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Phase reverse

From: Digital Audio Principles

Video: Phase reverse

Another option that you will find on preamplifiers and preamplifiers that are built into audio interfaces is what's called the Phase Reversal button, and what this does is it flips the signal that's coming into that input 180 degrees out of phase. Now you remember in chapter 1, we talked about phase and out of phase and phase issues and the cancellation that can happen. Normally, that's a bad thing, but the reason they give you the switch and the reason we have this option is because sometimes you are dealing with things that are already out of phase, sometimes it sounds just the way two microphones are placed in relationship to the same sound, other times it can be a cable.

Phase reverse

Another option that you will find on preamplifiers and preamplifiers that are built into audio interfaces is what's called the Phase Reversal button, and what this does is it flips the signal that's coming into that input 180 degrees out of phase. Now you remember in chapter 1, we talked about phase and out of phase and phase issues and the cancellation that can happen. Normally, that's a bad thing, but the reason they give you the switch and the reason we have this option is because sometimes you are dealing with things that are already out of phase, sometimes it sounds just the way two microphones are placed in relationship to the same sound, other times it can be a cable.

You can have one cable that's wired differently than another and so you can have phase issues with that. So they put this on preamps so that if you hear what sounds like a phase problem, you can hit it and flip the phase of one of the inputs. Phase is a big deal if you are going to mono, and I know that it's now what 2007 or so and mono is not that big of a deal--although, as we get back into kind of compressing music for the web and stuff like that, somehow it's resurfaced--but back in the day, mono was a huge deal in AM radio, and you would record, and if things were out of phase, you put it on the radio, basically like your lead vocal would all of a sudden disappear because it was out of phase on the radio, huge mistake.

So people who are really concerned about things being in phase and not being out of phase because of that cancellation. So nowadays, if you do happen to record something that is out of phase, and you are lucky enough to record it to its own channel, you can actually via software go ahead and flip the phase of that sound wave or that waveform again and correct phase issues later in your software. But if you hear it or if you know it's going on, it's always better to take care of it first, and definitely if you are combining a lot of inputs like if you are miking a whole drum setup, and you think you've got some phase issues between the snare drum and the Toms, and you know that you are bouncing that stuff into your computer down to like two or three tracks, you want to take care of that phase now because that you can't fix later once it's married to another track in your computer.

I will explain some of these things a little bit later in terms of independent tracks and bouncing things down, but the point is phase is something to pay attention to, and it's better if you can deal with it when you first hear it. Sometimes, you won't know you are hearing it 'til later, 'til you are doing a mix, and something sounds kind of out of whack. So luckily, with digital audio we can actually go back and then kind of make some tweaks and get it back into phase more often than not. It's typically just a simple push button on or off, and it's marked by a little circle with a line through it, which is the auto phase symbol.

Generally, you will have one button per input because you don't want to switch all the inputs out of phase at the same time. So it's a channel-by-channel option. So that's more or less the story of phase and phase reverse and why that button is there, and it's kind of like fighting fire with fire. It's good to have. We don't want to have to use it, but it's there. It can take care of things that are out of whack. In the next section, we will actually look at preamp and take a look at the features and functions and a lot of these buttons I have been talking about, and we will do a few audio examples of what the buttons actually do when you push them in things like that.

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This video is part of

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Digital Audio Principles

110 video lessons · 27609 viewers

Dave Schroeder
Author

 
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  1. 50s
    1. Welcome
      50s
  2. 39m 10s
    1. What is sound?
      4m 15s
    2. Hertz and frequency response
      5m 34s
    3. Phase
      2m 39s
    4. Capturing audio
      3m 39s
    5. Sample rate
      6m 16s
    6. Bit depth
      9m 47s
    7. The waveform
      5m 3s
    8. Audio file formats
      1m 57s
  3. 7m 25s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      2m 59s
    2. Typical DAW signal flow
      4m 26s
  4. 50m 33s
    1. What microphones do
      1m 57s
    2. Element types
      5m 0s
    3. Pickup patterns
      6m 51s
    4. Axis
      2m 52s
    5. Frequency response and the proximity effect
      5m 10s
    6. Phase issues
      1m 41s
    7. Microphone types
      8m 44s
    8. Miking vocals
      5m 39s
    9. Miking amplifiers
      2m 17s
    10. Miking drums
      10m 22s
  5. 16m 39s
    1. Cables and connectors overview
      2m 42s
    2. Balanced and unbalanced cables
      3m 19s
    3. Common cable types
      7m 13s
    4. Cable tips
      3m 25s
  6. 12m 16s
    1. What is an I/O device?
      1m 41s
    2. Analog to digital conversion
      3m 10s
    3. Tour of an audio interface
      4m 49s
    4. Interface considerations
      2m 36s
  7. 21m 5s
    1. What is a preamp?
      3m 21s
    2. Input levels
      5m 29s
    3. Padding
      2m 18s
    4. Phantom power
      2m 37s
    5. Phase reverse
      3m 4s
    6. Preamp demo
      4m 16s
  8. 12m 56s
    1. What is a mixer?
      5m 55s
    2. Input section
      1m 17s
    3. Channel strips
      3m 16s
    4. Master section
      2m 28s
  9. 18m 21s
    1. What is monitoring?
      2m 11s
    2. Speakers
      4m 47s
    3. Room considerations
      5m 43s
    4. Headphone types
      3m 50s
    5. Monitoring levels
      1m 50s
  10. 15m 23s
    1. What role do computers play?
      1m 36s
    2. Performance issues
      4m 11s
    3. Hard drives
      4m 38s
    4. Mechanical noise
      2m 10s
    5. Authorization
      2m 48s
  11. 6m 54s
    1. Planning for recording
      54s
    2. Doing a system check
      1m 26s
    3. Planning your inputs
      1m 42s
    4. The recording environment
      2m 52s
  12. 25m 52s
    1. Types of digital audio software
      38s
    2. Multi-track recorders/sequencers
      4m 56s
    3. Two-track recorders/waveform editors
      4m 55s
    4. Loop-based music production software
      5m 44s
    5. Plug-ins
      6m 56s
    6. Other varieties
      2m 43s
  13. 18m 59s
    1. Common components
      46s
    2. The transport
      2m 4s
    3. The toolbar
      3m 19s
    4. The Edit/Arrange window
      4m 42s
    5. The mixer
      5m 8s
    6. The file list
      3m 0s
  14. 19m 17s
    1. Setting up a session
      3m 30s
    2. Assigning inputs and getting signals
      3m 19s
    3. Input modes
      3m 28s
    4. Overdubbing and punching
      5m 14s
    5. Bouncing down
      3m 46s
  15. 19m 42s
    1. What is editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Waveforms
      2m 53s
    3. Making silent cuts and trims
      7m 1s
    4. Fades and automation
      8m 27s
  16. 1h 23m
    1. What are plug-ins?
      3m 0s
    2. Using plug-ins
      6m 11s
    3. EQs
      7m 4s
    4. Dynamics pt. 1: Compressors, limiters, expanders, and gates
      5m 40s
    5. Dynamics pt 2: Applying dynamic effects
      7m 2s
    6. Pitch shifting
      6m 14s
    7. Reverb
      9m 28s
    8. Echo and delay
      6m 23s
    9. Modulation effects: Phaser, flanger, and chorus
      9m 39s
    10. Sound tools pt. 1: About, gain, normalize
      7m 39s
    11. Sound tools pt. 2: Reverse and time compression/expansion
      6m 29s
    12. Sound tools pt. 3: Noise reducers, dither
      8m 11s
  17. 23m 43s
    1. What is MIDI?
      3m 6s
    2. Keyboard controllers
      1m 23s
    3. Computer-based virtual instruments
      1m 6s
    4. Control surfaces
      1m 6s
    5. Recording and editing MIDI
      12m 4s
    6. Virtual instruments
      4m 58s
  18. 27m 29s
    1. What is mixing?
      1m 54s
    2. Some common objectives
      3m 4s
    3. Some useful techniques
      5m 59s
    4. A quick mixing demo
      16m 32s
  19. 18m 48s
    1. What is mastering?
      2m 24s
    2. Sonic maximization
      9m 43s
    3. Final preparations and exporting
      6m 41s
  20. 13m 34s
    1. What is audio compression?
      2m 16s
    2. Popular formats
      2m 9s
    3. Bit rate, sample rate, and channels
      5m 42s
    4. Other adjustments and considerations
      3m 27s
  21. 15m 6s
    1. Essential gear
      7m 36s
    2. Voice recording setups
      1m 43s
    3. The voice production process
      5m 47s
  22. 10m 4s
    1. Analog vs. digital
      2m 48s
    2. Tube vs. solid state
      5m 6s
    3. The continual upgrade
      2m 10s
  23. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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