Hey, this is Dave Parker for Breaking Audio. today we’re going to talk a bit about phase aligning drums in Pro Tools with a plug-in i use all the time now called Auto-Align. If you like videos on production and Protools and Ableton hit the subscribe button and you won’t miss any videos. So let’s just jump in here and talk about phase relationships real quick. The easiest way to kind of observe what we’re going to want to correct here is by looking at a snare top and bottom mic. This is a session that I recorded this week, just a couple days ago, and you can see here the snare top and the snare bottom. First of all they are not totally lined up in time right, because the snare bottom mic is a little bit further away from the snare top mic, right, so about this far away.
um that would be you know i don’t knowsound travelsroughly about one foot per milliseconda little bit more than that but uh notto get too technicalthe um basically what we want to havehappen here is we want thesepeaks and troughs to actually line upright the best we canso by that i mean that um we wantto invert the phase of the bottom micand move it forwards in time a littlebit to match thetop snare track so um we can do that byhand which is what i just did that’skind of the old way before you knowbefore i started using some plugins itkind of did it for meum i would do that i would go throughand i would actually move all thesearound and flip the phases and try toline them up and like do it by hand andtry to get it to sound goodand you know mostly good results youknowbut um using auto align by sound radixuh has given me the best results and itcan do it way better thani can by hand even though you know i doi spent years doing thatlike you know early 2000s or whatnot umeven even like the matter of like a fewsamples differenceuh can make a huge difference it’s likesurprisingly i you know like i wouldhave thought like you know at 96kwhich is my sample rate that only acouple samples would be almostinsignificant but i’ve been it’s provenme wrong a few timesum so let’s just kind of jump in andhave a look hereand what we got i’ve got some i’ve got akick i didn’t do a kick in and out ihave a snare topbottom hat several tomsa pair of overheads a ride and a pair ofroomsso we’re let’s try to get this stuff inphase because what it’s going to dois it’s going to bring the kit more infocus because the waveforms are liningup togetherum because on a drum kit your mics areall differentdistances apart from one another and uhthe sound doesn’t make it to those micseven though you’re hitting you knowyou know the snare drum it doesn’t makeit to all the mics at the same pointand then that’s going to cause phasecancellation so your drums are going toend up sounding weakerthan you want them to but when you phasealign themit seems to affect the low end more youhave more beef more punch in your drumssometimes the effect can be very subtlesometimes it can be pretty dramatic it’salways worth doing whether it’s going toend up being subtle or not i don’treally know until i’m donebut what i do notice is when you knowwhen i do this and then i go to mixingthis stuffi’m always glad that i did this and iknow it’s rightso let’s have a quick look at auto alignhere it is i’m not going to go overevery single feature there isbut uh i’m gonna point out the basicsum you have this slider you can also allyou can kind of think about it as like agate sort of what it’s trying to do isit’s trying to eliminate the noise floorso if you see you know we are looking atthe kick drum right now there’s a littlebit of a noise floor down herei don’t want it to deal with that at alli just kind of wanted to deal withonly the uh the meat of the kick drumrightso there’s there’s a slider for theinput so in this case this is the kickdrum and the side chainfrom what is that’s whatever it’slistening to sothe kick drum is listening to nothingi’m sendingthe signal of the kick drum out onchannel one becausei don’t want the kick drum to move intime rightchances are i’ve probably drum editedthis stuff and i’ve probably drum editit to things like the kick the snare thetoms rightum and the overheads move how they’regonna move you know like i really don’twant my kick drum to moveso i’d rather have my overheads movebackwards in timeso let’s let’s actually jump in and havea look here at kick jumps you know whati’m talking aboutso here’s my kick right there let mekind of condense this a little bitand if we zoom down to my overheadswhich are down herelet’s see if we can get a good look atthis i’m going to slap a markerright at the transient of the kick drumand if we kind of scroll downto my overheads it’s a little bit hardto tell but they’re a little bit back intime right seei don’t want my kick draw moving thatway i’d rather have the overheads movetowards the kick drum sothis is what we’re gonna do we’re gonnago to my overhead hatit’s usually my starting place it’sreceiving onchannel one which means it’s listeningtothe kick drum which is sending onchannel one and so it’s gonnaphase align itself according to the kickyou could also do this with the snareeither one is fine the reason i choosethethe kick or the snare is because youthink about the stick hitting the drumyou know those mics are the closest andyou knowthe sound doesn’t have to travel far youknow farequals you know distance as far as youknow in millisecondsright so it you know your kick hittersnare hit is received by the overheadum you know further back in time souh this is we’re gonna do we’re going tomess with the noise floor here as youcan see there’s our kick drum comingthroughuh it’s tough to say with overheadsexactly where to put it i can kind ofsee the kick drum i can see a lot of thesnare drum so i’m just going to kind ofset it roughly in here somewherei have this set to detect delay andpolarityand i’m just gonna let it run let’s seewhat it comes up with so again it’sgonna be moving the overheadsto match the phase of the kick drum thetimingand actually the polarity and sometimesit takes a minute to detectall right so in this case it’s moved theoverhead to the left586 samples which by the way i am at 96kso if you’re at maybe 44.1 you’re gonnaseea lot less samples maybe 200 or sonow i also have this overhead standingon two right so everything else in mydrum kit is gonna be aligning to theoverheadswith the exception of the snare bottommic but i’ll get to that soi’m also sendingto my overhead ride sidewhich i kind of have this set a bitabove the noise floorlet’s see what it gives us when i detectso my overheads will be nowlocked up 568the other side was 568 so i used an xypattern and i must have got the capsulesincredibly incrediblyclose because usually at a sample ratethis high i wouldn’t seeum i mean there’s no difference betweenthe twousually i see a few samples ofdifference in my overheads so this isthat’s kind of uh it’s kind of amazinguh i guess they get a good job of thatso we’re going to scoot over to thesnare drum top which is also receivingon twoand i’ve messed with my sliders a littlebitto try to get them you knowout of the noise floor just into themeat of the snarethere’s a lot of that in the overhead soi’m gonna let it detect let’s see whatit finds let’s see what it wants us todoand let it run for a minute i also havethis sending on threebecause i’m having that sent to thesnare bottomand i’m gonna explain that in one momentit hasreversed polarity as you can see hereand it has moved it back negative196 sampleslet’s have a look at our snare bottomi’ve set this up to receive on threeadjusted my sliders hereand i have it detect let’s see what weget it should be a little bit higherthan the other onedetecting[Music]there are nine channels in auto alignthat you can send and receive withso if you’re doing a lot of drums youneed to be a little bit carefuland about how you manage those channelsby the way all right so this moved itbacknegative 248 from its original positionso that makes sense the number is higherthan this one because mybottom snare mic is further awayfrom my overheads than the top snare micis from my overheads right because thisis allthis is this is it moving back from itsoriginal positionso now we should have a snare oh andlet’s actually take a look at thisuh it didn’t reverse the phase of it itonly flippedit flipped the top one but it didn’tflip the bottom which makes sensebecause they wereout of phase right so i’m going to goahead and do this the rest of my drumkitand i’ll be right back to you all rightso i’ve gone and done the whole kitum a couple things i want to point out acouple of additional thingsand this is kind of up to you whetheryou want to move the rooms or notso my personal feeling on that is likeit’s actually nice to have the littlebit of delaybetween right the rooms because they’rethey’re going to be even further backbecausemy rooms are like 10 feet or somethinglike in front of the kitso um you just get more space that wayyou know like ifi phase a line the rooms you can seehere you know here’s the rooms versuslet’s say the ridesymbol you know i mean it’s it’ssignificantlyback you know like sound movesapproximatelyof it’s a little over a foot amillisecond you knowit just gives you that nice little addedbit of space soyou can move the rooms i choose not tomost of the time because i want tosqueeze that extra little bit ofdimension out of it um it’s you knowthat’sthat’s useful to me the this projecti didn’t end up doing bottom tom micsbut the tom mics if you do top andbottomare one of the things i notice thebiggest difference in when you get youruh when you get everything phase alignedand it sounds really goodsome other uses for this i like to micguitar amps with more than onemicrophone usually two um two differentmics just picks up two different flavorswhatnot i can blend them togetherin the uh in the mix and kind of have alittle bit of tone control maybe orwhateverthat’s super useful but it’s reallyreally really difficultto line them up by hand and get themreally dead onuh i have no trouble with that now withthis another example would bea bass guitar so if you take a displit it run it to the cabinet mic thecabinet umagain even by hand this beats by handuh it’s just it’s just on every time youknow as long as i set those thresholdscorrectlythe sliders and whatnot it is on umand yeah i mean there’s multiple usesfor this you can intentionallyum you know phase cancel things if youwant by lining them up and then throwingthe polarityto try to remove something if you’re ifyou’re in a situation where you’remixing somethinguh you know like a live band recording aroomyou know you might be able to pull thattrick off i know someone who did thatwell that’s basically it for auto alignum there’s some other little things uhi would i would read the manual um ifyou’reif you’re interested in in phasealignment in general i would just goahead and google thatuh there’s a lot you can find on theinternet um i’m noti don’t want to make a four hour videoso i’m just to makelike a 10 minute one instead so onething i do want to actually mention realquick before we gois because it’s a plug-in we have to dosome routing internally from likeplug-in to plug-in and whatnotit can be a little bit annoying to setup every time so one of the things i’vedone is i’ve worked this into my drumtemplateso if you want to see more about tracktemplates in general i did make a videoon that so you can check that out aswellum i i worked it in there and i use itevery single time and it saves me like10 minutes everyevery time i go to do this have a goodone peace