Sound distortion after 440hz->432hz convert

Hi there,
I´m using audacity 3.0.0 for converting my music collection from 440hz to 432hz. I don´t know if this issue occured before, but the conversion has sound distortion, esp. in the higher frequencies. My sound device is a FiiO K5 Pro and listening Beyerdynamic Amiron Home headphones.

The converted file is from LOTR soundtrack in 24bit/48khz and the violins have kind of a “ringing”, which is quite a difference to the original file, they do not sound clean and smooth anymore. Is this issue an outcome of the convertion itself or is it a “weak spot” of the software?

I understand, the issue was brought up before:

Right now I try the results from just changing the speed, but it may not work for any kind of music.

Best regards

How much do you know about the convicted fraudster Lyndon LaRouche?

Have you tried the other three ways of changing pitch:

  1. Effects > Change Pitch
  2. Effects > Change Pitch (use high quality stretching)
  3. Effects > Sliding Stretch

Right now I try the results from just changing the speed, but it may not work for any kind of music.

Changing the speed is mathematically a LOT simpler (just like slowing-down a record player* or tape recorder). It’s “cleaner” and you are much less likely to get side-effects. So if the slight tempo change doesn’t bother you just change the speed.

When you change the speed, the pitch and speed are changed together by the same percentage, so yes it works with ALL music.

There are a FEW recordings that are “off pitch” or with the speed altered (intentionally or accidentally) so it doesn’t match any known tuning standard. Or some soundcard clocks are off a bit. Usually nobody notices that except musicians trying to play-along in-tune with the recording.

PAL DVDs are usually off-pitch because film is 24 frames-per-second and PAL video is 25 FPS and the audio/video is simply sped-up by 4%. (Of course playing time is also a few minutes faster than the original movie.) …Nobody really notices that or is bothered by it except some people check the playing time and they wonder of some scenes were cut-out. Or again, musicians trying to play in-tune have to correct the speed. NTSC video is ~30FPS so the DVD conversion is done differently without changing the speed/pitch.

BTW - Some instruments (like guitar) can be easily tuned to A=432. But it takes a long time (and skill) to re-tune a piano and many instruments can’t be re-tuned. If you wanted a trumpet tuned differently it would have to be designed & constructed to a different standard.

440hz->432hz convert

Normal music contains THOUSANDS of simultaneous frequencies that change moment-to-moment. A single note contains many harmonics and overtones. It’s the harmonics & overtones that make a trumpet sound different from a piano and it’s what makes different singers sound different when they are singing the same notes. With chords and multiple instruments playing different notes the frequency content gets much more complex.

Although virtually all modern “western” music is tuned to A=440, the musical scale used for a song rarely contains all 12 notes and there is plenty of music with no A-notes.


  • I have an older turntable with a speed/pitch control. There is a strobe and the idea was not to “alter” the speed but to accurately adjust it. With modern motor speed-control electronics, the correct speed can be maintained automatically so that’s not necessary but some DJs use the speed control as an “effect” or to match the musical key of two different songs they are mixing.

Actually, there is a tuning slide on a trumpet that can accommodate that. See How to Tune a Trumpet. And most if not all band and orchestra instruments can be tuned +/- about a half-step, which is all you are talking about here…

and pianos are only tuned to A440 (or more commonly “C 523.23”) in the middle octave.

To maintain harmonic consistency across multiple octaves, the lower octaves are tuned to slightly lower frequencies, and the upper octaves tuned to slightly higher frequencies than A440. For a perfectly tuned piano, the tuning scale is “stretched” ( Thus the idea of “converting to 432 Hz” really makes no sense at all because the 440 Hz tuning fork is only a reference for tuning one note out of the full frequency range of audible sound.

Like so many other con artists, LaRouche delighted in spreading conspiracy theories that were, and still are complete nonsense.

Yes, I did try number one and two, but I guess I will stick with changing the tempo.

Yes, I´m aware of that. But still, the 440hz tuning (which is just meant as a reference for all the other notes as well) was created intentionally as a standard and the A=440hz is the reference.

Hello Steve, thank you for the feedback. I want you to know, I just wanted to discuss the technical issues of converting music with audacity. The reasons I wanna do this is my very own business.

I don not know about LaRouche that much, so I can´t say anything about him.

But for sure and I want to be honest in a respectful way: I don´t like the way you bring up the term “conspiracy theories” (which is one of the most used framing term in the media to keep the people in line) in the context of my pure technical question. There´s a lot of serious research about frequencies and the response of organic life or the human psyche. But of course, the old masters like Vivaldi back in the day may have been morons since they also used the more natural 432hz tuning. Btw, since you brought the piano tuning up and the slight stretching in the higher octaves: the overtones of the A=440hz tuning are mathematically odd, which means disharmonic. But this is just a guess from my side and maybe another conspiracy theory.

By the way, nowadays it´s almost a compliment to be labeled as a “conspiracy theorist”, which means this hollow phrase needs usually to be used for people thinking on their own and if there´s no reasonable argument for an actual inspiring discussion arround anymore. So, be aware that cheap NLP techniques to shut people down without any content won´t work so well anymore :slight_smile:

Still, no hard feelings and thank you all for the feedback. ^^

Best regards

To maintain harmonic consistency across multiple octaves, the lower octaves are tuned to slightly lower frequencies, and the upper octaves tuned to slightly higher frequencies than A440.

I bet you’re wondering how you find “slightly.” There’s a tuning trick where you listen for slow throbbing between two notes played at the same time. There are lists of which notes and how fast the throbbing has to be for the piano to be “in tune.”

I assume modern tuning analyzers take all this into account.

The upper notes have three strings to keep the volume more or less constant across the keyboard. The piano tuner has rubber wedges and felt strips to keep strings one and three from sounding while they tune two. Then match later.

Amaze your friends.


The converted file is from LOTR soundtrack in 24bit/48khz

I’m wondering where you got that from. Studio stuff is 24/96. If it’s a video soundtrack, then they are compressed and that may be where your distortion is coming from.

The violins have kind of a “ringing”

Compression techniques have distortion and errors, but they are really good at hiding them. Sometimes, if you change the sound, the hiding stops working.