Blog » How To: Changing the Concert Pitch (post prod.)

Approx. reading time: 5 minutes

HOW TO: CHANGING THE CONCERT PITCH (POST PROD.)

A blog about using software and/or plugins to change the Concert Pitch. There are various applications (sound/wave editors) and plugins that can be used for changing the Concert Pitch. I am not going to blog about every available piece of software, most applications and plugins work pretty much the same, so I’ll just write something about the most popular applications used by “members” of the “432 Community”.

NOTE: if you like to change both Concert Pitch and Temperament of recorded material then read this article

USING AUDACITY (FREEWARE: WINDOWS, OS X, LINUX)
Website: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/

Audacity is probably the most popular freeware sound editor among members of the “432-Community”. This freeware application is available for all major operating systems (Windows, Mac OS X and Linux). 

Online you can find various blogs, articles and step-by-step instructions how to pitch sound files created using A4=440Hz as Concert Pitch, to the prefered A4=432Hz Concert Pitch. What I have noticed is that the option to “Change Pitch” is suggested by most. Important to mention though, is that when only changing the pitch and not the tempo, there will be resolution loss, and the upper harmonics might sound “fake”.

The better method thus would be to “Change Speed“. When you change the speed of a piece of music, both Tempo and Pitch will change. This method is the equivalent of slowing down a turntable.

HOW TO: CHANGE SPEED

Assuming you do know how to start Audacity and open a sound file, I will get straight to “business” and assume you have loaded the file-to-be-speeded-down in Audacity. So, here’s what you need to do:

STEP 1: 
Select “Change Speed …” (found under the menu topic “Effect“).

Change_Speed_step1_2

STEP 2:
Enter -1.818 at “Percent Change” (check if the “Standard Vinyl RPM” is set to “n/a“). Then press “OK” to implement the Speed Change.

ChangeSpeed-PercentChange

Congrats, you have done it!

Don’t forget to safe and/or export the file in the prefered format (it is best to keep the original format type to prevent additional quality loss). Do check the export “Options” when you export the file to make sure the “Bitrate”, “Quality” and “Channel Mode” is the same as the original.


USING A “CHAIN” (BATCH PROCESSING)

You can make “chains” with Audacity for batch processing. This is convenient if you like to edit multiple files at once.
Scroll down to read how to make a chain yourself.

If this seems too hard for you, then you can download various chains from this website: 
440-to-432-(WAV) | 440-to-432-(MP3) | 440-to-432-(FLAC)

To download: Right-click the link(s) to safe the file(s) to your machine. Place the chain file(s) in the following folder:

  • Windows 2000/XP: Documents and Settings\<user name>\Application Data\Audacity\Chains
  • Windows Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8: Users\<user name>\AppData\Roaming\Audacity\Chains\
  • OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/Chains/
  • Linux: ~/.audacity-data/Chains

 Skip “MAKING THE CHAIN(S) YOURSELF” (below) and continue to “USING THE CHAIN(S)“.

MAKING THE CHAIN(S) YOURSELF:

  • Under “File” select “Edit Chains …”.
  • Click on the button “Add” (under the left column).
  • Enter the name of your chain, for example: “440-to-432-MP3”.
  • Click on the button “Insert” (under the right column).
  • Double Click “ChangeSpeed” and click on the button “Edit Parameters”.
ChangeSpeed-doubleclick
  • Enter “-1.818” at the “Percent Change” and press “OK”.
ChangeSpeed-PercentChange
  • Click once more on “OK” button to add the Command to the chain.
  • Click once more on the button “Insert” (under the right column) to add the export format to the chain.
  • For this part of this “How To” we double-click “ExportMp3” and press ok. The “ExportMp3” will be added under the “ChangeSpeed” to the chain. If the “ExportMp3” ends up above the “ChangeSpeed” in the chain, then use the “Move Up” or “Move Down” button to correct the order in the chain.
  • Press on the “OK” button to finish the edit and you will be ready to use it.
Saving-Chains

USING THE CHAIN(S):

  • Under “File” select “Apply Chain …” to select a Chain. For this example we will use the mp3 chain, our source files were mp3, and thus exporting it as such.
Apply-chain
  • Click on “Apply to Files …” to browse to the folder containing the files, select the files and click on “Open”.
  • 2 small windows will pop-up, one with the cue list with files, another one displaying the processing.
  • IMPORTANT: the processed exports will be stored in a folder called “cleaned” inside the folder containing the selected (original) files. 
  • When the processing has been done, select “Close” under “File“. Audacity will ask you if you like to “Safe Changes?”. Press the buttonNo“. The chain has already exported (and closed) the processed files, to safe an “empty session” would be useless.

Save-Changes-No(1)

SOME FOOTNOTES:

1) Close any files you might have opened before applying a chain.

2) Keep in mind that when exporting Audacity will use the settings last used for exporting a particular format.

  • In order check/change the quality settings, you should load a file and click on “Export …” (Shift+Control+E).
  • A window will pop-up where you can select the format. Under the “pull-down” format menu you can find the “Options …” button. This button will trigger a small window to appear, where you can set/change the “setup” for format(s) you like to use. After you have modified the setup, press “Ok” to close the small window.
  • “Cancel” the “Export Window”, after all, we did not need to export anything, just check/change the settings.
  • Close the loaded file (without saving)

3) Chose the same format to safe the piece with as the original, conversion between different formats requires additional processing and can cause loss of sound quality. There is no use to convert a lower quality format to a higher quality format. If the original was MP3, then there is no use to select the 440 to 432 Flac or Wave chain, you would only change the size of the file, but not the sound quality.


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