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Your thoughts on varispeed

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Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby Kinh » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:05 pm

I've just finished mixing a Japanese pop song which has a female vocalist. She's 16 but has a mature tone. I realized the whole track was too slow by 4 beats so instead of doing it the hard way I bounced a master and used varispeed on it in Protools. Now it's half a semitone higher but her voice sounds very "kawaii" which suits the genre, the speed is right and the track actually sounds great but I have one concern:
Will it sound sharp to the average ear, especially when played with other tracks (it's going on my portfolio). Can you trained engineers or music listeners for that matter tell the difference between a song that's in perfect tune and one not. Thanks.
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby MOF » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:21 pm

If her voice was in tune on the original recording it still will be on the pitched up version. The only thing that might sound ‘strange’ is the formants which are non pitched elements of the voice. However, you say it now sounds like the genre of music you’re aiming for so that’s good.
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Aug 31, 2020 1:41 pm

Have you tried speeding it up while leaving the pitch unaltered?
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:59 pm

Kinh wrote:I realized the whole track was too slow by 4 beats so instead of doing it the hard way I bounced a master and used varispeed on it in Protools.

Plenty of very successful vintage tracks have been given a bit of a lift by speeding up the tape machine in mastering!

Will it sound sharp to the average ear, especially when played with other tracks...

Most casual listeners would neither notice or care. Those with perfect pitch will be aware, of course, and it may sound a little sharp to some ears if played after something in the same key (but with perfect tuning)... but again, I doubt anyone would care even if they noticed.

I listen to a lot of pipe organ music, and early orchestral music, and in both cases the absolute reference pitch is all over the place! Doesn't bother me!

So in short... if it gives the track the energy and character you want, then there's nothing wrong with a bit of varispeeding... and you're not the first to make use of that facility!
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby desmond » Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:22 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Plenty of very successful vintage tracks have been given a bit of a lift by speeding up the tape machine in mastering!

Yes, it was quite common just to varispeed up a little to give songs a bit more energy and excitement...

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I listen to a lot of pipe organ music, and early orchestral music, and in both cases the absolute reference pitch is all over the place! Doesn't bother me!

The only times it bothers me are when I pick up an instrument to jam along with the track, but find I have to retune first... :headbang:
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby blinddrew » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:54 pm

What Desmond said! ^^^
Especially that second bit. ;)
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby Zukan » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:03 am

TBH, this is quite common and in particular with Hip Hop. Getting the 'nod' right sometimes requires slight pitching...
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:58 am

Excuse the brief left turn -
Zukan is the “nod” an actual “thing”? I’m not part of the Hip Hop production world so am just curious if this is another word that has a significant other meaning.
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby desmond » Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:09 pm

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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:02 pm

Say no more, squire!
:D :thumbup:
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby Kinh » Mon Sep 07, 2020 9:09 am

Thanks guys. I thought I was just being eccentric.
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby Zukan » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:16 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Excuse the brief left turn -
Zukan is the “nod” an actual “thing”? I’m not part of the Hip Hop production world so am just curious if this is another word that has a significant other meaning.

MFG, yep. In fact, they live by it and actually appraise the song based on it.
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby desmond » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:39 pm

Zukan wrote:MFG, yep. In fact, they live by it and actually appraise the song based on it.

That's why people are so enthusiastic about hip hop at 180bpm (just visualise it...) :lol:
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Re: Your thoughts on varispeed

Postby ManFromGlass » Tue Sep 08, 2020 2:13 am

180 ??? Cripes!
I think I just pulled a muscle in my neck :smirk:
Too many gold chains perhaps!
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