A weekly series with Tape Op magazine founder and Jackpot! Recording Studio owner Larry Crane. Every Friday, get a new technique for tailoring effects, gaining sonic control, and opening new creative doors in your recordings.
- [Voiceover] Years ago someone gave me a mix to work on that contained one stereo instrumental track and some vocal overdubs. The instrumental was really cool, but it was very static, was always the same volume, the same instrumentation, and at some point in the song I wanted something to shift, and I wanted to hear one instrument pop out, and other instruments to be reduced, so to speak. So what I did is I used this phase-cancellation trick to make it happen, and I'll show you how to do this. So here's our mix of the song, we got this section here where a guitar solo starts. (rock music with prominent guitar lick) So what I wanna do is have something change there.
We'll make a copy of this track, duplicate, and then this whole section where the solo's happening, I'm gonna just cut that out of our new duplicated track, and then I'm gonna put some kinda fade-in and fade-out action. So now if I play this back, it's just going to boost that section of course. (guitar solo plays) You know, it gets louder. But what happens if I put this new track out of phase with the other track? We go to our gain plugin, we have to use the mono.
Multi-mono plugins, that's where it hides. Actually our trim plugin, I'm sorry. It can be used as a gain plugin. Hit the polarity button there, to close this, let's go back there. Now what's gonna happen here, (guitar solo plays then fades out) as the new track enters, the mix duplicate is completely 180 degrees polarity flipped, so it's gonna cancel out all the audio that's happening there. Now how do we bring something back into the mix, by doing this, well, it's really quite simple.
Let's just put a simple EQ on here, now check this out, (guitar solo plays with effects) So anything that is different between these two tracks, top and bottom, is gonna still be audible. So that little tiny bump at one K is all we hear, again that's when these two tracks are phase combined, because, they're not completely out of phase now.
There's some different information. (guitar solo plays) You could do the same way. (music continues with effects) One way or the other, it becomes the same exact effect. Boost or cut will change it in exactly the same way. And then as this goes up, (Music crescendo out of solo) Then you can do something similar with a lot of band passing and EQ and stuff, but this is so incredibly simple, and just moving that one frequency point around makes it really easy to just dial in the kind of effect that you want, the kind of, reduction and fidelity of the highs and the lows, and then poking out the instrument you wanna have poke out.
So remember, keep this in mind, this is a great trick, just utilizing 180 degrees of phase cancellation to get your wonderful goals in perspective and create something really interesting in the mix. It's so simple, and every time you're dealt with a track where you think you can't do anything to it, remember this is the way to do it, phase cancellation.
These tutorials work with any DAW, in almost every recording scenario, and are based on Larry's 20+ years of experience recording, producing, and mixing some of the world's best musicians, including Sleater-Kinney, The Decemberists, Elliott Smith, She & Him, Jolie Holland, and Stephen Malkmus. Tune in every week for another tip.
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Q: Why can't I earn a Certificate of Completion for this course?
A: We publish a new tutorial or tutorials for this course on a regular basis. We are unable to offer a Certificate of Completion because it is an ever-evolving course that is not designed to be completed. Check back often for new movies.