Phase experiments in multi-microphone recordings: a practical exploration

Paterson, Justin ORCID: (2007) Phase experiments in multi-microphone recordings: a practical exploration. Journal of the Art of Record Production (1). ISSN 1754-9892

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Ever since the advent of multi-microphone recording, sound engineers have wrestled with the colouration of sound by phasing issues. For some this was an anathema; for others this colouration was a crucial ingredient of the finished product. Traditionally, delicate microphone placement was essential, with subtle movements and tilts allowing the producer/engineer to determine when a sound was “in phase” based on perception alone. More recently, DAW’s have allowed us to view multiple waveforms and manually nudge them into coherence with visual feedback now supporting the aural, although still a manual process.

Building upon technology first developed for the author’s paper, “Killing Spillage”, presented at ARP2006 in Edinburgh, this paper will present an algorithm that allows automatic correction of phase via a unique Max/MSP patch operating on multiple audio components simultaneously. With a single button push, the producer can now hear a stereo recording with maximum coherence and thus make an artistic judgement as to whether the “ideal” is ideal, or better to pursue naturally occurring phase colouration in preference. The patch allows zoning in to spatially separated sound sources, eg tuning drum kit overheads to phase lock with the snare drum or hi-hat microphone and subsequently optimising other components of the array to concur. In addition, the patch allows retrospective “manual re-positioning” of microphones through a number of user controlled sample-accurate delay lines that emulate the proximity of a given microphone to its target sound source to afford the producer the desired degree of non-ideal phase colouration if preferred. Audio examples will be played to demonstrate the patch’s effect on professionally recorded drum kits, orchestras with spot mics and others.
Limiting factors, contexts, applications and future developments will also be discussed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Computing
Music > Record production
Depositing User: Justin Paterson
Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 15:43
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:44


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