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Thread: The polarity conundrum

  1. #1
    Join Date: May 2008

    Location: Southern England

    Posts: 2,974
    I'm Neil.

    Default The polarity conundrum

    Paul McGowan writes:

    I am going to stick my neck out and make you a wager. I’ll bet that if I crept into your home one night and swapped +/- on each of your speakers that you’d not notice the difference.

    Yet, in the heat of the moment during a listening session you’d hear the swap immediately—even if you didn’t know what it was I was doing.

    In fact, I know this to be true because I’ve done both experiments.

    What might we conclude from this observation? That long-term polarity swaps are meaningless, yet short-term ones are noticeable? And, if that is so, why?
    Continues @ http://www.hifianswers.com/2017/10/t...ity-conundrum/
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  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

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    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Depends on music and system for me. sometimes I cant tell flicking a switch. think the quad 33/303 were set up for statics and need to be used in what looks like out of phase with normal speakers.
    Regards,
    Grant ....

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  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

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    I'm Martin.

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    Doesn't it depend on the phase of the recording? And if it is a multi track recording are all the tracks in the same phase? I tried it when I had a Linn LK1 which you ae supposed to reverse absolute phase with. I thought, possibly imagined since it was very slight, that it sounded worse, so I swapped back. I think you would need a very simple, but very good recording to notice the difference myself.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

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  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 17,897
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    I tried all those experiments a couple of years ago and wrote about it somewhere here (can't find the thread at the moment). I tried switching phase whilst the music was playing as well as listening to music uninterrupted with the phase or polarity set one way, then reversing the phase and repeating the same track.

    Can't say I noticed any real difference - but I later discovered the overall polarity of my system was wrong because the power amplifier I was using was phase inverting! Still it gave me one less thing to worry about.

    As Martin says, with multi microphone techniques, it is unlikely that all the micropone feeds will be in phase, let alone of the correct absolute polarity. Doesn't stop out American audiophile friends worrying about it, even to the point of marking on the record sleeves the 'correct' polarity setting.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

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    I'm Geoff.

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    I'd notice if you swapped the polarity on just one speaker!

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

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    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by walpurgis View Post
    I'd notice if you swapped the polarity on just one speaker!
    So would most people (or at least audio enthusiasts should). However some may have the left and right-hand channels transposed. I once accompanied a friend to a demonstration at a well known audio dealer, who was most surprised when I told him he had the channels swapped - the violins are usually on the left. Clearly he wasn't a frequent concert goer!
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

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    I'm Geoff.

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    On the rare occasion that I've inadvertently got the channels the wrong way round (usually with interconnects), I've always noticed, even if I didn't put my finger on what was not quite right immediately.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

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    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    So would most people (or at least audio enthusiasts should). However some may have the left and right-hand channels transposed. I once accompanied a friend to a demonstration at a well known audio dealer, who was most surprised when I told him he had the channels swapped - the violins are usually on the left. Clearly he wasn't a frequent concert goer!
    I pointed this out to the demo-meister in one of the grander rooms at Munich this year. I wasn't believed. Plonkers.


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  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 1,422
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    So would most people (or at least audio enthusiasts should). However some may have the left and right-hand channels transposed. I once accompanied a friend to a demonstration at a well known audio dealer, who was most surprised when I told him he had the channels swapped - the violins are usually on the left. Clearly he wasn't a frequent concert goer!
    I am guessing you mean a regular classical concert goer! I go to concerts regularly and although my speakers are correctly connected it really does not make much difference to the music I listen to which way around the speakers are wired!

    Geoff

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

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    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
    I am guessing you mean a regular classical concert goer! I go to concerts regularly and although my speakers are correctly connected it really does not make much difference to the music I listen to which way around the speakers are wired!

    Geoff
    Yes of course, though some orchestras employ a different arrangement.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

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