Mixing low end (inverting phase on tracks)

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Hi,

I've seen some sound engineer mixing EDM and she would sometimes take a kick or a bass and use the "gain" utility in Logic to invert the phase on that track.

I know what phase cancellation is but I wonder when to do that, how to look for any issues?

Thanks :oops:

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I've never gone all-out and inverted the phase, but I will often mess with phase relationships by creating a few ms delay difference on either the kick or the bass, so when they merge on the kb bus, there is a noticeable difference in sound and volume.
Actually, I will often use Melda's MUtility to report some milliseconds of latency on my sub, which in effect makes the sub audible before the midi note is even triggered (not literally, but the reported non-existent latency creates that effect).
In fact, the track I'm working on right now, has -24ms on the rumble (making it play 24ms before the kick), and this just gives it such a nice warm sound, and I don't even notice the timing difference (it's bass)

I also do this especially on basses that have transient subs (psy etc), as bass takes a bit longer to manifest in the real world, so I would rather shift it into the negative lol.

When you fine tune this while watching an analyser, you will find that certain positions will give you a full sounding, massive bass, while other positions will give a dip at 40 - 60hz or anywhere else, really.

I'm making a lot of rumbling techno, and I will often take things out of phase, because it gives a pleasant boost at 80hz or something. So much more creative potential when I work like that (best on headphones btw)
Yeah... I know we're supposed to join up the squiggly lines and stuff, but that's just not fun or inspiring to me.

So inverting the phase... seems to me like a very basic and rudimentary way of doing what I'm doing? But I guess you only get one option for a result, so I'm not sure why it would have an advantage over my method.
Maybe more useable if it's a bass guitar in a pop song or something, because it's all a lot more organic anyway, so maybe a flip really is the most effect method.

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_al_ wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 3:15 pm I've never gone all-out and inverted the phase, but I will often mess with phase relationships by creating a few ms delay difference on either the kick or the bass, so when they merge on the kb bus, there is a noticeable difference in sound and volume.
Actually, I will often use Melda's MUtility to report some milliseconds of latency on my sub, which in effect makes the sub audible before the midi note is even triggered (not literally, but the reported non-existent latency creates that effect).
In fact, the track I'm working on right now, has -24ms on the rumble (making it play 24ms before the kick), and this just gives it such a nice warm sound, and I don't even notice the timing difference (it's bass)

I also do this especially on basses that have transient subs (psy etc), as bass takes a bit longer to manifest in the real world, so I would rather shift it into the negative lol.

When you fine tune this while watching an analyser, you will find that certain positions will give you a full sounding, massive bass, while other positions will give a dip at 40 - 60hz or anywhere else, really.

I'm making a lot of rumbling techno, and I will often take things out of phase, because it gives a pleasant boost at 80hz or something. So much more creative potential when I work like that (best on headphones btw)
Yeah... I know we're supposed to join up the squiggly lines and stuff, but that's just not fun or inspiring to me.

So inverting the phase... seems to me like a very basic and rudimentary way of doing what I'm doing? But I guess you only get one option for a result, so I'm not sure why it would have an advantage over my method.
Maybe more useable if it's a bass guitar in a pop song or something, because it's all a lot more organic anyway, so maybe a flip really is the most effect method.
So you mean you move the rumble 24ms to the left? I still don't understand how would this help?
Won't it collide more with the kick? I know there has to be some space in between especially if track is played on massive speakers.

As for her she is mixing tracks which are played on biggest festivals so I guess she knows what she is doing, but I don't really get it yet. :party:

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With techno, kick and bass are often one unit.

Just watch it through an analyser, and you will see what it's doing

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_al_ wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 3:32 pm With techno, kick and bass are often one unit.

Just watch it through an analyser, and you will see what it's doing
Yeah but you still sidechain the rumble to give it more space, and so speakers have the time to "breathe".

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Depends how you look at it.
The vibration of the speakers gets messed up anyway, when you add percussion and pads and stuff, but if you feel the need to worry about such things, that's up to you :wink:

And think about it... an EDM kick is usually a sine sweep, so good luck getting all that in phase. But if you really wanna try and bring harmony to the tail of the kick and the 2nd 16th of bass, then hey, knock yourself out.

But yeah, leaving space for the speakers to breathe between bass hits is a more sensible approach imo.
But you shouldn't need to worry about phase relationships between kick and bass to deal with that.

(Someone feel free to prove me wrong! I'm not an engineer)

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_al_ wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 5:12 pm Depends how you look at it.
The vibration of the speakers gets messed up anyway, when you add percussion and pads and stuff, but if you feel the need to worry about such things, that's up to you :wink:

And think about it... an EDM kick is usually a sine sweep, so good luck getting all that in phase. But if you really wanna try and bring harmony to the tail of the kick and the 2nd 16th of bass, then hey, knock yourself out.

But yeah, leaving space for the speakers to breathe between bass hits is a more sensible approach imo.
But you shouldn't need to worry about phase relationships between kick and bass to deal with that.

(Someone feel free to prove me wrong! I'm not an engineer)
But pads and other stuff usually has low freq. cut off. I've listened to people like Steve Duda, Deadmau5 etc. and they say if there is not enough space it sounds like a long fart on big audio systems.

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Yeah, we're talking about different things now. You were asking about phase relationships, and flipping the phase of a bass track?
Well that's still gonna sound like a long fart, no matter how the phase is flipped, because that is a different issue. You're now talking about leaving space between bass events.
When people are talking about phasing on bass tracks, they are talking more about the volume and frequency fluctuations that occur when phase relationship is changed.

But Duda and DM are talking about something else there.
But like I said, if someone can convince me that the phase of the kick and bass is gonna cause a problem on festival sized subs, then I'm happy to be corrected!

But leaving space... yeah, sure. that's why the rumble in techno is usually at a higher freq than the kick (unless they are creating a rhythm together)
Last edited by _al_ on Wed May 22, 2024 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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_al_ wrote: Wed May 22, 2024 5:49 pm Yeah, we're talking about different things now. You were asking about phase relationships, and flipping the phase of a bass track?
Well that's still gonna sound like a long fart, no matter how the phase is flipped, because that is a different issue. You're now talking about leaving space between bass events.
When people are talking about phasing on bass tracks, they are talking more about the volume and frequency fluctuations that occur when phase relationship is changed.

But Duda and DM are talking about something else there.
I know it has nothing to do with phasing just mentioned it.
The engineer I watched was analysing the low end and flipping phase, and she does it for biggest EDM labels so I guess there is something to it?

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Yes, flipping the phase is a thing lol. I never denied that. Sometimes it just punches through better when you do that. But you can also get the same effect by adjusting some ms.

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It's a quick way to see if you can drastically improve something. One button and maybe your bass and kick sound way better. Maybe they sound way worse. Maybe they sound about the same. No reason not to check. Takes like 2 seconds.

What Al was saying was that similar and far more varied effects can be achieved by sliding different elements in the bass region around in time.
Don't F**K with Mr. Zero.

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