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Review of New D’Addario NS Micro Tuner

Last year I reviewed old and new chromatic tuners I owned. Among the new tuners I reviewed were Planet Waves NS Mini Headstock Tuner and the Snark SN-8 Chromatic Tuner. Well, I just purchased the newest NS tuner and have some comparisons to make to my previous review.

NS Mini

I really liked the NS Mini. It clipped onto the headstock with the display in back, almost invisible to an audience. It was easy to read and use. But it wasn’t perfect. For example, the plastic ratchet type adjustment of the clip was difficult to use. The clip would not adjust tight enough to fit my Kala Tenor Ukulele which has a thinner than standard headstock. You couldn’t use the clip on the top of the headstock because the display would be upside down. Finally, it was meant to stay put on a single instrument and not be moved from one instrument to another. Still, at only about $15 each you start to think about getting a tuner for every stringed instrument you owned. I’m not there yet, but getting closer.

NS Micro

The new NS Micro Tuner is better in almost every way. It is smaller. Always good as long as the display is still easy to read – which it is. The ratchet that adjusts how tight the tuner fits on the headstock now has a release button to make it easier to put on or remove – it still isn’t designed to be transferred though. The Micro Tuner now fits my thin headstock Kala ukulele. The controls are more intuitive to use. A new button flips the display so you can now use the tuner on the top or back of the headstock on left or right handed instruments (the display swivels) and have the readout displayed correctly.

NS Micro Battery Replacement

I purchased a two pack and was disappointed to discover the battery was dead in one of my two new tuners. It takes the common button battery size CR2032. There were no instructions with the package and no downloadable manual online. The online demo did not include how to replace the batteries. There aren’t that many ways you can try – but because I dropped the battery holder, I had to work through which way the battery went back in. So here’s a picture of the correct orientation for battery replacement.


25 thoughts on “Review of New D’Addario NS Micro Tuner”

  1. Dan:

    We’re sorry to hear about the dead battery – shoot me an email and we’ll gladly set you up with a replacement. We’re going to be putting a tab on the battery to prevent the unit from turning on, in the future.

    Don Dawson
    Product Marketing Specialist
    D’Addario / Planet Waves

    1. Thanks for the offer to replace the dead battery. I still love the NS tuners and the new micro is much better than the older mini. I’ll be taking you up on your offer and will send an email once I post this reply. Thanks again.

  2. I have 4 mini headstock tuners on different guitars and with the tuner turned off the battery will die quickly. Happens on each tuner. The tuners are unusable with such short battery life.

    1. Planet Waves (D’Addario) sent me a free replacement battery when they read my review indicating I had received one of the two micro tuners with a dead battery. Interestingly, that same tuner, with dead battery replaced by a fresh one, just had the battery die again (last week). I have three of the tuners (one is the older, larger mini model). So far I’ve had two batteries die, not counting the dead battery in the new tuner. I wonder if there is current leakage and the tuners don’t really turn off. I have other headstock tuners whose batteries last for years. I’ll withhold judgement just now but you may be correct. It’s a shame if true because otherwise they are great little tuners.

  3. My only complaint too. I’ve got the Planet Waves and then got the D’addario hoping the short battery life had been addressed, but 2-mos. with little or no use is my record so far.

  4. This is crazy. No, there are no details on how to open the battery compartment—either on the packing or in the demo video. And you mention that here. And you STILL don’t explain how to open the comparment. I’ve tugged and tugged on it, but I’m afraid I’ll break it. Clues??

    1. I just updated my review of this tuner – the dead battery issue has caused me to no longer recommend it.

      However you and I both have the tuners now and have to live with our choices. I agree that there is no documentation on how to change the battery. I suggest complaining to the manufacturer.

      I did include an image of the open battery compartment hoping that would help those who had the same problem I did. If you look at the image in the article you will see ridges on the left and right sides of the battery compartment. Grab the compartment there (for example thumb on one side and first finger on the other). Hold tightly to the main body (maybe holding the top and bottom between your fingers). Pull. It will come out but it does take some force. How much? My wife wouldn’t trust my advice because she thinks I often apply too much force. You just have to make your own judgement – but the battery holder will come out.

    2. Yes I had the hardest time with the same tuner body on new Banjo shell mount. Tug and pinch resistant and then a hard pull on grip resulted in the carrier and battery BMG lying across the floor. Battery number would be helpful on shell and instructions for opening it at least with the packaging.

  5. Dan, thank you for your post and picture of the battery compartment. I too just purchased one after several of the guys I play with got theirs, and thought the battery was dead. After messing with the compartment, I used a razor blade to gently wedge between the top and bottom of the tray, which “loosened” it up allowing it to slide out. I figured the manufacturing process jams them in too tight. At any rate, I found the plastic battery saver installed during shipping, tore off at the edge, not fully pulling out, thus the battery could not good contact. Once that was solved, I replaced the battery and tray in the device and would you know, it worked! Got to love the internet!

  6. Is there a battery icon on the viewing screen that indicates that the battery is low? I think that I see that on mine and it shows a low battery, otherwise the unit is brand new. Thanks.


    1. I don’t know whether there is a low battery icon. It would be nice if there was. But mine has always gone from working to dead with no warning. Maybe there was a warning before it went dead but if so, I missed seeing it.

  7. Yes..a blinking ‘battery’ icon. Mine has now gone through 2 batteries in less than 2 months. Otherwise a nice tuner.

  8. Is there any difference between CR2032 batteries that are smooth or gridded on the back side. I have loaded a new battery, there’s power, but the tuner isn’t reading the notes, just blinking when the string is plucked. Any ideas?

    1. Remove Battery: Twist the clip so it makes a cross shape, under the base you will see a slot for p
      ulling the battery holder out

  9. Battery life is significantly shorter than other clip on tuners despite the auto power off feature. Consuming too many batteries so I’ve thrown mine in the bin.

    1. Battery made 5 weeks total. Used 3 times for a few minutes each time.
      I will not utilize auto-off feature but power it off manually to see if that has any positive effect on battery life.
      Otherwise a handy little device. For home use I leave it mounted on the violin, it travels ok and fits in case.

  10. I have a Snark clip-on tuner that’s still on it’s original battery. I agree. I’ve had it with these D’Addario tuners. I love their small size but if it’s dead when you need it, it’s worthless.

  11. It’s a cool little tuner when it works but I have the same battery problem in my new NS Micro soundhole tuner… 4 batteries in 1 week. I have been looking for posts about this problem. It can’t be a very common problem or more people would have mentioned it. I have sent mine back to the online seller asking for a new unit. I’m hoping to get one that lasts at least a couple of months. My Intellitouch tuner has been working for 2 years with the original batteries.

  12. I guess this problem is still an issue. I just got mine and it is blinking. As soon as I pulled the plastic off of the battery it started blinking. I’m guessing I’ll send it back to Amazon…

  13. Thank you for letting us know about a battery issue. I looked all over how to change the battery but you are the only one talking about it. Thank you!

  14. My NS Micro is now blinking, indicating a dead battery, so I pulled the battery and tested it on my ZTS Pulse Load battery tester. It says it’s at 60-80% capacity! I wonder if it’s engineered to warn of low power before the battery is actually very low. That could contribute to short battery life.

  15. I searched for instructions to replace the battery. I wound up using my thumbnail to pry one of the ridged corners of the battery slide since pulling on both sides didn’t do a thing.
    As for when to change the battery, I figured when the tuner didn’t stay on longer than 2 minutes, was time to change the battery.
    Funny, I was going to buy one or two more… Until I read how the tuner drains the battery when not in use.
    What’s your choice to replace this NS Micro tuner?

    1. I just purchased a new Snark tuner to replace several broken ones. Snarks are not small like the NS Micro but they are easy to read.

  16. D Addario Micro Tuner Do you also find it strange tuning the B (2nd guitar string) there shows up F# in te display, after one second B appears? Is this a failure?

    1. That’ll be because is picking up a harmonic (5th). Pluck the string in a different place, the problem should stop!

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