Are CDs always right?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Chris Lee, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Debate going on here about the pitch of play-along CDs, and the fact that the pitch sometimes isn't exactly what you'd expect it to be. Assuming they are recorded at A=440Hz (and that you are not trying to play E flat against a B flat CD....) can you trust that the CD pitch is always accurate whatever equipment you are playing it on? My ' techie' friends say that the CD file is digital, that pitch etc. is encoded in the data and therefore always accurate to a high degree. Not sure they are right. Any guidance/experiences to share?

    Thanks for your comments

    Chris Lee (Newbie on Besson Sovereign E flat bass)
  2. worzel

    worzel Member

    I don't know how accurate CD players are in general, but it is quite conceivable that they play flat or sharp by being slightly off of the sampling rate of 44,100Hz. The pitch is only digitally encoded in so far as it is understood that the samnples will be sent to the digital to analogue converter at that speed.
  3. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Thx for response Worzel. In your experience does this equate to audible deviations from pitch or is it just a sort of technical possibility with no real life impact?

    Very Best, Chris
  4. worzel

    worzel Member

    I've never noticed it, just saying it is technically possible. But rereading your post I think you meant "can the pitch be incorrect on the CD" rather than "can the playback pitch be incorrect". If you mean in the mastering process then although far less likely, it is conceivable. But if you mean, "can an individual CD be sharp or flat", then no: your techie friends' explanation would then be correct.
  5. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    I really meant the second. Can a properly recorded CD play back at the wrong pitch simply because e.g the CD player is running slow (as on a tape or record player)? So thx for the answer to that which, if I read you correctly is no! I ask because colleagues playing along with CDs on instruments that they thought were correctly tuned need retuning a bit to match the CD. I surmise that they weren't as acuurately tuned as they thought they were!

    Very Best, Chris
  6. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Unless of course the CD recording 'band' was tuned at 442, (or similar), as some bands do. ( I am assuming you mean brass band recordings, as surely no one would listen to anything else? )
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    They ~can~, in fact some CD players have a kind of varipitch function built in.....but usually the differences between CD players will be fairly small.

    One issue that can occur (and has!) Is when the material is recorded at the wrong sample rate and then hasn't been sample rate converted before shoving it on a CD....that can be, er, interesting ;)

    You also need to take into account that playing in a band is different to playing to a CD psychologically....bands tend to play 'in tune' with each other.

    There are a few backing CDs that are piano and / or synthesised. The point is very valid here, too, such that the instruments may be tuned differently....this is sometimes more relevant to the synthesised material as the actual 'tuning' of synth patches can differ depending on how they're programmed.
  8. worzel

    worzel Member

    Erm, that was the very first option, and the answer to that was yes.
  9. Chris Lee

    Chris Lee Guest

    Sorry Worzel. My mistake. Thx. And for your response KMJ. And no, I wouldn't listen to any other CDs of course - whatever the pitch...

    Very Best, Chris

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