Friday, 3 February 2012

Introduction and Phasing

Hi Folks,

As part of the new "Introduction to recording" weekend course which is soon to be held in The Sound Training Centre, Dublin I thought it might be a cool idea to blog about some tips and tricks to do with audio mixing.

We'll be going through the actual microphone techniques in the course but there are a few mixing tips that could help you improve your sounds.

Phasing. Snore! Well it may not be the most exciting topic when we talk mixing but using it properly makes a massive difference to how your mix will sound.

If you have more than one microphone pointing at an instrument there's a danger the two sounds heard could phase. That means frequencies could cancel each other out and your instrument sounds really thin and generally manky.
I'm not going to get too technical on this matter for the sake of this blog but suffice to say it's a problem that can be fixed easily by moving one of the microphones until the sound is right. If you're stuck with the sound, having being already recorded, though that's a different matter.

Every piece of software weather it's Pro Tools or Cubase, Logic or Sonar, will have some form of phase reverse on each channel. Here we have a typical Pro Tools plug-in. The Phase reverse button is the circle with the diagonal line through it on the right.

Let's say you have two microphones on an acoustic guitar. Well pan them to the center and put a phase reverse on one of the channels. Does the sound get weedy? Well then your phase is fine, take the phase reverse off and be happy you are truly blessed with a god given technique for capturing an acoustic guitar. Does the sound get thicker, more full? Well then you have a phase reverse problem. But thanks to pressing that button it's now solved.

You come across phasing in every aspect of live recording. The best way to deal with it is start hitting those phase reverse buttons and listen to what happens. Check out Drum kits, Bass Mics/DIs and Room mics in particular. You'll find that before you even touch EQ or compression your sound will already be better than it was.

That's it for this week. I'll aim to have one of these every week until the course starts. If you have any questions about mixing then send them to me and I'll try to incorprate them into the blog. 

Also if you want to do the course then call Maggie on 01 6709033.

Thanks for reading

Andy Knightley

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