Phase problems can ruin an otherwise great sounding recording. It can reduce a fat, full-bodied snare sound to a thin, hollow representation of a great sounding drum. So, you ask, “What is phase and why is it so important?”.

Phase coherency is a time/amplitude problem that may exist between two microphones recording the same sound source. Phase difference is the difference, expressed in degrees or time, between two waves having the same frequency and referenced to the same point in time. The amount by which these waves are out of phase with each other can be expressed in degrees from 0° to 360°. If the phase difference is 180 degrees, then the two sound sources are said to be ‘out of phase’ (antiphase).

For example, if you record a snare drum and the sound reaches two microphones at different times, the recorded tracks will have the same source with the sound arriving first on one track, and secondarily on the other track. This will result in the waveforms being out of alignment, therefore, ‘out of phase’ with each other.

Waveforms in phase and time-aligned

Waveforms not in phase and out of time-alignment

The result is often a recording that has ‘missing’ information and an out-of-phase source with problems in the bass and low mids. Other times the source may lack a proper spot in the stereo field, and seem to constantly move around without rhyme or reason. It destroys impact and obliterates low end. It makes tracks sound thin and lifeless, or causes them to disappear entirely. In the most drastic cases, the stereo field will appear to become immensely wide, almost enveloping the listener from behind the ears, but have a huge gap in the center.

The easiest way to correct these phase problems is by positioning your microphone capsules as close together and at the same distance from the sound source as possible. A ‘one-inch’ difference between capsule distances can cause phase problems, so positioning is critical. You can position two microphones using two mic clips and two mic stands and get the desired auditory results. But, often using two microphone stands can be problematic due to space restrictions – both floor space for the stand bases and positioning the booms into the proper spot. If you adjust one microphone you will then need to adjust the second microphone to get their capsules in alignment. You will also need to purchase a second mic stand and boom for the second mic.

The simplest, most cost-effective and ‘goof proof’ solution is to use our ‘PhaseClip®’ for both microphones with a single stand and boom. When you adjust one mic, the second stays in alignment and less floor space is used in the studio or on stage. You also will need to carry less weight in live sound applications and set up is much faster.

PhaseClip® features:

  • Two microphone receivers; one for tapered microphones, the other for thinner condenser microphones that have a non-tapered shaft.
  • High-impact plastic for long-life in the studio or the road
  • Swivel adjustment for both mics simultaneously
  • Much less expensive than a second stand and boom