger or the bottom of the tuner had a slight rubber coating to prevent the device from slipping or falling over.
Overall, a robust package with everything you need to tune and keep time. The buttons are confusing at first but you quickly remember which does what. The headphone and volume sliders are very nice touches. At around $10-15 this tuner is a great buy especially if you want a metronome. That said, you can find similar devices from other brands for about half that cost, ~$5-6 USD depending on the exchange rate.