There was a good thread on phase inversion back in December that should answer your question. http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?aamps&1072885525&read&keyw&zzphase=inversion
In a nutshell, however, I believe the answer to "what does it require me to do..." is "Nothing".
I followed the link and, interestingly, the "Wood Effect" didn't come up. So I searched the A'gon archives, and it seems it hasn't come up at all... I don't know why I remembered the WE, but I think some piece of gear I had explained (probably a theta box, they all seem to have phase inversion toggles on them) that "some" people are sensitive to the WE. Here's a link to a Positive Feedback article on it:http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue1/cjwoodeffect.htm
Be interested to hear what people think of it...
I have a phase inversion switch on my DAC, which can be controlled with the remote. I can hear a difference every time I switch polarity on any CD, but many times I cannot truly tell which is "correct". Yes, I can hear polarity, and I believe it is important. The author who cites the Wood Effect brings out many good points. The main item is the lack of a standard, i.e. the compression part of the original air motion should be reproduced as a compression wave from the speaker. Another interesting point is mixing. What if mixed-in music, maybe recorded at a different studio or with a different engineer, is not the same polarity as other parts of the recording? What about phase preservation when FM radio reception is demodulated? Another concern is that original polarity is not preserved over the entire frequency spectrum in both the recording and during playback. Maybe this is why analog playback is still popular and preferred by many audiophiles. There is no digital signal processing, the grooves in the LP are at least a close approximation to the original air motion.
Sorry, but analog playback doesn't help. Many record labels, including all of the Mercury Living Presence and RCA shaded dogs have the absolute phase reversed. All of my CDs have a small red or green dot inside the case to let me know if it has the phase reversed. It's that important.
I can hear the phase on some things, but usually am not concerned about it enough to switch (my Pre also has a phase switch.. but why not a toggle on the remote???)
IF my remote had a button to switch back and forth, I might do it more... but I just cannot be bothered with it most of the time
Flames will appear: I am just not anal enough to HAVE to have it right... it's getting hot already!!!! Whoo Hoo!!
The difference I notice is the music seems to be 'behind' the speakers, or the same music seems to be 'in front' of the speakers... image wise.
I do NOT care if the MUSICIANS choose to sit in front of, or behind my speakers!!!
PS: I have (almost) always had PLANAR speakers...
Infinity or now Maggies. So my experience of clearly having the musicians in front or behind the speakers may be different than folks who use "one sided" speakers.
If your preamp inverts phase on all inputs (some invert just phono, some invert just the line stage and some invert both), the easy fix is to swap the speaker leads (instead of red to + and black to -, connect red to - and black to + on BOTH speakers. Voila, your system no longer inverts phase. You should note improved soundstaging and bass, except on recordings which are phase-inverted.
Alrau1: If both my preamp and CDP have phase inverted, do I need to swap the speakers leads? The reason to invert the phase from my preamp is that it could reduce the hum from my system quite a bit. Thanks.
If you invert twice, you are in phase. Inverted phase is 180 degrees out of phase. Invert again, you are 360 degrees out of phase, which is really 0 degrees out of phase, which means you aren't out of phase. If that makes sense.
Edesilva's response was right on the money, so the answer is no. But, where did you get the idea that inverting phase reduces hum?
I have heard about somehow inverting power prongs might possibly resolve the ground loop/hum problem. Even though it doesn't work for me that way, it gives me the idea to try inverting the phase from my preamp. This works for me, but I am still trying to figure out why...
This thread is about absolute polarity, AKA The Wood Effect. You are talking about reversing line and neutral on your power connections. It is generally recommended that, on equipment with 2-prong AC plugs, you should use the direction that sounds better, or if you can't hear a difference, use the direction that results in the lowest AC voltage reading from the equipment chassis to ground. With 3-prong plugs, the only way to do this is with a "cheater" (an adapter that plugs into a 2-prong outlet, with or without a ground lead). I am strongly against using these to lift the ground because of the safety issue, not to mention that your after-market power cords will not do their job properly without a good earth ground.
I recently switched speaker cable polarities on my system (which contains a BC3 preamp that inverts) and while I could not pinpoint what was better, it was better. I had been running it for over a year the 'wrong' way. If forced to describe, I would say that the sound had a more 'relaxed' feel to it, but that may be my word for something else audiophilic. My English is pretty good; it's my Audish that is very spotty.