How do we play CDs and mp3s at variable speed?
January 19, 2004 8:01 PM   Subscribe

My dance group is looking for a way to play CDs at variable speeds. There are a few variable speed CD players on the market, or, it's likely that a laptop could be used to play CDs and .mp3s at variable speed. (Variable speed is really useful for teaching dances.) We have raised $600 so far. Experiences? Recommendations?
posted by theora55 to Technology (8 answers total)
There are several Winamp plugins (go to and search Plugins for "tempo") that will allow you to change the playback speed and keep pitch (more or less) the same. Judging by the comments people have left on the plugin pages, some work vastly better than others, so spend some time experimenting.

If worst comes to worst, you could use an ordinary boombox (better yet, an MP3-playing boombox), but use Winamp at home to burn CDs with, e.g., 120bpm, 140bpm and 160bpm versions of each song.
posted by Aaorn at 8:35 PM on January 19, 2004

GarageBand lets you change the tempo of things you import (mp3, aac, etc) and keeps the pitch the same, it's pretty easy. and you can have a metronome, and a sultry latin beat. Ha, I don't know what's involved in dancing.
posted by rhyax at 8:50 PM on January 19, 2004

Denon, would be my brand of choice for a CD player with pitch control. We have been using two of these for years and never had the slightest problem with either of them and believe me, they have had hard lives!
posted by Tarrama at 9:10 PM on January 19, 2004

Pioneer also makes CD players (ostensibly for DJ use) where you can change the pitch and speed of the songs. They are very well made and have been making DJ cd players longer than Denon has.
posted by gen at 10:47 PM on January 19, 2004

There's a simple Mac OS shareware program called The Amazing Slow Downer that does what you're looking for. It can play directly from the CD-ROM drive or from an existing audio file.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:36 PM on January 19, 2004

As previously mentioned - Pioneer make some very good (and very expensive CD players with pitch control) - also Denon make some (which I use every week) - but these are generally dual CD - with the controller or head unit seperate from the drawers and transport.

Pioneer do a very small CD pitch controlled CD player - I think the CDJ100 - which is excellent - I have used this a club environment and the controls and display work really well...
posted by mattr at 3:03 AM on January 20, 2004

Response by poster: Pitch is not an issue. I only need to be able to vary the speed of the music. A bit slower when teaching, up to tempo for dancing. Our old var. speed record player probably alters the pitch, but it hasn't been a problem. I'll look into the Pioneer (CDJ-100S) and Denon. Thanks for all the info.
posted by theora55 at 3:49 PM on January 20, 2004

The CDJ 100 is a lovely little unit. I've been using one for four years now, and it sounds exactly like what you want. They're about $300 new.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 7:05 PM on January 20, 2004

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