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Ok, so, just the other day I recorded something and went to play it back; and realized it was sharp! The thing that was played back came back over 30 cents sharp! This happened both in Audition and on basic Sound Recorder. I restarted and all that happy jazz, ran some defrag and anti-virus stuff on my fairly new Dell laptop to make sure nothing was clogging it up. But to no avail, I can't get it to go away.

I've provided a recording so you can hear what I'm talking about. I think, when I played along on my keyboard, the track is about 40 cents sharp! It's a little rendition of "Bolero" via classical alto sax. I think it sounds pretty good, too bad it's friggin sharp, lol.

If anyone out there might have an idea as to what is causing this...let me know, please! Thanks!

http://download.yousendit.com/0D5CC8E16AE04A82
 

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maybe it's playing back at 48khz when it's supposed to be 44.1?

edit: although that would probably make a larger difference than 40 cents
 

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princeganon said:
maybe it's playing back at 48khz when it's supposed to be 44.1?

edit: although that would probably make a larger difference than 40 cents
No. Recording at 48k and 44.1 won't make a difference in pitch. If it's recorded at 44.1k and you try to play back at 48k, you will not get a pitch change. What will happen is 1) your play back system won't play it at all because the sample rates are different, or 2) it will automatically convert the sample rate to the current sample rate and play back as it should.

My guess is that you had some kind of pitch shift plug-in, or feature enabled. Or possibly a time shift feature. Check your configuration settings in the DAW system that you are using.

You may also have just been playing sharp. Maybe your tuner got recalibrated.
 

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JCBigler said:
No. Recording at 48k and 44.1 won't make a difference in pitch. If it's recorded at 44.1k and you try to play back at 48k, you will not get a pitch change. What will happen is 1) your play back system won't play it at all because the sample rates are different, or 2) it will automatically convert the sample rate to the current sample rate and play back as it should.
yes, that is what is SUPPOSED to happen. not always the case though. for example, if i play an mp3 file and while it's playing, i open a soft synth and change the settings to a different sample rate, now the mp3 file is playing back at the wrong speed. it's not supposed to happen, but i've seen things played back at the wrong sample rate quite a few times. It can also happen if a program changes the sample rate, but fails to change it back on exit (or crash.)

sure, it might not be the most likely thing, but no more unheard of than accidently turning on a pitch shifting plugin.
 

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JPSaxMan- just for clarification, what is the first note supposed to be? and when you say it happens in both audition and the sound recorder, do you just mean that it plays back the file sharp in both, or that you actually tried to record in both?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Prince,

The first note is a concert Bb. I know I'm not playing sharp; I'm in tune (not 40 cents sharp) when I'm playing the recording. I know it's not on my end; it has been before but not now. Umm...as far as I know I have no pitch shifts plugged in, I rarely use pitch shifting/modulation options in Audition...but where do I go to check that? I recorded and played back both in Audition and on Sound Recorder. Both had the same results. So it's not like I have something turned on or off in Audition or vice versa.
 

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You have to do some experimenting to eliminate various possibilites.

It's not your playback system. I downloaded the mp3, and it is sharp. Do you save the file as an mp3 or do you save it as a wav and then convert it? If the latter, is the wav file also sharp? If so, the problem is somewhere in your recording setup. If the former, try the latter and then check the wav file. If the wav file is okay, then the problem is in your mp3 encoder. If the wav file is sharp, the problem is somewhere in the recording setup.

The real clue is that it happens with Sound Recorder, so it cannot be an inadvertant plugin. That conclusion assumes that the wav or mp3 produced by Sound Recorded is sharp.
 

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I can't think of ANY way that the pitch changes in a digital recording setup, unless you had/have a pitch correction plugin or changed the bpm of the track.
 

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i stand by my original claim that it's a sample rate problem. The only other explanation that's even possible is that you have some sort of EAX type onboard soundcard effect enabled, which seems unlikely since the file plays back sharp for everyone. My guess is that if you uninstall and then reinstall your soundcard drivers, the problem will go away.

there are a very limited number of reasons why a digital file would record or playback at the wrong pitch, and i think they've all been covered.
 

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JP,

I'm gonna chime in with the sample rate issue. Its been known to happen when uploading to Soundclick and during their conversion process. Did you encodce to mp3 from Audition? What codec did you use? it could also be a CBR, vs VBR issue as well, but I'm just shooting from the hip.
 

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For everyone here racking their brains, why don't you give us a run-down of everything you're using to make the recording. Please answer these questions and add additional information if I miss anything:

What kind of microphone are you using?

What components are you going through to get to (I assume) your computer (i.e. a mixer, an effects unit, effects pedals, a compressor, a DI box, a firewire converter, etc. Please be specific with brand names and models).

What kind of sound card are you using?

What model processor do you have in the Dell computer?

What software are you using (rev. level if applicable as well)?


Some things to look at:
First, do you see this on every recording? I would try recording something from your keyboard. Your keyboard will likely use a 1/4" cord instead of (what I'm assuming is) an XLR cable. If it works then try recording your sax using a simple "imp" to convert the XLR to 1/4" and check your results. The other plus here is that your keyboard is going to be in-tune with itself so you can easily test it (I used to tune tape deck speeds this way).

Beyond that, peel the onion - remove external components to see if the problem goes away. Try the simple WAV recorder on your PC to see if it has the same issues. If not then it's something in your recording software. If it still has the same problem, maybe you have problems with your sound card or interface.

I am not an expert here but I do know that it will help everyone who knows a lot more than I do if you can give as much detail about your setup as possible. Good luck.
 

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Giganova said:
I can't think of ANY way that the pitch changes in a digital recording setup, unless you had/have a pitch correction plugin or changed the bpm of the track.
I can't count the number of times I've said such a thing to myself when encountering yet another software error, many of which I created myself.

With no more information than we have, my vote is for bugs in the codec during MP3 compression.
 

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I agree that the encoding while converting to a different format could be a likely source for the error.
 

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vermontsax said:
For everyone here racking their brains, why don't you give us a run-down of everything you're using to make the recording. Please answer these questions and add additional information if I miss anything:
Ok, here I go:

What kind of microphone are you using?
Shure SM58 for the sax, but I run it through a preamp to the computer.

What components are you going through to get to (I assume) your computer (i.e. a mixer, an effects unit, effects pedals, a compressor, a DI box, a firewire converter, etc. Please be specific with brand names and models).
Again, I use a Behringer Mic100 preamp...that's it.

What kind of sound card are you using?
The basic one that came with the Dell...I think it's a "Legacy" something or other?

What model processor do you have in the Dell computer?
I have the new Intel Duo Core Processor

What software are you using (rev. level if applicable as well)?
I started off with Adobe Audition (1.5) but then tried the recording in basic Sound Recorder as well.


Some things to look at:
First, do you see this on every recording? I would try recording something from your keyboard. Your keyboard will likely use a 1/4" cord instead of (what I'm assuming is) an XLR cable. If it works then try recording your sax using a simple "imp" to convert the XLR to 1/4" and check your results. The other plus here is that your keyboard is going to be in-tune with itself so you can easily test it (I used to tune tape deck speeds this way).

I actually did that, and the same thing happens!

Beyond that, peel the onion - remove external components to see if the problem goes away. Try the simple WAV recorder on your PC to see if it has the same issues. If not then it's something in your recording software. If it still has the same problem, maybe you have problems with your sound card or interface.

Again, I tried two different recording softwares with the same issue. The one recording software obviously has no plug-in's to enable pitch shifting (Sound Recorder).

I am not an expert here but I do know that it will help everyone who knows a lot more than I do if you can give as much detail about your setup as possible. Good luck.
Thanks, this is driving me absolutely insane!
 

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two things to try.... try recording something that's already on the computer: go into the recording properties of the soundcard volume control and change it so that it's recording "what you hear" instead of the mic. then play back something that sounds correct in one app like an audio cd, and record it in sound recorder.

also, try recording a metronome, and then see if the tempos match up when you play it back so that you know if it's just messing up the pitch, or the time as well. my guess is both.

i think we can eliminate some of the possibilities:

  • It can't be faulty compression if it happens in sound recorder, because it uses no compression.
  • it can't be a plugin because no such plugin exists for sound recorder.
  • i don't think the onboard audio on a dell has any kind of real time effects that can be enabled, so that's also unlikely.

it shouldn't be hard to download the audio drivers from dell and reinstall them. i bet it fixes your problem.
 

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Are you running your laptop on battery when you record?

I still think it's something in the DAW. I've never used the Sound Recorder app that comes with Windows, because, like almost everything else that comes stock on a Windows PC, it sucks. But you do realize that there is an increase speed/decrease speed option in the Sound Recorder menu--under "effects", right?

Go get Audacity and see if the problem persists. Don't mess around with .mp3 conversion. Record a standard 16-bit 44.1k wave file.

The microphone type and model, preamp model, cable type, CPU model, sound card model, etc... all have nothing to do with the pitch of the recording.

If you record something at 16-bit 48k, and try to play it back with a standard media player, it will either play it back correctly, or not play it at all because the bit-rate, or sample rate is too high.

This is NOT analog tape we're talking about here. The sample rate that is recorded has nothing to do with the play back pitch. Pitch shifting capabilities is a fairly advanced and complex process which requires lots of CPU horse power.

If your recording is playing back at the original speed, at a different pitch, then you have enabled some kind of pitch correction somewhere. If your recording is playing back at a higher speed, at a higher pitch, then you have enabled some kind of speed correction.

The only other possibility is that you have your clock speed set wrong in the BIOS. restarts your computer, press (I think) F10, and go into your system set up and make sure that your clock speed is set correctly, and that it is not set to a lower speed. Also change the battery in your motherboard (probably a CR2032 type battery). If the battery is low or dead, it will not save your current set up parameters, and will default to a lower clock speed upon start up as a safety measure. Replacing the battery will ensure that your settings will be saved upon reboot.
 

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JCBigler said:
This is NOT analog tape we're talking about here. The sample rate that is recorded has nothing to do with the play back pitch. Pitch shifting capabilities is a fairly advanced and complex process which requires lots of CPU horse power.
pitch shifting (changing pitch without changing tempo) is indeed a fairly complex process. but playing something back at the incorrect sample rate (changing both pitch and tempo) can be an extremly simple process and one that CAN get screwed up from time to time. and playing back something at the wrong sample rate without compensating for the time and pitch ends up with results EXACTLY like playing back analog tape does. obviously, this isn't supposed to happen. the differences between sample rates are supposed to be compensated for, but sometimes things get messed up.

you can keep telling me it never happens, but you are simply wrong. it does. i've seen it. If, for example, the files he is recording are being tagged with the incorrect sample rate (because of a problem with the sound card drivers most likely) they would then play back at the wrong pitch and tempo on any computer.

these types of problems are relatively rare, but a hell of a lot more plausible than accidently turning on a pitch shifting plugin in one app, and then accidently using a post process time stretch effect in another app (and by some huge coincidence having accidently set them to produce similar pitch differences.)

Ironically, the last scenario you describe, with the clock speed being set wrong, IS exactly the type of problem you keep telling me doesn't exist - a sample rate problem. it is, however, unlikely as it would not cause a speed or pitch issue on his computer (but it would if he tried to play it back on another computer.)
 

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princeganon said:
  • It can't be faulty compression if it happens in sound recorder, because it uses no compression.
Yes it does if you tell it to. File/Properties/Recording Formats/Convert Now/Attributes. We can't eliminate compression because the original poster has not answered these essential questione:
  1. Does it happen if you save the file as a .wav and do not convert to mp3?
  2. Does playback speed change proportionately with pitch?
Until he answers those questions, everything points to faulty compression. And he hasn't run a comprehensive set of tests to eliminate all the things that could go wrong. We're just whistling in the dark.
 

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JPSaxMan,

Here's what I would check:

See if there are independant sample rate settings for the soundcard and software. From what I read it definately seems like it could be a sample rate issue. I've had instances where hardware / software for whatever reason did not "set up" properly, and ended up with an audio file that in its header said it was at a specific sample rate, but where it actually was a different one.

Check the hardware: does it have separate settings (separate from recording software) for sample rate. Some hardware come with their own software utility that's used not for recording but for changing settings on the hardware.

Then do the same for software.
 
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