Software Question - Slowing Down Music

What do y’all use to slow down music you’re learning? Is there a free version and is it good enough? Speaking about options aside from youtube at 50% lol because that drives me crazy sometimes. Wil it work with Spotify? I just found out there’s the amazing slow downer on the iphone for free and for $15. There’s also Transcribe. Love to hear some thoughts

I have Transcribe!

I bought a license years ago. Every time there has been a new version my license has carried over. I have one license code, but I have Transcribe! installed on two different machines. I’m totally satisfied with Transcribe!

I’m kind of a perfectionist and whenever I transcribe music I try to get every detail perfect. It’s a long process but it’s helped me to develop a more complete understanding of the players I admire. I couldn’t really do that without Transcribe!

Obviously slowing down music allows you to better understand faster passages, but for me the biggest benefit has been understanding the bending, vibrato and note shaping techniques I admire from my favourite players.

I should really do more transcription, and I could if I were less worried about exact replication, but that’s my fault and no fault of the software.

I also have an app on my phone (Android) called Music Speed Changer. It doesn’t have all the functionality of Transcribe! but it has enough. Ads aren’t intrusive and can be removed for $2-3.


Thanks for the response. So with Transcribe, can I use with youtube and Spotify? And i can buy one license for my mac and iphone? does the slowing down keep the music at a decent quality?

What are some of the other functions aside from the ability to slow music down in Transcribe! that you’ve been so impressed with?

I haven’t really dug deeply for something that can do this, but provided you download and install a mp3 codec (and they include instructions) Reaper is actually pretty good for this - change playback tempo with the preserve pitch option enabled. I’ve settled on Reaper, though, because the extent of the searching I’ve done was “Hey, I wonder if any of the tools I already use for other things could slow this passage down a bit while preserving pitch, to see if I can make things out a little better?”

The Amazing Slow downer app

I believe that Transcribe! is limited to local files, but it does accept video. I might be wrong, I’ve never used it for Spotify and if I were transcribing from Youtube video I would use a video downloader to get an offline copy first. It has a feature called “recorder” which exists so you can take input from cassette or vinyl, so maybe that can be used for a digital audio stream too. I’m not sure.

Sound quality is excellent.

I know that transcribe is definitely available for Mac, but I don’t know about iPhone.

Transcribe! has a 30 day free trial. No reason not to try it and see if it works for you.

Ease of use is a big one for me. It’s easy to place markers for sections, bars and beats and your marks get saved to a file for later use. Your markers allow you to switch between different points quickly and easily.

In addition to controlling playback speed without changing pitch, you can make global changes to tuning also. This has been very helpful when I’ve transcribed guitars tuned to Eb (Jimi Hendrix, Scott Henderson, Yngwie Malmsteen, etc). It’s also very helpful when dealing with recordings where the band are in tune with eachother, but are not at concert pitch.

There’s also a very easy to use EQ with some helpful default settings, to help you hear certain instruments more clearly. This can be combined with the pitch shift and the speed control.

One thing that I find super helpful is an option called “Karaoke Mode” which allows you to easily dial out or enhance voices/instruments somewhere in the stereo field. This makes it so much easier to hear individual parts clearly. Again, helpful defaults are available.

There’s also a keyboard and a spectrum that helps with note and chord guesses.

All of this works with video files too, which is great.

If I’m sitting down to get something transcribed, I plug my guitar into my audio interface, load up Transcribe! and S-Gear with a clean tone and listen through my best headphones. I have TAB/Stave paper, a pencil and an eraser and I write as I go. I’ve just bought a USB pedal so the whole process will be mostly hands free.

I just got a trial version of Transcribe! but haven’t done much except play with the Karaoke feature to get rid of vocals. I’ve been using Anytune Pro for years. It doesn’t allow YouTube downloads anymore because Apple told them to get rid of the feature. Anytune Pro is awesome for what I need but I wouldn’t mind being able to download an isolated guitar track from YouTube and learning the song that way for the sake of accuracy. I wasn’t aware that Transcribe! can do that. I’ll have to check it out.

Riffstation is free, easy to highlight an area and loop (can export loop as well). Isolation features, tuning, speed. It’s been great for me. I think it used to be a paid-for app, however now is free.

When I transcribed music some time ago I used CoolEdit (ancestor of Adobe Audition), where I just changed song bitrate. Most software keep pitch constant while decreasing speed but this leads to sound artifacts (due to windowing effects, spectrum leakage etc), so I just slowed songs down in old tape-recorder-like way.

Another vote for Transcribe, used it for years, IMO a fantastic piece of software. Never tried to use directly with Spotify or Youtube. For Youtube I just download as an mp4 and then load into Transcribe.

Would have killed to have this sort of technology back in the 80’s when I’d slave for hours with a cassette tape to learn my favourite Yngwie and Eddie solos!

How do you download from Youtube to an mp4? And then is it a smooth upload to Transcribe?

There are programs which can download videos from YouTube to .mp4 if you paste a link to a video (or playlist). I use a free program called 4k Video Downloader, it works for that purpose. I don’t know if it’s available for Mac.

There are browser add-ons that can do the same thing for some browsers, but I use Chrome and Google doesn’t allow add-ons which download from YouTube.

Once you have the file on your hard drive it’s easy to open with Transcribe!

I use Win X Youtube downloader, free and works well, but there are lots out there.
Once you have the .mp4 on your hard drive just open the file with Transcribe and good to go.

+1 for 4k downloader.

If you are on iOS or MacOS.
Anytune Pro kicks the pants out of transcribe, amazing slowdowner etc.

Currently on windows myself. Really miss anytune, it’s modern, the competition feels dated by two decades.

can you download youtube videos as MP4 and the use them with anytune?

I prefer Reaper. Mac or Windows. Free 60 day trial. Works with files you can import (DRM free), but I doubt it works with spotify.

It has boat loads of features. I started using it for slowing down songs (with or without pitch shifting). I think it can be a little daunting to use however.

I also use Guitar Pro for slowing down, but only when I have the tabs. Otherwise it’s Reaper every day.

Yeah see I really like Amazing Slow Downer so I can integrate my Spotify playlists!

I can’t imagine what anyone would want in a slow down app that you don’t already get for free on YouTube. You can play back at 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 speed without changing pitch.

Spotify integration plus better sound quality + looping. Youtube at 1/4 speed is really hard for me to distinguish notes and having to manually restart every passage is hard and distracting