EDITORIAL  >  OOPS

OOPS | 28 September 2008

Lately I have been fascinated by OOPS. "By what?" you might say. Well, by Out Of Phase Stereo.

OOPS is a system that eliminates every sound that is exactly the same in the left and right channel of a stereo mix. This creates some wonderful listening experiences.

Usually the music of a pop song is recorded in true stereo with the instruments spread in the left and right channel. The main vocals of most pop recording are virtually in the middle. So guess what happens when you use an OOPS filter.

Indeed. You end up having a recording without the leadvocals. Well to be honest, this is hardly 100% true, but usually the leadvocals are barely audible anymore. This means that you get some sort of karaoke version of the song. However most of the time you keep the background vocals, because they usually are not in the middle of the mix.

Some expensive audio systems have karaoke buttons, but I use Adobe Audigy to do the magic for me. This software creates the effect in seconds for you, by using a "vocal cut" filter. And the results more often than not are nothing but amazing.

It is worth noting that the OOPS effect is attainable using any audio mixing software (including free software like Audacity and Wavosaur). A helpful tutorial can be found here: audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=editing&i=remove-vocals

Because of the complexity of the multi-layered ABBA recordings, you can now hear previously unnoticed background vocals, often singing a melody that is slightly different from the main melody. Sometimes you lose a few instruments as well, which is also pretty strange. Some ABBA examples are Watch Out which eliminates Björn from the sound leaving only the chorus vocals of Agnetha and Frida. Very nice effects are audible in Lovers (Live A Little Longer). Buried in the mix is an unbelievably funny background vocal.

The more tracks you play with, the more impressive the original recordings seem to get. The arrangements, the multi-layers, the subtle background vocals by Agnetha and Frida, it's absurd how good everything sounds. After thirty odd years these recordings are still standing like a rock.

I strongly advice you to play with software like Audigy and listen to ABBA like you've never done before. You'll be flabbergasted.
         

picture belonging to column OOPS

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