Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by Flamenco » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:12 am

Update - well, well, well. I fired up the old laptop running Vista, plugged in the new mic and then disconnected from the internet (antivirus probably out of date) once the mic had installed ok (very fast). Audacity on there is 2.0.5 and it all worked beautifully. I recorded a few pieces with no hint of pitch wobble - in fact it actually sounded better than on the windows10 laptop, but that could be my imagination.

So the immediate problem is solved - I will be able to record the pieces I want to make into a CD for a Christmas present, as soon as I have the house to myself again for a morning.

I am very interested in getting the win10 laptop to run Audacity properly but that might be something for the future. I will keep checking back on here to see if anyone has resolved the issue and in the meantime - many thanks for your help, and Merry Christmas!

Dave
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:05 pm

Flamenco wrote: recorded a few pieces with no hint of pitch wobble - in fact it actually sounded better than on the windows10 laptop, but that could be my imagination.

So it would seem that it is not the mic, and none of us have seen this problem in Audacity previously, which would suggest that it is something peculiar about that Win 10 laptop.

Have you tried making a test recording with Windows Voice Recorder? (available here if you don't already have it: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/store/p ... zdncrfhwkn)
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:38 pm

Just another quick thought - have you tried all of the USB sockets on the laptop? I'm not optimistic about it making much difference, but worth a try.
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by Flamenco » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:37 pm

Thank you, Steve. I have tried all the USB sockets - a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 - with the same result from each.

As the older Vista laptop is working well, and I can position it at my elbow, it's actually more convenient to use that for the moment but I would really like to resolve the issue between my win10 laptop, microphone and Audacity if that is where the problem lies.
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by Flamenco » Tue Dec 12, 2017 11:55 am

Oh dear. It turns out that the old Vista laptop with a previous version of Audacity are showing exactly the same problem. I recorded a piece this morning, played it back over loudspeakers and it sounded as if it was recorded on an old cassette recorder with duff batteries - the pitch kept wobbling every now and again. My previous recording which I thought was clean also has wobbles which I hadn't noticed first time around. I even tried using the old webcam mic - same problem.

Interestingly I have also used MS Voice Recorder and have found exactly the same problem - the pitch keeps being affected in the same way. So I am thinking this is either the usb microphone (not sure how) or a windows problem.

I used a Lenovo G50 running Windows10, Audacity 2.2.0 and Voice Recorder version 10.1710.2861.0
The microphone is a usb CD04 - I don't know the make.

Is there a software clean-up program that corrects pitch defects - a kind of auto-tune thing that I could use?
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:13 pm

Flamenco wrote:It turns out that the old Vista laptop with a previous version of Audacity are showing exactly the same problem
...
Interestingly I have also used MS Voice Recorder and have found exactly the same problem - the pitch keeps being affected in the same way.

That's a relief for us, as it shows that the problem is not caused by Audacity.

Flamenco wrote:I even tried using the old webcam mic - same problem.

That is odd. My money was on the USB mic being the problem, but it seems like a heck of a coincidence if the mic in your webcam has exactly the same problem.
Perhaps it's not as big a coincidence as it first appears. Webcam mics are nearly always used for speech, and usually for Skype and similar, where the sound quality is not expected to be great. A brief 1% shift in pitch would probably go unnoticed in a Skype chat.

Are you able to test with a non-USB mic? What about the laptop's built-in mic?

Flamenco wrote:The microphone is a usb CD04 - I don't know the make.

I've never heard of that one, and it seems that Google hasn't either. Is it a cheap "unbranded" mic from ebay?
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by Trebor » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:40 pm

Flamenco wrote:I used a Lenovo G50 running Windows10

Lenovo have website which checks that your driver software is upto date ... https://pcsupport.lenovo.com

#1. Create a system-restore-point before running driver update, just in case the update makes matters worse.
System-restore allows you to put your Windows operating-system back to the way it was in the past.

#2. Update all the out-of-date drivers, not just the audio driver, as they can interfere with each other: preferably keep a matching set.
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by Flamenco » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:10 am

Thanks Steve and Trebor for again taking the time with this.

Steve - the mic I bought from Amazon:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Professional-C ... FLaptop%29

Trebor - I have updated the audio drivers (it required 2 updates), restarted the laptop and although I thought there was an improvement, I am still getting pitch wobbles as before.

I have also tried recording using something called Ocenaudio and saved the file as a AIFF Audio file which opens ok in Audacity for the editing, but the same pitch wobbles happen with that (and I checked before exporting the file - it is happening in Ocenaudio as it is with Audacity recording and Windows Voice Recorder).

Just to be absolutely sure it is not my playing somehow creating this, I recorded just an open string repeatedly plucked. It was fine in the room, and on replay the second pluck wobbled like a tape recorder slipping - no finger on the string so it wasn't me!

When updating the Lenovo G50, the process got stuck so I may go back and try again to update everything that I can.

Thanks again.
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by Flamenco » Thu Dec 14, 2017 10:43 am

Have now completed the updates for the Lenovo G50. I recorded 20 seconds of me repeatedly playing just an open E string. The recording has 4 clear pitch wobbles...
So I'm stuck!
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Re: Unstable pitch when recording acoustic guitar

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:51 am

steve wrote:Are you able to test with a non-USB mic? What about the laptop's built-in mic?
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
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