I have an idea and I wanted to see if it has been done before or if it's worthless to try:

What if I recorded an actor at 192K and dropped than into a 96K session so it's pitched down naturally (varispeeded, essentially) and had the actor speak twice as fast so it doesn't sound slow when it's pitched but sounds like a natural pacing.

Has anyone tried doing this with a real project? Was it successful?

I've only done it at 104% on the Big Ben for some larger alien-type voices for a film I ADRed.

Would it be ridiculous if I asked the director to try this method out with an actor? Thanks for your replies.

  • I've only tried kind of the opposite, recording at half speed talking with a normal pitch, so it goes chipmunk but kind of in a natural way Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 1:51

4 Answers 4


You'd find yourself having some timing issues with having your talent speak quickly.

The best way I've found to achieve this is to record it with the Talent speaking normally at 96k or whatever really, then play it back twice the speed (while maintaining the pitch) while recording it at 192k. That way, when you bring it back down to 96, it will maintain the same timing as the original recording, but it will be pitched down.

Similar to the "worldizing" concept with a slight twist to it.

It's very useful when doing creature vocalizations. I've used it fairly often.

  • @Colin Ok so how do I play it back twice the speed while maintaining the pitch? I guess that still requires pitch algorithms from Time Shift etc, right?
    – Utopia
    Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 5:44
  • This might be an obvious question, but how does that method differ to simply pitching it down an octave, while maintaining the length? Are the algorithms (ie. maintaining pitch as opposed to maintaining duration) used in your method just better? Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 16:18

Woa, wait, you run 96k sessions?

Cool idea, but i think the actor would be the weakest link there. It'd be hard maintaining relative sync in such an unnatural tempo and they'd require extra time to get used to it. And you'd have to think about how you'll deal with "p"s and "t"s (percussive sounds that seem to have a pretty fixed length), or whether you'd have to deal with them at all. It might sound cool with elongated plosives, who knows. Try it out yourself!

Also, voices an octave lower make me think of devo and hip hop.

  • Thanks - I'll try it out. I wonder if it would work better if I did the same thing but at a sample rate like 120K instead of 192. I don't know how to set my Big Ben clock to that rate. Wonder if it's possible.
    – Utopia
    Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 2:18

Hey Ryan, you may be interested in this: http://boingboing.net/2010/03/25/dawn-chorus.html

  • If that's real... then that's pretty amazing! Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 3:56

Why a whole octave btw?

Pitch has drastic impact on voice. Can you not use less of it and still have it work?

  • I basically needed a voice of an island god who is 75 feet tall (described as taller than the tallest palm trees) - the project has since been finished, but wanted to be ready in case I come across something like that again.
    – Utopia
    Commented Oct 13, 2010 at 16:38

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