Effect used for Bohemian Rhapsody

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Terabyte, Jan 29, 2006.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. Terabyte

    Terabyte Guest

    Does anybody recognise the effect put on the voices in "Bohemian Rhapsody"?
    It appears at the start during "anywhere the wind blows doesnt really"... I've heard that effect a million times.. does anybody know what its called?

  2. You mean the little phaser sweep, or the 24 tracks of vocals?
  3. Terabyte

    Terabyte Guest

    phaser effect eh?

    anyone know any plugins for that?
    I have a phaser effect.. but it doesn't sweep... :(
    I have cubase SX 3.
  4. Perhaps any old phaser and an automated (or even manual) pan sweep there guy? Seriously?

  5. Lerxst

    Lerxst Guest

    It sweeps just fine in my SX3 -- :shock:
  6. Terabyte

    Terabyte Guest

    which setting did you use? :)
  7. Lerxst

    Lerxst Guest

    Are you using SX3 built in phaser? That one sucks monkey dongle (it does sweep, just not real slow which is what you need)... I use the one that came with my UAD card, but there are free ones that will work --

    Let me see... ahh here's what you need;


    Now just unzip that - drop it into you rvst plugin folder - restart SX and select it.

    It's nice and gives you a slow sweep that's needed for that particular effect. :)
  8. Terabyte

    Terabyte Guest

    oo thankyou so much for that plug in. Works a treat :)
  9. huub

    huub Guest

    isnt it a flanger though?
  10. I'd love to hear what your idea of the difference between "pasing" and "flanging" are.

    See, this is one thing that annoys the piss out of me. It probably shouldn't, but it does. Maybe there IS a difference now-a-days, but there's not supposed to be any difference.

    The genesis of this effect, as I'm sure we've all heard, was a tape machine trick engineers used to use. It was kind of klugey, but a cool effect. They'd lay their thumb (or, more likely, some kind of gloved appendage, or a pencil eraser, or something not likely to get sliced off) against the flange of the spinning tape reel of one machine that was sync'ed to, and playing the same signal as, another machine. Mashing on the reel flange slowed the one machine down my just a cock hair and knocked the two signals out of phase. This gave a the sound we're familiar with. So, they called it "flanging" because they were pressing on the flange of the tape reel. When the name phasing became common I have no idea, but it's the same fuckin thing so far as I know. There's only about one way to split a signal and knock half of it out of phase.

  11. huub

    huub Guest

    well, i'd say, the difference is, a flanger also has some pitch modulation..
  12. Any two complex waveforms out of phase with one another are going to modulate pitch because certain frequencies will null and others will not.
  13. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Well, in addition to finding out the ever-elusive difference between those two terms - phasing and flanging - it's not a bad idea for anyone starting out to look into the history of how those early Queen LPs were made. (Remember those "No Synthesizers Used" comments in the liner notes, too?)

    Take a few moments with google and search for "Roy Thomas Baker" - you'll be amazed at what's out there. (RTB was teaching a master class in 2004, no idea what he's up to lately, but certainly worth a look-see.)

    From the web....



    Roy Thomas Baker produced Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and, if nothing else, deserves his place in history merely based on that brilliant, pristine, and utterly perfect track. His contribution to the music industry includes producing such acts as Cheap Trick, Journey, Ozzy Osbourne, The Cars, Foreigner and of course, Queen. For more information regarding the Master Class, registration, or Henson Recording Studios; please go to http://www.hensonrecording.com
  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Ahh, what a glorious track indeed.

    However, there is a rather obvious splice in the middle. If I can dig out my Queen LP, I'll try to give a time, but it's pretty obvious - even over a car stereo...
  15. Care to enlighten?
  16. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Ok, now that you've gotten me thinking about phasing vs. flanging, two approaches come to mind...

    The net result - what the listener hears with "Flanging" is something that's done as if by magic, originally created in a way that did not involve today's real-time processing; and it's tougher to pull off. (Hint: it involves early as well as late information, as the second copy passes against the common/null/in-phase material).

    With Flanging, it's the entire sonic spectrum being affected, and when done correctly, it's a very full, deep effect, across the entire bandwidth. You can have the second (flanged) track actually begin early or late - doesn't matter which - but it's these crossing points (various freqs being accented/reduced) as the timing offset changes that make the sound we're all talking about. It's often done in a very slow sweep, to let one hear the beautiful and "Trippy" result. And, with the forwards/backwards capability of creating the effect offline, one can get some nice effects as the material goes in and out of "phase" - slowly, going forward and backward in time.

    It's a tougher sound to pull off - and again, because it involves late AND early timings should you want to create that effect properly. For example, if you start the second (copy) track EARLY, it's not something you can actually pull off in real time or live performance, obviously. (Unless you're some kind of time traveller who can go back in time, even by a few milliseconds.)

    With something as simple (in todays world) as a varispeed, the flanging could be very subtle, as an engineer would cue up two machines with the same start point - locked to each other, for example. Then by turning OFF the sync lock, and slowly adjusting the varispeed (up or down), the real "Flanging" effect begins.

    What I'm saying is that good flanging can move in either direction; the "early" (new) track begins early and the effect sweeps in one direction as it falls back in time, and after it falls far enough behind, it starts to go back the other way.

    So, when creating a true "flanging" effect, it's all about making one copy of the track go back and forth against a common null point. Of course, good software can emulate this trick, and I can think of a few way to do this with copies of wav files that run at different speeds, and crossfade them at will.

    PHASING, on the other hand, (at least as I recall the stomp boxes and rack units called "Phasers"), were a much simpler frequency-based delay circuit - going back and forth, but always just going from "Null" to delayed, and never (obviously) starting early. Due to the kind of circuitry, this was just a swirly, thinner-sounding wash. (Related to, but different than "Chorusing")

    Also, very often much of the "Phase-shifter" box effect is usually applied to one instrument alone; not the whole mix-as done with tape in the studio.

    As affordable bucket-brigade delay chips came on the market, they did get closer to real "Flanging", but they didn't have the bandwith of real tape, and again, when you do an effect like this in real time, you can only go from "Null" to "delayed", never having the option of "Early" to "Null" to "Delayed". (There's that time travel issue again.)

    So, in spite of all the misnomers floating around out there, for my own reference, I always think of true flanging as something done in the studio by pro's, and phasing as something done on the fly with a simple, repetitive cycling box, with boring predictable results.

    I could be all wrong on this, but that's how I think it goes...

    Give me REAL flanging anyday. :cool:
  17. o2x

    o2x Active Member

    Mar 17, 2005
    He recently produced The Darkness' latest album "One way ticket to hell.... and back"
  18. I think you're just describing different applications of the same basic principle. Two signals out of phase is two signals out of phase, essentially, regardless of any of that other stuff.

    Moving a track "forward" in time to knock it out of phase is mathematically the same as moving it backwards by the same amount. It's still two tracks with a given amount of time between them.

    Now if you really were mashing a pencil on a tape reel, you'd be CHANGING the amount of phase change between the two signals somewhat randomly, but to me it's still just a variation on the same effect, not a new effect in principle.

    To make an analogy, "room" and "cathedral" are not two effects, they're two different ways of doing "reverb" that sound completely different.

    I'm still not convinced, though I agree with your preference to expensive, better sounding flangers over cheap stomp boxes.

    Really, I think "phasing" is a bad term anyway. Chorus effects are kind of the same thing and use phase differentials as well. So unless I trip up, I almost always call what we're talking about flanging anyway.

  19. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    You're right, Shotgun, it's mostly about terminology and perception, no matter how I described its creation.

    The basic principle is SUPPOSED to be the same thing, I suppose....The net result of the "flange" effect I'm describing from the old days with tape is (Duh!) Phase Shifting - cancellation or reinforcement is what you hear.

    In theory, that's what a "phaser" should do too. But of course, we all know the net result is different, because with good audio, there is no free lunch.

    So, maybe although the goal is the same, the terms have taken on new subjective meanings based on the way they each perform? (I still think there's more to be had from the early phase shift you get from tape, because your ear is tracking the EXISTING audio, and when the new (early) audio begins to come in, it's sweeping in a different direction (up?) than it is when it's going back out of time (Down?) It's one of those things (like good visual effects in movies) that you know it when you hear it, and the cheap-o imitations are just that. Never as good.

    The not-so-subtle difference here, including the full bandwidth you get with tape (and not chips or stomp boxes) separates the toys from the professional gear. To my ears, it's really obvious.

    And once again to restate the obvious; flanging seems to be done more on the entire track, soup to nuts, while phasing is often applied to one instrument or track at a time, usually within a mix.
  20. mpd

    mpd Guest

    If anyone cares, I just looked this up in Zölzer's Digital Audio Effects book. Regardless of what they sound like, there are implementation differences between the two.

    A phaser can be implemented as summing the output from one or more notch filters with the dry signal. Another method uses allpass filters instead of notch filters. They can also use a feedback loop for added effect. This can also be done fairly easilly with analog filters.

    A flanger is usually implemented as a delay line / comb filter, where the delay time is modulated with a very low frequency signal. This is a decent approximation of what the mechanical effect actually does.

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