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Best music slow down program?

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  • #16
    Here's an example so that you can compare sound quality:

    FILES

    The link has 8 files, the original Tumeni Notes.wav, and 7 slowed down files as follows. I'll only comment on the software in alphabetical order, but not the sound quality. You can judge for yourselves, and hopefully post your comments

    Audacity: Took a few minutes to open each time, vs. a few seconds. Then crashed, and crashed, and crashed, and crashed. Tumenic is the result of Change Tempo -75%. Tumenid is the result of Change Tempo -50%. Tumenie is the result of Sliding Time Scale -50%. This last one took a few minutes to process, but it's good to have different options.
    Sonic Visualiser (Tumeni a and b): Probably the easiest to operate for slowing the tempo, since it uses a simple knob. It provides the slowest option of all (Tumenib).
    Twisted Wave (Tumeni): Has different quality settings (Good, Better, Best), which is a plus. Higher quality can take a long time, though. I used "Better" and maximum slowdown used. has other options as well (e.g., Voice, Duet, Standard, etc.).
    Wave Editor (Tumeni1): Lacks different levels of quality for slowdown, but it's fast and easy to operate. Maximum slowdown used.

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    • #17
      Transcribe gets my vote.

      Comment


      • #18
        Wave Editor is $69, and it used to cost $250. http://www.audiofile-engineering.com/waveeditor/ (IIRC, Bob Katz praised it over at Gearslutz)
        Twisted Wave costs $79, but it's currently on sale for $39 bundled with 10 additional programs. http://twistedwave.com/

        Both are Mac only, but there are probably more applications like these on the PC side.
        Thanks. Seeing as I have a PC, and Audacity and Transcribe work fine for me (in their respective roles), I won't check you files, and I'll take your word about relative quality. I've tried one two other PC audio editors, but haven't found anything free that's as easy and well featured as Audacity. (I also have Cubase LE, but never use it because Audacity is so much easier.)
        I used to use WaveLab Lite, an old Steinberg freebie, but it doesn't work on Vista.

        There's a couple of drawbacks I will mention about Audacity (for other readers): the older version (1.2.4) won't display VST plugin interfaces (just uses sets of generic sliders) - that was why I liked Wavelab lite because it did. The new beta version of Audacity (1.3.12) will display them, but then it takes a lot longer to process the usual tasks. So although I have both versions installed, I tend to go back to v 1.2.4 for most of my work. (Despite a few other minor improvements in v.1.3.)

        I've had no problems with Audacity crashing during processing tasks. But there is the occasional annoying instance when I've just recorded something (usually streaming audio), and it closes down at the end automatically without saving. Doesn't happen too often, fortunately (and could possibly be caused by something else I'm doing, I haven't tested it).
        <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>&quot;The most important rule in music is you must always avoid discord. Use dat chord instead.&quot;</i></div>

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        • #19
          Thanks. Seeing as I have a PC, and Audacity and Transcribe work fine for me (in their respective roles)...


          Just in case you ever want to try another free option, Sonic Visualiser works on the PC.
          http://www.sonicvisualiser.org/

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          • #20
            Transcribe! for sure.
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            • #21
              The OP asked about "slowing down with good sound quality", and Eddie has helpfully listed a raft of options.

              What the OP didn't explicitly ask for is "which is the best tool for helping transcribe stuff". I think that it's this question that other posters are recommending Transcribe! for.

              Me too.

              Transcribe's interface is the best for looping and marking bars, starting, stopping, going back and those few very simple things that you just need to do all the time.

              Aucity is next-to-useless by comparison *for this job*. (Its a great free tool for recording!)


              Incidentally. Transcribe! also has a spectogram, which is definitely helpful for picking out notes in the middle of chords.

              So it's horses for courses, but if the question is "what's the most useful tool to help with transcription" my vote goes with Transcribe!, as well

              (and GuitarPro for writing down the transcription and listening back to it to see if it is right. I only just discovered the free equivalent: Tux, which might be as good, not sure yet).


              GaJ
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net" target="_blank">Guitar Lesson Reviews</a><br />
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              • #22
                Incidentally. Transcribe! also has a spectogram, which is definitely helpful for picking out notes in the middle of chords.
                Yes, but it's not the actual graphic representation of the sound in time that Capo shows.
                IOW, Transcribe processes the spectrum in order to display the pitches against the piano keyboard - extremely useful as you say (the central element of the program, really).
                Capo just shows the sound as it is, the pitches suspended in space and time - I mean a 2D space with pitch vertical and time horizontal, making the music look like a fuzzy piano roll.
                I'm not saying Capo's system is any more useful - although, in its 2D aspect, it does present a "picture of the sound", with a slightly nearer relationship to notation or tab than Transcribe's 1-dimensional spectrum. Capo is pretty to look at, IOW - but maybe no more functional.

                Both programs will have problems the denser the sound is, the less clear the individual pitches are. (IOW, at just the point our ears start to give out, the programs do too.)

                I just discovered tux elsewhere too - looks pretty good for a free program, but not one I'd make much use of myself.

                Slightly more OT is this fun site I found out about yesterday, which will play your tab for you (and you can strum chords with your mouse!):
                http://www.tabnplay.com/
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>&quot;The most important rule in music is you must always avoid discord. Use dat chord instead.&quot;</i></div>

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                • #23
                  This is a quote from JonR, which I botched (new format...lol...):

                  BTW, slowing down more than 50% will affect quality depending on the quality of the original audio (not the slowdowner) - specifically the sample rate. MP3s, eg, don't slow down as cleanly as WAVs. If you're working from CD tracks (rather than downloaded MP3s or youtube tracks, etc), Transcribe will record directly to WAV, which is recommended. But even with MP3s, I find Transcribe usable down to 25% (and occasionally more). It doesn't sound too good of course, but that's not the point: you can still hear what you need to hear.[/QUOTE]

                  Jon, can you tell me a little about your system? I have a 1.5G processor with a ton of RAM. If I go below about 40%, even with WAVE data, I get a chorusy-flangy effect that renders the audio useless. I have the Transcribe bit rate at the lower setting. I know the Transcribe FAQ says that it isn't very forgiving with weak systems, but I was expecting better performance. I have other machines, but all of my work is on that box right now.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    This is a quote from JonR, which I botched (new format...lol...):


                    BTW, slowing down more than 50% will affect quality depending on the quality of the original audio (not the slowdowner) - specifically the sample rate. MP3s, eg, don't slow down as cleanly as WAVs. If you're working from CD tracks (rather than downloaded MP3s or youtube tracks, etc), Transcribe will record directly to WAV, which is recommended. But even with MP3s, I find Transcribe usable down to 25% (and occasionally more). It doesn't sound too good of course, but that's not the point: you can still hear what you need to hear.


                    Jon, can you tell me a little about your system? I have a 1.5G processor with a ton of RAM. If I go below about 40%, even with WAVE data, I get a chorusy-flangy effect that renders the audio useless. I have the Transcribe bit rate at the lower setting. I know the Transcribe FAQ says that it isn't very forgiving with weak systems, but I was expecting better performance. I have other machines, but all of my work is on that box right now.


                    Here is a segment of a Paramore's "Decode" MP3 (not WAV) slowed down to 30% by Transcribe, exported as WAV at 128k, loaded into Audacity, clipped to this segment and exported as MP3.

                    I don't know what "sound quality" anyone would expect, but this is very usable...

                    GaJ
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net" target="_blank">Guitar Lesson Reviews</a><br />
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                    <a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net/products/feed" target="_blank">Updated regularly!</a></div>

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                    • #25
                      This is a quote from JonR, which I botched (new format...lol...):

                      BTW, slowing down more than 50% will affect quality depending on the quality of the original audio (not the slowdowner)...

                      ...If I go below about 40%, even with WAVE data, I get a chorusy-flangy effect that renders the audio useless.


                      I would suggest that you try some of the other alternatives mentioned in the thread. The software does have an impact on the sound quality, whether your using WAV, AIFF, MP3, etc. They don't use the same algorithms for slowing down audio. Even using the same software you may have different options for slowing the audio down, as is the case with Audacity. The examples I posted clearly show the effect you mention, but it is not present in all cases. IIRC, Transcribe! also has that effect, but I did not include an audio file for it.

                      One thing you can also do is use 2 programs, one to slow down the audio with better quality, and Transcribe! to focus on transcribing. The many alternatives don't have to be mutually exclusive

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                      • #26
                        Here is a segment of a Paramore's "Decode" MP3 (not WAV) slowed down to 30% by Transcribe, exported as WAV at 128k, loaded into Audacity, clipped to this segment and exported as MP3.

                        I don't know what "sound quality" anyone would expect, but this is very usable...

                        GaJ


                        That sounds pretty good. I think the problem is at slower speeds.
                        I think that all of the files I posted are usable, but if I had the choice, Tumenic (Audacity) would be my last pick. It just gets too annoying, particularly when listening again and again.
                        The Sliding Time Scale option in Audacity was actually not bad, but a bit slow to process.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          That sounds pretty good. I think the problem is at slower speeds.
                          .


                          I'm not sure what you mean.

                          The poster with a problem said that they get unusable flange at slower than 40%.

                          My demo shows that the sound produced by Transcribe at 30% (which is slower than 40%) is perfectly fine...

                          Audacity was only used to crop the sound clip rather than posting the whole song. And I've just realised I didn't even need to do that: Transcribe lets you export just a selection, doh!

                          The point is after all that slowing and processing, it sounds just fine


                          GaJ
                          <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net" target="_blank">Guitar Lesson Reviews</a><br />
                          <br />
                          <a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net/products/feed" target="_blank">Updated regularly!</a></div>

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                          • #28
                            Jon, can you tell me a little about your system? I have a 1.5G processor with a ton of RAM. If I go below about 40%, even with WAVE data, I get a chorusy-flangy effect that renders the audio useless. I have the Transcribe bit rate at the lower setting. I know the Transcribe FAQ says that it isn't very forgiving with weak systems, but I was expecting better performance. I have other machines, but all of my work is on that box right now.
                            I have a cheap desktop PC with Windows Vista.
                            Just checking the data... The processor seems to be 2.2G at 539 MHz, and 2G RAM. That's better than yours I guess, but I had no real problems on my old Win 2K machine,with a way slower processor than that (I don't remember what it was but it was state of the art in 2000!).

                            Below is the beginning of the Black Dog riff, at 20% (maximum reduction). It's from an MP3 originally - not a CD track - and I can't remember where that came from, probably recorded from a youtube stream. Hardly top quality to begin with, IOW.
                            Transcribe always exports as WAV, and the sample rate is the default "same as original" (44100 it says). Like GaJ, I converted it to MP3 with Audacity - no other tweaks.

                            I guess there is some noticeable degradation here, but you can still hear the notes - that's all that matters. I never go that slow anyway. I think the furthest I've ever been was 25%. Mostly I find 50% is slow enough for 99% of what I do.
                            <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>&quot;The most important rule in music is you must always avoid discord. Use dat chord instead.&quot;</i></div>

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                            • #29
                              Heh heh yeah at 20% it definitely is starting to get a little hard to listen to

                              Interestikngly, I find that below about 50% it's less useful anyhow for some reason I can't quite understand. It's something to do with the how important it is to hear one note moving to the next or something? I occasionally slow a fast lick down further, then find myself moving back to around 50 and I can "pick it out best" at that speed. I think maybe it is to do with hearing "what the person's fingers are doing" ... at below 50% the dynamics are just too different. IE transcription is more than just hearing the frequency of each note, it's hearing how it's played, which gives you all sorts of extra clues...

                              GaJ
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net" target="_blank">Guitar Lesson Reviews</a><br />
                              <br />
                              <a href="http://guitars.greenasjade.net/products/feed" target="_blank">Updated regularly!</a></div>

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                              • #30
                                Heh heh yeah at 20% it definitely is starting to get a little hard to listen to

                                Interestikngly, I find that below about 50% it's less useful anyhow for some reason I can't quite understand. It's something to do with the how important it is to hear one note moving to the next or something? I occasionally slow a fast lick down further, then find myself moving back to around 50 and I can "pick it out best" at that speed. I think maybe it is to do with hearing "what the person's fingers are doing" ... at below 50% the dynamics are just too different. IE transcription is more than just hearing the frequency of each note, it's hearing how it's played, which gives you all sorts of extra clues...

                                GaJ
                                I agree. I think my forays into 25% were to confirm one or two notes in a very fast passage. Otherwise 50% is fine.
                                For me, it's "hard to listen to" not because of the audio quality (you can still make the notes out, as I say), but something like the reason you say: it loses musical sense.

                                The one thing that can suffer, btw, is the bass. I often raise the pitch an octave to hear the bass better, but if you slow it down as well (esp from a poor quality original) the grittiness can actually make it less clear, not clearer. Luckily it's extremely rare to have to slow bass down...
                                <div class="signaturecontainer"><i>&quot;The most important rule in music is you must always avoid discord. Use dat chord instead.&quot;</i></div>

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