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Absolute Polarity


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Can someone explain to me what absolute polarity or absolute phase is? Ive been reading up on it and it seems like you are reversing the red and black leads on the speaker for midrange clarity on older recordings. Something to do with the technology used in the 60s and 70s vs the recording technology of today. I just am trying to understand why would do this as the wire orientation is basically the same unless you are using wires that use silver for negative and copper for positive. Do you flip the wires on both speaker and amp? This is not wiring out of phase where only one speaker is flipped. I know what that is. 

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For absolute phase both speakers are flipped!  Most recordings benefit from this and it runs about 50 50.  Some recordings do not change much but they could have a mix of mics some in phase some not.  I listen for how percussive transients are adjusting for the positive going wavefront on rim shots and drums.  Some speakers have some of their drivers in phase and some out, so you pick the one you like.  Not much said in many circles maybe because so many speakers have drivers in both phases.  Of interest for many would be to look at a rim shot as they involve the woofer, mid-range and tweeter!  RV

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1 hour ago, Richard Vandersteen said:

…  Most recordings benefit from this and it runs about 50 50.  Some recordings do not change much but they could have a mix of mics some in phase some not…

I had someone tell me that the recording engineers flip the phase on the tracks Willy-Nilly.
That sort seems like it would remove the realism, and make it a crapshoot as to what sounds get onto the finished product.

Maybe that is why there are mostly the standard set of recordings that are stunning, as well as the 2-3 mic’ed live recordings?
 

 

I have a friend that is a Dunlavy fanboi, and sent me this video yesterday… the audio is surprisingly bad for a video on an audio speaker.
(I mentioned to him that looked like it could have been a 2C over the lady’s shoulder at around 3:48, and maybe he was hearing them 😇 )
 

 

@Paul S. the part at 3:30 to 3;45 would be upside down if the speaker was the other polarity. And in a drum sense, the speaker would be sucking that initial attack inwards.
Again if the recording engineer is flipping tracks Willy-nilly, then maybe that is why it seems like half of records from the 80s are not that great.

I dunno… but it is interesting.

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22 minutes ago, Paul S. said:

Also if both main speakers are flipped is there any reason to also flip the wires going to the 2wq? 

I would try it.
You should be able to see with REW that in the cross over region there will be a big suck out if the sub and the mains are 180 degrees out - when their power is equal.

 

41 minutes ago, Paul S. said:

RV yes i was talking about both speakers flipped. Just so i am talking about this intelligently the correct term is absolute phase and not absolute polarity correct? 

I prefer the term correct polarity, but we should ask RV.

“Absolute phase” sort of assumes that we are counting cycles, whereas in “relative phase”, we have things aligned.
But we could be phase aligned and have teh phase be 180 degrees out in a polarity sense.

Some people claim that the section of the video between 3:30 and 3:45 does not matter at all, and by extension that the polarity doesn’t matter.
Dunlavy, Theil ,Quad, Spika and Vandersteen were all of the “time and phase correct” variety of speakers... so since we have them, I would assume it matters to us?

 

My pre amp flips polarity (is inverting), so I flip the connections at the speakers.
Then when the sub is hooked up it goes to the red banana on the speaker… because the black banana from the amp is where the polarity is positive because it was flipped in the pre-amp.

However I have a pretty old used V-sub, with the crossover box between the preamp and the amp… so you might have a newer and different set up??

 

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Dunlavy, Theil ,Quad, Spika and Vandersteen were all of the “time and phase correct” variety of speakers... so since we have them, I would assume it matters to us?

 

Interesting.  I have owned or wanted to own all of these other than Theil's (just too bright whenever I've heard them and my local guy (3mi away) has always had them as they are his favorite speakers.  Loved those Spika's.  Dunlavy was a special speaker too.  It did somethings I wasn't in love with and for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.  I couldn't afford them, but would always go listen when I had a chance.  

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I tried this last night. Flipped polarity at the speaker and 2wq sub banana plugs. Things did seem clearer to me and i even tried " just you and me* from Chicago's album to listen to the rimshot RV mentioned. I do hear a difference but I also noticed a significant decrease in bass although the bass seemed more articulate. I ended up switching everything back as i couldnt deal with the lack of bass. 

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I dont what I did but RV was right something wasnt making a connection on the sub. I reversed polarity at the sub and then at the speaker terminal strips and now the bass sounds right. Also seems as though the soundstage got alot wider and everything just feels more open now - sax, vocals, piano just sounds more lively i guess would be the word. So i guess I am one of those people who can hear absolute phase. Thanks RV for making me go back and recheck my connections!

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13 hours ago, ctsooner said:

 

 

Dunlavy, Theil ,Quad, Spika and Vandersteen were all of the “time and phase correct” variety of speakers... so since we have them, I would assume it matters to us?

 

Interesting.  I have owned or wanted to own all of these other than Theil's (just too bright whenever I've heard them and my local guy (3mi away) has always had them as they are his favorite speakers.  Loved those Spika's.  Dunlavy was a special speaker too.  It did somethings I wasn't in love with and for the life of me, I can't remember what it was.  I couldn't afford them, but would always go listen when I had a chance.  

In theory one could use a DSP to change the frequency response.
But one cannot (reasonably) change the speakers to make them time/phase correct… if that is jacked up, then the step response is un-fixable.

Even my friend with the Maggies has a set of Spikas.
And the majority of my audio friends have speakers from the list above.
It seems odd that such a high percentage are running such a relatively small set of the speakers that are correct.

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