It's a great pity in a way that you can hear these anomalies so clearly as it must drive you nuts sometimes. I don't hear the shifts that you hear but absolute phase is the bug bare of my life , I hate it. The amount of CDs that we buy with reversed phase is bordering on criminal, why do record companies do it. It means every time we buy a new CD we must test it out for phase and then we mark the CD case and we then have to consult it each time we listen to it. I know some people neither know nor care about phase but to some folk it can become an obsession . Yeu have my heartfelt sympathy. Jim.
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It is really hard to engage with so many undefined terms like "phase distortion" being used, but based on your description, you aren't hearing change in relative time, so much as changes to frequency response. Comb filtering effects caused by different speaker positioning. It's an amplitude vs. frequency issue, even if it's a very tight set of them.
This reminds me of The Princess Bride. Every time something goes wrong for him Vizzini exclaims, "Inconceivable!" Finally Inigo Montoya says to him, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
I have yet to find someone who can hear this but it seems obvious to me
When no one else can hear it, gonna go out on a limb here and say the odds on favorite is, maybe its not them.
It may be comb filtering indeed that makes it audible. A frequency response anomaly rather than actually hearing wavefronts or phase seems more believable as to being audible.
Some do hear it but most people don’t seem to be bothered judging by what I see on Audiogon systems
Phase distortion is very well defined and a concrete term in sound reproduction:
It is absolutely not the same as bass waveform cancellation or reinforcement due to additive, or destructive, waveform interference, though phase plays an equal role in this as well.
If you want to know where to put your speakers, put one where your head normally is when you listen and play bass heavy music. Position your head where you think a speaker should be placed and move it around until the bass sounds correct.