why does the spectrum analyzer seem an octave out?

hey! so showing off the spectrum analyzer to a friend and was showing the feature that shows the note name for a frequency and when I tried to find c4 it was wrong - well wrong in terms of what we thought c4 was. Most charts will have it at around 261 but it shows up at C3. The right note but out an octave. 


Any one got an ideas? Just curious as it still show the note so not really an huge issue i guess....it kind of killed my demo earlier though as ive only worked out what was up now!


Olly B 4 years ago | 1 comment

3 answers

  • 2klo
    2 answers
    3 votes received
    1 vote

    Yep, it's off by one octave. Ableton Live's A4 sits at 880 Hz, which is A5, instead of 440 Hz as in the scientific pitch notation . And you don't even need to feed it anything just hover over the display like you said. At first, it was driving me nuts but then I figured it's probably the old middle C at C3 vs middle C at C4 debate. Ableton chose the Japanese MIDI specs naming: where middle C (note 60) is C3. Hence the naming in the Spectrum analyzer is off by an octave.

    4 years ago | 0 comments
  • harold23
    3 answers
    3 votes received
    1 vote

    The spectrum analyser isn't an octave out - all of ableton is an octave out! Apparently there is more than one system of "octave designation", and ableton adopts a system that isn't the most commonly used. Ableton considers middle C (261Hz) to be C3. Most folks would consider this pitch to be C4. The Analyser plugs from Voxengo, Melda and Bluecat all roll with the C4 option. There's a page here which has some related info: http://www.music.vt.edu/musicdictionary/appendix/octaveregisters/octaveregisters.html

    I'd like to see some kind of setting in the preferences which can change the octave designation. This has been bugging me for a while.

    3 years ago | 0 comments
  • jestermgee
    39 answers
    43 votes received
    0 votes

    I am certainly sure the analyser is right. Get a known frequency tone (440Hz for instance) and play that and have a look. I think Ableton has some test tones available or you could sample the test tone in ableton. Don't just assume that a C4 from every instrument is calibrated correctly. If a known tone then shows as being way off then there is an issue.

    4 years ago | 1 comment

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