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Absolute Polarity - Myth or "Important"?

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Hello :) this one was kinda eye opening for me once i got it (because 95-99% of people say its NOT in any way important)
and i just would like to share my test method with you to look for correct absolute polarity (so the polarity of all speakers at once, not just one speaker reversed)

and apparantly early versions of the topping d10 have polarity inversed!!

the effects on instruments are in general a "more natural" sound with the correct absolute phase tho at the same time its really hard to notice the difference

So, there is this website https://www.audiocheck.net/blindtests_abspolarity.php which makes a possibly blind test, i could spot a minor difference but it was really hard to get it consistently right (like 60-70% right)

but i found those two "test-tracks" and i will try to explain what you have to look for

i would suggest to listen to those at around 80-85db because it gets easier this way to detect
both songs are on qobuz in high res, im not sure what happens if you listen through youtubes codec or mp3
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1. Alien-T - Hammer of the Devil
(probably awful for some of you, but we are listening for one specific drop which gets repeated often within the song)

the first drop i mean happens at 0:28 and second at 0:35 and so on
listen closely to the drop it sounds (with right polarity) as if the drop goes towards you (and even behind you) THO it also sounds with inversed polarity (kinda like that) but WAAAY less impactful - you want to look out for the "impactness" of this very "in your face" effect
(fortunaly i played this track while playing with the polarity setting in moode and found it that way, really the easiest way to look for it)

now the second track, which is also made for exactly this i guess (because its called polarity test) but kinda hard to explain what to look for (i will try anyway), once you "understanded" and heared it the effect on the first track it gets kinda easy to detect tho

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2. Circio`s Rapture - Polarity Test
the very first bass you hear (0:01), is all we need, (tho there is more...) this "towards you" effect will have a way bigger role on this one i just noticed while writing and relistening this now - if the polarity is reversed it almost sounds like the bass is going backwards (to/behind the speakers essentially) and also a little less impactful

if you listen closely now this very same effect also applies to the guitar you hear, this is also what i meant with "more natural sounding instruments"
(best way here is to play the first 20 seconds, change polarity (very easy done with moode), and relisten the first 20 seconds again, tho the same principle also applys to the first track)

if you listen more / the track through you will also notice that polarity is changing WITHIN the song on later parts

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THO DISCLAIMER: i use presonus eris e8 WITHOUT a subwoofer, so at this point im kinda unsure how a subwoofer would mess this up (it most certainly will (specially if placed behind you and stuff like that), or you will be just able to get the subwoofer polarity right, but there is still the guitar to listen for, once you got the "concept" you will know what to look for :)

there is also the rumour in the room that absolute phase becomes less and less noticeable the higher end your speakers are, so its more impactful on " bad " speakers essentially, i cant proof this, i just can say i hear a difference on my Presonus Eris E8 Studiomonitors, unfortunaly

i hope i could/can help people detect that their polarity was inversed with this because its very hard without the right tracks to spot it, specially if you dont know what you are listening for (and apparently even songs have inversed polarity sometimes, specially on mics/electric devices like e-guitars and stuff like this)

feedback would be nice to see :)
if you had inversed polarity -> listen to your favourites song now and try to detect the differences it made :) you will most likely spot here and there differences to the better ;) and let us know how results on the blind test were, AFTER testing with the tracks i provided :)
 
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(also as highres on qobuz)
3. Ulla Daelen Van - Mandala
just look for the stringhits :) probably a good non-bass one it just sounds less natural/impactful with inversed absolute polarity

tho at this point you can start also listening to your own songs, once you got what i tried to describe you also hear it on voices for examples
specially bass impact is a major detectable difference, but once you got it it applies to nearly everything, bass and instruments (probably trompets will work well too) are just the easiest to spot i think

its kinda hard to describe but at first it doesnt make much of a difference but once you know what you need to listen for it becomes apparently really obvious, atleast for me, you dont wanna go to inversed polarity once you heared to the correct polarity a while :)
 

Thomas_A

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Audible it is. Unfortunately, recordings may be switched as well. That said, I would not mind having a DAC with polarity switch but these seem rare these days.
 
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I would not mind having a DAC with polarity switch but these seem rare these days.
true!! EquializerAPO for windows would be one option, Moode a other one, or DIY some cables that reverse polarity (just switch + and -, works on chinch and XLR, tho not really a option for testing...) (i had altered cables for a while because of this because i wanted to avoid equalizerapo as long as i used windows, (full moode now)) :)
passive speakers are also easy, just switch the polarity/cables on the back of all your speakers

maybe a good way would be to share altered flac files of the songs above with polarity inversed in the file, but i think it would still count as "pirated" then :(

recordings may be switched as well
yep i also said this above, dont trust "every" song, tho most of the "big names" get it right i think (or its also intended sometimes, atleast i think so)

Audible it is
experience or testing with my songs? any way, good to hear im not the only one :) because with stuff like this its really mind boggling how much missinformation is floating around ..... till you test it yourself on a somewhat decent setup
 
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Lambda

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With appropriate "test signals" you can decently hear a difference.
So it can't easily be dismissed. Phase can make a difference.

But honestly, with "normal music" and without an ABX i can't tell the difference.
 
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But honestly, with "normal music" and without an ABX i can't tell the difference.
once you heared how the drop on the first track "should" sound you certrainly remember it
like i said before impact on voices isnt obvious at first, but if you get used to the right polarity a while and you will think "something" is missing if you hear a inversed polarity again, atleast speaking for me, instruments/vocals just sound more real to be honest, its not a night/day difference but still...

if you DONT think "something is wrong" like immediatly you can get easly used to the inversed polarity again if you hear it while, atleast thats my brain i guess ^^

Do you have any speaker measurement capability? There's an interesting confounder to look at.
nope sorry :( i also was thinking about how this would be measurable BESIDE taking the very first sinewave half, what you had in mind?
because in theory once the sinewave is going it should be "inaudible" right?

but there is this theory it gets less audible on better speaker (chassis) so maybe it has something todo with the speaker response to the magnetfield of reversed polarity or something like that

the only thing i still have planned is REW measurements in the future, tho im kinda broke right now soo... and minidsp dac doesnt seem to be very acceptable compared to my modded topping d10 (op1656 and nichicon muse KZ capacitors) so im still looking for a good/cheap alternative for the future...
 

pma

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Usually, absolute phase inversion is audible only with very poor speakers, with music signal.
 
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Usually, absolute phase inversion is audible only with very poor speakers, with music signal.
i wouldnt describe my speakers as "very poor" but i also readed this a few times, THO i think sound should be reproduced like it will be in the real world and yea you guessed right... even if better speakers can handle it "better" (atleast i think "better" is the best word to use here) i dont think this is coincident or something like this, we should stick to some standarts and not just "let it be" because it "works" on the first sight
 

Thomas_A

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true!! EquializerAPO for windows would be one option, Moode a other one, or DIY some cables that reverse polarity (just switch + and -, works on chinch and XLR, tho not really a option for testing...) (i had altered cables for a while because of this because i wanted to avoid equalizerapo as long as i used windows, (full moode now)) :)
passive speakers are also easy, just switch the polarity/cables on the back of all your speakers

maybe a good way would be to share altered flac files of the songs above with polarity inversed in the file, but i think it would still count as "pirated" then :(


yep i also said this above, dont trust "every" song, tho most of the "big names" get it right i think (or its also intended sometimes, atleast i think so)


experience or testing with my songs? any way, good to hear im not the only one :) because with stuff like this its really mind boggling how much missinformation is floating around ..... till you test it yourself on a somewhat decent setup

It has been up in other threads already both with test signals and music. So no, I have not tested the above examples but other ones.
 

Thomas_A

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Usually, absolute phase inversion is audible only with very poor speakers, with music signal.

Is that proven? I must have poor headphones and speakers then.
 

SIY

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i wouldnt describe my speakers as "very poor" but i also readed this a few times, THO i think sound should be reproduced like it will be in the real world and yea you guessed right... even if better speakers can handle it "better" (atleast i think "better" is the best word to use here) i dont think this is coincident or something like this, we should stick to some standarts and not just "let it be" because it "works" on the first sight
What Pavel was trying to say is that polarity inversion is much more audible on speakers with even-order nonlinearity, i.e., push and pull are unequal. This confounds determining the audibility of polarity- as you make the speaker more symmetrical between push and pull, which means lower even order distortion, the audibility of polarity on program material tends to vanish.
 

Thomas_A

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What Pavel was trying to say is that polarity inversion is much more audible on speakers with even-order nonlinearity, i.e., push and pull are unequal. This confounds determining the audibility of polarity- as you make the speaker more symmetrical between push and pull, which means lower even order distortion, the audibility of polarity on program material tends to vanish.

Is there a distortion threshold? I hear the same pattern using my DT150 headphones. Solderdude measured distortion 100 Hz and up to around 0.2-0.3%.
 

Weeb Labs

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There is yet another confounding factor where speakers are concerned. Many tweeters are inverted in order to avoid cancellation at the crossover.
 

mansr

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With appropriate "test signals" you can decently hear a difference.
So it can't easily be dismissed. Phase can make a difference.

But honestly, with "normal music" and without an ABX i can't tell the difference.
In my own casual testing, I could easily hear a difference with suitably crafted low-frequency test signals. With higher frequencies or music it's much harder. I wire things up "correctly" and forget about it. If some recordings are "inverted," so be it. For all I know, it was intentional.
 

Thomas_A

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There is yet another confounding factor where speakers are concerned. Many tweeters are inverted in order to avoid cancellation at the crossover.

The polarity switch is also audible using headphones.
 

Thomas_A

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In my own casual testing, I could easily hear a difference with suitably crafted low-frequency test signals. With higher frequencies or music it's much harder. I wire things up "correctly" and forget about it. If some recordings are "inverted," so be it. For all I know, it was intentional.

There is a music signal recorded in another thread that is quite essy to hear. So while I agree that it applies only for certain low-frequency and asymmetric signals, it can be detected also for music.
 

tuga

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tuga

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A list of polarity by label (can’t remember where I got it from):


pqi581y.jpg
 

solderdude

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My HE400SE is phase reversed. I am guessing all of them are and no one picked up on this.
phase-1.png

Also my DT1770 is phase reversed. Heard no one complain about this too.

I guess it is the same as any other audio thingy. You have to AB it and know, with certain recordings, to know what to look for and what is right.
 
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