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Author Topic: OH vs snare/kick phase  (Read 10535 times)

chai t

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OH vs snare/kick phase
« on: July 08, 2011, 02:05:12 am »

How does one get them in phase?  They never ever seem to sound in-phase even after hours of tinkering. How i check is by comparing soloed OHs and snare/kick mono to stereo. It never sounds the same! Should it at all? Or is there a compromise you should settle with? If the more experienced engineers could help out with tips I'd be most grateful. In fact, even if they can't I'm grateful- this is an awesome forum.
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Joram

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 07:03:22 am »

You can get them in phase by delaying the OH-tracks. But do you want that? OH's also give some space to a snare or kick drum. Can you expect a stereo-signal to sound the same in mono? Guess not, so you should compromise.

For a typical OH-setup I like to have the OH-mics at the same distance from snare and kick.

MagnetoSound

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 07:17:28 am »

For a typical OH-setup I like to have the OH-mics at the same distance from snare and kick.


Hmm ... given that the bass drum is (typically) on the floor and the snare is (typically) on a stand, how do you do that?

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Dan Sansom
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Fletcher

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2011, 08:32:42 am »

How i check is by comparing soloed OHs and snare/kick mono to stereo. It never sounds the same!

Two part thought here... first, "solo"ed anything is irrelevant because it will NEVER be heard on the final product that way [with rare - VERY rare exception]... second, if it did sound the same then it would be a redundancy as you would already have tracks that covered that base.

What matters is how the composite sounds in the final presentation.  FWIW when I'm tracking drums I focus on the kik and the overheads.  I should get a clear and "correct" [for the song] representation of the drum kit with those 3 channels open.  Then I'll bring up the snare mic(s) and tweeze them [as necessary] so they work with the kik [or often "Front Of Kit"] mic... then its on to toms... which I try to get to a place where they "reinforce" the sound in the overheads / FOK scenario.

There are techniques where the overheads are mainly cymbal mics... while I've done that its not what I usually go for.  To me the overheads should give you a pretty realistic representation of the entire kit [not just cymbals] and the close mics are only there to give a bit of mixing flexibility if I want to bring an element of the kit to the "forefront" [in other words - render a balance that didn't occur in nature].

Yet another element in the world of artificial drum sound creation is samples which have NOTHING to do with the drums that were recorded except that those samples occur at the same time in the presentation as the original drum they are augmenting or replacing.

While I've strayed away from your original query... the fact remains that you can't get all the little waveforms to line up on the computer monitor and have the kit sound like a kit.  A sorta representation of drums - sure... but like a kit? ...nope, nyet, nein, nuh-uh.  At the end of the day... all that matters is that the final presentation of the drums sound like drums in the context of the song... NOT what they sound like in solo.

Make sense?

Peace.
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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

bigbone

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2011, 03:34:48 pm »


Make sense?

Peace.


Yes on all count.
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chai t

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2011, 06:47:32 pm »

Cool beans. Makes sense to me.
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rosshogarth

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2011, 12:12:03 am »

try something simple the next time you get drum sounds
have the drummer only hit kik then sn at a tempo of say 100 bpm
boom ....... splat ..... boom ....splat
boring but never changing
this gives you a very easy way to hear phase
boom ... splat .... change phase ... boom ... splat
do this on all mics and you will see the phase come together nicely
in a simple groove like this you can hear in phase and out of phase ver clearly
just do sn against oh
then kik against oh
then oh against room
then sn against room
then kik against room
on and on
when you get to toms
just have the drummer do single hits
boom ...... boom ....... boom
do the tom against oh
tom against room
on and on
I promise once you put all together this way
it will come together easier
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The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.

The standard of success in life isn't the things. It isn't the money or the stuff. It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.

chai t

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2011, 01:04:30 am »

thanks ross.

but in the end you're gonna have to settle with what sounds good to your ears right? i ask because i'm doubtful that all the mics can be in-phase with each other. ever. i'm guessing that gain and compression will have to accomplish the rest. i.e., make the room sound weaker than the close mics so that it doesn't become totally weird and compressing the room to avoid the transients that could start to sound like an echo of the close mics.

but... i really like the sound of the more distant mics. oh and room mics. they seem to be more alive and seem to rock more without much help(granted that the performance was rocking in  the first place)

will try all of your suggestions though. now to look for a drummer who's willing to do boom-splat for about 30-40  minutes ;D
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Joram

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 11:36:33 am »

Hmm ... given that the bass drum is (typically) on the floor and the snare is (typically) on a stand, how do you do that?
the oh-mics are not at the same distance of snare and kick, but at the same distance of snare, and both are at the same distance of the kick.

JLam

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2011, 11:45:12 am »

One thing you can do to experiment and see what the effects of phase cancellation are is to insert a 'phase manipulator' such as a little labs IBP, radial phaser, etc... on the snare/kick and vary it. Sometimes the effect is obvious, sometimes it's a little more subtle. You can demo the Voxengo PHA-979 or the IBP if you have a UAD card (not making any claims on which are better or worse) for free. They are software versions of such tools and can be excellent learning devices. Find the right phase relationship that supplies the sound that you are looking for or that is right for the production.
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saint

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2011, 12:46:07 pm »

Drums are where I find the most lack of correct mic placement than anything else is todays recordings. It NEVER ceases to amaze me how truly unprofessional recordings have become. Fixing the horrendous imaging & crippled phasing is impossible in many cases and time consuming in all. WRONG mic placement, then exacerbated by a complete lack of how to use a compressor, i.e., total disregard for a 'musical' application of attack & release times that are in the same tempo as the song coupled with WAY too much compression during the recording, leaves you 'painted into a corner' with no where to go should you need "less" in the mix. WHY someone would want to ever do that is beyond me... (like skydiving without a reserve parachute!). Once the damage is done, it is impossible to recover the track(s), but if you leave yourself the OPTION of ADDING the compression in the mix, then at least you have a fighting chance. I have a "sum & difference" device usually found only in mastering rooms (back in the vinyl days) which is quite helpful on really bad stereo tracks, especially over heads & room mics. It allows you to independently manipulate the relationships between the center and outside information. Additionally I am able to insert e.q. &/or compressor/limiters separately to either the vertical or horizontal information. A very helpful tool, but still "make up" on an ugly face. It's all a compromise... without a sum & difference mixer, you just have to keep panning the outside edges in towards center until you de-emphasise the warped balance of the kit until you get the most bottom with the least amount of 'swishing & pumping' on what was formerly known as cymbals.
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JohnTravis

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2011, 09:26:48 pm »

As always all of the other replies on here are great, and I'm late to the party, but here's a method of dealig with your phase issues. Start with one mic on the kick drum with no eq. have the drummer hit it a few times while you punch the phase button in and out. The kick will be fuller sounding one way or the other, and providing your amp, speakers, cables etc are all wired the same way (either pin 2 or pin 3 hot depending on which country you are in, or where your gear is from). This is called absolute phase. Once you have established that, put in your overhead mics and play with the phase between them and the kick. They are going to sound better one way or the other depending on the polarity of the mics. Do the same with the snare checking it with the overheads etc etc. The more mics you put up the more chances you will have for phase discrepancies, but don't let that deter you from having fun with it and getting unique sounds.

Once you have figured out the phase of each mic, then you can go nuts with the eq if you think it's appropriate, but if you start off eq-ing things you may have a harder time judging the phase of other mics.

Oh and Ron may get mad at me for saying this, but don't be afraid to over-eq, compress or distort the drums if that's what the track calls for. I can think of so many great records with really distorted drums that sound amazing in the mix. There are several Queen tracks for example that have very distorted drums and sound ridiculously great once the guitars, drums and vocals are added. At the end of the day it's rarely as much about cutting perfect tracks as it is cutting appropriate.
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chai t

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2011, 12:44:39 am »

Thanks again for the very informative answers and genuine concern on the matter.

The problem is nowadays is that there are very few(fewer still where I'm from) to apprentice under someone who knows what s/he is doing. I learned in this climate of heavy trial and error and of all the things that really bug me it's the drum sound that drives me up the wall most. It's a pretty ardous task, driving blind. Because of my experience I value forums like these that allow me to get the advice of established pros.

With this may I ask if I may upload a drum track that i recorded for comments and suggestions?
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rosshogarth

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #13 on: July 11, 2011, 12:44:53 pm »

by the way
last year I went to Sweetwater with Kenny Aronoff to do a recording clinic for Royer/ Mojave
It has some good info
check it out if you like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMT40TkgwQ8
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The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.

The standard of success in life isn't the things. It isn't the money or the stuff. It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.

bigbone

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2011, 07:41:14 pm »



You guys look great........... :)


Jean N.
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luis Markson

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absolute phase
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2011, 06:50:11 am »

As always all of the other replies on here are great, and I'm late to the party, but here's a method of dealig with your phase issues. Start with one mic on the kick drum with no eq. have the drummer hit it a few times while you punch the phase button in and out. The kick will be fuller sounding one way or the other, and providing your amp, speakers, cables etc are all wired the same way (either pin 2 or pin 3 hot depending on which country you are in, or where your gear is from). This is called absolute phase.

Could you expand on "absolute phase"?

I was under the impression that phase was an inherent property of interaction?

How can flipping the polarity of a single source impact on itself?
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Cass Anawaty

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2011, 10:38:25 am »

Polarity.
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JohnTravis

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2011, 07:26:59 pm »

"I was under the impression that phase was an inherent property of interaction?"

You are correct in that phase is always relative, but if a sound source is recorded with a mic that has one polarity and played back using an amplification system with the opposite polarity that recorded sound will not be in absolute phase with itself and, depending on the amount of low frequencies in the original sound source, reversing the phase on it may give you a fuller sound. With this stuff there is usually not a right or wrong, but there sometimes a "that sounds great" and a "damn that sounds even better".
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MagnetoSound

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2011, 04:36:56 am »

Polarity.


John, Cass is right, this is called Absolute Polarity.

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Dan Sansom
Magneto Sound
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luis Markson

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2011, 07:15:04 am »

This wouldn't apply to live sound would it? Assuming that system optimisation has been completed and the fact that the source and reproduction system is one and the same...
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JohnTravis

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2011, 02:22:46 am »

Actually Magnetosound  and Cass it is called both absolute phase and absolute polarity, but absolute phase is actually the way most big studio techs refer to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_phase

Absolute phase refers to the phase of a waveform relative to some standard (strictly speaking, phase is always relative). To the extent that this standard is accepted by all parties, one can speak of an absolute phase in a particular field of application.

In the realm of high fidelity reproduction of music, absolute phase refers the phase of the reproduced sound waves relative to the original sound waves, or to the relative phase of the various channels of stereo or multi-channel reproduction. In most cases, it is actually a question of the polarity of the channels, i.e., an equal phase shift of 180 at all frequencies. Some audiophiles claim[1] that reversing the polarities of all the channels simultaneously makes a perceptible difference in the sound quality, even though the relative phases of all the channels are preserved.


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Fletcher

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #21 on: July 21, 2011, 07:47:13 pm »

In the realm of high fidelity reproduction of music, absolute phase refers the phase of the reproduced sound waves relative to the original sound waves, or to the relative phase of the various channels of stereo or multi-channel reproduction. In most cases, it is actually a question of the polarity of the channels, i.e., an equal phase shift of 180 at all frequencies. Some audiophiles claim[1] that reversing the polarities of all the channels simultaneously makes a perceptible difference in the sound quality, even though the relative phases of all the channels are preserved.

...and those "audiophiles" would be correct.  Much like the Easter Bunny there is no such thing as a perfectly symmetrical amplifier so the bottom of the wave form in ANY[/i] amplifier will be different from the top of the wave form which [among other things] is a form of "phase distortion" [never mind the travel direction of the reproduction driver which is another kettle of fish in terms of human hearing / perception].

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CN Fletcher

mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid


"Recording engineers are an arrogant bunch
If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
Malcolm Chisholm

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2011, 09:58:32 pm »

It's not only the amp that isn't symmetrical - the waveform itself (like a kick) is highly asymmetrical.  Absolute Phase can have an effect on such sources.  Other words, if the kick is asymmetrical (as it will be), then one polarity orientation will emphasize the compression (positive pressure) and the opposite polarity will emphasize the rarefaction (negative pressure) of the transient through the reproduction system.  I personally can't hear a big difference, but there is a difference with regards to absolute polarity and reproducing the asymmetrical waveforms that are present everywhere in music...

This can go as far as debating if the "Drummer's Perspective" is correct (rarefaction as the beater pushes the head away from the drummer's ears), or if the front-of-kit/audience perspective is correct (compression/positive pressure as the beater pushes the head towards the audience).

Relative polarity/phase is a much larger component of getting everything jiving.  Absolute Polarity is fairly miniscule by comparison IMNSHO.

 8)
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Randy Visentine
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fossiltooth

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Re: OH vs snare/kick phase
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2011, 01:58:20 pm »

I'd agree with that. Absolute polarity is a factor, but maybe not an essential one.

Relative polarity is crucial, but will never be "perfect". Perfect phase would be one microphone split into two pairs with nothing changed at all: an exact double. What's essential is that an engineer learn to listen for subtle comb-filtering effects and move mics, or listen for dramatic cancellation by toggling polarity switches.

There will always be some phase discrepancy when recording drums with more than one mic. That's the nature of the beast. We just have to make sure those discrepancies don't suck royally.

As an aside, sometimes drums sound great with just 1, 2 or 4 mics. In those cases making relative phase decisions can be more straightforward and more powerful.
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