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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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    Thanks for all the replies and sorry for my delay in replying. I have windows 10 on my studio pc. I have never tried Reaper. I have used Cubase 5 for writing music for years but have only just considered using it for speed correction and looking at the functions. I will do some research on Reaper.

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    I downloaded Reaper last weekend and only had time to flick through the top menus.. Is Elastique an add on or is it buried within the standard evaluation copy of Reaper?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cymbeline View Post
    I downloaded Reaper last weekend and only had time to flick through the top menus.. Is Elastique an add on or is it buried within the standard evaluation copy of Reaper?
    Read what I said about it above. It's incorporated into the GUI.
    There's no evaluation version either. It's the same app. No demo restrictions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimfisheye View Post
    Read what I said about it above. It's incorporated into the GUI.
    There's no evaluation version either. It's the same app. No demo restrictions.
    To be fair to @Cymbeline, the GUI for Reaper can be a bit opaque. I'm an experienced audio software user, and I find its "modal" menu system difficult enough to navigate that I just stuck with the tools I'm more familiar with.

    So, re-reading JFE's instructions, I would guess (without Reaper in front of me) that you are not going to find Elastique obviously identified as such just be skimming through top-level menus. It's an effect, and again inferring from JFE's description, it's built-in at the clip level. So, load your audio file into a track in Reaper, it should appear as a clip and look at JFE's instructions about the clip properties. Then drag away. Looks like no menus are involved.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snagu View Post
    To be fair to @Cymbeline, the GUI for Reaper can be a bit opaque...
    No argument there. It's only the most comprehensive DAW app available...

    GUI = Graphic User Interface = the stuff you see on the screen

    Audio item = The reference to the audio file that you see on the screen

    Non destructive style audio work:
    You can slice up, drag the ends, etc of the audio item and it doesn't directly do that to the file itself. (Hence "non destructive"). That means you can redo stuff, start over, tweak until you have everything just right. At the end you render a new audio file from what you've done.

    So...

    Elastique Pro is integrated into the GUI.
    You option-drag the item edge to expand/shrink the audio.
    I tried to spell out the steps above from selecting items, to setting the veri-speed mode for the selected items to the instruction to option-drag the edges to expand/shrink them for the veri-speed move.

    Yes, Reaper is comprehensive and has literally thousands of commands and functions! You only need to learn what you need to use.
    The part where you simply have to option-click-drag an audio item edge to resize it and you can do that while the play head moves and tune it like a guitar makes this pretty slick and simple to use once you learn just a few things to get started. No more make a guess, process, evaluate it, start over if it was incorrect (because it's lossy), and the final work is still lossy. In Reaper, pull up a tone generator for a pitch reference. Drag that item edge while it plays and tune it like an instrument. Render the final result. Need to go back and make a small tweak? You can pick up where you left off because the process is lossless. The final result is lossless.


    Now this is fiddly stuff for sure and it's not for everyone! But if you're going down this road, you just might like Reaper.
    There are a lot more unintuitive apps and complex apps I see people using too. Izotope RX is significantly more complex to use than Reaper and spectral audio editing and noise reduction use is about as complex as it gets for audio work (to use successfully and do no damage). Reaper is just a DAW app and you can keep it simple if you wish. Slice and dice and manage audio files. Keep them lossless. Learn a couple moves and you can add digital lossless veri-speed correction to your bag of tricks.

    PS.
    "clip" = "audio item" as Snagu used the term.
    Protools changed their term for item from "region" to "clip" a while back right? (Because "region" means saved time selection in most other DAWs.)

    Um... Reaper is even more complex with menu commands actually...
    Those commands in the top menus? Those are only a small subset that happen to be in the menus by default. Reaper commands are called "actions". Take a look at the Action menu and list. The action list is actually all the Reaper commands available. Only a few of the more commonly used actions are put in the menus by default. And you are allowed to edit any of the menus to your liking as well as any keyboard shortcuts. There are thousands of actions... that you never need to learn!
    Last edited by jimfisheye; 2019-05-09 at 02:07 PM.

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