Introducing Leshy Tuner

Posted by Doug Haber on 2013-05-10

Leshy Tuner is a chromatic instrument tuner. It can be used for tuning guitars and other instruments. It works using audio input (such as a microphone) from your computer or other device. Leshy Tuner makes use of functionality introduced with new web standards, and so it works just by going to a web page with no needed plugins.

Since this application makes use of very new web standards, it may not work without a little effort. If you have trouble, please look below for some notes on how to get this working.

Update: A new version of Leshy Tuner is available with support for being used as a web widget. See HERE for details.

Click here to launch Leshy Tuner

Troubleshooting

(Updated 3/29/14)
What browsers are supported?

When Leshy Tuner was originally released, only Chrome Canary supported Web Audio Input. Things have gotten better though, and now the main releases of Chrome, Firefox, and their mobile equivalents all work to varying degrees.

While a variety of browsers do now work, this is still a relatively new feature, and the recommended browser is Google Chrome. In general, it seems to perform the best and work the most reliably. Over time support will keep improving, and this should work better everywhere. If you are having issues, please make sure you are using an up to date version of your web browser.

When the page loads it doesn't ask for permission

If you are using a browser with support for web audio input then it should prompt for asking for permission for the page to access your microphone. If you ever clicked "deny" then this message may not appear moving forward. In recent Chrome versions in the URL bar you'll see a camera with a red X through it. Clicking on that will allow you to stop denying it. In some browser versions it may be necessary to go into your settings or preferences to undo a denial.

After granting permission the page doesn't respond to audio activity

This can be caused by a number of issues:
  • Is your microphone volume high enough and not muted?
  • Do you have the correct audio device selected. In Chrome, a video camera may appear in the URL bar that will allow you to select input devices when clicked.
  • Some people reported that in certain versions of Chrome on Windows only worked when the microphone's default sample rate was set to certain values. Hopefully that is resolved in newer versions of the browser.
  • If you go to chrome://flags in the URL bar, look for a "Web Audio Input" setting. If that exists, make sure it is enabled. Any changes will require restarting the browser.
  • In Linux, audio input in Chrome seems to require PulseAudio.
The tuner is too jumpy or not accurate enough

The detection algorithm used here isn't perfect, but generally works well enough. The octave listed may be wrong, but that doesn't matter much when using the application as a guitar tuner. I've had good luck testing it with various guitars and a ukulele. I did find that on a 12 string guitar the low E was very difficult to get a steady reading on, but otherwise I was able to tune everything without issue.

The microphone and its configuration makes a huge difference. Make sure your system's microphone volume is at a good level. Being set too high or low could make readings difficult. The position of your instrument relative to the microphone also matters a lot, so try out different distances and possibly angles. Also, background noise could make it difficult to get a good reading, so this is best used somewhere quiet, or if that is not possible, with an instrument going through a line-input instead of a microphone.

Once detection was working reasonably enough for tuning guitars I stopped working on improving it. Further refinements of the detection algorithm definitely are possible. It should also be completely possible to fix the incorrect octave / harmonic issues that happen. If there is enough interest I may work more on improving this further.

Click here to launch Leshy Tuner

Credits

Kyle Hubert contributed code that helped significantly improve the accuracy of the detection.

Judy Shimmin Haber designed the graphics and cover art for this application. To see more of her work go to jhabergraphics.com.



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