Invert Phase gives me more headroom
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Old 17-10-2014, 04:16 PM   #1
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Invert Phase gives me more headroom

So basically I have a Kick and a Snare playing at once through out the song. The kick alone lets say hits around -10db. But when the snare hits the overall db hits around -4db. Big difference of course and I don't want that. Instead of EQing the snare I inverted the phase of it. And in the end both kick and snare hitting together, the master db hits around -8db.

So what's going through my head now is if it's a bad thing?? I know I've gain much more head room at the end of the day, but i want to make sure that what I'm doing is proper and it isnt really degrading my kick's or snare's transient quality. I've listened to the quality of both kick and snare to hear any cancellation on the transient end but I can't really hear a difference.

Any thoughts on this? Mind you I usually eq first but I've been thinking if inverting phase helps when it comes to giving more head room.

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Old 18-10-2014, 06:50 AM   #2
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

It's quite simple. You just phased out the bass in the kick by flipping the snare phase. You should actually aim for "louder", as this would be "in phase". There is a fader there for a reason.

It's dB, not db (Alexander Graham Bell).

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Old 18-10-2014, 09:09 PM   #3
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

So is it a bad thing when it phases out is my question, when things are phased out. Also I've used the fader before inverting the phase and where I like the snare to sit unfortunately it wasnt giving me more room in the mix, rather it was adding too much. When I inverted the phase the volume didnt really dip at all, it stayed the same and in return I was given more head room. Usually when things cancels out I expected a dip in the volume or something, that's where I got confused lol

Last edited by neyus; 18-10-2014 at 09:24 PM..

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Old 18-10-2014, 09:51 PM   #4
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

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Originally Posted by neyus View Post
So is it a bad thing when it phases out is my question, when things are phased out. Also I've used the fader before inverting the phase and where I like the snare to sit unfortunately it wasnt giving me more room in the mix, rather it was adding too much. When I inverted the phase the volume didnt really dip at all, it stayed the same and in return I was given more head room. Usually when things cancels out I expected a dip in the volume or something, that's where I got confused lol
In phase is preferable. Try to lowcut/highpass the snare if it overlaps too much with the kick.

It would be funny if a mixing engineer would say "Hey, I'm gonna phase out all the drumkit mics so that I get a weaker and totally phasey sound...that way I get more headroom...to fill with other phased out (multi-mic'd) sounds."

Try to stop thinking in terms of "headroom" just yet. You have a master fader (and pre-fader gain-staging tools). Try to aim for best sound first and foremost.
JMHO.

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Old 19-10-2014, 12:58 AM   #5
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Thats the thing though, you can literally hear no difference when I hit the invert phase! Except, again I've gain more head room. I've applied EQ as well and it would still clash like crazy, that is before I inverted the phase.

Maybe I should post a small audio sample. If you can hear a difference then it's no good for me, but if no quality is lost I'm just lucky I guess. But please if you can hear it out for me.

around 8 seconds is when I inverted the phase of the snare

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Last edited by neyus; 19-10-2014 at 01:08 AM..

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Old 19-10-2014, 09:52 PM   #6
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Hear the sample, and for what you're doing I would say have the kick hit at 0 (or close to). That's what I usually do. EQ the snare a little better. Too much air IMO (but this could be preference). Decreasing decay time should help as well. I usually sidechain the snare and the kick to get the sound I want when they both hit. As far as the sound goes, I couldn't tell too much of a difference, but I did hear something. Not sure what it is though so I'm afraid this can't be of much help.

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Old 19-10-2014, 10:43 PM   #7
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Thanks for listening! Yea I thought I felt something changed at first too but wasnt sure if that "something" was going to be a bother later on.

I've never tried sidechaining snare and kick before but i'll try it. And yea the snare does sound airy but hopefully with everything else it will sit nicely.

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Old 19-10-2014, 11:00 PM   #8
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

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Originally Posted by Sobia6464 View Post
Hear the sample, and for what you're doing I would say have the kick hit at 0 (or close to). That's what I usually do.
By zero do you mean zero as in zero dB?

Why are you mixing so hot?

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Old 20-10-2014, 12:05 AM   #9
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

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Originally Posted by RFJ View Post
By zero do you mean zero as in zero dB?

Why are you mixing so hot?
Well technically -0.3 dB. And it's how I've always done it. Usually sounds pretty nice. Any advice or insight on this is welcome though. I by no means am a master of the craft.

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Old 20-10-2014, 12:20 AM   #10
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Well, I just prefer to keep things a bit more quiet to leave more room to do things, or have things done, to the piece when it's finished in the mastering stage. Usually my kicks peak at around -10 to -12 dB. You could read up on gain staging, loudness wars, and various threads on loudness and mastering here on the board for more information.

Or start a "My Kick Sounds Best When it Peaks at Zero" thread and see what kind of replies you get.


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Old 21-10-2014, 07:22 AM   #11
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

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Originally Posted by Sobia6464 View Post
Well technically -0.3 dB. And it's how I've always done it. Usually sounds pretty nice. Any advice or insight on this is welcome though. I by no means am a master of the craft.
That's what happens when when all sounds in the nightclub panics because of the fire/smoke, and they all run for the exit.
Read up on gain-staging to get a better understanding of why you want more exits and bigger doors.

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Old 21-10-2014, 08:19 AM   #12
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

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Originally Posted by Evelon View Post
That's what happens when when all sounds in the nightclub panics because of the fire/smoke, and they all run for the exit.
Read up on gain-staging to get a better understanding of why you want more exits and bigger doors.
Did exactly as you said. Putting these ideals into practice now. Thanks for the tips

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Old 21-10-2014, 10:05 AM   #13
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

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Did exactly as you said. Putting these ideals into practice now. Thanks for the tips
You are welcome!

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Old 21-10-2014, 04:44 PM   #14
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Instead of inverting things, wouldn't slightly tweaking the attack/timing of these result in a bit more headroom?

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Old 21-10-2014, 10:37 PM   #15
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

I don't always invert. In fact this is the first time I've inverted something and this happened. Tweaking the envelope of the snare might help. But It might make the snares snap weaker.

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Old 23-10-2014, 05:08 PM   #16
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

How hot I keep and how hot I let a channel ride in a mix are two completely different things. I tend to eat up all the headroom I have on a specific channel and then, in the case of the kick, bring the fader down to -10/-12dB. The thread recently, what plug ins (maybe specifically Waves) you prefer I had to throw those SSL channel strips. Meters for individual tracks, filters, an EQ, an awesome dynamics section....everything you need to make a track bang.

Are you working with multi-mic'd drums in this example or is just an individual drum sound in a sampler? If it's a one shot maybe you're just finding a different part of the sound and it doesn't peak as hard giving you more headroom but not really changing the character of the sound. If it's a live drum kit then maybe mic placement was bad and you're actually fixing something. Phase is a hard thing to talk about because it's definitely particular to the situation.

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Old 25-10-2014, 03:51 AM   #17
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Shit, I replied to this thread yesterday but it didn't go through.

Essentially, the two aren't actually out of phase because they're completely different sounds. It's not the same as a drumkit recorded with two different mics. You're getting higher peak values without any polarity reversal because it just so happens that the waves are adding together at one instant in time to trigger that peak. The RMS value would most likely not change with a polarity flip because the average volume is probably unbiased (unless your samples have some DC offset)

It just happens to be coincidence that they're both peaking fairly high during that brief sliver of time to trigger a higher peak value. Keeping the polarity swap won't actually negatively affect your sound. You're not going to get phasing artifacts because as I said, they're two separate sounds with different frequencies, frequency envelopes, and amplitude envelopes. The two can't actually be in phase or out of phase, although you can compare their polarity during a given slice of time. The two are adding together to create that higher peak for such a short time that it's completely inaudible. The ear can't actually resolve audio events that short, which is why it sounds the same with and without the polarity flipped. If it saves you from having to limit your audio, potentially causing actually audible compression artifacts, then it's worth it.

That said, the RMS and crest matter more for the perception of dynamics and space in a mix than transient peak values. You could probably hack that peak off with a clipper and not hear it either. If you can pull down peak values across your mix by fine tuning the relative phase of all your drum layers, it could all add up to save you from having to compress so hard on your master. You might also want to look into a phase rotator, which gives you more options than just +/-180 degrees.

All in all, I wouldn't really be too worried about it unless you're absolutely concerned with wringing every bit of headroom from your mix with a minimum of compression. As others have said, volume envelopes and timing changes will affect the overall volume profile more than a polarity flip.
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Old 13-03-2015, 07:23 PM   #18
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

At work so I have no audio, but have you tried listening to your polarity flip in mono? Are you losing a lot of power/audible sound there? That might tell you a bit about whether or not you'd want to go with it. If it sounds full in mono, looks like you bought a couple dB worth of... something else.
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Old 19-03-2015, 02:03 AM   #19
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

As a mix engineer - I agree with this.

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Originally Posted by Evelon View Post
In phase is preferable. Try to lowcut/highpass the snare if it overlaps too much with the kick.

It would be funny if a mixing engineer would say "Hey, I'm gonna phase out all the drumkit mics so that I get a weaker and totally phasey sound...that way I get more headroom...to fill with other phased out (multi-mic'd) sounds."

Try to stop thinking in terms of "headroom" just yet. You have a master fader (and pre-fader gain-staging tools). Try to aim for best sound first and foremost.
JMHO.
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Old 21-03-2015, 01:24 AM   #20
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Re: Invert Phase gives me more headroom

Does it matter? My tracks RMS to +-0 most of the time but they still have percieved dynamics..

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