I want to tune my piano using an android app. I am not a professional pianist, I just play as a hobby. The problem is that it seems the mobile builtin microphone cannot detect very high or very low frequencies and hence I cannot tune the uppermost and lowermost octaves. Can you suggest any suitable type of microphone for solving this issue? Is there any suitable type for both tuning and medium-quality music recording?


  • 1
    It's probably not the mic. Your app is most likely filtering those frequencies. Maybe it has a setting for that. But that's going to be the least of your problems. Please do some thorough research before you even start.
    – PiedPiper
    Aug 12, 2020 at 14:38
  • Are you limited to whatever works on a phone or can this include a computer?
    – sxmrxzxr
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:12
  • @sxmrxzxr Phone is much more easier to use, but if there is no reasonable option, I can switch to cumputer. Do you think this is a software filtering or soundcard issue and cannot be solved by an external mic? I thought maybe a mic with good freq response could solve this.
    – Saeed Vrz
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:33
  • Can you plug any mic into your phone?
    – Tim
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:38
  • @SaeedVrz This is only for iPhones but I have heard good things about Shure's condenser mic for iOS devices shure.com/en-US/products/microphones/mv88
    – sxmrxzxr
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


The microphones of most smart phones or portable PCs are able to reliably record frequencies between 100Hz and 10kHz. Although a piano can produce bass frequencies well below 100Hz, a useful tuning software does not need to consider them as it can derive enough information from the overtones with higher frequencies. So it depends on the piano tuning app you are using whether the quality of the microphone plays a role.

There are several programs available which use different approaches for measuring and calculating the actual tuning curves:

Entropy Piano Tuner and Dirk's Piano Tuner try to minimize the total entropy of all overtones sounding together. Their developers state that an external high-quality microphone is essential to capture all overtones.

Pianoscope, PianoMeter, Verituner and TuneLab are optimized for smartphones and tablets and do not require the microphones to pick up low frequencies. They achieve a high precision by focusing on higher pitched overtones. TuneLab respects only a single partial per note whereas Pianoscope, PianoMeter and Verituner use a combination of multiple partials.

The actual linearity of the microphone's frequency response does not play a role for the actual tuning process. But Pianoscope and Pianometer additionally measure the intensities of the first ten overtones. From them they derive which tuning intervals to prefer in different parts of the piano range when they calculate their tuning curves. These calculations can be affected by a microphone with a non-linear frequency response. But in practice the variations in the resulting tuning curves are small.

Disclaimer: I am the developer of one of the listed apps.

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