As a teenager, I was always of the opinion that basic principles are those things that if you just forget about them, they go away and never come back to bother you. Well, my Mum had a fridge magnet that said "Buy a teenager while they still know everything" and I learned the hard way that if you do ignore the fundamentals they all too often come back and bite and bite hard.
Phase is one such fundamental aspect of sound that is all too often forgotten about during the tracking process. We put mics up and record everything to tape or disc and think we have done the best we can and we forget that the sound traveling to our chosen mics is getting to them all at very slightly different times. Having an understanding of phase and microphone placement can help here a great deal and the true masters of this craft such as engineers like Al Schmitt can get a drum kit recorded perfectly in phase.
But what happens if you are mixing a project and you are not involved in the recording process and the drum tracks that you are provided with are weak and thin and out of phase? At that moment the amazing Auto-Align from SoundRadix is here to save the day.
In recent months I have had exactly this problem. I have been provided with material to mix where not all (in many cases, not any) of the mics have been positioned correctly with regard to phase. This is not just an error that I have found in recording drums but also on acoustic guitar where multiple microphones have been used and on Bass where there is not only a DI signal but a mic has also been placed on the bass cabinet. SoundRadix Auto-Align has fixed all these issues for me. It's really quick and it's really easy to use. SoundRadix create the kind of products where I have no idea how they work, but I am thankful that they do what they do so well.
Russ originally reviewed Auto-Align in July 2013 and was also very impressed with what he found.
Earlier this year I picked up the "ball" after watching a video that engineer and mixer Greg Worth made where he talked about how he uses Auto-Align and decided to make a video where I try different, what I call focus mics to see if the drum sound is affected.
Auto-Align has become the first tool I reach for in my mix process for drums, bass, acoustic and electric guitars but I have also used it on interviews to get 2 or 3 tie-clip mics to sound in phase. It is an amazing get out of jail free card for audio.