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Thread: Pitch correction

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    Default Pitch correction

    I have a Talk Talk boot that runs slowly and I'd like to be able to play my synths and organs along to it but it's flat. I have Cubase 5 and Audacity which appear to have monophonic pitch correction plug ins for voice. Is there any reasonably priced software that can be used for stereo pitch correction that will sound acceptable and not harm the sound quality?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cymbeline View Post
    I have a Talk Talk boot that runs slowly and I'd like to be able to play my synths and organs along to it but it's flat. I have Cubase 5 and Audacity which appear to have monophonic pitch correction plug ins for voice. Is there any reasonably priced software that can be used for stereo pitch correction that will sound acceptable and not harm the sound quality?
    You haven't mentioned what platform you are on, but I imagine Reaper will be your best bet. Jimfisheye will likely pipe up with some more detailed comments.

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    I'm terrible with figuring out proper speed but I would also second snagu's advice on Reaper. According to jimfisheye the speedcorrection of Elastique Pro, which is inclusive with Reaper, is lossless speedcorrection. If you're used to using a DAW, which I'm not, it should probably be a straightforward process for you. By default I believe there is a tick box to "preserve pitch", which you'll want to untick. Then shorten up the recording until it's in tune and see how it sounds.
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    I recommend Reaper of course.

    Elastique Pro is integrated into the GUI. You can option-drag item edges to stretch (expand or compress) them into tune.

    Make sure you have everything in classic linked speed/pitch veri-speed mode. Nowadays with all the DJ's out there playing their iTunes playlists, the default happens to be the digital trickster separated pitch or speed mode.

    In Reaper:
    Select all the audio items you want to work with.
    Double-click on one of them (opens item properties for all selected).
    Untick the box next to 'preserve pitch when altering tempo' <- Kind of bass ackwards language here! You untick this option to put the selected audio into veri-speed mode.
    Make sure you click 'apply'.

    Now you can option-drag the item edges and tune the audio. You can even stretch/shrink it while it plays and tune it like a guitar.

    I recommend using a tone generator plugin (like the stock JS tone generator plugin) set to the reference note you want as an aid. (Unless you have perfect absolute pitch.)


    Again, note that the default "DJ tricks" mode lets you alter the pitch without altering the tempo or vice versa. This mode is higher quality here than other algorithms but it is NOT what you need for speed correction and would severely mangle the audio beyond any repair. The veri-speed mode is genuinely lossless. If you stretch altered audio back to the same length (exactly in samples) as the original file, it will null 100% with the original file. Even after 100's of stretches back and forth. This means you can tweak.

    There is also a stretch marker system in Reaper that lets you ramp speed up/down over time. When you have the speed changing (like from batteries slowly draining in a tape deck during recording), this lets you dial that in. It's more complex than static changes by just option dragging an item edge. Look this up if you have something with varying speed issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cymbeline View Post
    I have a Talk Talk boot that runs slowly and I'd like to be able to play my synths and organs along to it but it's flat. I have Cubase 5 and Audacity which appear to have monophonic pitch correction plug ins for voice. Is there any reasonably priced software that can be used for stereo pitch correction that will sound acceptable and not harm the sound quality?
    In Audacity: highlight a section of music, go to "effects", select "change speed", and enter a value in the % box; the one on the right. E.g. +3,000%, to speed the music up (and thereby raise the pitch) by three percent. Hit "enter", and you'll have a sped-up version in seconds. If you already know how much correction is needed, you can process a CD's worth of music in a few minutes. Usually, though, you'll have to check, undo, adjust and check again. I have reasonable, not great ears, I play guitar to check the pitch, and I usually go through at least a couple of trial/error fine-tuning steps before I decide I'm "close enough for jazz".

    Example: the music sounds slow, and when I play along, it seems to be inbetween keys, so I highlight a 20-second chunk of the song and try speeding it up +3%, which would be about a quarter tone. I check again, and find it's now a little sharp, so I undo, and try +2,5%, which turns out a hair's breadth too slow/flat again, so I undo that, try +2,6%, and that seems to hit the spot. I undo again, highlight the whole file (song), and speed correct that by +2,6%, so everything is only processed once. Once that is done, I keep the file highlighted, go to the File menu, and "export selected audio" to save a copy of the speed corrected track. Remove track, then repeat the process.

    For old amateur tape recordings, I'll check the first and last song on each tape side, and maybe all of them, and maybe several spots throughout each track to see if the speed varies. Unless it varies significantly, though, I'll just go song by song, using the same value. If the purpose is specifically to play along rather than just listening, you might want to check each track, making sure it sounds good, but this all depends on the source, and your own ears and so on.

    Main takeaway should be that this is pretty fast and easy in Audacity, and at least to my ears, doesn't noticably damage the sound quality; certainly not to an extent that would make an out-of-tune version preferable. Important note: Make sure you use "change speed", and not "change pitch", "change tempo" or - God forbid - "sliding speed/pitch correction".

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