Sunday, March 10, 2013

Behringer BTR2000 review

Today i'm doing a review on the Behringer BTR2000 19" rack tuner. This device received very mixed critics, so i just had to check it myself. The price (69 €, new) is unbeatable in the rack tuner range and there are some unique features to the BTR2000, but the question is: is this a good piece of gear or just a cheap piece of frustration?

We'll find out!

Alright! Let's take a look at the unit from scratch:

  • The Behringer BTR2000 is a 19" rack tuner for guitars and basses. It supports multiple tunings, like for standard guitar tuning, or a 6 string bass guitar, a banjo, and others. Chromatic tuning as well, of course. This is actually already more than i need in a guitar rack tuner, but there's much more to it. 
  • The tuner has a built in metronome, which can be adjusted both by manual input via the big wheel-knob or by tapping. 
  • The lower front side of the tuner is slightly stretched to front, so the 4 built in LED's will light your rack very well. 
  • The tuner has 2 instrumental inputs on the back panel, as well as one input on the front (which will cut the signal of the back's 1st input, if you need to instantly tune another instrument and don't want to deconstruct your rack) very practical.It has also 2 outputs, so in theory you could use it as a guitar splitter.
  •  The tuner has even a built-in microphone, so you theoretically do not even need to plug any cables in to the tuner. Awesome! 
  • The actual tuning display takes only 1/3 of the front panel space, but it is lighted very well and the user will be able to see his instrument's tuning from a decent distance. The tuning scale can also be switched from normal to fine tune, which means a scale difference from +/- 50 cents to +/-10 cents. Impressive.
  • A small display above the tuner display shows the note that is currently being played.
  • Last, but not least: the BTR2000 even has 2 footswitch jacks, for mute or mute/input channel select respectively. 

The first impression is: WOW!. All these features make sense and the overall concept is really great. And only 70 €? Doesn't it all sound too great to be real? Well. this is the point where we get to the practice.


A tuner is a very important piece of equipment, especially when it comes to recording. You want all your instruments to be tuned via one device, so they are in tune with each other and that's where practice goes different ways with theory. The response time and accuracy with a standart tuned electric guitar (EADGBE) were both alright. First problem shows up when i tried to tune my bass guitar. On the D and G strings both time and accuracy were OK, but on the A string the response time rises dramatically. The E string was really hard to tune at all. The 6 string bass guitar tuning scale of the BTR2000 didn't do any better. This is a big disappointment to any bass player, especially to those who play lowered tunings.

What i DO like about the Behringer BTR2000:

The overall concept is really great and musician-oriented. Features like the rack lighting and metronome work perfectly. The cheapest rack lighting + metronome will cost you 70 € already, not to mention, that they'll take more space than one HU (height unit) of your rack. I also like how the BTR2000 looks. Multiple inputs are also a great feature. The tuner is acceptable (not great at all, but acceptable) for electric guitars with standart tuning. The display reads very well, even from long distance.

What i DO NOT like about the Behringer BTR2000:

Most important of all, the actual tuner function of this device is a major disappoinment for a bass guitar. It also causes minor problems when tuning a down-tuned electric guitars. The power cable is soldered to the device, which could cause problems if the cable is out of function. I'd really like the display to be larger. This would make the fine/normal scale switching obsolete and imho look much better. The tuner should be connected to a separate signal chain, so it doesn't effect the sound of the instrument. This beeing said, it should be done with any other tuner as well, if possible. Also, the metronome volume should be a little louder, so in practice it's only usable if you route the metronome signal to an external device (a mixer with PA) to adjust the click volume.


Who will find this device usable?
All in all it's good for guitar players, playing in standart tuning. It still works for down-tuned guitars but with worse response time. It is quite usable for rehearsal and gigs. For a recording situation i'd pick something else, like the Boss TU-3, which is a floor pedal, but with much better response time and accuracy. Bass players would not be able to use this piece of gear properly at all.

What makes this device stand out from similar products?
Obviously the BTR2000 is packed with some great additional features like the lighting and the metronome. All brought into 1 Rack unit space. The price is unbeatable as well. The cheapest device of this class would cost 3-4 times as much. But will be a much better tuner. You still get more than you pay for, but this sadly only applies to additional features, not to the actual purpose of this device.

Would i buy this product?
Most time, the only tuner that i use is my own ears. During rehearsals i only need one single note kindly provided by Sariola's keyboard player Morgan. Since i'm building my guitar rig from scratch and got the BTR2000 for 40 € it is OK for me, especially because of the other features. So i see the actual tuner as a bonus feature and the lighting and metronome as the main function. For a professional reliable tuner i would however grab something else without any doubt. Sorry Mr. Behringer. I am using a lot of Behringer's stuff and they have a lot of decent products for a small price. I do hope that one day they'll create a new version of this device with improved metronome functionality.


I would gladly shell out twice as much for a device like this on the condition, that the tuner would work properly. I'd also wished that the tuner scale display would be larger. However, in this price range, you won't find anything nearly as versatile as the BTR2000. On the other hand it is a god damn tuner in the first line and it should do a lot better.

To make it short:
For guitars: Great concept, mediocre tuner.
For bass: Great concept, unusable tuner.

Stay tuned!

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