Raze the Phase Problems: Tracking & Mixing with AUTO-ALIGN

We don’t let phase issues faze us at BB4 Studios.

Engineers inevitably have to deal with getting tracks in phase when they record with multiple mics. Otherwise the slight timing differences that result cause comb filtering – the unwelcome phenomenon that makes frequencies cancel each other out or build up in a most unmusical way. When it comes time to mix, phase must be corrected or prepare to suffer the consequences: muddy sonics, especially in the low end.

Here are two of the most common ways to battle phase issues when mixing:

Auto-Align will save you thousands of hours of squinting.

Auto-Align will save you thousands of hours of squinting.

1)      Squint at waveforms in Pro Tools until your eyes fall out of your head (unhealthy and time- consuming!)

2)      Handle it automatically with the AUTO-ALIGN plugin (much faster!)

AUTO-ALIGN (from SoundRadix) was a revelation to us when we first discovered it, and it’s been the gift that keeps on giving. It’s an automatic microphone alignment and phase correction plugin that analyzes multi-mic recordings to detect and compensate for the delay between microphones. Its algorithms are sample accurate and you hear the results immediately: punch and definition immediately get dialed up.

“This is a tool that brings back a lot of the bottom and mid-range on any instrument it’s applied to,” says Kiara Mudd, Studio Manager for BB4. “Put it on bass guitar, and you can clearly hear the difference in low frequencies. It’s big when the plugin is on, but put it on bypass and your bass gets wimpy.”

While AUTO-ALIGN is a boon to mix sessions in our uniquely precise mixing/mastering studio, we’ve found that having it on hand is also a boon during tracking sessions as well. “Having it at the ready allows you to hear how good a take is right away,” Mudd explains. “That often saves us the time of having to do multiple takes in pursuit of a fuller sound – AUTO-ALIGN lets us know we already got it.”

It’s no secret weapon, just a plugin we love that whips up the workflow and maxes our tracking spaces. Visit us, and you’ll hear for yourself how it all comes together.

Track and mix fine with AUTO-ALIGN and much more when you visit BB4.


David Weiss