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Absolute polarity (not to be confused with speakers out of phase)


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The following post by @Strider and the cold weather have prompted me to give the recording polarity/phase subject another look:

In reply I posted an old list of phase-inverting record labels (I wish I could give credit to the maker but can't remember where I got it):

MMCJViq.jpg

This is something that I have not thought about for a long time, but given that my music player has a phase inversion option available on the fly at the click of a button (as does my DAC for that matter) I thought that I'd give it a go.

Guided by the list I leisurely compared some of my test tracks and in most cases recordings seem to sound a bit better (a more coherent less in your head sound and better defined phantom images) when the polarity is set to whatever is on the list. I didn't try many recordings and there were a couple of exceptions namely The Benny Goodman Story CD.

Audiocheck as a sample that can be used for training and a blind AB test:

https://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_abspolarity.php

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Interesting, I wonder why certain record labels use inverse polarity and others not - is it intentional or some weird outcome due to gawd knows what?

I am rather perturbed however, by the use of degrees, I would have thought radians would be a more appropriate measure i.e. 0 and π :geek:

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I doubt that the above list is the least bit accurate!  Why? Many recording consoles have polarity switches on each channel. Some of the components in the recording chain may invert polarity from input to out put. These is seldom any effort by the recording engineer to track absolute polarity.

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Glad someone else can hear a difference when switching polarity. I flip it one way then the other whenever I change album to assess the correct setting for that album. To my ears, on the correct setting, everything is a bit clearer (top end and bass, definitely), slightly louder and the sound stage goes back a little further. 

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5 hours ago, Speedskater said:

I doubt that the above list is the least bit accurate!  Why? Many recording consoles have polarity switches on each channel. Some of the components in the recording chain may invert polarity from input to out put. These is seldom any effort by the recording engineer to track absolute polarity.

Many studios don't even bother to check if microphones are in phase and worse I've seen several that don't understand the difference in mic pick up patterns!

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7 hours ago, tuga said:

The following post by @Strider and the cold weather have prompted me to give the recording polarity/phase subject another look:

In reply I posted an old list of phase-inverting record labels (I wish I could give credit to the maker but can't remember where I got it):

MMCJViq.jpg

This is something that I have not thought about for a long time, but given that my music player has a phase inversion option available on the fly at the click of a button (as does my DAC for that matter) I thought that I'd give it a go.

Guided by the list I leisurely compared some of my test tracks and in most cases recordings seem to sound a bit better (a more coherent less in your head sound and better defined phantom images) when the polarity is set to whatever is on the list. I didn't try many recordings and there were a couple of exceptions namely The Benny Goodman Story CD.

Audiocheck as a sample that can be used for training and a blind AB test:

https://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_abspolarity.php

This is a fantastic resource Tuga, it makes interesting reading for sure, by the way - my late father in law was a big band/swing fanatic and I'm sure he'd approve of your test material! My Primare I30 amplifier also has a phase inversion feature but I cannot say that I've given it much thought but now armed with your list I certainly shall trawl my collection by record label and report my findings - I'm sure my wife will rush in and tell me she can hear a difference...

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On the subject of inverting polarity, whilst trialling a borrowed Raspberry Pi/Allo Digione HAT running Picoreplayer and connecting to LMS, I came across an option in the player 'Audio' settings to flip polarity. VERY useful if you have no facility on any of your hardware to do this. 

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28 minutes ago, Speedskater said:

Hearing differences in polarity can sometimes be traced to loudspeaker 2nd harmonic distortion problems.

Could you expand on that?

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What matters most is all the drivers in a box have the same polarity. Reminds me of a tale told by Andrew Jones about delivering his TAD speakers to install and whilst left alone tested the polarity of the drivers on a$100000 pair of speakers with an AAA battery and discovering one driver in  opposite polarity to the rest 🤣

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On 17/04/2021 at 18:46, Pinkie said:

What matters most is all the drivers in a box have the same polarity. Reminds me of a tale told by Andrew Jones about delivering his TAD speakers to install and whilst left alone tested the polarity of the drivers on a$100000 pair of speakers with an AAA battery and discovering one driver in  opposite polarity to the rest 🤣

That is factually not correct I’m afraid, unless you are referring to a time-coherent design.

it depends on the filter slopes, I can’t remember which but if you don’t invert one of the drivers you get a massive dip a weird off-axis response.

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I’ve just ABX tested my wife form the first time ever playing Semper Femina, changing polarity every once in a while and asking her if she can hear a difference.

She’s looking at me like I’m a nutcase...

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On 14/04/2021 at 20:13, Strider said:

Many studios don't even bother to check if microphones are in phase and worse I've seen several that don't understand the difference in mic pick up patterns!

Sorry, I really don't think you have a clue about what you're talking about.  That was complete nonsense.

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Must try my Motown stuff with phase 180 d on dac, that is unless the cds I have were remastered with 0 phase?

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