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Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

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dpaterson
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Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:45 am

Hi.

Yet another "gem" I just found:

https://polyversemusic.com/products/wider/

It's called "Wider" and it absolutely kills me that it's free!!! I say this because I've got LOADS of stereo wideners included with some VERY expensive plugin suites and let me tell you: this thing just WORKS i.e. it does exactly what it says on the tin WITHOUT introducing phase issues or comb filtering type effects!!! I have no idea how it does this but there you go.

Regards,

Dale.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby comedians » Wed Aug 29, 2018 4:30 pm

Very similar to Izotope Mixer Tap which IMO sounds a little better.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:58 pm

Hey Roger (I assume it's Roger).

Thanks for this. Haven't seen a post from you in a while (which hopefully means all is well with you).

I'll tell you a secret: I'm actually quite pi**ed off with myself i.e. thanks to your post I went to take a look and try it out (I have the O2N8 bundle and have never ever opened Mix Tap until now). This is what happens when you get "plugin greed" like me!!! Anyway: you are quite right. It does sound good (and far better than what I posted). I think it still uses Neutron 2's same engine though (which I have used) but, for some or the other obscure reason, it sounds real good this morning. So thanks a lot for your reply. Others can ignore what I posted above (although iZotope isn't free unfortunately!!!

Regards,

Dale.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:35 am

Hi.

In spite of all of the above I've still been on a quest to find a very specific type of "widening" in order to cover a particular sound / guitar track. And none of the above (including my beloved iZotope in spite of my believing at the time of my post above that things were now peachy) has managed to do the job I'm afraid. After some very very careful (hours and hours) of examining the original tracks: I decided to try the only thing I had NOT tried and that was a simple delay tactic. Horror of horrors: that's all it is!!! HOWEVER: that's where the simplicity ends. I found dozens of delays (and have quite a few that I've bought) and no matter how hard I tried with these things: they didn't do what I wanted them to do. In spite of them, in most cases, being stereo delays: their idea of "stereo" is simply ping-ponging from left to right and visa versa. Either that or they simply delay both channels by the same amount. And while the ping-pong type delays do produce a pseudo-stereo effect it's still not what I was looking for. And all of them either introduced phasing, comb filtering, or left a hole in the middle of the sound. They work fine if you're trying to create long delays but as soon as you try to nudge them to an almost imperceptible level (which is where I need to go with this) that's when the problems start. FINALLY I found this: http://www.modernmetalproduction.com/product/entropy-ii-enhanced-stereo-delay-vst-au/. And yes: I've checked it thorough this time (I know I'm in a bad habit of posting about "the next great thing" only to find it falls over after some further testing). Now I don't know why this is different other than the fact that it's a stereo CROSS-OVER delay. Whatever the case: it's solved my disgusting mono sounding "bee in your head" distorted guitar recording issue (when recording direct via USB from my amps. or straight into my interface to an amp. sim.) (my recordings from my amps., micd. up, in stereo, are superb I have to say so no problem there). It does take a lot of tweaking i.e. the most minute changes to either side make a huge difference. But I've got it (after a few hours)!!! And I must say: I found that the best way to get it right was to do it with headphones (speakers give you a false sense of security when it comes to this). Anyways. Once you've got it: add some subtle reverb and, well, you're off. I think there's a free (older) version floating around (I never found it though) but this thing costs $8 USD (and believe me: I've got plugins that cost then times that, and more, and they've not been able to do this) (including fancy spectral delays and the rest). It is worth mentioning that Voxengo has something similar: https://www.voxengo.com/product/sounddelay/. It is indeed free and I have had some limited success with it in getting what I want. But I'm sure the difference with Entropy II is the fact that it's a CROSS-OVER delay i.e. that's the only thing I can think of. Voxengo's offering can also create phasing and comb filtering issues if you're not careful and, well, not with any amount of tweaking did I get what I wanted either. Came close but a "wet" sound.


Anyway. Have fun.

Regards,

Dale.
Last edited by dpaterson on Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby Toppazy » Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:27 am

Honestly, I haven't done that, but I bet if you were to use the Waves S1 imager you might not have those issues. (If you have a waves bundle that is). You can avoid phase issues by making sure the phase button is flipped when recording. Phase has a lot to do with mic placement which is why you see threads responding to phase in that way. When you're duplicating tracks like that though, it's going to introduce phase because of the same material being present like that. A stereo widener is the best option to use I think.
Last edited by Toppazy on Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Fri Sep 14, 2018 3:29 am

Hi Toppazy.

I sure hope you're subscribed to this thread so that you get a notification of my post.

Before I begin let me say I have loads of WAVES plugins but that's not one of them (all were purchased individually) and I'm not sure I'm in the mood to try yet another widener / imager / stereo generator i.e. I've got LOADS including the iZotope stuff, Melda, NEUGEN Audio, not to mention the free stuff. And they just don't "cut it" for me (for whatever reason i.e. they seem to be good enough for the rest of the world so maybe it's just me).

But I need to ask you a big favor and that is to clarify this statement to me:

You can avoid phase issues by making sure the phase button is flipped when recording.

Reason I ask is because I've been doing a lot of reading on this phase issue of late and I've found at least three other articles that advise this very same thing. But I don't understand. And here's why: I run my live rig in "stereo everything" and, to this end, my guitar signal is split to two amps. At this point let it be said that sometimes I get fantastic recordings and other times it's just dreadful i.e. no consistency in the recordings. Anyways. Just this last week I put two mics. up, one on each cab, and experimented using a phase meter ensuring that both the amps. and the sound being picked up from the mics. was in phase (correlation was almost 100%). And it just doesn't sound right to me (again). So: my splitter allows me to invert the POLARITY of one channel by 180 degrees. Tried this. The moment I switch the POLARITY the phase meter tells me that I'm out of phase by 100% and it sounds ghastly. So this is the reason I'd like you to explain further (the chaps that wrote the other articles that I've read are long gone probably i.e. they're old articles). So what I'm asking is how this phase (POLARITY???) inversion makes a difference or should be used. Is the phase flipped BACK again on one channel in the DAW after the recording or what??? I've also read articles about the difference between PHASE and POLARITY but I must say I'm having a hard time getting my head around it. I mean to say: I know what OUT OF PHASE signals look like. And I know what reversed POLARITY signals look like. But isn't reversing PHASE by 180 degrees (assuming two 100% in phase signals) exactly the same thing as reversing POLARITY??? Looks like it to me but in some of the stuff I've read people are adamant that there is a difference between the two and I don't understand it.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Dale.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby Mark Bliss » Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:35 am

@Dale

I would suggest "flipping the phase" would not be relevant to the situation. (Yes Dale, that would create a "180 out of phase" result which would cause more issues and probably largely null or collapse in mono).
It doesn't apply here. I'll skip all the technical and purposes as its another subject for another time.

What you are hearing as a "phasey" result is probably mostly phase shift and comb filtering from the use of "stereoizing" or widening plug-ins that time shift the audio in the sides to create a "pseudo" stereo result. The results vary from just plain bad, to a convincing "chorus" type result that may sound kind of nice..... in solo.
It seldom holds up in the context of a mix IMO, and often have even worse issues in a mono playback situ.

There are some algo's that use mid-side processing to alter the stereo field, that if used subtly can add a slight improvement or sense of separation, but overused they can be a mess as well.

99% of the time I get a mix project with any "stereoizing" or widening effect applied, its one of the first things deleted in an effort to improve the projects results. Most are really bad IMO, and generally its over-used. Its especially troubling applied to the mastering effort.

I "just say no" personally. I prefer to create a stereo field in the mix, not with a processor.

But what you are trying to acheive is a little different I guess.....
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Sat Sep 15, 2018 7:10 am

Hi Mark.

Thanks for answering. Much appreciated. Matter of fact I was about to start another thread on this "up top" i.e. not much traffic down here.

As far as any of these "stereoizing" things are concerned: "plain bad" results are what I find to be honest (in spite of my being ever so positive with each new find as detailed above).

But this thing of reversing phase when recording with (for example) two amps. and two mics. is really concerning me. As I said: this is not the first time I've seen this mentioned and I really don't get it. Here's but one article where this is suggested:https://www.theguitarmagazine.com/articles/how-to-record-electric-guitars-25-top-tips/

22) Stereo guitars
Aside from the stereo effect of doubling up the same part and panning it to opposite ends of the stereo spectrum, some guitarists use stereo rigs in conjunction with stereo effects. Traditionally, this involves using two amp cabinets, although single cabs that operate in stereo are available. To achieve a good, even stereo image, it’s best to mic each cab identically, ideally with the same type of mic. Invert the polarity of one of the channels to avoid any out-of-phase issues, and pan them hard left and right. Stereo effects such as reverb, delay and room ambience, can be added to mono guitar signals at the mixing stage.


And believe me it's not the only one. I just don't get it. I tried this for the sake of interest using the exact same setup described in the quote above. The moment you invert the polarity on the (guitar) splitter then a) the sound instantly jumps to like in the middle of your head (I don't know of any other way to describe it) and b) on a phase meter (used Voxengo's SPAN Plus and panned the channels hard left and hard right while monitoring them in Mixcraft) the meter INSTANTLY jumps to 100% out of phase and doesn't MOVE at all (unlike when these things are actually IN phase i.e. then that meter sort of moves up and down as you're playing for some reason). So I'm REALLY curious about this i.e. maybe I'm missing something.

Must say that I've gotten my best results just today with ONE amp. and two mics. on ONE cabinet and NOT SM57's either surprisingly enough. I don't know if the SM57's only claim to fame is that they can take high sound pressure levels but I can tell you that I actually capture VERY close to what my live sound is ACTUALLY like using two Samson CO3's set at "supercardiod" and both against the grille (one dead center and the other mid way between the cone and outer edge). Dunno why I've had crappy results with my two SM57's. The sound is very thin for some reason (and only thing I can think of is that I'm not turning the amps. up "on ten" as I'm unable to do so in my current enviroment). Again: I will now run both amps. in stereo and split the mics. and see what happens (again). Otherwise it's double tracking (and I have many reasons to NOT want to do this actually no matter that it sounds "monster" and doesn't have any of these issues).

Anyway. The last paragraph is by-the-by. Still bothered about this flipping phase / polarity thing. Makes absolutely no sense.

To add actually: in an effort to get away from double tracking I even got TD Electronics' Mimiq Doubler Pedal. Waste of time and money. Split the guitar signal and run it to two amps. or record direct with an amp. sim.
And: same thing. A horrible flangly, empty in the middle, "wet" stereo, type sound. And in spite of all of the hype surrounding this pedal: I can tell you that all it's doing is using actually CREATING out of phase signals to fool your ears (alright: it may be doing a whole lot more but it sure doesn't sound any better than my mucking about with various plugins to achieve the same result). Best result I've had with it is to NOT run it in stereo i.e. send one dry track directly to one amp. and the other via the effect (using only the mono in and out). And somebody is bound to take me to task on this but trust me: this pedal, even although it is SUPPOSED to let you pass a dry signal to one side and the effect to the other, does NOT work that way i.e. it affects the dry signal as well if you go through it.

Regards,

Dale.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby Mark Bliss » Sun Sep 16, 2018 6:38 am

Makes no sense to me. As described, that would cancel out much of the audio and sound very thin at best....
The only time I see polarity flipping relevant is multi micing where positions are opposed (such as a top vs bottom snare or perhaps if one wished to mic the front and back of an open guitar cab). Some other uses such as in multi micing a drum set, but it gets pretty complicated there and people get a little crazy.

And I suspect the dynamic SM57 compared to the Condenser C03 mic would sound a lot different. The condenser would capture a lot more detail and more upper mid and beyond content. And this might be more desirable in a studio setting.
But on the other hand, while it (again) sounds better in solo, once EQ'd to carve out the frequencies for other sounds in the mix, it might make little or no difference whatsoever..... this would vary in any specific case, and certainly- use what works or is preferred. The 57 (or similar) is durable and tolerant of the abuses of live/road environs, and covers the frequencies dominantly used for electric guitar tracks pretty well.

What you are trying to do here as I understand it, is basically trying to capture the sound of a space, and close micing identical audio sources to create that is probably the wrong aproach. But then, I would have to share the opinion that even so, successfully incorporating that into a mix is also problematic.
One could use any method from room mics to a binaural head mic to capture the space, but still, in a live setting your position would change the sound. Its not "static"
Studio recording and multitrack song production has never really captured that well IMO, (Though 3D sound concepts are fascinating) and studio song construction is a trick of its own. And going back to some of the other conversations read elsewhere here, I'd add that as far as traditional "commercial/popular/touring" live performance is actually often a matter of a convincing "trick" of a reasonable facsimile of the studio recording everyone knows.... Not the other way around. (JMO and personal observation over the years.)

Anyway-
I happen to be working on a song project where the artist desires a stereo guitar field. (acoustic in this case) and while we have accomplished getting a pretty good sounding result (doubled performance, slightly different tone/timbre variation from two different guitars, one DI, one mic'd, panned hard) just as I expected and have previously found, once additional instruments are introduced to the mix, the results at best are diminished or "get lost" in context, and at worst begin to wash out.

I tend to fall under the ideology that experienced people use proven methods that work for a reason. 8)
Stay in tune, Mark

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:39 am

I tend to fall under the ideology that experienced people use proven methods that work for a reason. 8)

Which is exactly why I wait to get input from you!!! LOL!!!

Oh well (re: the phase / polarity reversing). Maybe Topazzy will return and explain i.e. is it something that he's seen tried and done or just something he's read about. And yeh: I know about reversing phase / polarity when recording the front and back of a guitar cab. That's just logical and makes sense. But not this.

The SM57 I think needs POWER to perform and that's the problem i.e. I cannot crank my amps. up to record them in my home situation. Feedback becomes a problem in my home studio (which actually is a fair sized double bedroom but not designed for two Marshall amps. running together even at a quarter tilt). And of course there's the good 'ol neighbours. I've gone to some decent lengths to soundproof the room but the amps. cut through. Have thought about buying or building a baffle box but that will have to wait and hopefully be a last resort.

Ironically (given the title of this thread and my reason for starting it): all I'm trying to do is capture my live sound with a bit of stereo seperation. Nothing more and nothing less. I cannot stand that brittle, mono, head splitting sound that you get when recording with a single amp. and mic. (and frankly that's what all these amp. sims. sound like if you don't double track or add effects). And I'm trying to do it WITHOUT having to resort to any plugins or stereo manipulation (or even EQ if possible). So it's not so much the sound of the space that I'm trying to capture but just what I sound like through my amps. live. With the combination of guitars and amps. that I have I get a certain "overdriven jangle" that really is close to a real deal valve head and I don't get this any other way than with recording using mics. Even although I can record direct from these amps. via USB it's not the same thing i.e. there's something that's lost because there's no longer a speaker and some air involved (quite a lot actually). Anyway. I happened to find two Sony vocal mics. that I've had for years. They seem to have the same specs. as the Shure SM58 which I've seen used for this purpose. Will give them a try with the Samsons and see what happens. Double tracking solves all of these problems (even without changing guitars or mics. or amp. settings). I get a very rich and clear sound with stereo seperation that I can control (the middle and punch of your sound is not at the expense of your stereo seperation). But problems are three fold. First: you cannot double track live so to me it's a bit of cheat. Second: I improvise a lot making it impossible to double track an entire song. Third: I just cannot see myself double tracking every single recording I do i.e. I'd never get anything else done!!! LOL!!! Anyways. As I said: I'm close now (finally).

My feelings on the capturing the live sound / performance. You already know my take on things!!! LOL!!! There is just something that is captured with a live performance that's simply not there on a studio recording. To me: there's nothing like a concert that's been faithfully captured on HD or Blu Ray with an awesome DTS sound track (of course the unknown to me is how much processing the DTS track has been subjected to but I'm not even going down THAT rabbit hole).

But of course: I'm still forever learning. I'm learning, for example, to cut back on reverb and sustain and even distortion. As I noted (either on this thread or another somewhere): when the stuff is all mixed together nicely then each instrument or track seems to feed off of the other. In my current little pet project: because the main synthesizer part is very wide and with much ambience I discovered that the drum track sounded better without ANY effects such as reverb i.e. it sort of "picks up" the reverb from the synthesiser (and of course the background crowd which was captured in stereo helps a lot too). Quite funny actually now that I think of it. My music teacher for many years (and many years ago) used to flip when I was taking organ lessons because I always used sustain VERY liberally. While it always sounded good to me: the main purpose was to cover up mistakes (which it did well i.e. won my fair share of competitions back then!!! LOL!!!).

Regards,

Dale.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:06 am

Flipping hell (Mark)!!! I got it!!!

Don't ask me how or why but those two Sony mics. of mine (mentioned above yesterday) somehow seem to pick up EXACTLY what my amps. sound like (and I mean what they ACTUALLY sound like live as opposed to what they sound like when you put your ear up against the speaker cone which, ironically, is exactly what the SM57's capture). Slapped one dead centre on the speaker cone and put a Samson midway between the edge of the speaker cone and the edge of the speaker. Funny thing is: I actually have to turn the Samson down when blending the two (maybe should engage the filter on the Samson to remove some bass but this being said and between the two the resonance is captured perfectly). Who would have thought. I've had these two mics. lying around for years (cannot even remember what I bought them for) and never even thought to try them what with all this fancy new stuff. And they don't seem to be over sensitive either i.e. I could turn these amps. up a lot louder in order to get their signal level on a par with the Samson mics. Strange. All I know is they're very heavy, solid, and seem to do the best job to date. Now for running two amps. with the same setup and let's see. Another odd thing: even with these two alone just panned hard left and hard right and the very slightest of widening from Neutron 2 (for example) i.e. 10% at most I still get a subtle stereo spread BUT with the middle intact AND NO PHASING AND FLANGING AND CHORUSY STUFF!!! Nice. But I know I can do this, and better, without any effects.

Here they are here: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/213440-REG/Sony_FV420_F_V420_Dynamic_Mic.html?c3api=2572%2C113041717267&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3eeXys_C3QIVSrHtCh1eBgA1EAAYASAAEgJpAvD_BwE. Matter of fact I think they originally came from B&H back then (but also seem to remember them costing a lot more back then too!!! LOL!!!).

Oh well. There you go.

Regards,

Dale.

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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby Mark Bliss » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:01 am

Well...….
First off, exploring and testing until you get the sound you want is a great approach. And whatever sounds best is best. And all that jazz.
But.....

Warning! Your gonna hate the rest of this reply! :lol:

(Proceeding under the assumption the "Samsons" you refer to are the C03's)
Technical details you may not be aware of in using different types of mics in a multi-mic'd application-
Surprise! Back to phase considerations..... Aaand, I'm gonna stick to the dynamic and condenser, since that's what we have in this example. (Ribbons a whole 'nuther animal.)

The element of a condenser (actually its misnamed, technically its a "capacitor" (But I digress, already.)) has an output that is directly proportional to the sound pressure the diaphragm is exposed to.
In other words, imagining the sound waves as a simple sine wave, peak mic output is at the crest and trough of the wave.

On the other hand, the element of a dynamic is a "moving coil" that generates energy relative to the velocity of the wave, therefore (again using the sine wave analogy) peak output would be created as the waveform passes from positive to negative (points A, C, and E below) and be at its lowest at the crest and trough where the condensers output peaks.

Sine Wave.png
Sine Wave.png (91.54 KiB) Viewed 435 times

So.... the result of a coincidence pair, equal distance from the source would be an output that is 1/4 wavelength or 90 deg "out of phase"

sine wave 90 out of phase.jpg
sine wave 90 out of phase.jpg (13.38 KiB) Viewed 435 times

Of course still, phase being the bag of worms it is, frequency dependent and all..... Does it matter?
Perhaps. :twisted:

If you continue to desire to experiment, you might try pulling the dynamic back in very slight increments and see what happens.Or just be happy with what you have found. Or wait and see what you learn after further mixing experience. Or.....

The thing to keep in mind overall is that phase isnt the "always bad and evil thing" it can be made out to be. Without phase effecting tone and timbre, most music would be quite boring in fact. 8)
Last edited by Mark Bliss on Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:03 pm

Hey Mark.

Warning! Your gonna hate the rest of this reply! :lol:

Trust me when I saw that I nearly stopped reading because today I nailed it (and don't need any more complications!!! LOL!!!).

Bottom line is that I have now somehow managed to capture EXACTLY what my amps. sound like live. But that's not all. I have managed to capture a "panorama" (let's called it) that has focus (in the middle) and with a left and a right side. What makes the difference though: this panorama is smooth and encompassing. I don't really know how to describe it. Even although there is a left, a middle, and a right: each one flows into the other as you move across the sound field and at no point do you get to a place in the sound field where that "mono phasey flangy" thing cuts into the sound and slaps you on the earhole (as has happened with all my other attempts with plugins i.e. it'd sound fine until you moved around and you'd get to a certain point in the sound field where it would sound like somebody had blocked your one ear) (but when you moved further on it would go away again). Now: nothing no matter where you move (anybody watching me these past few weeks would think I'm nuts what with bobbing my head up and down and side to side between the speakers!!! LOL!!!). What's real nice is it's simple to control the width etc. just by panning and track (mic.) volume. And the litmus test: if I flip this whole lot into mono I lose nothing (obviously just lose the panorama) and I don't get that hollow phasey flange but in mono. And this WITHOUT effects or plugins of any kind. What a pleasure. And quite proud of myself I have to say. Maybe tomorrow I can get back to making some music!!! LOL!!!

Now it didn't come easy. What's more: I have a funny feeling that I ran up against everything that you've just posted about but without knowing it (obviously). But solved too I might add!!!

Throughout the course of this marathon: I've made sure that I've had a phase meter open in Mixcraft. I happened to notice earlier today that the phase correlation between the two mics. in a pair (a Sony and a Samson) was only around 80% (always being measured by putting white noise through the amps.). I thought this was a tad strange because at least with the SM57 and the Samson (in a pair) the phase correlation was much higher (I'd say around 95%). So I mucked about. Strange thing was that by simply moving one of the mics. in the pair either backwards or forwards it didn't make that much of a difference. Turns out the sweet spot was to have the Samson right next to the Sony BUT the Samson has to face AWAY from the Sony IRONICALLY at an angle that puts it parallel with the cone of the speaker!!! How about that one!!! Almost perfectly in phase (and the recorded sound is incredible). And without the angle: the phase correlation got worse in spite of them being right next to each other but facing the same direction.

DSC00532res.jpg
DSC00532res.jpg (393.54 KiB) Viewed 433 times

DSC00536res.jpg
DSC00536res.jpg (423.04 KiB) Viewed 433 times

DSC00541res.jpg
DSC00541res.jpg (387.53 KiB) Viewed 433 times

Note the lines drawn (in chalk) on the amps.!!! LOL!!! Gotta be exact you know!!! I did, in fact, check for the sweet spot on both amps. by running white noise through the amps. and moving the Sony's around the dust cap until I got max. input and the highest frequencies (known as the "Shavering Technique" as I understand it) but even with the more directional SM57's my chalk marks are 100% in the right spot anyway.

So. I believe that my findings of today are a real life / live "workshopping" of your post (albeit unknown to me at the time)!!! But thanks for the post and the input. Really very much appreciated.

By the way: took one of my lovely recorded sounds and tried this thing called "parallel compression" (Mix With The Masters"). WOW!!! Sooooooooo subtle but WOW!!! THIS I don't feel bad about i.e. it's not altering the sound with effects or EQ (to make it sound like something it wasn't at the time of recording). But anyway: this is another story / experiment / endeavor for another time and another thread I guess.

Regards,

Dale.

P.S. Sorry folks for my leading you up the garden path with this thread entitled "Stereo Widening No Phase Issues". I did try my best to find a plugin to accomplish this from a mono source but don't think I succeeded. After hearing what I've done today: I'd say that none of them even came close (at least not the free ones mentioned on this thread) (one or two from Melda are pretty good I have to say "but no cigar") (and these that I'm mentioning are not free). What I find really ironic: a lot of these plugins as well as some hardware actually USE or GENERATE out of phase signals to create a pseudo stereo effect which I suppose is fine unless you're a bit of a nutter like me who for some or the other reason seems to have become "tuned in" to that horrible sound (and if I have to be honest it's actually these darn amp. sims. that are to blame i.e. they all sound like that unless you apply a boatload of effects to them). So yeh. Sorry. But: at least, maybe, if anybody has these issue well, then, I've demonstrated but one way (that works for me anyway) to accomplish a "real" stereo sound. Now my next trick: SURROUND sound!!! LOL!!! (Only joking) (but willing to bet that if Mixcraft was capable well, then, who knows) (guess I can do it in Vegas Pro)!!! LOL!!! No, no, no Dale!!!

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby Mark Bliss » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:23 pm

Alright, no one caught my mistake, so I'm gonna say it was a test....yeah a test it was! See if you were paying attention!
I had it backwards. Dynamic would be ahead, so the dynamic might be the one to pull back. In theory.
(Corrected in previous post)

But yeah, here's the thing about theory. At first blush the simple conclusion is that one would calculate the offset and adjust the distance. 1/4 wavelength. That simple right?
But no, music ain't a sine wave, and the correlation adjustment would only directly effect a specific fundamental frequency and its multiples. So its usually best to as I said, test and test again. When it sounds good to you, stop. Just think a little theory might be useful even if the answer isn't simple maths. The fact is basically, there is no such thing as "perfectly in phase" and it wouldn't be so great if we could achieve it anyway.
And most people don't know the difference between phase and time displacement. And no, aligning a transient peak does not put you "in phase"

So the cond is backwards. Well that's interesting. But perhaps that effects more than phase correlation, eh? (Or more specifically, should we say "constituent phase displacement")

Anyway.
Riddle me this!

You have identical amps with identical amp settings and identical mic configurations. No plug-ins or processing? Where is this center/side field you describe originating from in your opinion?
(I have some theories, just curious as to yours first!)
Stay in tune, Mark

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dpaterson
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Re: Stereo Widening No Phase Issues

Postby dpaterson » Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:12 am

Good morning Mark.

I really do appreciate your input and your discussing this topic with me. That needed to be said. Thank you.

Alright, no one caught my mistake, so I'm gonna say it was a test....yeah a test it was! See if you were paying attention!
I had it backwards. Dynamic would be ahead, so the dynamic might be the one to pull back. In theory.
(Corrected in previous post)

Well. Let's say it was a test!!! LOL!!! Truth be told: I don't question what you post (such faith being based on previous and other interactions on the forums) so for this reason I wasn't about to go trolling the Internet to find the different ways in which different mics. respond. Point is: I would never have picked it up no matter how many times I read your post!!! LOL!!! But thanks for correcting and pointing it out. And let's be honest (you touched on this later on in your post): even although the theory may differ from the practice I really do believe that it's best to try and understand both. At least if you know the theory and something doesn't sound right: you know where to start looking.

At first blush the simple conclusion is that one would calculate the offset and adjust the distance. 1/4 wavelength. That simple right?

I'm not entirely sure this would work although I did at one point consider buying faTimeAlign (https://www.forward-audio.de/fatimealign/) but I wasn't prepared to pay the full price given that it was being sold at a greatly reduced price upon release (I even emailed them about it and they said "sorry") AND, so far as I can tell, I've probably got at least two other plugins that do exactly the same thing albeit, possibly, not as elegantly. I digress. The reason I say that I'm not entirely sure that it would work is because I noticed this with the phase correlation metering. You cannot base any distance calculations or distance measurements on the physical construction or design of a microphone. From my tests: the (internal) distance between the actual mic. capsule and the grille of the mic. differs between mics. So if one were to begin doing any measurements of this type one would have to be aware of, and compensate for, this difference from the outset. In other words: one could not simply assume that your starting point would be to have any two mics. (different types or manufacturers) placed side-by-side with their grilles perfectly lined up (and then expect them to be in phase or have a high degree of phase correlation). As an example: if the grilles of the Samson and SM57 are lined up perfectly in the front: the phase correlation drops off quite substantially. In this case (my case and my initial setup): the Samson had to be moved about 3/4 of an inch back / behind the front of the SM57. Just by the way: I WILL admit that it was the faTimeAlign video (watched it some time ago) that gave me the idea of using the phase correlation meter in Voxengo's SPAN Plus (so on this score: thanks to them and that Daniel chap).

I'm including a screenshot of Voxengo's SPAN Plus below for the sake of reference (as I'll reference it in the balance of this post):
SPAN Plus.JPG
SPAN Plus.JPG (150.26 KiB) Viewed 411 times

Now to continue.

I'm pretty sure that some will read this thread and be thinking to themselves that I'm simply making conversation and being pedantic and "full of it" with this phase saga (especially given the rather tiny adjustments and measurements being discussed and done to arrive at this point). Please believe me when I say it's not me being pedantic or even OCD about it (although the latter is a possibility!!! LOL!!!) I can tell you that even the slightest adjustment makes a big difference BECAUSE if you start out with a low phase correlation then for some reason or the other it seems to get exponentially worse as you add more mics. (or let's call them "recording paths"). So for example if you have a pair of mics. with a low phase correlation to begin with and then hook up another pair with the same low phase correlation: by the time you add all these tracks to Mixcraft and pan them the phase correlation between the left and right channels gets worse almost as if the lower phase correlation gets "summed".

But no, music ain't a sine wave, and the correlation adjustment would only directly effect a specific fundamental frequency and its multiples.

and
...there is no such thing as "perfectly in phase"...

You are quite right here as I've noticed with my tests. Even although on the above meter and with putting white noise through the amps. I've been able to achieve phase correlation of around 0.95 to 0.98 between a pair of mics.: when you're actually playing or recording for real then the phase correlation jumps around i.e. it may move in the range of, for example, 0.70 to 0.95 (although this only by sight i.e. I've not actually captured the actual figures). But (and here's the important thing): if you START OUT with a low phase correlation this range of movement (0.70 to 0.95) gets wider (worse) to the point where if it's REALLY out it to begin with it can even go momentarily negative (which, by the way, is the exact point in a recording where you can hear that mono, phasey, flangy, "somebody closed your one ear" type sound). So you are quite correct (as usual and once again): there is no such thing as "perfectly in phase" (at least not with mics.) BUT getting it as close to "perfect" as is humanly (technically) possible to begin with makes a big difference as you move down the recording chain.

And most people don't know the difference between phase and time displacement.

Again an interesting point. I'm figuring that this is why a simple delaying of one of the channels (not an effect i.e. simply delaying or offsetting one channel by a fixed amount) creates a pseudo or perceived stereo effect??? In other words: the "base" signals are in phase but simply because the timing of one of the channels is shifted you have an in phase (original) signal but the delay (time displaced???) channel gives the illusion of stereo??? Not sure if I'm right but I'm sure you'll clarify. I have to say that this method does provide a semi-decent stereo widening (with plugins of course) BUT there's also a very narrow sweet spot and unless you find it: at some point those two signals intersect and you get that mono, phasey, flangy sound at that very point.

And no, aligning a transient peak does not put you "in phase"

This I understand (I think). Put another way (and as much as I hate to say it): is it not the fact that these transient peaks may be OUT of phase (as long as the rest of the track is not) that actually creates a stereo perception??? If I do understand this correctly then is this not the reason why some of Melda's plugins actually do work (pretty well I guess) to create stereo i.e. they keep the "base" tracks in phase but offset only certain frequencies (transient peaks) and this creates a "not so mushy" (as with other plugins) stereo field???

You have identical amps with identical amp settings and identical mic configurations. No plug-ins or processing? Where is this center/side field you describe originating from in your opinion?
(I have some theories, just curious as to yours first!)

Hmmmnnn... My theory is that there are subtle differences between the amps., the mics., everything in the recording chain. Could be subtle differences in the speakers themselves, the cables, the amp. switcher (which splits the guitar signal i.e. it's a fancy one not merely a little cable splitter and I know for a fact that the signals go through two different circuits in the splitter). And as much as I hate to mention PHASE again: another contributing factor could be that it's impossible to phase align BOTH amps. with two pairs of mics. 100% equal in correlation. That would be my take on things. You theory / idea???

Worth noting (of course) is that the stereo field with IDENTICAL settings on the amps. isn't a very WIDE stereo field. It may be nicely "saturated" (not sure if that's the right word to be using) and "rich" but it's not one of these "sloppily" wide stereo fields (that I get with plugins regardless of their settings!!!). It must also be said that when I refer to "no plug-ins or processing" I'm noting this as it pertains to WITHIN Mixcraft. In other words the amps. themselves have built in effects and you're able to choose between different cabinet emulations and so on and so forth. And I have indeed experimented with this too i.e. my "standard" sound (that I like) has reverb and delay set on the amps. So I experimented with shortening the delay and reverb time on one amp. and used a different cab. emulation. This does widen the stereo field but I would have to say only slightly i.e. it's still a "rich" but not "sloppy wet" stereo field with the a "prescent" middle (dunno if "prescent" is even a word but I'm sure you get what I mean). What's more: even with these different settings the phase correlation remains very high between the two amps. I'm absolutely convinced that it's this phase correlation that makes ALL the difference here (more than anything else anyway).

And one last thing I'd like to mention here: this DOES make a difference and for those of you who may be asking "well: is somebody actually really going to hear this"??? I believe the answer is a big YES. And here's why. Some time ago I happened to be looking at some band details (local bands) on that ReverbNation site (was actually surprised to actually FIND South African bands on there). I found a link to a video from one particular band (I forget now which one) and watched it. I was watching on an iPad at the time and lo and behold: the MOMENT that video started playing I got that mono, phasey, flangy sound and I found myself wondering "who in their right mind would allow THIS to go out to the public). Point is: even although the band themselves were really good I can tell you that because of this their sound was less than pleasing to the ear (and it becomes more evident if you've listened to something else just before that and listen to something else just after that that did NOT have phase issues). I did, in fact, give the video another chance and watched it on my PC with the sound coming through the monitors and I'm figuring that this is where their "recording engineer" made his mistake!!! Out of the monitors it seemed fine DEPENDING ON WHERE YOUR HEAD WAS PLACED BETWEEN THE MONITORS!!! In other words: sitting slightly off center in the stereo field things seemed fine but move from left to right and you hit that "aweful spot" which just killed it (and there is an even bigger problem in that once your ears hear this they seem to battle to adjust back to NOT hearing it) (well: my ears anyway) (and if I'm right there's probably a technical or biological explanation for this). And the reason why it was so obvious on the iPad was simply because (in my opinion) the iPad's speakers are right next to each other so this made the situation worse.

I suppose and at the end of the day the most important thing for me was to capture what (I believe anyway) my amps. sound like exactly live (whether it be the amps. on their own or micd. up through the PA). I still do indeed have one little problem that I've discovered (now that the phase issues are sorted): I've noticed that in order to get a "biting" sound on the recording I've had to turn the prescence up on the amp. settings. Not by much but enough to make the live sound rather "harsh" to the ear (at least in an enclosed space). But I will continue to experiment with this i.e. if there's any way for me to get away with NOT having to EQ the recorded sound in Mixcraft well, then, that would be first prize. But maybe this is as good as it gets and there's a reason why people like Mr. Scheps (& Co.) have jobs!!! LOL!!! Maybe it's time for me to understand that actually: no mic. can capture all that my ears hear hence the reason for EQ when mixing??? And it actually just dawned on me as I was typing this: I know I "fly the flag" for LIVE sound and recordings. But it just occurred to me that my "version" of LIVE sound (aside from my own of course) is based on DVD or Blu-ray soundtracks and who KNOWS how much processing is done to a DTS (or better) track??? Put another way: Judas Priest (as an example) sounds KILLER on Blu-ray but I'll never know what the sound was ACTUALLY like at the concert. Closest I've come was seeing Evanescence live some years back and I can tell you that the sound wasn't that great if the truth be told. But their DVDs??? Outstanding!!! Must tell you that I have one or two Whitesnake multi-tracks from a live concert. David Coverdale doesn't sound that "hot" if you eliminate the rest of the band from the stage!!! LOL!!! But of course and in context: WONDERFUL stuff.

Well. That's "quite the post" is it not!!! This HAS to be a (length) record not??? LOL!!!

Regards,

Dale.

P.S. NOT LONG ENOUGH (or so it would seem!!! LOL!!!).

For the sake of interest (Mark) I decided to see how these supposed "phase correction" plugins work. And they don't!!! Here's why. I decided to download the demo of faTimeAlign as well as their free offering faSampleDelay. First: I just loaded them onto one of my "pristine" tracks to see if I could achieve an even higher phase correlation (just for fun). I could not i.e. I could not improve what I'd done manually (physically aligning the mics.). But here's the corker. I then purposely put the mics. slightly out of phase (moved one of them slightly) to see if I could correct this with a plugin. So I aligned them again using white noise (on this score it's also possible, by the way, to simply turn up the gain on an amp. and turn off the noise gate, and turn it up full WITH THE PROVISO that NOTHING is plugged into the input). Sorry. A bit of superfluous info. there. Anyway. So I aligned them again (with the plugin) using white noise. But (again) here is the corker: instead of phase correlation remaining anywhere between say 0.70 and 0.95 during recording or playback the plugin(s) resulted in the phase correlation jumping all over the show (sometimes even going to the left i.e. negative) in parts. So. This phase thing is not JUST a simple matter of time aligning signals i.e. there's a lot more to it so far as I can tell. And there doesn't seem to be a substitute for manual labor either!!! And NOW come to think of it (and more money wasted some time ago): this is the VERY reason why when I've used a plugin like WAVES' InPhase you can bring a certain portion of the tracks back into phase (if they were out of course) but then somewhere else down the line you'll get to another portion where the phase it out again (and of course correct that portion and you're back to square one at the beginning).


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