It sounds awesome, unless it doesn't! How is the perceived pitch of my recording changing on different sound systems?
August 15, 2012 6:32 PM Subscribe
My recording sounds fine on some sound systems, but occasionally seems off-pitch on other setups. I have no idea what's going on. Help me understand this, and prevent it in future?
posted by Someone Else's Story to media & arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I wrote & recorded the music for a wedding I'm attending this weekend, and I'm quite proud of it, so I've been playing it for various friends as we visit them. I'm baffled and a bit horrified by something that's been happening.
The piece sounds just fine on some audio setups - from laptop speakers and my iPhone to my monitor headphones and fairly high-level sound systems - but on other sound systems it sounds like my vocals are slightly off-pitch in a couple of places. The pitch issues, if they're there, are in specific places that are consistent each time (including one in the opening line, ack!), so there is some pattern to this. They're slight enough that most listeners apparently couldn't hear them, but I certainly can, and expect other musicians would as well.
I'm an experienced performer and session vocalist, so naturally I checked the pitch on all the vocal tracks as I recorded them. They sounded fine on my monitor headphones and the various devices I played it back on before finalising the piece.
From playing around on my audiophile partner's fancy amp, it seemed like the more processing the amp did, the more likely the pitch issues were to show: it sounded fine in "Pure Audio" mode, but worse as I moved into the PLIIx, THX and Neo:6 modes (not necessarily in that order). But I don't understand what's going on here - I'm a classical musician who's still learning electronic music-making, and very new to mixing & production, so I'm wondering what I've done to create this oddly inconsistent effect?
Of course, now I'm paranoid that the sound system at the venue is of the sort that makes my voice sound off-key. My recording gear is at home and I'm not, so I can't really do much about this before the wedding! I'm also concerned that this could be an issue with other things I've recorded - I cringe to think that some of the music I've been sending into the world might actually play as off to some people.
Please give me your thoughts, and any reassurance you can offer?
I'm afraid I'm unlikely to understand high-level audio-engineering jargon; this really isn't my field (yet). Still, I'm hoping someone can shed light on this strange situation - the better to avoid it in future!