The lower left shows Ableton Live’s Invert utility plug-in inserted into a track, with the phase reversed for both the left and right channels. To the right, Presonus Studio
One Professional’s Mixtool plug-in is reversing (inverting) channel polarity.
Today’s software allows some
techniques that would be a hassle to do
with hardware effects—such as creating
a Super Phaser from any ordinary phaseshifter
plug-in. The end result is the
Godzilla of phasers, with a much more
pronounced phasing effect, and a wider
Any recording software works for this
technique as long as you can switch polarity
(commonly called “phase”) on audio
channels. Old-school hardware mixers
had a phase switch, and many software
programs include a phase switch in their
virtual mixers. If not, the program may
include a plug-in that reverses phase.
Here’s the step-by-step procedure for
creating a Super Phaser:
The Super Phaser setup shown in Cakewalk Sonar’s Console view. Track 1 (left) has a phaser effect inserted, and the duplicated channel on the right (Track 2) has the polarity-reverse
switch enabled (circled
1 Copy (or clone or duplicate) your
guitar’s main audio track to create a
second, identical track.
2 Insert your phaser plug-in into the
3 Reverse the second track’s polarity,
and turn its fader all the way down.
4 Choose your desired phase-shifted
5 Start playback. As the guitar plays,
slowly bring up the fader for the
second, copied track. As you raise the
fader, the phaser effect will become
more dramatic, and you’ll hear a wider
stereo image. Adjust the fader for the
This technique’s secret sauce is that
the out-of-phase, dry audio cancels out
any elements in the phase-shifted sound
that aren’t being modified by the phaser.
So, when the levels of the dry signals are
equal and out-of-phase, all that’s left is
the purely phase-shifted sound.
Due to the cancellation, the overall
level will be somewhat lower, and changing
the faders individually might upset
the balance between the two tracks. The
solution is to group the two channel faders
after you’ve found the right setting. Then,
when you change levels, both faders will
Note that this technique works with
other effects, as well. You can turn compressors
into expanders, and get some
pretty amazing reverb sounds, but we’ll
save that for another time.
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