Synchronizing multimodal recordings using audio-to-audio alignment

An application of acoustic fingerprinting to facilitate music interaction research


Research on the interaction between movement and music often involves analysis of multi-track audio, video streams and sensor data. To facilitate such research a framework is presented here that allows synchronization of multimodal data. A low cost approach is proposed to synchronize streams by embedding ambient audio into each data-stream. This effectively reduces the synchronization problem to audio-to-audio alignment. As a part of the framework a robust, computationally efficient audio-to-audio alignment algorithm is presented for reliable synchronization of embedded audio streams of varying quality. The algorithm uses audio fingerprinting techniques to measure offsets. It also identifies drift and dropped samples, which makes it possible to find a synchronization solution under such circumstances as well. The framework is evaluated with synthetic signals and a case study, showing millisecond accurate synchronization.

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    If for example audio with an 8,000 Hz sample rate is used and each analysis frame is 128 samples, then time resolution is limited to 16 ms.

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    SyncSink is included into the GPL’d Panako project available at

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    An Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q9650 @ 3.00 GHz 4 was used, with 8GB memory. A CPU that entered the market late 2008.

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    To support real-time recording writing a 512 byte buffers should be faster than 256 / 44,100 Hz \(=5.802\) ms, on average.


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Correspondence to Joren Six.

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Six, J., Leman, M. Synchronizing multimodal recordings using audio-to-audio alignment. J Multimodal User Interfaces 9, 223–229 (2015).

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  • Multimodal data synchronization
  • Audio fingerprinting
  • Audio-to-audio-alignment
  • Music performance research
  • Digital signal processing