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Reguarding Mics and phase/polarity

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by MediaMurder, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    When you're double micing say a kick drum or an acoustic guitar or something like that using two different types of mics on the same source(beta 58, at2020 instrument mic), do you absolutely need to set them out of phase with each other? Is that usually reserved for when you're using two of the same mics?

    Im trying to read about this in 'modern recording techniques' but Im lost
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I wouldn't really think this belongs in the "Mastering" forum. I'll let the mods move, but I'll also answer.


    In fact, I think that the phase reverse switch is horribly misused in most applications and should be removed from most people.

    The *only time* a phase reverse switch should be employed would be under one of the following situations:

    1 - you have 2 microphones positioned equidistant from opposite sides of the same source. A good example of this is the opposite sides of a drum head. Say you have a single head and a mic 2 inches on either side. When the head is struck, the mic on the bottom will receive a direct signal forcing the diaphragm to move either towards the back plate (condenser) or towards the magent/motor (dynamic). The mic above the head would receive a signal at the same time, but it would be the opposite direction and thus 180 degrees out of phase. A phase flip would place these two signals in phase.

    2 - you have a coincident pair of microphones (XY/Blumlein, etc.) and one of them is wired incorrectly.

    All other scenarios should be changed by one of the following means -

    A - move one of the microphones within the physical space.
    B - move one of the DAW channels in time by a few milliseconds

    See...the problem is quite simple. If you have a signal which, between the 2 mics, is say 20 degrees out of phase (meaning the wave forms don't line up as opposites but don't look dead on either) and you flip the phase by 180 degrees, you're now 160 degrees (or 200 degrees) out of phase which is absolutely no better than your 20 degrees out of phase.

    The best approach is simply to avoid funky multi-mic scenarios.

    For drums, a simplistic approach is almost always best. Guitar...perhaps a blumlein approach which is relatively immune to phasing issues, etc.

    When in doubt, listen through your headphones and make minor movements of one or more mics. I think you'll find that even a couple inches will make a WORLD of difference!

    Good luck!

  3. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    Once again Cucco nailed it with authority. While your learning take a look into variable phase. Rupert Neve Designs preamp as example.

  4. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    Yes sir! You hit it right on the button Cucco! Thanks alot!

    Link, Im actually in the market for a mic pre with at least 8 xlr ins right now but thatnks for the link.
  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I wouldn't poo-poo the portico for a lack of channel count. Instead, I would get a portico and then a cheap mixer or something instead...That's if I were looking for 8 channels...

    Actually, if I were really in the market for 8 channels right now, I'd go with a Lunchbox with different flavors (if I were mainly doing rock/country, etc.)

    What's yer budget MediaMurder?
  6. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    well, its going to be a few months but Ill be able to spend like $3-400 at most... I was hoping I could at least get something nice going for that... Ill be using Logic pro 8 as well.
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    What are you using right now as a pre?

    The bad news is, I don't know of *anything* near that price range with 8 pres that are considered even decent.
  8. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    What about the PreSonus firepod or Toneport ux8 from line6?
  9. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member


    Seriously - what are you using right now as a pre?

    I'm familiar with the sound and quality of the PreSonus, but not the Toneport (though I can make certain assumptions).

    There's nothing wrong with the Presonus, but there's nothing amazing either. It's too "clean" to be considered a colored pre and too "colored" to be a clean pre. It just is.

    The best "cheap" pre I've run across in a while is the Onyx. It's clean and dynamic enough to be effective on most anything. Say you want some bit...use the right mic or the right compressor with it and you'll get plenty of bite. If you want clean and accurate (say acoustic guitar or crystal clean vox) it will do that just fine.

    I just haven't found that to be the case with many other "cheap" pres.

    If I had $400 to buy 8 channels of good pres, I'd go with one and only one set of pres - used Aphex 107's and then replace the tubes with some nice GTs or similar. You should be able to do 8 channels for $400.

    Cheers -
  10. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    Im using the toneport ux2, and the kb37 right now, I think they sound good.

    Im not sure how you get 8 inputs out of a 2 mic preamp though, could you please explain that? Im using logic on my intel iMac.

    Thanks man!
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    4 of them...
  12. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    You can't stack those can you? That is, you can't use the KB37 along with the UX2 at the same time. I'm thinking you'll definitely need to sell the UX2 and only use the KB37 as a midi controller/guitar input as needed. You won't be able to use it at the same time as any other preamp/interface that you get. Which of course means you'll need to spend a lot more money than $400 to get 8 channels with decent preamps. The Onyx series are nice and plenty good enough for most people but they also retail for more than $750.
  13. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    yeah I priced them at like 1k...
    What about if I saved up and got an m-audio projectMix?
  14. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I've heard mixed reviews about the Project Mix. Nice if you want to use ProTools Mpowered but then again, I've heard some bad things about Mpowered and compatability. Besides, Mackie boards come with Tracktion which is a great DAW.
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Dude. I've been where you are right now and I hated it. You know you want better, you know you need better. You know that better is just a little outside your grasp, so you're grasping at what is at the top of what you can forsee being able to afford.

    I say this from the bottom of my heart. Be patient and don't jump on anything just because it's a little bit better.

    Wait it out. Do odd jobs. Service sailors at the local docs. Save your money. When you have the right amount of money and the gear you *need* is available to you, you'll be in a MUCH better place.

    The M-Audio is a situation of "grasping" at those straws. Don't fall victim. I've probably wasted $20K over the past 10 years doing just that.


  16. Link555

    Link555 Well-Known Member

    LOL- Is that how you got your gear, well well....

    I second the APHEX 107, its great for price tag, and really simple to mod.
  17. MediaMurder

    MediaMurder Guest

    Hey whats a Lunchbox? What did you mean by that?
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    It's a modular API System (built around their 500 series) which, IMHO, is simply the best value in studio mic pres on the market today.

    If you're interested, you should check out the deals that Nate has at Atlas Pro Audio. His racks actually have a beefier power supply than the original APIs and can handle more robust units. The GREAT thing about a lunchbox (or its larger/smaller siblings) is that there are so many options. Not only do you have the API 500 series flavors (which are freaking awesome!), you have all of the following and more possibilities:

    4 different OSA models
    Buzz Audio (preamps, eqs, etc.) (read my review of the Buzz audio pre here on the site. It's one of the nicest pres I've ever used!)
    Brent Averill (several options)
    Shadow Hills (meaty sound!!!!)
    Great River
    A Designs
    Purple Audio

    The truly great thing about it is, you buy the chassis for anywhere from a couple hundred up to maybe $600 and then you add each module as you go along and you can swap them out (not hot swap though...) so a 7 rack unit can hold countless options.

    OSA preamps start at $500 a channel and the high end pres will go for as much as $1000, but make NO mistake about it, every pre at this point that I'm aware of that will fit in a 500 series "lunchbox" is a DAMN nice pre and well worth 3 to 5 times its cost.



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