440 'Concert pitch' or Verdi tuning?

Hi guys,

Id like to tune all the synths in cubase 7 down to 432hz. How do I go about this? I also have third party synths which i cant seem to tune down internally… is there a way to set the tuning of the whole project within cubase 7 so that all my third party synths are also tuned down?

Many thanks

I don’t believe Cubase can be tuned to anything but 440 Hz, but there are some VSTi’s whose “concert pitch” can be changed. Fortunately, one of these is Kontakt. Once in a while, I do some baroque mockups, and with Kontakt it’s super-easy to do 415 Hz or any other tuning (click on MASTER at the top. You can go from 392 Hz to 493.88 Hz.)

ah thats disappointing :confused: it should be standard that all synths and daws can be retuned. lame.

Will just pitch-shifting the entire Project do what you need?

There is no accurate control in Cubase to pitch-shift an entire project from 440 say down to 415. Unless your ears are so good, you don’t actually need to see you’re at 415 now… :slight_smile: (and not 413 or 418.)

You can ‘detune’ Halion5.

And the built-in Halion Sonic SE also can be detuned, as can the mono timbral synths that come with Cubase.

Certain 3rd party synths will respond to Cubase’s microtone commands, but not too many.

Well, in fact there is (obviously, only useful if your workflow allows you to work at A440 until the job is otherwise finished )… if you are prepared to make a little test (I tried it at 44.1kHz… dunno if it would be different at 48k :wink: )
Export a few bars of an empty audio track, with the Steinberg Test Generator inserted on it (set to A440, sine wave).
On the re-imported audio track, insert the Steinberg Tuner plugin, and a) (not perfectly accurate, depending upon the algorithm used, but useful for a “ball park area”), detune the audio event (from the Info Line), and watch the readout in the Tuner, or b) (seems to be more accurate… I have just compared the results with an external music calculator app), use the Audio menu>Process>Pitch Shift, and Process various fine tune settings (hitting “Undo” after each unsatisfactory attempt :wink:. Unfortunately, simply hitting “Preview” doesn’t register in the Tuner plugin.)
I have just tried that here, and, for example, tuning A440 down to A432 requires a detune of -32 cents.
A440 down to A415 requires -1 semitone and 1 cent.
(Television was lousy tonight :stuck_out_tongue: )

Sounds about right, considering that with A=440 Hz A flat is 415.30 Hz. But if you need a calculator to lower the concert pitch, it simply ain’t practical… :wink:

There is nothing magical about 432hz, it’s all a myth.

Stick to 440 and focus on more important stuff :wink:

I agree, it’s “new-age” BS. I guess from the same people who used to argue about the sound quality of cables… :wink: And to those who say that European symphonies use 432, let me tell you what the Berliner Philarmoniker use: 445. Yep, A=445 Hz (incidentally, some orchestras in the US also use higher-than-440 tunings.)

415 Hz for baroque music, however, is very important if you care about the historical/philological aspect.

Different tunings trigger different emotions. Wouldn’t consider that as a myth generally.

Some sensible experiences I made:

a) My band decided years ago to drop the tuning a semitone. Which is a stronger step than 440 down to 432 of course. Woohaa, the songs felt that different! Not like just the same songs transposed down, they felt literally like new songs…

b) I’ve experimented a lot with off-tunings. Take any interval and pitch the notes a little further apart or closer together, just do anything to not fit the common note grid. Melodyne Editor is a strong tool here btw… Hear how that feels! It’s amazing to observe how slight detunings seem to ‘speak to different parts of the soul’ (in lack of a better term).

c) Tuning in general is relative anyway. If it’s a string instrument the player will create any sort of non correct intonations anyway. A guitar player is not a machine made in switzerland. With classical stuff I admit to have little to no experience apart from occassionally recording orchestras that do whatever they do :laughing:

Every synth can be re-tuned, using MIDI pitchbend messages:

  1. Find a (guitar) tuner plug-in with a tuning base parameter, and set it to 432.
  2. Set a MIDI/Instrument track to Record and route the track to the synth you want to use (if you are using a MIDI track).
  3. Also, if you use an external synth, insert the tuner plug-in on the input channel (no need to record it though). If you are using an Instrument track, insert the tuner plug-in on this.
  4. Now, play a note and use the pitchwheel on your keyboard to “tune” the synth, while recording on the MIDI track.
  5. Stop the recording and open the recorded MIDI/Instrument track part in the list editor.
  6. Make a note of the value of the last Pitch-Bend entry.
  7. Insert a Pitch-Bend entry in every Part on any MIDI/Instrument track controlling your untunable synth (preferably a couple of ticks before the first note), and it will be correctly “tuned”. Make sure that the “Chasing Pitch-Bend” is engaged.

You only need to go through this once. If you note down the Pitch-Bend value, you only need step 7 in the future. If you have several untunable synths you may want to check them individually. Just to make sure that react identically to the Pitch-Bend values. Provided they all are set to the same Pitch-Bend value they should, but…
Of cause this precludes you to use the Pitch-Bend as an expression parameter, but there is a way around this aswell:

  1. Insert an inverted (upwards in this case) Pitch-Bend value on all the other tracks, except the one you will record on, to bring them into concert pitch.
  2. Record your track with the Pitch-Bend expression.
  3. Use the Logical Editor to shift all the pitch-values with a value relative to the value obtained in step 6 above. That is the difference between the noted value and Pitch-Bend value for no PB (8192 in Cubase).
  4. Remove the Pitch-Bend entries form the other tracks.
  5. See step 7.

A similar “trick” could be used to “re-tune” acoustic instruments aswell, by inserting a Pitch-Shifter plug-in and a Tuner plug-in on the input channel.

You can change the tuning of HALion and other synths. Doing it for each track sounds OK if you don’t have too many tracks. What I’d like to point out is:

The tuner plug-in can be changed to define A as 432Hz.

To do this, go to where it says “Base: 440.0 Hz” in the upper left corner of main display (digital mode).
Then double-click on the 440.0. It changes to an editable field! Enter 432, and you’re good. Now you can tune your violin/guitar/flute/bass/saxophone/etc to equal temperament based on 432, or the love frequency, or whatever.

Having taken care of the live instruments that can be tuned, and the synths, you have few remaining concerns. Perhaps there’s a harmonica or xylophone that you mic. That’s going to be awkward, but I guess you could time warp the project to normal pitch for the overdub, then revert to normal (except for the overdub). Then pitch shift the overdub track down to 432.