What is Microphone Phasing?

If you’ve ever tried to record an instrument with more than one microphone and wondered why the resultant sound is not quite right, you’ve experienced microphone phasing.

First, we’ll talk about microphone phasing and phase cancellation, then we’ll discuss how to avoid it. It can feel incredibly confusing until you break down why it occurs.

Once you understand the way sound waves work and the interaction between the sound waves and your microphone set up, you’ll be able to fix the problem.


A Simple Audio Wave

Every sound can be broken into waves.

An audio waveform can be further broken down into a collection of simple sine waves of varied frequencies.

When we break the idea of sound or music into its simplest form, the sine wave, we can begin our little phasing discussion.

The sine wave is one single frequency that repeats over and over in a pattern. If you think of it in terms of an actual wave that can make it easier to comprehend. So, this simple wave repeats many times per second.

A 1kHz wave will repeat its form two thousand times per second. Each wave peak and trough lasts 1 millisecond. You can imagine this as a wavy line with the same peaks and valleys in a continuous wave.

Now that you have that wave in mind, imagine that you have 2 waves of the same frequency.

When those two waves are melded exactly, the peaks and valleys essentially create a single sine wave. It’ll just increase the volume of the first sine wave.


Delay in the Sine Waves

If one of the two sine waves is delayed by even a millisecond, the peaks and valleys will no longer match.

The sine waves will be considered out of phase, and the volume will be lower. This is called a partial phase cancellation. It can be hard to detect because they’re not phased enough to be severely noticeable.

When the peaks and valleys are exactly the opposite – the peaks of 1 sine wave meets the valleys of the other – that means that the first wave is completely “out of phase” with the second wave.

In fact, the two waves will cancel each other out and produce silence. Sound engineers will often call this being 180 degrees out of phase.

Here’s a brief video tutorial that describes exactly what we’re talking about here.


Phase Cancellation

This is where it can get extremely complicated. When dealing with multiple sine waves of differing frequencies, which you will when making music, you’re going to have fading pitches and changes in timbre.

Let’s go back to our example of the 1kHz wave. A delay in the second wave can have a more dramatic impact because there is more than the one wave to consider.

If you have a 1kHz wave, but the second wave is delayed by 0.5 ms, you’re going to have a recording that is out of phase.

On the other hand, if the second wave is 2kHz, it’s going to match perfectly as long as the waves repeat every 0.5 ms.

Delays in the peaks and valleys of the waves can cause cancellation at various frequencies. What does all this mean for the home recording studio, though?


Single-Microphone Recordings

close miking acoustic guitar

Sound travels a foot every millisecond. You’ll have to understand this to see how that can impact your recordings even if you’re only using one microphone. Imagine you’re using a microphone close to your bass guitar amplifier.

If the microphone is only 6 inches from the microphone, but a foot above the floor, you’ll be getting some reflected sound from the floor into the mic.

There would be delay of 1.5 ms between the two sounds, which will lead to phase cancellation.

While this is theoretically possible, the timbre and tone of the noise reflected from the floor will change the characteristics of the sound, so that might not happen with a single microphone.

That leads us to a discussion of using two microphones, and that’s where you can run into problems.


Multiple Microphones with a Single Instrument

If you want to remove any kind of mic phasing from your recordings, remember that sound travels at the same speed over the same distance. You can simply place the microphones as close together as possible to avoid a delay in the waves.

Sound engineers will often play with the placement of the microphones from the sound source.

They’ll place mics at different distances from the sound source, invert the polarity of the microphones and learn whether the sound is canceled or reinforced based on the delay.

In your home studio, it’s just a matter of playing with the placement of your microphones.

After placing your microphone, take the time to listen to your recording to learn whether you have some phasing. If you have more than one microphone, place them, record, and listen to learn where it sounds the best.

Here’s a quick video featuring producer Kevin Antreassian (Dillinger Escape Plan) who talks about this very issue and shows us what can happen.


Conclusion

Unless you plan on using math to figure out the milliseconds and do a lot of complicated measurements, you can simply move the microphones around until you get the best sound.

Now you should understand the concept behind phasing, and you’ll know that when there’s silence or a low sound in your recordings, it’s due to phasing.

We Review The 5 Best Microphones for Recording Acoustic Guitar

recording an acoustic guitar with a dynamic microphone

Capturing Acoustic Guitar Nuance


Shure SM81

Shure Sm81-Lc Cardioid Condenser Instrument Microphone

Buy On Amazon

The SM81 is produced by Shure, which has been a reliable supplier of microphones for years. It’s considered a workhorse in terms of durable mics for recording guitars.

Features:

  • Cardioid polar pattern
  • Stage and studio use
  • Rugged construction
  • Condenser microphone
  • Frequency response: 20 to 20,000 Hz

Polar Pattern

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make regarding your microphone is the pattern. This is a cardioid, unidirectional mic that won’t pull in noises from the back and minimal noise from the sides. This will minimize the reverb, so keep that in mind when purchasing a mic for your recordings.

Pros for the SM81

The Shure family of microphones have been around for generations. You really can’t go wrong when choosing a Shure for your musical recordings, studio performances and stage recordings.


Rode NT2A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package

Rode Nt2A Anniversary Vocal Multi-Pattern Dual Condenser Microphone Package

Buy On Amazon

Features:

  • Variable polar pattern
  • High-pass filter

Polar Pattern

There are three positions on the body of the microphone that allow you to change the pickup pattern to one that suits your needs at the moment. It’s a large capsule condenser meant for the studio recording.

Included in Package

The Rode NT2A Anniversary package comes with a shock mount, dustcover and instructional DVD. It’s perfect for the beginning musician who might not know how to capture the sounds of the guitar using this kind of varied polar patterns.


Blue 1967 Yeti Pro Usb Condenser Microphone, Multipattern

Buy On Amazon

In the past, USB microphones were thought to be amateurish and unsuitable for anyone serious about recording their music. The Blue Yeti Pro breaks that barrier with a microphone that’s accessible for all musicians who want to capture beautiful music with their computer.

Features:

  • Different pattern settings
  • Can be used with studio mixers and peramps
  • Direct controls for volume and pattern selection

Pros for the Blue Yeti

This is a fantastic microphone for recording at home and also translates into a studio setting where professionals will be impressed with the quality. It’s more than a simple plug-and-play mic with a USB connector.

Patterns for Recording

The Yeti has stereo mode, cardioid, omnidirectional, and bidirectional mode. These modes are easy to select with the switch of a selector knob.


AKG P420 High-Performance Dual-Capsule True Condenser Microphone

Akg Pro Audio P420 Sliver Blue 980 X 550

Buy On Amazon

This condenser microphone comes with three polar patterns to record as much or as little of the guitar as you want. As a musician, you want to have ultimate control of the sound that is produced as well as the what is captured with the mic.

Features:

  • Mic with three polar patterns
  • High SPL application
  • Shockmount included
  • Metal case
  • Dual diaphragm

Polar Pattern

There are three different polar patterns with this microphone. Each can be selected and controlled by the musician or producer to capture the best sound. There’s a cardioid, omni and figure-8 pattern, which means you’ll never struggle to position and capture the guitar’s beautiful sound with this microphone.


MXL 990 Condenser Microphone

Mxl 990 Condenser Microphone With Shockmount

Buy On Amazon

This is a great microphone if you’re capturing vocals along with your acoustic guitar at the same time. Normally, that’s what you’ll be capturing in a home studio is singing and guitar playing. This will provide the best of both worlds as far as recording.

Features:

  • Vintage body style
  • Frequency response 30Hz to 20kHz
  • Shockmount included
  • Mic stand adapter
  • Case

Diaphragm on the Condenser

This diaphragm is 3/4” gold-sputtered, which helps create a professional sound that is well-suited for both analog and digital recordings.

The microphone has a very thin layer of gold on the diaphragm that helps it conduct electricity better. The result is a smooth, quality recording.


Conclusion

The manufacturers of these condenser microphones have been around for generations and some have been the old-standby professional for years of stage performances and studio recordings.

You can’t go wrong when you pick one of these microphones since they’re the 5 best mics for acoustic guitar recordings.

Myers Pickups “The Feather” Microphone Review

instrument pickup mic

This micro-goose neck pickup by Myers Pickups is called “The Feather” and is meant for a variety of instruments depending on whether they create vibrations when being played.

They’re perfect for percussion, string, and some wind instruments, too. The cello, violin, guitar, or even ukulele can benefit from a pickup that feeds into an amplifier.

“The Feather” Cello Pickup With Flexible Micro-Goose Neck By Myers Pickups ~ See It In Action! Copy And Paste: Myerspickupscom

Buy On Amazon

What’s Included

  • Pickup microphone
  • Mounting hardware
  • Battery

Myers Pickups Company

The company was started by Gregg Myers, who is currently the CEO, owner, and inventor, but it’s also managed by multiple members of his family. This includes his wife and grown children. This family-owned and operated company has several patents for their pickups as well as for amplified drums. Their motto drives the company, and is what inspires them to hear their customers. “Your Passion. Heard.”

myers pickups

Preamp Pickup

The pickup is powered to deliver sound directly to the amplifier. Without the pickup, you would need a microphone aimed at the instrument to capture the sounds and make them heard by the audience or amplify them for recording. The preamp has its own internal power source, but doesn’t come with the cables needed to link the pickup with the amplifier itself. Whether you’re using an amplifier or plugging directly into a PA system or recording the sounds, you’ll need the cables to make this possible.

Battery Powered

instrument pickup microphone

The active preamp is powered with lithium batteries that are included as the internal power source. You won’t have to pick up your own batteries. Lithium batteries can last for a very long time, too.

Omnidirectional Preamp Pickup Mic

When using a preamp, you want to be careful of the noise. When the instrument noise is boosted with the use of an amp, you can’t filter out any of the noises. All of the vibrations and noise are amplified with the pickup mic, so you want it to capture crystal clear sounds from the instrument itself without ambient noise surrounding the musician bleeding through.

An omnidirectional pickup mic captures noise from all directions instead of picking up sound from one direction. It’s important to know the difference between each of the mic patterns, so that you’re using the right type for the instrument and situation.

Flexible Neck

The flexible neck of The Feather means that you’ll be able to attach and move the microphone section to any position that works best for the instrument being amplified or recorded. If it’s a cello, you’ll want to place the pickup next to the F-hole. For a guitar, you’ll want to place the unit near the sound hole.

Patented Saddle Clip

The Myers company has patented a saddle clip that holds the pickup onto the instrument without ruining the wood. It’ll clip into place and allow you to adjust the flexible neck into a position that will pick up the best sound to be amplified.

It compact and works very well for a variety of instruments whether it’s string instruments like a cello or guitar or a percussion instrument.

How it Works

pickup mic musical instrument

After removing the pickup from the box, place it directly onto the desired instrument. The cable from the amplifier, recorder, or PA system can be inserted into the ¼ inch input jack on the side of the pickup. This will activate the pickup’s internal power source. You can easily adjust the volume of the pickup mic to a level that works for your situation.

Quality Warranty and Customer Service

The company stands behind their products. These are not sold through a third party. They’re made in the US and Myers wants their customers to be satisfied with their products. If the customer isn’t 100 percent satisfied, the pickup mic can be returned. They’ll refund your money with no questions asked. It’s refreshing to have a company stand behind their products like that.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much ambient sound does this mic catch?

Most customers haven’t reported much in the way of ambient noise with the placement of the pickup. You can certainly move the mic to a place that is quieter on the instrument if that happens.

Do I need a phantom power source for this?

You do not. There’s an internal source for the pickup itself.

Where is the pickup attached to the instrument?

The best place to attach the pickup is the bridge on most instruments. You can work with a placement that brings the best quality depending on the instrument itself.

Conclusion

The Feather is a terrific pickup instrument mic for those who need to use an amplifier or a soundboard for their recording and performances. It’s a great pickup mic that works directly out of the box. There’s no real set up involved. Clip the pickup mic to the instrument, adjust the flexible neck and test it out for yourself. You might be surprised by how easy it is to work with this mic.

RockVille Karaoke Machine Review

rockville karaoke system review

Many years ago, when performing karaoke at local bars or even at home, I would flip through binders and binders of songs that I could perform.  
It’s funny to think that times are changing, things are much easier to do and a lot less frustrating and today.

Today I’m reviewing the RockVille Dual 12″ Karaoke Machine.

This system comes with speakers, two microphones and a stand for your device [it also looks like a selfie stick].  Here’s the whole package, pictured below.

As time goes on, things are becoming easier and easier when it comes accommodating the average karaoke host, especially with the millions of free songs that you can find on Youtube.

If you have troubles figuring out what songs to play next check out a previous article about the best karaoke songs to sing drunk, which my friend Dave wrote but is more based on my personal experience than his, to be honest.  🙂

dave singing karaoke

Other Uses

If you want to host monthly karaoke night this system is very affordable and quite useful for other events or reasons. The amount and quality you get for the price is astonishing and quite worth it if you are also a musician or public speaker.

high performance karaoke home

Starting off in any industry is really hard and we recommend getting this set because it’s perfect for beginners. Getting used to a transmitter and speakers might be frustrating but I didn’t have any problems connecting these at all to any device.

I actually think it’s funny not having to go thorough binders of songs anymore looking if the karaoke host has a certain song. Thank god for youtube and all the free songs available there.

The Sound System

The speakers are bluetooth allowing you to connect the speakers to whatever device you choose from – also compatible with smart tv. The speakers themselves are very high quality and a lot of DJ’s use these. The bar I go to uses these speakers, so I thought that was funny while writing this review.

dual 12 speakers

Microphone

The system comes with two wireless microphone systems, the microphone also comes with a transmitter. The microphones like I said are wireless however, very sensitive.

The microphones also were design to limit feedback and interference leaving a high performance sound eliminating unwanted distortion. 
The microphone quality is great, it’s clear and I didn’t have any troubles with it. It’s also great for those meetings or when your talking in front of a large audience.

This system can be great for any event also. The two wireless microphones and the transmitter are one of the best on the market right now and I bought this package just on that alone.

rockville karaoke mics This system is very popular and I can see why.  Plus – and I seriously can’t emphasize this enough – it’s affordable.  Even if you’re old school, the speakers are compatible with dvd & cd players. This is a great system for beginners.

However, since I’m not doing karaoke all of the time, I also use the speakers system with my tv. I haven’t had any troubles with it as I’ve paired this system to my smart TV. I have the Samsung KDL smart tv and it works perfectly with the speakers, even when i’m not doing karaoke, these speakers have multiple purposes.

Rockville has many other systems for reasonable price and I recommend Rockville in general because it’s both high quality and quite affordable for what you get with the whole package.