The best mic’ing techniques can produce a terrible sound if you have phase problems. Phase problems can occur when you double-mic the toms, have vocal microphones that pick up instruments or amps, or for other reasons as well. Correcting for phase issues can come in a number of ways, from digital mixing consoles to the little gray box from Radial called the Phazer.
It all started at Gearfest. Wondering around the Sweetwater cafeteria with my bottled water and my pulled-pork sandwich, I was searching for a place to sit. With a halo of light around the four-chair table, I saw only a single occupied chair…occupied by Radial service rep Dave Collins. Ok, maybe there was no halo but it does make for a better story.
Eating our meals, we started talking shop. Radial…direct input boxes…drive a truck over it…Jensen components…come by the booth. So, after digesting my food and reviewing my notes from the morning, I headed over to the Radial table.
The first piece of equipment that caught my eye was the gray Phazer.
The Radial Phazer is a line level phase alignment tool. This means you can bring two sound sources together so their fundamentals play in sync.
For example, if you mic both the top and the bottom of a tom drum, you will likely have phase problems. The top microphone might pick up the positive aspect of the waveform while the bottom mic might pick up the negative aspect of the waveform. The result is two microphones that are recording the same sound source but are out of phase with each other. This can cause comb filtering and phase cancellation.
Never fear, Radial is here!
Using the Radial Phazer, you can eliminate the phase issue between the two sources so that they play in phase. The Phazer enables you to sync up the waveforms so you get a fuller richer sound that what you are currently hearing.
The Phazer is more than just a phase shifter knob, it includes;
- The phase shift control knob, of course!
- A phase inverter: Work in both the 0-180 and the 181-360 degree ranges.
- A toggle switch so you can hear the sound with and without the phazer engaged.
- An LED light to tell you it’s on.
- Input/Output jacks for both XLR and 1/4 inch TRS and TS cables.
Then there is the filtering. A low-pass filter lets you focus the effect of the phase shifting in the lower frequency spectrum. A cutoff range has been provided that lets you select between 38kHz down to 3kHz range or from the 3.8kHz down to 300Hz range.
The filtering options give you;
- The filtering knob controlling the cut-off frequency point.
- Filter range toggle control which changes the frequency range of the knob.
- An on switch with LED light- great for that “before and after” comparison.
On top of those functions, you get an overall power button and a ground lift switch. The power button includes an LED. I wish the ground lift had an LED light as well but it doesn’t.
I hesitate to say this but I will…you can create a lot of different sounds using phase shifting and the filter. Let an electric guitarist get hold of this thing and there’s no telling what could happen!
Dealing with phase problems or limited in what you can do because of potential phase problems? If you are working in the digital mixing arena, check if you have phase control ability in your mixer or DAW. Working in the analog world? Check out the Radial Engineering Phazer.