Audacity records Bass at wrong pitch

Have recording/edited about 9 songs, with several different electric and acoustic guitars and the same bass, some as many as 10 tracks with great success…However, just started new recording, has 2 guitar tracks, both synced just fine and sound fine when played back, when record a bass track, sounds perfect, but playback has the bass recording at full step lower then it sounds…ie: I play a “D” note on the bass, its sounds like a “D” note, but records and plays back as a “C” note…Can’t figure out anomaly…am playing through a Line6 HD500x which I have used several times before…it doesn’t matter which Bass element I choose…

Very confused…


Are you playing-back the recording through your soundcard or through the Line 6 device? …I’m guessing the clock (oscillator) in your “cheap consumer soundcard” is off.

No two clocks are ever identical, but usually they are close-enough for the pitch & tempo to match over the duration of a song.

Thanks for the reply

  1. Playing back thru USB connected Line6 POD via headphones
  2. Guitar recordings not effected at all ( 6 different tracks on this particular one)
  3. Have used same setup for over 6 months, with great success, same instruments, same connections, never had this issue, several recordings have multiple guitar tracks, a bass track, drum track, vocals
  4. Laying down 1st Bass track…even if I just play 1 note…any note…records 2 1/2 steps lower, exactly

continuing my state of confusion

Ask Line 6. Audacity is not doing this - it has no means to do so.


Well…don’t think its the POD…started new recording…first track…(doesn’t matter whether recording input from Bass or guitar), pitch is perfect and right on…any subsequent and all additional tracks, bass or guitar, records just about 2 1/2 steps lower…and not exactly 2-1/2 steps, because applying pitch correction still slightly out of tune. All additional tracks are in tune with each other, but out of pitch with the original number one track by about 2 1/2 steps lower. In year and a half using Audacity and various inputs and as many as 12 tracks, never run into this???

We’ve seen several people having “wrong pitch” problems with Line 6 products, but no-one has mentioned “wrong speed”.

Could you try some test recordings, for example by playing against a metronome, and check carefully if it is only the pitch that is wrong, or the pitch and the speed.

Thanks…but speed isn’t the issue…key or pitch is the problem…as previously stated…have recorded about 10-12 compositions over the last year, all with same computer, O/S, input setup, same Line 6 HD500x interface, and instruments/drums…all have multiple tracks, some as many as 12-15 tracks…never have had this issue…

Again…if I start a new blank recording…the first initial track, no matter what instrument, records perfectly…no change in key
Any other and all other subsequent tracks are recorded almost exactly 2 - 1/2 steps lower in key
All subsequent tracks are recorded in tune with each other, but all are not in tune with the first track

I can only surmise Audacity is damaged…will uninstall and reinstall and see if that helps…hate to have to setup all plug-ins again, but it seems no one has an answer that is easier or simpler

Well…don’t think its the POD…

If you’re not using your regular soundcard for recording or playback, it’s either the POD or the POD drivers.

Background - With digital, the pitch & speed (tempo) are directly related to the sample rate 44.1kHz or 48kHz, etc. If there is no clock, there’s no sound… If you record at 48kHz and play-back at 44.1kHz, that’s about a 9% drop in speed & pitch (and if I recall correctly, that’s more than a half-step, but less than a whole-step). If you’re off by about 9%, that’s a possible clue.

If you understand the basics of [u]how digital audio works[/u], you’ll understand that the ONLY way pitch can be accidently changed is by accidently changing the sample rate. (And with analog, the only way to change pitch is with mismatched recording & playback speeds.)

It’s the driver’s responsibility to communicate the correct sample rate between the hardware and software and more than 99.9% of the time it’s foolproof! The sample rate is stored in the audio file (or as part as the Audacity project), so when you play a WAV or MP3 file, it plays at the correct speed and pitch.

Sometimes S/PDIF connections (optical or coax) can get fouled-up because the hardware and software are not directly communicating. But, I believe your POD uses USB and that should be foolproof.

Or, as I mentioned before, the internal hardware clock can be off. If the software & drivers tell the device to play-back at 44.1kHz, but the hardware clock is a little slow or a little fast, the software (and drivers) will never know and it will play at the wrong speed/pitch. However, the soundcard or interface will use the same clock for recording & playback. If it records a little “fast” and plays-back at the same speed, you’ll never see a problem until you play-back on different hardware.

FYI - It’s virtually impossible to accidently change the pitch without also changing the tempo. If you’ve every played a vinyl record at the wrong speed, you know that pitch & tempo change together. The same thing happens digitally with the wrong sample rate. It requires a complex computer/math algorithm to change pitch without changing speed.

…It’s theoretically possible for Audacity to write the wrong sample rate into a WAV file header. But it’s highly-unlikely, and these pitch problems only seem to happen to POD users. Plus, nobody has ever seen the wrong sample rate written to the header by Audacity.

…It’s also possible, but highly-unlikely that the clock in your POD drifts over time… Maybe it starts-out at 44.1kHz and over an hour or so drifts to 42 or 46kHz, etc.

Thanks again for the replies…

sample rates, internal sound card drivers, internal computer clock, POD issues…

none of that addresses the basic issues of recording Track 1…speed and pitch records perfectly, make no changes to anything other than immediately recording 2nd track,
speed okay, pitch/tuning is way off…I am only recording a brief 2 seconds of input anyway as a test, so a drift after time seems unlikely…
Plus…sound card timings,clock problems, etc., don’t seem to be an issue because any and all subsequent recordings, ie: tracks 3,4,5…etc…all record the same speed and pitch as track 2…tracks 2-whatever are all the same, all the same pitch/tuning, off by about 2 1/2 steps (lower)…track one, the first track is the only on that is different and sounds exactly as played.

BTW, all the subsequent tracks sound fine during recording phase, only during playback are the different, all tracks after first one are affected

Have you carefully tested as I suggested?
As DVDdoug wrote, a difference between 48 kHz and 44.1 kHz (both are standard sample rates) could account for a change in pitch of about 2/3rds of a tone, but it would be accompanied by a slight change in tempo. For example, if the original tempo was 120 bpm at 48 kHz sample rate, then that would translate to about 110 bpm at 44.1 kHz sample rate.

If there is a change in pitch but no change in tempo, then it is an “effect” that is being applied by the Line 6 hardware or its driver software. If this is the case, please let us know when you find the relevant setting - several people have been caught by this and it would be very helpful if someone wrote back with the solution.

In Audacity there are only two ways to change the pitch without changing the tempo, One is the “Change Pitch” effect and the other is the “Sliding Time Scale / Pitch Shift” effect. If pitch is changing and tempo is nit changing and you have not applied either of those effects, then it must be something else changing the pitch and cannot be Audacity.

I will do more testing…thanks again for the input, again,

my confusion comes from the rapidity of the changes from Track 1 to track 2 with very little time lapsed between recordings…as I said only recording about 1-2 seconds as a test
Plus,all other tracks after that are fine…except they sound fine when recording but each and everyone of them is off…the same amount for each and each subsequent track after track 1 plays back with the same problem

:slight_smile: I am on XP and the same thing happened to me.

A bass track played in E. but it played back a whole step higher in F#

not knowing what happened or what to do -I used the change pitch effect and bumped it up(later realizing I should have went down- or so I thought) 2 half steps to G# -by accident.

but that playback was off key as well-of course. sooooooooo I I did an UNDO-LOW and BEHOLD-now it plays back in E correctly.

ln other words-bump it up a whole step and then undo-it worked for me(an accidental solution) -thanks and good luck

What software are you referring to?

Audacity 2.1.3

“Undo” in Audacity restores the project to the state that it was immediately prior to the last “push state” command.

In the follow case:

  1. Play the project
  2. Apply an effect
  3. Undo the effect
  4. Play the project.

If (4) sounds different from (3), then the difference can only be related to the playback system and not caused by Audacity changing the audio.

Any clue to this?
I have the exact same problem with 2.1.3. LINE 6 UX1.
the pitch is lowered on all tracs exept the first.

If the pitch and tempo are incorrect, then it is almost certainly a problem with mismatched sample rates, so you will need to find out what sample rate the Line6 is using, and set Windows and Audacity to use the same.

If it is only the pitch that is incorrect, but the track plays smoothly at the correct tempo, then it is a setting in Line6 hardware or software. Check your Line6 manual and/or ask Line6 customer support for how to fix.


I just fixed a similar issue with my Pod XT Live. I was having no issues using only one track, but once I added a click track everything dropped a whole step (even the click track). As Steve suggested, the answer was sample rates. Using the sound settings in the Windows Control Panel, I dropped the sample rate from 48000 (DVD Quality) to 44100 (CD Quality) for my device and this fixed the problem.

Hello. I’m a new Audacity user and not sure how to proceed after reading your previous answers in this thread.
I’m using an M-Audio interface to record my bass. I played the piece in G, but it plays back in F# and a little slower in speed. So I guess the problem is with the computer?
M-Audio says the interface is 24 bit, 192K. On Windows, I set the device to record at 24 bit 44100. I set Audacity project at 44100. Can you tell me what is going wrong? Thanks.