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  #1  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:28 AM
barters81 barters81 is offline
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Default Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

So....how do you do it?

Generally speaking I leave my mics on top of drums in the positive phase, and anything underneath or behind the drum is in negative so I flip it. This would mean that the conventional method of micing a kick would be 'behind' the drum and would require a phase flip.

From this point on, as I'm placing my overheads depending on where they sound good, I'll experiment with phase flipping on them after the recording. I generally use a xy placement of the OVs so they are in phase with each other.

I'm not saying this is the right thing to do, maybe its the wrong thing....hence why I'm asking the question.

P.S - the best thing I've ever done for my drum recordings is to test each mic and cable to ensure they're in the same positive phase as each other. As in pin 1 = hot etc. Its amazing how cables aren't wired up correctly.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2011, 12:50 AM
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Ryan Young Ryan Young is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

I always have the drummer hit the snare really loudly every 5 seconds or so and then the kick really loudly every 5 seconds or so. Not only do I make sure each channel is IN phase together, but I phase align them (if I want a really tight kit sound). Once aligned it's really easy to see what is and isn't in phase.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:58 AM
barters81 barters81 is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

What do you mean by phase align them as opposed to ensuring they are in phase? Sorry if thats a dumb question.....but you never know if you don't ask.

Also, how do you hear the phase relationship with drums? Any tricks? I find it very easy getting guitar mics in phase etc, but the envelope of a drum hit is too short for me to hear any comb filtering etc. Is it just a volume thing? Bass response?
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Last edited by barters81; 02-07-2011 at 01:00 AM. Reason: More detail in question...
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:09 AM
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

Nope, there are no dumb questions. By phase align I mean nudging each track so that the transients line up on every track. There is natural delay that is going to happen on each microphone and each drum because of the distance.

I align my overheads so that the transients of the snare hits line up with the transient of the snare hits on the snare mic. Then I'll line up the kick so that it's all the same.

Before:
----^-----
---v------
---^------

After:
----^-----
----^-----
----^-----
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:57 AM
barters81 barters81 is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

That makes sense.....

I used to do this for years thinking it was logical, and I could have swore it sounded better. Then of course, got told by a more 'experienced' engineer that I shouldn't as the phase relationship between each drum might be disrupted etc etc.

Deep down I thought, as you said, it would be beneficial if a nice tight sound is being chased. I guess its one of those things that I should have just stuck with because I knew it sounded better/punchier.

Thanks for that advice, as now I can confidently go back to the way I used to do things.

I've never had any 'training' in the art of mixing, rather picked up bits and pieces from having my own band recorded years ago, and experimenting with different stuff and sometimes take what others say as gospel. I should just listen to what my ears are telling me.
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Old 02-07-2011, 02:03 AM
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

That's how I first learned too. Then did formal education. A lot of what I found on my own was also taught in the classes. A lot of the things I did were WAY wrong. However, just cause that's what I say doesn't mean it's right either! That's one method, for a tight punk/funk/rock feel. If you want a roomier kit, or a natural jazz style, don't align the phase, just always make sure they're IN phase.

Do what you think sounds good, and if you and/or the client is satisfied that's all you can ask/hope for. Happy mixing!
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  #7  
Old 05-19-2011, 10:18 PM
DaneK DaneK is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

Here's how I go about miking drums and making sure they're all in phase.

1. If you have a decent sized room I would first walk around with the floor tom hitting to see where it sounds best in the room the set the kit up around it

2. Place mics in their general positions

3. Get some rough (yet conservative) preamp levels - the drummer usually plays harder during the song than in mic check - then mute all preamps

4. Un-mute the overheads and get the drummer to hit the snare (make sure they OHs are panned stereo at this point)

5. Then collapse the OHs to mono again and flip one in and out of phase. If they are in phase and at the same volume they should disappear when one is flipped out of phase (if they disappear when they are in phase but not out of phase then leave them like that though)

6. Now continue to work in mono starting with the kick. Leave the OHs un-muted and now un-mute the kick mics and continue to flop in and out of phase while slowly moving the mics around the kick. Listen for the low end of the kick to disappear, that will usually mean its out of phase and then simply flip the phase to keep it in phase

7. Continue with the rest of the drums this way leaving all the previously phase checked mics un-muted until the rest of the kit is done.

8. Pan the kit back into stereo and away you go
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Old 05-20-2011, 10:00 AM
albee1952 albee1952 is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

The best thing to do here is to use your ears. Getting a batch of drum mics(or tracks) "in phase" is an exercise in futility as you generally have anywhere from 6 to 14 mics on a kit. They are spread all over a large area. Any 2 mics can only be "in phase" at the exact same distance from a single sound source(like the snare drum) which means that getting 2 mics aligned for the snare drum, will make the same 2 mics NOT aligned for the toms or the hat(or anything else maybe). I'm not saying none of this is worth trying(everything is worth trying to find what works). Just remember that several decades of drum recording was done to analog tape with nothing other than moving mics and trying the 2 polarity settings. Sometimes we tend to over-think stuff If it sounds good, it IS good. If it sounds bad, there are several things I would look at BEFORE nudging tracks. Could be the wrong mic, poor drum tuning, a bad room(poor acoustics)...... or even a drummer with lousy technique
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  #9  
Old 05-25-2011, 10:06 PM
DaneK DaneK is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

Quote:
Originally Posted by albee1952 View Post
The best thing to do here is to use your ears. Getting a batch of drum mics(or tracks) "in phase" is an exercise in futility as you generally have anywhere from 6 to 14 mics on a kit. They are spread all over a large area. Any 2 mics can only be "in phase" at the exact same distance from a single sound source(like the snare drum) which means that getting 2 mics aligned for the snare drum, will make the same 2 mics NOT aligned for the toms or the hat(or anything else maybe).
I use that method every time I track drums and consistently get all my drums in phase, how? Because being the exact same distance from a drum with two mics (or more) is not the only place they can be in phase. If you examine a sine wave one "cycle" of the sine wave begins at the point of equilibrium (POE or node) then arches upwards peaking at the +Antinode which is the max amplitude of the wave then crosses back across the POE, reaches the opposite -Antinode (which is heard just as loudly as the first Antinode) then returns to the POE. That is one cycle.

To keep this a short lesson on acoustics, this happens for the entirety that the sound is heard until it finally runs out of energy. This means there is more than one area in the room (in fact there are possibly hundreds of thousands of areas in the room) that can be "in phase"

"In Phase" = when a +Antinode and a +Antinode combine together - this will give you a punchier drum sound and it will sound like there is more low end than when it is...

"Out of Phase" = when a +Antinode and a -Antinode combine together - this will cause the sound to cancel itself out because it is competing with the opposite of itself. Very noticeable to hear in the low end

I agree with you about doing whatever sounds best but generally what sounds best is when your drums are in phase and that is essentially what you are doing when you nudge your tracks. I have seen award winning engineers also just EQ the drums to their liking on the way in and record them like that but you asked for getting drums in phase and that step by step process has worked wonders for me
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Old 06-01-2011, 11:09 PM
Dirt_ Dirt_ is offline
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Default Re: Assuring your drum mics are in phase?

Once I think they're in phase by ear, I solo each mic one at a time and one overhead and stereo pan about 70%. Then I put a phase scope plug on the master fader and see what it says. This is of course after I make sure my over heads are in phase.

I usually try to get my kick and snare mics perfect and then just flip tom mics phase 180 till they're good. I used to nudge tracks and then I decided that was cheating. And weird. And I decided that if engineers could get things in phase in the past this way, I wanted to too. I'm glad I did because honestly- to my ears it actually sounds better.

Good phase still doesn't seem to make bad music any better :-(
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