Polarity of the Speaker Leads


#1

Anyone try this with their own gear?



From the “First Sound” website:



"Polarity of the speaker leads

Reverse the polarity of speaker lead. Discussed on page 3 of the manual under the heading Set up. The issue of reversing the polarity of the speaker cables is very very important. So important that we would disown a First Sound unit if we heard it with the incorrect polarity. Having the polarity correct allows the proper phase coherency to be maintained. If the polarity is not right, a resulting “veil” between the listener and the music’s inherent “flow” will result. Incorrect speaker wire polarity may cause the music to seem lethargic.

Manually changing the phase by reversing the polarity of the speaker cables is the ideal and most effective method to use. In listening tests, it is easier to see the difference if one would play a couple of songs in one polarity and then a couple of songs in another polarity and then switch back again. Using different cd’s from various labels is advised. If the phase is changed via the cd player or a D/A converter, we have a very hard time noting a difference. We do not have an explanation for this. This is the reason we advise to change the phase manually."



http://www.firstsoundaudio.com/


#2

PWD exports positive polarity.

If any other component in your system reverses polarity, then you need to calculate what the end result is before it hits the speakers.

For example… First sound reverses polarity and so does my Jeff Rowland amp. Therefore the end result cancels out the reversals.

When I run PWD to my amp without the pre… then I have to reverse the polarity at the speakers to correct the effect of the Rowland amp.



Emmanuel claims that adjusting this in other ways does not give [for unknown reasons] the same results.



PAUL, perhaps you could explain this or raise it as a topic in PSTRACKS?

How does the phase switch in PWD affect polarity and can you see any reason why the results should be any different than swapping the speaker connections?


#3

Keep in mind that recordings differ in their polarity, as do even tracks on some CDs - especially popular music. I thus hesitate putting a lot of work in trying to determine absolute polarity of one’s speakers.



Gordon said: . . . can you see any reason why the results should be any different than swapping the speaker connections?


I am open to an explanation, but I find difficulty accepting there is a difference - as long as the phase switch does indeed change phase.



#4
Elk said: Keep in mind that recordings differ in their polarity

Agreed. And some people even annotate their files to indicate their findings to facilitate replay.

There also exist lists that indicate phase of particular recordings as well as the same by "Recording Label". Is it common for a studio to ALWAYS export in a particular phase?

#5

Seems like there is more to this topic than I thought. So a component may cause a phase shift at the output. I bi-amp (plus a sub) so I could conceivably have phase problems between the amps(!) I have never considered this before. I think about phase shifts when I build crossovers but I may be off by 180 (or 90 or 270??) degrees despite my efforts to maintain phase coherence between speaker components. Time to whip out the ocilloscope that my wife keeps trying to get rid of.


#6
Gordon said: Is it common for a studio to ALWAYS export in a particular phase?

I seriously doubt it.

A given track of a multi-track pop recording ends up out of phase through processing, such as delay added to line up the snare gate with the kick drum, etc. There are also sorts of thing that can impact phase within the recording process itself, especially in multi-tracking and multi-takes of popular music, such as track latency. These can cause phase issues between the various tracks that make up the recording of a single song, as well as change the overall phase of the entire song itself.

I do not know why an entire album would be out of phase unless the entire album was processed in some way that switches phase (a little how some preamps reverse absolute phase).

wglenn said: I think about phase shifts when I build crossovers . . .

Which may well be one reason why I prefer the sound of speakers with first-order crossovers.