Phase Alignment for Guitar and Bass


Gear Gods presents Studio Pass: Kurt Ballou


Lesson Info

Phase Alignment for Guitar and Bass

I want to do a little phase alignment of the guitars and the base similar to what we did with the two kick mikes and you know, the to the to snare mikes and the two tom mike's are they up in the bottom and top? Tom likes to do the same sort of principle with guitar and bass to make sure that those have maximum impact and feel like they're coming from a single source. So as I mentioned when we were tracking guitars, if you have any concerns about your ability to hear these face discrepancies or if you're feeling really lost about what is the correct thing because it's not always going to be super obvious what's the best phase position we're phase alignment of two sources just go with one mike there's a lot you could do with one mike by cueing it or if you know you can break one mike out into multiple tracks, you know, like if I have a baby, if I'm mixing a session that was recorded with a single based micha supposed to the double system that I usually have, I might mulch mult that bass ...

track so that I have on then put the issues on the bass tracks so that I have invented control of the highs and lows and that is a away his larger delay compensations turned on your dog that's a way to have some sort of independent control of those two elements without worrying about their face relationship as much. But if you are, if you are brave and you want to try a much different microphones or multiple amplifiers, then beyond just your polarity button and maybe if you have an all past all past filter, like an ivp or radio phaser beyond doing those things, you might want to do some phase alignment of your guitars and bass and let's take a look inside pro tools at a bass track. So on this record, I have see my bases are grouped together and let's make him large so we can really see him. And, uh, well, that might be too large to go to medium. Um, so it's, always tough to tell what I liketo kind of zoom way in and see if I can sort of like, look at this volume envelope of the d I and the and the two different base mikes and see if I can visually see a pattern and how they correlate. Um, I don't see an obvious pattern here. You might be able to see a little bit of the attack. You can kind of see it in the attack between the close mike and the sub sort of looks like and see if we go back teo samples mode looks like we might have a thirteen sample offset between the mike and the sub which doesn't correlate to very, very much time but it's enough to actually hear a subtle delay as a phase discrepancy so I think I made a note for myself like I did in drums as to what that phase discrepancy waas so let's take a listen teo since I don't think I used much of the d a and the mix is just gonna mute that for now and let's take a listen to how the base mike in the base sub sound on the rope first all right here's the base sub and here's how they sound together right now turn up the sub tract just so they're a little more balanced for our purposes here so I did notice that it looked to me as though my mic track was happening a little ahead of my sub track sub tract is still in like but I just called the hai michael just the might track um put uh that's saying time adjuster short time adjuster delay on the mic track and see if we can slide this around teo get the two things to talk together a little better so twenty two samples of delay on the base mike track sounds best to me and that's what I have in my notes from from working on at home and that one is I think, a better example of how simple alignment works, then the drum examples were so you can really hear that change in the focus that it brings in so let's use and bypass again. And then we'll turn that trying to bypass off and listen to how it affects the sound. Okay, for some reason, it's true on my system as well, this time adjuster is buggy and bypass actually doesn't work, so I'm going to I'm just going to drag instead of bypassing them to drag this plug in out of the track. And so as you see me drag it on and off the track, you'll hear it come in and out, so let's, start with it off the track, you can hear the lohan coming to focus a lot when doing that phase alignment, so I think that sounds cool again. I don't like having the plugging on if I don't need to, so I am going tio slide the base sub track back by twenty two stables, so select twenty two sample window before the track starts in shuffle mode and presto lead and it will his own way and you can see that it slides that subject backwards, so the reason why I'm using the sub tract is I had on my track, I was adding delay. So the my track is pushed, you know, forward in time as opposed to the sub tract, so when I'm doing it manually, I'm then going to the sub tract and pulling that backwards in time. I could also go to the mic track and push it forwards in time if I wanted to. Uh okay, so we've done the phase alignment on the guitar on the base now let's, go! It is going to blow off the base d ie for now, but you do the same thing with hasty I if you choose to use it in your mix actually real quick. Let me just illustrate something I was talking about earlier this this could be interesting. Um, let's, listen to just the bass track. All right? Now, let's, um, duplicate that track and it's called this base low. Now I'm not quite do the full road roller on cross everything on this, I'm gonna let the bass mike track stay broadband and then based low I'm going to do a little, uh a gentle a gentle low pass filter on it. So it's kind of arbitrary freak. Yeah, but let's, listen to that. Wait. Compare that to my sub track certainly not the same, but if you're not recording multiple tracks or multiple microphones on your base cab you can dupe the track and do some queuing and compression and whatnot independently of that and there's other reasons to do this that I haven't got into yet but you know, reverb sense for example you don't typically want a ton of bottom in being sent into a reverb so one reason I like to break the bass guitar into like a high low component is I can just if I wanna have a little bit of river by my base I could just send the high component of the base into the river and the other thing which we talk about a little bit later is is uh actually you know what you get into it get into a pretty soon but after I do this guitar phase alignment but there's going to be some independent compression and some side chain compression on the low the low side of the bass signal so we'll get out a couple minutes so I'm just going to leave this michael oh thing that I made because I'm not going to use it in the mix because I have the base sub tract but you could do it you can make your own based subtract that way all right um now the guitar thing I mean used erin's guitar track he's on the right side um he's a little more meat potatoes than um then randall us so that's why I'm using his track is an example we did ah, did the a twenty two microphone as opposed to in contradiction to the picture that you saw yesterday, I end up jamming it right up on the speaker grill. But then my arcia forty four in my sn fifty seven were about a foot back from the speaker. So there's definitely because of that spacing there's definitely a time lag between those two microphones. Let's refresh our memories on what the the guitar sounds from the forty four fifty seven combination sound like in relation to the end twenty two okay, so those are different and the end twenty two singles getting to that before it's getting to the other mike's because it's closer to the speaker s o if we try toe, listen, switch my subtle mode again, try to listen to him together they're going to be weird and faizi, hopefully everybody agrees that that sounds kind of weird. Um, since the twenty two is closer, let's throw our our time adjuster plugin onto that and, you know, I don't really like the new time adjuster it's like two course, I'm using the time adjuster short, which is the old style one so sounds like a phaser it's kind of fun, but you can really hear how the tone on depth of the changes as you sort of shuttled around yeah, so it really comes into focus there. I'm going to do that thing where I drag it out of the track again to bypass it. And what you hear really makes a big difference in that case. So if I wanted to combine all those microphones, I feel like I would have to do something like that wouldn't even be optional. So, yeah, so that's pretty much it for, um, for the faith lineman stuff. Um, so what's, uh, which we dio set up some master failures and ox is for the remaining instruments. That's ah, I'm goingto quickly step through that that's. Another nice thing to have, like I was talking about earlier in the drum set. A portion it's, nice to have master control of a bunch of different base mike's together, master control of a bunch of different guitar mix together. And another reason specifically to do it with guitar is you. Khun put some sort of compression on your master guitar bus. So as various guitar elements come in and out, if you have a bunch of guitar overdubs and, you know, maybe the first part of the song is too tar tracks and then a section comes in with three or four or five or whatever. You're either gonna have to write a ton of volume automation to balance that stuff out and keep the guitars at a relatively controlled level. Or you could do a little bit of bus compression on your master guitar fader, whether that's, a ox master or a master fader in that bus compression on the guitar group will help reel it in. So as a new guitar element comes in, sort of squashes down the whole guitar bus as a whole and gives you a nice auto mixed feature, and that will that will mean that you don't have to do is much bus compression during the mix phase if things were more under control at the pre next face and okay, so that's all I'm going to say about about thie master fader things, although once you do have your master fader set that's also good opportunity to double check that you have the head room that you need all the time, because sometimes you might, uh you might have stuff running hot inside pro tools and the the you might not know into the set up master fader on your guitar bus that you're starting with your way too loud so once he had that master fader setup you, khun judge what? Your head was a little bit better so that's nice quick question to kind of start that this discussion off actually eso es and a bunch of other people were like oh yeah all of kurt's sound files look hot what gain staging do you use coming in on a given input using when I'm recording that hot I'm pushing what will allow me to have later headroom uh yeah well does this does this sound better does that sound better? It's just it's just like a vertical zoom was recording this band one time and like the bass sounds way better thank you. Okay, so if you guys were firmly with band torch they were so called fat waves it was kind of a, uh like the punch line of a joke but this friend of ours was recording with me and I'm getting a bass sound for him he's like hey, can you make my wave a little fatter on I was like what do you mean he's like? Well, whenever I've one quarter before sounds better when the waves like really fat so I just zoomed sound does that sound better guys, you heard it here first I mean it's it sounds better now, right? This is the kind of you know, stuff that you only pick up through years and years of experience, yeah no. So anyway it was typically we'll let some actually let's look at how it looks on the meters because that's that's really the judge on you know he's right? I am record I did recorded pretty hot I have some burl converters which sound nice and they tend to get a little war um euphoric as you pushed him a little bit harder and depending on the converters you have and what kind of head room you have to work with and how much level your mike prince can comfortably output and whether or not you like the senator mike it's running a little colder a little hotter and so forth and so on you may record things at different levels a lot of people were record like overhead symbols kinda a little on the quieter side because they want more headroom from there like cramps and might record guitar's little hotter it's ah it's your own personal preference and you need to experiment to see what works well for you given different different circumstances internal to pro tools you'll notice that I'm running these tracks quite low because it recorded in pretty hot I have these guitars for example or it mine is eighteen point five decibels so you know kind of low to make sure that I have headroom in the internal next bus and setting up some master failures and smocks masters and things like that will help you track where your head rooms at, and you just got to experiment with how you do your gain staging to get sound it's working for you. I'm not great at mixing in the box, so this stuff is sort of arbitrary for me. If you mix exclusively in the box, I urge you to spend a lot of time experimenting with your gain staging.

Class Description

In this two-day course, prolific producer Kurt Ballou will take you behind-the-scenes of GodCity Studios to show you exactly how the magic happens. This all-access studio pass will immerse you in every aspect of Kurt’s distinctive sound — from choosing and setting up gear, to tracking and mixing.

Kurt will show you the basic and advanced techniques he uses in his studio every day, and teach you how to apply them to your own recording — regardless of whether you’re working in a studio or at home with a DIY setup. Using anecdotes from his years behind the board, Kurt will also teach you his best practices for working with bands to extract the best and most inventive sounds.


Keith Foster

First off, even though I'm neither a beginner nor a recording professional, this class is absolutely worth the money you spend on it - especially if you plan on making heavy music. There are enough tips, tricks and guidance in here to get your money's worth many times over. That said, as an indie artist who goes to a studio to record drum tracks, then does the rest ina home studio I found some of the things disheartening. Much of the class follows a "I do this thing using item / amp / microphone / plugin (X), it's pretty cool" vibe, and it sounds cool.... until you check the price. As an example, the 'stereo buss processing' section sounds fun to try, except for the part where the three pieces of gear cost about $8K. As a result I found myself figuring out how to incorporate the essence of what he was saying without the gear budget to do so. Maybe I'm not the intended audience but a little more concept and less gearhead would have been even better. That said you should totally get it, it's a low price for so many hours of great content.