VLC pitch-shifts all over the place!

• 2 minute read • problem

At first, I thought I was going crazy, but time and time again I heard it, and it made me sick every single time.

TW: Imperfect Pitch

Around the 4-5th second of the audio samples, the pitch returns to normal. This is an effort by VLC to keep the audio and video in sync when its cache runs out (often when scrubbing).

I’d rather have the audio drop out than shift temporarily. The shifted audio always sounds off, and the change (switch to cache) is noticeable.

On many occasions, I tried changing all relevant settings in VLC, but without success. The Internet pointed to resampling, and posts where VLC maintainers stated that VLC is exclusively for streaming media, and the issue is intended / wontfix.

VLC used to be my de facto app for decades to open any video or audio file, and it still is what I recommend to people for the universal media player.

A few months ago, I replaced it with mpv while searching for a no-nonsense ephemeral player1. I can say that I’ve settled. The keyboard shortcuts took some time to get used to.

Since I didn’t bother spending time on changing them, I chose to stick with the defaults, even though mpv is fully configurable. I suggest reading the manpages for mpv.

The only questionable default I found was hwdec=no, which I changed to hwdec=auto-safe. One thing I miss is how VLC manages reusing multiple windows, including the ability to drag and drop into existing windows. Switching between mpv and umpv offers a remedy but isn’t perfect.

When scrubbing to any position in a 20-hour file, I would say mpv syncs instantly. Changing the audio channel adds a few hundred milliseconds of delay, which is acceptable for me.

  1. But not overly minimal, like some hardcore i3 maniacs like it.2 ↩︎

  2. Though, I do live on Sway. ↩︎