How do I slow down sound playback without changing its pitch?
December 6, 2004 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a software that will allow me to take a passage of music and slow it down but not change the pitch. [more inside]

The main problem I'm having with the software I've used, is that when it slows the music down, its distorted (almost a flanging/phasing type effect) and doesn't allow me to pick out the part I'm trying to learn (this is for some particularly difficult guitar solos that I have to learn). What software would my fellow Mefites recommend. I've tried SlowGold and Guitar/Drum Trainer 2 but both suck. The new Windows Media Player allows this too but not as flexible.
posted by KevinSkomsvold to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This previous thread may be of some assistance. There's also a WinAmp plug-in that can accomplish the same.
posted by Danelope at 12:43 PM on December 6, 2004

This is a common artifact from most pitch-shifting algorithms (after all, slowing the music "without changing the pitch" really means slowing down the music and correcting the pitch). While in school, I worked with hardware and software that avoids this (e.g., Symbolic Sound's Kyma on a Capybara sound processor), but unfortunately, I don't really know what's going on with consumer-level stuff.
posted by Eamon at 12:52 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks Danelope!
(And on preview Eamon)

I'm particualrly interested in the sound quality of the slowed passage. Is the bad quality simply something I'll have to live with or is this a filtering/hardware/other limitation?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:53 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: Wow Eamon, that Kyma stuff looks simply awesome! Wish I was a Mac person.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:56 PM on December 6, 2004

Oh, it is, although I haven't used it to actually make music: just sound. I wish I was a rich person.
posted by Eamon at 1:01 PM on December 6, 2004

I've gotten really high-quality realtime results from the Chronotron 3 plugin for WMP and Winamp. Really minimal artifacting and flange. There's a downloadable trial version available, and costs $26 bucks to register. (A side note, Chronotron 2 was once a free Winamp-only plug-in without the pitch-scaling capability, and maybe you'll be able to track down a copy somewhere)
posted by drumcorpse at 1:02 PM on December 6, 2004

The Amazing Slow Downer.
posted by Mars Saxman at 1:05 PM on December 6, 2004

Mars Saxman, I really prefer the output of the Chronotron to the RoniMusic SlowMeDown plugin. I know the $26 isn't as cheap as free, but I was in a similar situation to KevinSkomsvold's a while ago and had the time to do a few hours worth of comparison between the currently available free tools, and the Chronotron really shined (of course, this was back when it was free...).
Anyway, a few other things to consider, if the source of the audio you're slowing down is an MP3, the artifacts of that lossy compression will be magnified, so use an uncompressed source if possible. And if you really don't have the money (support small developers!), you could always just google for the original Cronotron 2 install file, "Chronotron_II.exe"... I'm sure you'll be able to find it, just not from an official source. So, you know, virus-scan and all that.
On preview, hm, looks like the RoniMusic plugin isn't free anymore either.
posted by drumcorpse at 1:30 PM on December 6, 2004

I've probably said it before here a bunch of times, but for a simple, free audio editor I always turn to Goldwave
posted by soplerfo at 1:35 PM on December 6, 2004

Best answer: I use Transcribe! for this, it's availlable for windows, mac, and linux. It's pay software, but you can evaluate it for 30 days free. Definitely worth the £25.

I use it almost daily and have never had a problem with it. Besides being stable as a rock, the interface is clean and has all the features I need.

There is a certain amount of distortion, I don't know if there's much you can do about that. There's less here than in other products I've tried.
posted by beowulf573 at 1:44 PM on December 6, 2004

Acid express is free and should do the trick.
posted by pompomtom at 1:46 PM on December 6, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks much all. I have many more resources and things to check out than I did yesterday. I appreciate your help.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:21 PM on December 6, 2004

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