Turn off time stretching

While we’re on the topic of playback speed, I too enjoy a slower version sometimes, but with .75 or .65 it’s too robotic. Even .80 sounds awful! .90 isn’t terrible but still sounds very robotic and distorts the voice. I would like you all to download VLC, go into the settings, advanced, and uncheck timestrech.

Then, because android is ruining sd card data access, if you are on a newer build of android (higher than 11 I believe) you will be unable to access the sdcard or internal storage for Android / Data / antennapod folder / files / media. It’s just blank. This was not a problem in older android versions. So to test non-timestretched playback speed it’s actually a bit complicated the way vlc opens a file.

So open a file manager, go to the directory mentioned, and if (and I hope you do) there are downloaded episodes, opening them should open vlc. But vlc will not show on the screen, even though it is open, nor will it show in recent apps unless you’ve opened it already.

So, go into your apps, open vlc to now see the interface. There should be a playing file shown at the bottom like most audio programs do. Tap the playback at the bottom to see the menu for the active file playing.

Once you see the playback controls (which for me don’t work correctly, nor can I move the playback position, could be because of using an older version) you’ll see three vertical dots. This is the menu for the active playback, use it to finally change playback speed without robotic timestretching distortion. It does change pitch, but I think it’s more enjoyable than the constant strobing of the audio just to artificial shift the pitch.

Would you all be interested in having at least the option to turn off timestretching and have smooth audio, or do you enjoy the choppiness of reduced playback speed which still degrades the audio quality? This test would be simpler if VLC didn’t open invisibly when opening a file, requiring more steps to bring up the interface.

I tested playing podcasts with Antennapod and with VLC on my device. Both software were set to playback at 50% speed. Playback on both software sounded identical.

I could say I’m annoyed because you skimmed my post, missed a step, or maybe vlc needs to be closed again, but I also missed the setting too until I checked the settings.

In vlc, this option is not under “audio” which is very confusing, but rather as mentioned in my post, the advanced settings. There is an option called “timestretching” and the description under it mentions it is referring to changing playback speed and pitch maintenance. It has a checkmark by default. Unchecking it will allow the pitch to slide according to playback speed, like a 12" record or tape. It gets rid of the robotic choppy effect when slowing down the speed, and is incredibly smooth.

I’d say it’s as smooth as “a slice of butter… melting on a big ol pile of flap jacks.”

  • Pineapple Express (movie, 2008)

TBH I found your original post very confusing as it was not clear to me when you were talking about what is happening / want to happen in AP and when you were talking about what happens in VLC. I gave up.

If that’s what you’re requesting to be implemented by AntennaPod:

While it might be smoother, the lower pitch makes it harder to follow people. Also, it’s not unlikely that the few people who would ever use/test such option would forget that they enabled it and then later complain about the sound being weird. I also can’t think of a new use-case that would be enabled/‘unlocked’.

So I’m sorry, but I think that should not be implemented in AntennaPod.


O.K. so the default speed change uses “time-stretching” just as spotify and youtube. This artifirally changes the pitch when changing speed, so it sound identical to the original speed. It also creates a choppy sound where it is strobing the audio output, which can make it difficult to hear speech as intended.

In VLC the default is the same. But as stated, in settings, advanced, uncheck “time-stretching” it does away with the pitch processing, which eliminates the robotic effect.

So explain this to people who’ve never experienced proper speed shifting in audio. Have bright red warning text after enabling the setting informing users that this affects voice pitch, and give users the freedom to make that choice. Maybe they ARE annoyed by the effect of matching the pitch, but don’t think there is anything that can be done–nobody will know unless they are educated.

There is a way to do this where users KNOW what they are doing, vs checking options with not enough description. So just thouroughly explain how the option works, with a clear note about changing voice pitch and no issue.

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