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  • daryl 72
    Posts: 35
    Joined: Aug 12th, 2010, 03:59
    Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hi,I am wondering is it possible to phase align drums in Logic 8?If it isn't can you recommend any user friendly plug ins that can.Thanks.Daryl.
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  • Rounik Admin
    Posts: 8713
    Joined: Dec 16th, 2006, 08:13
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hi daryl, I've not used any phase-alignment plugins but I've heard of Voxengo's PHA-979: [url]http://www.voxengo.com/product/pha979/features/[/url] which is about $70 US. Also you've got the Sample Delay plug-in in Logic 8 which (once you manually) figure out the number of samples which each track is out by, you can use to align them. Hope this helps Rounik
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  • daryl 72
    Posts: 35
    Joined: Aug 12th, 2010, 03:59
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hi Rounik,Yeah I came across the voxengo plug in while googling phase alignment-it says it shifts multiple frequencies simultaneously.However I'm unsure,is this the same as manually aligning waveforms as I've seen my friend do in Ableton Live 8(and I'm assuming Flex Time in Logic 9 does the same/similar).Also,while googling,I came across a post on Gear Sluts that said phase alignment was more than simply waveform alignment,it involved something to do with frequencies as well(what I'm not sure as I found the post inarticulate).Lastly with regards to the Sample Delay plug in,how do you figure out the number of samples each drum hit/track is out by?Regards.Daryl.
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hey Daryl, My question for you would be: what are you trying to accomplish by phase aligning? If you're talking about making sure that transients are coincident then you could do it by ear/eye (by eye especially, by shifting regions by samples, zoomed all the way in). However, what will happen when you do this is shift the tonality of the drums. I can explain this in more detail, but for now, please let us know what you're trying to accomplish and we can take it from there. Cheers, Ski
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  • daryl 72
    Posts: 35
    Joined: Aug 12th, 2010, 03:59
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hi Ski,I want to layer drums(kicks and snares with claps for example) without them cancelling each other out.I saw a tutorial on Loop TV about layering kicks,which although not comprehensive, said that,amongst other things,to achieve phase alignment with kicks you should match up the peaks and troughs of the two waveforms by eye.What I am trying to do is achieve this in Logic 8 or buy a plug in that allows me to do this.Does phase alignment involve more than this since I have been lead to believe it does.Thanks.Daryl.
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Thanks for the extra details. Makes it much easier to address your question. Now what you read on LoopTV isn't wrong, but phase alignment is just 1/3 of the equation. I'll explain... [b]1. Coincident Volume Envelopes[/b] Depending on your zoom level, you'll see different things. In this view we see kind of an "overall shape" of the way the volume fluctuates in a piece of recorded audio. This is called the [b]volume envelope[/b]. [img]http://www.score2picture.com/MPV/env.jpg[/img] At this zoom level we can't see detail along the horizontal axis (left to right). We can only really see detail ("ish") along the vertical axis (volume envelope). This is still a useful view of things, because you can definitely get a feel for whether or not the peaks of the volume envelopes of multiple kicks, say, are in line with one another. This is what's referred to as phase alignment. If the peaks aren't phase aligned in this way, the sound could get smeary, or in extreme cases, they'd sound like they're flamming. An important aspect of phase alignment is making sure that the peaks are all pointing in the same direction, and preferably "up" (in the positive direction). When the peaks of, say, two kick drums are aligned [i]and[/i] pointing in the same direction, their peaks will reinforce one another sonically -- volume-wise. If one kick's peak was inverted (peaking downward) then the volume energy from one kick will subtract from the other one. That's a kind of [b]phase cancellation[/b]. There are two kinds: volume cancellation, and frequency cancellation. I'm just about to get to frequency... [b]2. Frequency Considerations.[/b] What we can't see along the horizontal axis at more zoomed-out zoom levels is the frequency of the kick waveforms. [img]http://www.score2picture.com/MPV/freq.jpg[/img] Not that I've ever known anyone to get so crazy as to try and tune multiple kicks so that their frequencies are the same (pretty much an impossible task anyway) but here's the point: the frequencies (pitches) of the kicks have to be just right in order for them not to cancel one another out, reinforce one another (in a sonically undesirable way), or beat with one another. So the choice of which kicks you're going to combine really has to be done by ear. Phase aligning them so that their peaks are coincident is an important step towards getting a cohesive kick sound from multiple kicks, but there's no guarantee that they'll combine nicely due to their frequency content. Sometimes it's possible, other times it's not. So if you want to combine the flavor of several kicks, know right from the start that you're not always going to bat 1000 even if the kicks are aligned. And that brings me to... [b]3. Relative Volume and Fudge Factor[/b] When combining multiple kicks, one of them should always be the "main" kick, with the others adding some kind of flavor. If you combine multiple kicks and you just can't get them to sing nicely together, try reducing the volume of the "flavor" kicks. There's nothing scientific about this approach other than using your ear to try and make something sound good that's not otherwise working. The idea of "fudge factor" is that phase aligning kicks may not produce the most desirable result after all! You may find that advancing (or delaying) the sound of the "flavor kicks" by a tick or two will suddenly cause those kicks to blend. So yes, indeed, try to get multiple kicks, claps, and snares to be phase aligned in terms of their volume envelopes. But if you find that the sound isn't working, start employing the "fudge factor", using your ear as your guide to get the sound you want.
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  • daryl 72
    Posts: 35
    Joined: Aug 12th, 2010, 03:59
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hi Ski,thanks for spending the time to give such a detailed answer.This information along with the information I have about adjusting amplitude envelopes and stereo spread should,hopefully,allow me layer drums successfully.The only questions I have now are:can I align volume peaks and troughs in Logic 8 and if not can you recommend a plug in that can.Thanks.Daryl.
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    You're very welcome! I don't know of any way to adjust phase alignment automatically in Logic other than to use the detect transients function (which may well be a feature of Logic 9 -- you'll want to check). This is useful for finding the peaks of, say, kicks in a live recorded drum kit and other kinds of instruments as well. But still, just because the machine finds what it thinks is a peak of a kick doesn't necessarily mean that it's the right place to align other kicks against it. And I guess that was part of the point I was trying to make at the end of my post above --- that there's no totally scientific or acoustically-perfect way to marry separate instrument sounds. A lot of it has to be done by ear. Having said that, if you do happen to run across a plugin, software, or some other kind of makes-it-happen-faster technique for doing this kind of thing, please let us know about it. : - )
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  • daryl 72
    Posts: 35
    Joined: Aug 12th, 2010, 03:59
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Hi Ski,not sure if there's a detect transients function in Logic 8-I'll check the index in my manuals.Does Flex Time in Logic 9 allow you to align volume waveforms?and yeah if I do come across a plug in that does this I'll be sure to let macProvideo know.If Logic 8 doesn't do it looks I'll have to be nice to my friend and get him to do it for me in Ableton-until Logic 10 comes out.Thanks.Daryl.
    Reply
  • Peter Schwartz
    Posts: 545
    Joined: Sep 15th, 2007, 06:04
    Re: Can you phase align drums in Logic 8?
    Flex time is all about time compression/expansion (and also pitch change, to a certain extent). So if you had, say, individual kick samples (or regions) and you wanted to stretch or compress them so that they somehow aligned better with other kicks, you could probably use that. But it would take a lot of experimentation to find the right amount of stretching/compressing. That said... Usually it's not that difficult to align a bunch of kicks manually. And if you find an offset that works for one, you can apply it to them all (especially if you use the realtime Delay parameter to find an offset). But as I outlined in my reply above, sometimes aligning kicks so that they appear to be hitting the peaks at the same time doesn't always result in the best sound. Let's put it this way... I spent a good 12 years with remixers doing exactly what we're talking about here, taking multiple kicks, snares, claps, and finding the right offsets to make them marry. Sometimes what seemed like the entirely wrong values for shifting a track of kick samples turned out to be the right value after all. It's completely dependent on the nature of the kick samples. Sometimes it's not the attacks which are the problem, but their durations, i.e., one will be a little too short with respect to the others, and so you might have to stretch it. But that's going to mess with the attack. I'd be very curious to know if Ableton or any other DAW has some special features for letting you (basically) marry any two or more samples and always get a good result. Thanks in advance for sharing any info you might find along the way. Regards, Ski
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