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Phase button

A post by David Mellor
Tuesday June 03, 2003
A description of the technology and function of the phase button as found in mixing consoles.
Phase button

The mic preamp (preamplifer) is where the input signal is conditioned so that it is suitable for further processing in the console.

The phase button inverts the signal polarity so that positive becomes negative and negative becomes positive.

This is useful in two ways:

  • It is not uncommon for a mic cable to be wired incorrectly in inverted polarity. With a single mic this is generally inaudible. When two mics are used for stereo, and one is inverted, then the resulting out-of-phase sound is definitely noticeable. In many situations it is better to use the 'quick fix' of the phase button, then repair the cable later.
  • When many microphones are used close together, as on a drum kit, the spill (leakage) between the mics can cause unpredictable interference effects. It is good to experiment with the phase buttons. Often, pressing the phase button on one of the channels - you have to experiment to find out which - will improve the overall sound.
A post by David Mellor
Tuesday June 03, 2003 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)