Most guitar players would benefit from a humble metronome for practice, but with the prevalence of apps for smartphones and tablets now doing the job, the standalone metronome might be a thing of the past.
"With the prevalence of apps for smartphones now doing the job, the standalone metronome/tuner might be a thing of the past"
Korg clearly disagrees: its latest unit, the TMR-50 (available in a black- or white-hued plastic case) is not much bigger than a smartphone, and it combines a metronome, tuner (with calibration from 410 to480Hz) and a mono digital recorder (which records .wav files, with an internal memory up to 120MB).
It runs off two supplied AAA batteries, features a clear backlit LCD display and can be placed upright via a rather flimsy flip-out plastic stand.
Using either the onboard mic or jack input, tuning is straightforward for both electric or acoustic instruments; the MR-50 can also output reference tones, if required. The metronome is more involved, with time signature options and tap tempo.
The recorder is simple enough, too, but level control is automatic (you can't change it) although, once recorded, you can loop a phrase to zone in on while practising. You can also pull off files via a USB connection, but, unfortunately, the audio quality via the mic is noisy and low-level.
As a tuner/metronome with a basic sketch pad recorder, the TMR-50 is fine. The trouble is that, with the increase of these types of facilities for our smartphones and tablets, this type of product is becoming far from essential - especially when the audio quality of the recorder is so low - and you can purchase a lot of music-making apps for £79.