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Speed, Pitch, Scale: Until It Fits!


There are songs with which you just can't catch up, no matter what you have tried and how hard have you forced you voice or limbs, if playing an instrument. Whether tuned in a different key (be that the instrument/s or even the throat, ha-ha-ha!) or playing at non-human speeds, these songs just won't let themselves studied at home. And just when you were about to utter the final bad words before you gave up and throw away some things, discs or instruments or even both, someone rings in and tells you that the troubles are over and you'll be studying no matter which part in no time, at the speed you like and rather tuning the song so it matches your key. Of course, some popped-out eyes are due but...is it true? It is, because that someone is me and I'm going to tell you about an extremely nice software, the AudioRetoucher.

What it this and what does it do?

In short and professional terms, the AudioRetoucher is a pitch shifter, dead and simple. In other words, it is a software that gradually reads chucks of audio data in a file and lets them play according to an algorithm you will specify. Don't look in surprise, this algorithm I am speaking about is automated and for you it is translated in one or more slide bars; basically, this software re-samples the audio strip, preserving or altering the amplitude modulation, rates and everything which goes with any digital audio, so it produces a (sometimes totally) different output file. The main idea is that using a software like AudioRetoucher on the songs you want to jam along with, you will be able to slow them down up to 50% so you can keep up with them or even alter the key in which a certain song has been composed and recorded, so it matches with the key your voice is in or the tuning of your instrument.

The Looks

I'll be very honest while saying that AudioRetoucher is one of the best-looking pitchshifting softwares I have ever met, looking even better than DirectX plugins I have paid for. A simple single window with no less than 5 slide bars and this without counting in the volume and the seek bar. Clean and very visible buttons for the Open and Save commands, as well as for Exit, in which I was really delighted to see one of the hugest VU-meter bridges I have worked with so far in a software: a really beautiful 34-band meter, with colors ranging from almost white light pink (for low values) to fiery-bright red (for close-to-clip) levels. This picture is completed with large and handy Play, Pause and Stop buttons controlling the playback of the file you are currently processing.

The Works

Well, it is only here where the "professional" is to be seen. Those who have worked with pitch-tools before know that, usually, this effect is split in two: pitch and stretch, as there is absolutely no physical way to separate these two. Well, here you have the possibility to control absolutely everything that derives from pitching, as you have different sliders for Pitch, Tempo and Pitch Scale. Even further, the creators of the AudioRetoucher have also thought of how the sound suffers from being altered by means of pitching: raising the pitch and tempo tends to cutoff low frequencies while pitching down or slowing the tempo will surely eliminate a lot of highs. Well, now you can decrease the amount of degradation your audio might suffer, by simply adjusting the 2 additional slide bars, one for treble and the other for bass; and believe me they really do a hell of a job: be very carefully when using them, as you can jump in no time from audio which sounds OK to ear-bleeding high-hissing notes or to earthquake-rumbling muffled and extremely bassy sounds. So, beware! The VU-meter isn't there just for fun; you can actually get real time info on how the sound behaves via this very visual way; you can even "tune" your audio, so it won't clip. Finally, after you have reached the processing-grade required by your needs, just push Save (not in the unregistered version, which doesn't allow this) and on you go to start practicing, remaining to frown only in creativity and hard exercise.

The Good

A very good and reliable professional software whose use will surely provide best coverage for the certain needs it responds to. What I liked most was that I was able to control both parameters pitchshifting implies, all from one single location and with minimal effort.

The Bad

For those who will like this software - as I am sure there will be lots of them - remember it's a pro-grade software, therefore, the price is a bit high :) If it worked with more file formats and also supported drag and drop and it would have been perfect.

The Truth

First of all, give it a try and then speak: you'll agree with me, I just know it. It is rather rarely when I see and like a software this way...AudioRetoucher is definitely an extremely good tool in audio editing and this is why it gets a Excellent mark from me.

By: Florin Tibu, Editor, Software Reviews, Softpedia