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All About Phase

Phase is to Audio as water is to the ocean, Phase is everywhere! Understanding the absolute basics is often the remedy for phase issues you can experience in everyday mixing.

Key Points:
  • Phase is one of the core concepts that you will constantly be dealing with whenever you combine two or more sounds from the same source together.
  • The arrival time of sound waves to the microphone will have a huge impact on the overall sound of the source. This is important to remember anytime you are working with microphone placement (distance relative to the speed of sound (1130 ft/sec).
  • Additive phasing or phase coherent: When there is a coherency of arrival time for each of the waveforms to the microphone it will add volume to the overall signal. This often results in a doubling in loudness (Or +6dB in gain).
Additive/Phase Coherent
  • Destructive phasing: When the arrival time of the waveforms is less coherent, it can create a very destructive effect. When the compressions and rarefactions from each wave arrive exactly 180º apart, the sound will be completely cancelled as the source is no longer arriving at the same time.
Destructive Phasing
  • Phase operates in all 360°: 180° of compression and 180° of rarefaction. Phase can be 180° out of phase, which completely cancels the sound. But anywhere in between, you still have some sonic audio occurring.

Pro tip: Phasing can be thought of like the basic addition and subtraction of sound. The more in sync two waveforms are, the bigger the sound. The less in-sync two waveforms are, the softer the sound.

This video is part of a series we filmed back-to-back. Check out the previous video or watch the entire series in the Intro to Audio Fundamentals playlist. 


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