Ask The Pro #3 “Phase O”

JLBarrow • April 13, 2010 • 2 Comments

Even the best producers need help and with the constant changes and updates to music production software and hardware the most dedicated novice can become frustrated. In’s continued dedication to developing and showcasing the best production talent we have resurrected ASK THE PRO Question and Answer series previously published in Scratch magazine. One of the original contributing engineers, Ariel Borujow, will be answering your technical questions with speed and accuracy. So send them over to INFO@NODFACTOR.COM with the subject “Ask The Pro” and keep checking back to for Ariel’s answers. You can also follow Ariel on Twitter @arielborujow and hit him with questions there as well!

How can I tell if my vocals/mix is “in phase”?

The answer to this can be checked in 2 steps, until you are comfortable.  The first is to simply check your mix in “mono”.   Usually, when I mix background vocals or a hook I like to use a “stereo widener” effect on them.  Of course, this can cause some phasing issues so i constantly check the mix in mono on my console.  If the vocals are out of phase, it will sound like they disappear which in actuality are canceling each other out.  Another way is to put a phase scope plug-in across your master fader.  I use Pro Tools, and Digi has a pretty good one.  If you look at the phase meter at the bottom, there is a number “0” in the middle, and a negative “1” on the left, and a positive “1” on the right.  You will see a green light at the meter which when the source is in phase, the light sways towards the positive 1.  If it’s out of phase it will go over the zero to the left and go to the negative 1.  I would suggest actually putting something out of phase purposely, look at your phase meter, and use your ears in conjunction with what you see.  This way you can train your ears, and visually see exactly what is going on.  Therefore, once you hear something out of phase, you will know right away.

What are the best monitors to get for a home studio set-up?

Generally speaking there is never a wrong speaker to choose.  There are quite a few great manufacturers out there.  There are two speakers that i would recommend for a good home studio setup. The first is the Yamaha HS series, either the 50M or 80M’s work.  I personally have the 80M’s in my studio as one of the speakers i use for reference.  They sound really good, great low end.  Another great company is KRK.  I used to use the V series so i would recommend those. I know a few producer friends of mine that use the Rockit series which they dig.  At the end of the day your ears will determine what is best for you.  There are no wrongs.  Your ears never lie.

Send your mixing and mastering questions to with the subject line “Ask The Pro”

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