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Thread: mics and phase

  1. #1
    tblan
    Guest

    mics and phase

    How would a mic end up out of phase? And if it is out of phase, how does that affect the sound? I know that phase is a big concern in recording, but what about live sound? Finally, I've heard that if you are running mono phase doesn't matter. How is it different with stereo?

    Thanks. Your site is very helpful.

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Norman, OK
    Posts
    37
    Think of it like this. Imagine you have a speaker playing and you put a mic exactly 1 inch from the speaker. Then you take a second mic and put it 3 inches from the speaker. It will take the sound longer to reach the second mic due to the distance involved. This will cause phasing. If both mics are on the same plane, (in this case exactly 1 inch from the speaker)then they will be in phase with each other. Phasing is our friend as much as it is our enemy. Phasing is how we locate sounds with our ears. Imagine if a car is coming from your left, your left ear will hear it before your right so we register this as being located to our left. In recording it can cause problems due to phase cancellation. Again, imagine you are tracking drums and you have a mic on high hat as well as a snare. When the drummer is playing, the hi hat mic will pick up the snare and the snare mic will pick up the hi hat. If you don't take proper precautions, this can lead to phase cancelation during mix down. In live sound it is an issue as well, you will still get phase cancelation if your mics are not properly set on the instruments. When you are running mono, phase is still an issue. When you mix all your different sound sources regardless of how many speakers are playing the signal, you are prone to phase cancellation if you do not properly set up. Now some people will tell you since mono is only one sound source you can't have phasing like in stereo, but that is untrue. This can be realized by taking a stereo signal and creating a perfect mono sum from it. Check your phase again, most recordings will have some phase problems. The phasing will be evident by missing frequencies caused from phase cancellation. This is a very brief and minimalistic way to cover this subject. It would be in your best interest to study up on it and learn it well if you plan on being an engineer.

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