Voice Pitch is Lowered at Random Points During Recording

Starting about a month ago I began experiencing intermittent issues with pitch lowering during a recording. At random points (ranging from ten minutes in, to thirty minutes in) the speaker’s voice will suddenly drop in pitch for the remainder of the recording. Nothing changes on screen when this happens. It sounds almost like a knob is being turned as it happens, but no such thing is actually taking place. The problem now happens every week and I have run out of ideas as to what’s causing this.

I’ve monitored what the sound guy is doing during the recording, and I’ve monitored what I’m doing during it (as the media guy) as well. I run slides at the same time the recording is happening, but the times I’ve switched windows or pulled up another slide have never coincided with any of the pitch drops. After a few weeks of writing down what we’re doing during the recording (down to if an arm is resting against the soundboard or PC) I have come up with nothing. We’ve been using this program for the past three years without any issue. I have read through the FAQ and nothing has been posted about this issue. I also downloaded the new version, and the same thing occurred this last week. I’d really like this to stop.

I am utilizing Audacity version 2.2.2
It is a Toshiba PC using Windows 10 64bit
We’re using a Soundcraft Si Impact soundboard connected to the PC via USB using a Lexicon Alpha

Again, this has been our set up for a number of years. The equipment is well cared for and monitored by the sound guy, who is a professional with a long career in the industry. This isn’t to say we haven’t missed something, but to provide some assurance that we do have some idea what we’re doing haha.
I have attached a sample of the pitch drop from last week’s message. If it matters, this is for Sunday service. Thanks for any help you can provide.

For some reason your audio device is switching from 44100 Hz sample rate to 48000 Hz sample rate. This is not an Audacity issue (Audacity is a dumb “client” application that accepts whatever it is given by the computer sound system).
Are any other programs running on the computer while you are recording?

Yes, I’m running a program called Easy Worship (Version 6.4.8) at the same time for graphics and lyrics. Could this be throttling it?

It doesn’t seem to be a “throttling” issue, the sample rate appears to switch cleanly from 44100 to 48000.
Here I have split the track at approximately the time of the sample rate change, then changed the sample rate of the latter section to 48000, then mixed down the two parts into this continuous clip:

As you can hear, there is no evidence of the sample rate “drifting”, it’s a clean switch from 44100 to 48000. “Something” must be causing the sample rate to switch (and it’s not Audacity because Audacity can’t do that).

If you use EasyWorship for playing media (audio or video), then it is possible that it could play at 48000 Hz sample rate, and cause the audio device to switch.
DVDs usually use 48000 Hz sample rate, and many videos also do.

One possible workaround is to ensure that EasyWorship and Audacity are using the same sample rate.
It’s easy to set the sample rate in Audacity:

  • For a one-off recording, just set the required sample rate as the “Project Rate” (bottom left corner of the main window) before you start the recording.
  • To set the default sample rate (will be the default Project Rate each time you open Audacity), “Edit menu > Preferences > Quality” then set the “Default Sample Rate”.

Note that the “Project Rate” determines the sample rate of your Exported audio files, which you will probably want to be 44100 unless you are making a DVD. Set the “Project Rate” before you export to the sample rate that you want your exported file to be.

Another (better) workaround would be to use separate computers for EasyWorship and Audacity.

Another good alternative would be to record on a standalone audio recorder (you can still use Audacity for editing).

Alright, I’ll try these things one at a time. Thank you very much for your help.

If you can at least borrow a computer temporarily, you could try running EasyWorship and Audacity on separate machines. If the problem doesn’t happen, then it’s very likely that the cause has been correctly identified.

Experimenting with the settings on this Windows panel may be worth a try …
Windows Sound Speakers Properties Advanced.png

I just want to THANK you for this suggestion. I know this is an old post but it fixed a similar issue I was having and I was about to lose my mind trying to fix it.

Just in case anyone comes across this later:

Using version 3.0, sometimes out of nowhere a single track will playback at regular tempo, but the pitch is transposed. All other tracks played simultaneously at their correct pitch. Also frequent crashing and errors connecting to interface. I tried everything from cutting down disk space, stopping all but essential programs to increase memory availability. Uninstalled and reinstalled, rebooted, reconfigured who knows how many times and then this–going into the sound settings as suggested and wahlah, come to find out it decided to set my interface to 24bit and 44000 hz when in the program it’s set to 48000 and 16 bit. Changed the windows settings and it’s working perfectly now.

Phew! I was worried I was going to have to throw in the towel on a nearly finished project and start fresh with different software. You save my life Trebor!