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Phazer™ Using & Applications

The Radial Phazer is a phase adjustment tool designed to allow the user to quickly time-align two sources to create fat rich tones or to open the audio landscape to all kinds of new and exciting sounds. The concept is simple. When you have two microphones in a room, the sound source will first be captured by the nearest microphone to the source. A few milliseconds later, the second microphone will capture the same sound. When both microphones are mixed together, the minute delay will cause phase cancellation. By inserting the Phazer on the nearest microphone, you can phase-align or delay the sound of the first source so that it will be in sync with the second.

This using page describes how to use the Phazer. For complete details, feel free to download the manual by clicking on the icon at left.

Making connections

Before making any connection, start by ensuring all of your levels are turned down on your equipment. This safe practice will protect more sensitive equipment from turn-on and plug-in transients from damage.

The Phazer is a line level device. This means that it is typically inserted into the effects send & receive insert point on your mixer using a ¼" TRS cable. You can also use it in series in between a preamp and the line level input on your recorder using the balanced signal path.

Connected to a mixer with an insert cable.
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Connected to an external microphone preamp.
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The Phazer comes equipped with an external 15DVC power supply. Connect it to the Phazer and turn the unit on using the power switch. The power LED will illuminate when on. Once you are powered up, try turning up the levels. If you encounter noise, try lifting the ground switch. This can often eliminate ground loops which are the most common cause of system buzz and hum.

Adjust the phase between two mics

Set up the mics

There are unlimited applications for the Phazer. But as we have to start somewhere, let's begin by using it with two microphones on an acoustic guitar. Place one microphone near the guitar and connect it to channel-1 on your mixer. Position a second mic one meter away (3ft) and connect it to channel-2 on your mixer.

Add the Phazer

Connect the Phazer into channel-1 using the ¼" TRS inset jack. (If by chance you mixer does not have an insert jack, don't; worry... we will discuss the same effect later by applying phase correction on playback.) Make sure the PHASE and FILTER sections are bypassed (LEDs off) and the invert switch in the out position. Turn the phase control all the way counter-clockwise to 0°. Test the two microphones to make sure they are working.

Adjusting the sound

Set the two channels so that they are at relatively the same loudness. As the guitar is being played, turn on the Phazer effect. And slowly rotate the knob clock-wise. You will notice the sound change as you electronically move the mic nearest to the guitar closer to the second mic. For fun, try depressing the invert switch. This flips the polarity by 180 degrees which can lead to some interesting tones. Once you have found the 'sweet spot', experiment by changing the relative level between the two channels.

Using the Phazer on playback

Another way to use the Phazer is to simply record two tracks and apply the phase effect after. To do this, simply record two tracks and insert the Phazer on the channel that corresponds to the microphone nearest to the source. This can be done using the insert jack or simply by connecting the Phazer in line between the recorder output and your mixer. Turn it on and start twisting knobs. Once you get a sense of how the Phazer works, it will become natural.

A deeper look into phase

The human ear uses phase to localize sound. Simply turning your head will cause phase shift. The ear is most sensitive to phase shift at lower frequencies. This is most evident when listening to two sources that are out of phase as the bass will often disappear. This is because bass frequencies have much longer wavelengths than high frequencies.

Try turning the phase control completely clockwise to 5 o'clock. Then compare the wet and dry sound by turning the effect on and off. You may not hear any difference. This is because the analogue effect begins to work on the high frequencies first and then slowly begins to affect the bass frequencies as you turn the knob counter-clockwise. Because of this, most of the audible effect will occur between 7:00 o'clock and 12 o'clock.

Using the low pass filter

The Phazer is equipped with a low-pass filter that removes high frequency content from the signal path. The filter is designed to roll off high frequencies so that you can focus the Phazer's effect on the fundamentals or bass frequencies where the phase effect is most dramatic.

Begin by setting the filter control fully clock-wise to 5 o'clock. As you rotate counter-clockwise, the filter cut-off point will begin to take effect. Adjusting the relative level between the two channels lets you decide how much of the phase and filtered effect you want to introduce into the signal path.

As a means to provide more precise control, there are two ranges to choose from. These let you focus on either high frequencies where the effect will be more subtle, or down into the mid and lower frequencies where the effect will be more noticeable. When you first get your Phazer, you should take the time to listen to the low pass filter effect without engaging the phase adjustment circuit so that you get familiar with how it works. Start with the filter range set to the 3kHz to 38kHz range. Set the filter knob to 5 o'clock and slowly turn the knob counter-clockwise. Now listen to the effect using the lower 300Hz to 3.8kHz - again starting at 5 o'clock and rotating the control slowly.