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Question about handling PHASE issues

Joined
May 16, 2015
Messages
65
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Location
Seattle, WA
#1
Hello

Kasson here from the Seattle indie-electronic act Symbion Project.
Back in 2009 I mixed my first album in QUAD, called "Misery in Soliloquy" which you can get here if interested:
https://symbionproject.bandcamp.com/album/misery-in-soliloquy

It was quite the learning experience and the whole QQ community has been super responsive and helpful.

I'm mixing my second surround album, (a recently released stereo version of Arcadian just came out) also in quad and I have a question for this group about phase.
So first off, I prefer quad as it presents me with 4 identical stereo fields, or a 360 degree space to place and move sounds around.
I don't like 5.1 as the center channel destroys the phantom stereo center that I'm used to working with, as well as not knowing what volume the listener will have in their particular setup.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. There are certain times in the mix when I want a mono sound to come out of all 4 speakers at the same volume so that in "envelopes" the listener.
When the listener is stationary, and not moving their head during playback, the effect can be quite nice and immersive.
However, the minute you move your head you can immediately start to hear phasing on that sound. Depending on the frequencies present, this effect can be noticeable and not that great sounding.
Crash cymbals might be the worst due to all the broadband, high-frequency, non-pitched qualities.

So is putting a sound in all 4 speakers at equal volume a no-no when it comes to mixing and should be avoided?
I did do this in a few of the quad mixes on the Misery DVD and no one seemed to notice (or care).

I'd love to hear your all thoughts on this matter... thanks!

Kasson
www.symbionproject.com
 

rtbluray

Hi-Res Moderator
Staff member
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#2
Hello

Kasson here from the Seattle indie-electronic act Symbion Project.
Back in 2009 I mixed my first album in QUAD, called "Misery in Soliloquy" which you can get here if interested:
https://symbionproject.bandcamp.com/album/misery-in-soliloquy

It was quite the learning experience and the whole QQ community has been super responsive and helpful.

I'm mixing my second surround album, (a recently released stereo version of Arcadian just came out) also in quad and I have a question for this group about phase.
So first off, I prefer quad as it presents me with 4 identical stereo fields, or a 360 degree space to place and move sounds around.
I don't like 5.1 as the center channel destroys the phantom stereo center that I'm used to working with, as well as not knowing what volume the listener will have in their particular setup.

Anyway, sorry for the digression. There are certain times in the mix when I want a mono sound to come out of all 4 speakers at the same volume so that in "envelopes" the listener.
When the listener is stationary, and not moving their head during playback, the effect can be quite nice and immersive.
However, the minute you move your head you can immediately start to hear phasing on that sound. Depending on the frequencies present, this effect can be noticeable and not that great sounding.
Crash cymbals might be the worst due to all the broadband, high-frequency, non-pitched qualities.

So is putting a sound in all 4 speakers at equal volume a no-no when it comes to mixing and should be avoided?
I did do this in a few of the quad mixes on the Misery DVD and no one seemed to notice (or care).

I'd love to hear your all thoughts on this matter... thanks!

Kasson
www.symbionproject.com
It's not that you can't do it, but I don't usually mix anything to all 4 channels equally for that exact reason, and you're right that cymbals are the worst when it comes to front-back phasing.
Another reason not to mix something to all 4 channels equally is the localization imbalances movement can cause. Move towards the front or back and the sound moves with you. There's no stability with that middle (in all 4 channels) ground.
I almost always prefer a more discrete approach where elements are either more towards the front or more towards the back rather than use the unstable middle ground. :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

kap'n krunch

organ of Corti junkie
Joined
Nov 25, 2008
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Several miles from Red Rocks...
#3
It's the same as the "standing wave" principle.
The only thing I'd pan dead center in Surround would be quite low bass, but since everybody's setup is different (smaller speaker in the back, etc), I'd go with what rtbluray said...

The only release where I've heard that bass and vocals are panned dead center is Goldfrapp's "Supernature", and my take is that it's because of the kind of music....
 

fizzywiggs41

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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Feb 15, 2015
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wpg, mb
#4
Symbionproject,

listening in quad is subjective at best.There are no hard fast rules as far as I know.

But having said that I do tend to boost my rear speakers slightly.That way I ensure I have a quad presentation that is indeed rear channel representative.

Yes, I agree that the use of the center can sometmes lead to a distraction, most notably at high levels and if that channel is used exclusively throughout.

As far as phasiness with vocals in the front left and right, trial and error in achieving phantom center so as not to dislike the presentation is the true test, and everyone cannot be satisified.If you think the recording sounds good to you-go with it.
There are also quad recordings from the past that will also place the vocals around the sound field from time to time.

So in conclusion, go with your own listening experience, trust your ears.You can't satisfy everyone's listening experience preference.No matter what you decide there will always be negative and positive critics.

But it's your recording and your art.
 

DuncanS

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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UK
#5
A discrete placement works best be it Quad or 5.1, you don't have a 'sweet spot' as such, you can hear what is going on even if you aren't sitting in a similar position to the mixing engineer. Quite a few of us don't really like a mix that makes the centre speaker dominant in a 5.1 set up, and placing something central in a Quad set-up also tends to dominate. Although I like a discrete mix I'm not fond of mixes where the drums are placed in a single speaker, particularly in a single rear speaker. I prefer to sit closer to the rear speakers, and with them quite 'toed in', its also the most practical position, the chair isn't in the centre of the room.

Having said all that, if an instrument is placed central to the sound field so that it sits in your head to emphasise something in the music I don't think that's a bad thing, it should fit the music, its artistic licence, and its your music and your mix :) But I would prefer it then that it isn't all the time/on all tracks as it can 'swamp' out other instruments as it dominates, and one of the things I love about listening to music in surround is that ability to get into the production/musical arrangements and hear all the nuances of the music which tend to get buried in a stereo mix.
 
Joined
May 16, 2015
Messages
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4
Location
Seattle, WA
#6
Thanks all ~ Much appreciated and this validates much of what I was hearing. Thanks for the tips and insight!

One trick I'm finding to be very helpful is to have a dry signal placed in the front, and a light ambience of the same signal placed in the back.
This seems to help spread to be present across all 4 channels but without the phasing issues.

thanks again!

.k.
 

DuncanS

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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UK
#7
That can be a really nice 'effect', as can a 'soft echo'.

Thanks all ~ Much appreciated and this validates much of what I was hearing. Thanks for the tips and insight!

One trick I'm finding to be very helpful is to have a dry signal placed in the front, and a light ambience of the same signal placed in the back.
This seems to help spread to be present across all 4 channels but without the phasing issues.

thanks again!

.k.
 

rtbluray

Hi-Res Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
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3,309
Location
Middle TN
#8
Thanks all ~ Much appreciated and this validates much of what I was hearing. Thanks for the tips and insight!

One trick I'm finding to be very helpful is to have a dry signal placed in the front, and a light ambience of the same signal placed in the back.
This seems to help spread to be present across all 4 channels but without the phasing issues.

thanks again!

.k.
Or, if you're gonna have something in both sets of channels, besides adding FX (reverbs, delays, etc.) you can also lower the volume in one set of channels by a certain amount, and then you shouldn't get that phasing because your ears will hear it more coming from one direction no matter where your head is.

:)
 

quadanasaziland

500 Club - QQ All Star
Joined
Mar 13, 2002
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55
Location
never never land
#9
Thanks all ~ Much appreciated and this validates much of what I was hearing. Thanks for the tips and insight!

One trick I'm finding to be very helpful is to have a dry signal placed in the front, and a light ambience of the same signal placed in the back.
This seems to help spread to be present across all 4 channels but without the phasing issues.

thanks again!

.k.
Can this be done just using the same front signal but with just a bit of delay to get the stem to fill the room?
 
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