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Each gain stage inverts polarity. A phono amp generally needs 2 amplification stages for gain and RIAA and an impedence matching buffer stage to drive the power amp. 3 stages = inverted polarity. 3 stages are better than four -less is more- so they leave polarity inverted. I believe they leave it like that for 2 reasons. It works fine with their amps. It doesn’t make a big difference to SQ.
And in some pre-amps that contain a phono stage (or in a separate phono amp), that stage (or amp) may be of inverted polarity while the line stage is not (or visa versa). What are you gonna do, reverse your speaker leads depending on whether you are listening to an LP or CD?
And since, as atmasphere points out, most recordings are made without respect to absolute polarity, album mixes are made from recordings (done on a 16 or 24 track---or more---multi-track recorder) in which the channels may be a mix of both inverted and non-inverted signals (some microphones also invert polarity! Some effect boxes---EQ, reverb, compressors, etc.---do as well) ). Of that there is no solution.
And of course, many multi-driver loudspeakers have one or more of those drivers in polarity opposite to one or more of the other drivers. Of that you DO have control---don’t own such a loudspeaker!
A single gain stage always inverts polarity, would you have the manufacturer add a second gain stage to change it back again?
And do you change the polarity of your speakers for each recording the you play? That would be necessary if the goal is to always be in correct polarity. In fact, many recordings that use spot mikes on different instruments will have the sax in negative polarity while the keyboard is in positive polarity, so I would suggest that you change the polarity of your tweeters, midrange and woofer as called for by the specific recording.
given so many reputed recordings are 'all over the place' regarding polarity/phase....
What then is the correct way to not adversely stress the power train when re ordering polarity?
mute the sound, then switch?
or just switch polarity on the fly as it won't matter for neither the speakers or amps will encounter undue strain or stress?
... just wondering
It actually doesn’t matter to the average person whether the preamp is Reverse Polarity or Correct Polarity because so many recordings are in Reverse Polarity. So, what’s the difference? Since there are no technical standards for Polarity in the industry one should first establish whether his system is in Correct Polarity in the first place and go from there.
Ralph, I respectfully disagree.
Well over 2 decades ago I learned 2 things (that were only accessible at a reasonable price from PS Audio), things that should be universal if a product is to be called ’High END"
* differentially balanced AND
* either the preamp or dac has remote Polarity control
Individual songs on discs have long been mastered in various facilities, moreso on Greatest Hits, but still. Most of the time "I" have no problem hearing when polarity is in/out. Over the years I find bass is the greatest offender. When it’s out the music lacks clarity, space is more homogeneous, loses the speed of the initial attack
A point that hasn't been mentioned is that when the setting of the polarity switch that is provided on some components is changed, in addition to the polarity of the music signal being inverted the sonics of the component could conceivably change, at least slightly, depending on the specific design.
I'd expect that to not be the case with a fully balanced design, such as Ralph's (Atmasphere's), since polarity in such a design can be changed by simply interchanging two signals somewhere in its internal signal path. But with a design having an unbalanced internal signal path it is not necessarily that simple, and in some designs I wouldn't be surprised if sonic side-effects were to occur when the position of the switch is changed.
Perhaps in some cases that is one example of how easy it can be in audio to attribute a perceived difference to the wrong variable.
I get an uncomfortable feeling when the 6 Moons author states, “there’s a 50-50 chance a given recording features Inverted Polarity.” I’m mean how does he know?” I would sincerely like to see someone, anyone, compile a list of say fifty audiophile recordings, LP and CD, with Polarity for each. That doesn’t seem too difficult. So far all we have is George Louis’ Polarity List. Which is great that he compiled that long list, but I have trouble buying into it, primarily because he concludes the percentage of CDs that are in Reverse Polarity is so high. But 50-50 assumes no audio engineers or mastering engineers check for Polarity and I don’t buy it. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just the probability is low.
in some pre-amps that contain a phono stage (or in a separate phono amp), that stage (or amp) may be of inverted polarity while the line stage is not (or visa versa). What are you gonna do, reverse your speaker leads depending on whether you are listening to an LP or CD?Invert the phono cartridge leads!
But 50-50 assumes no audio engineers or mastering engineers check for Polarity and I don’t buy it. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just the probability is low.Recording engineers in fact do not check for polarity. For the most part they regard polarity as so much hand waving. So 50% of all recordings having reverse polarity is correct.
Are you crazy? I’m just asking for evidence. I assume you’re just running your mouth. The Polarity Pundit has been studying Polarity for many years and has compiled a longish list. What have you done? Nothing. I never said I believe anyone. I’m asking people to support their claims with evidence. I’m not even demanding proof. Follow?
All the sounds we hear are really nothing more than a series of compressions and rarefactions of air. Rapidly changing air pressure, in other words.
What causes the air to move like this in the first place? Strings, lips, drum skins, vocal chords. Squeaky chair. Tapping foot.
Now this has gone on way too long already so here's the question: Compression or rarefaction: which comes first? Can't have polarity without a North and a South. Compression and rarefaction. So which comes first?
When you hit a drum, which way does the drum head move first? Down. Creates a vacuum above it. Rarefaction. Then, when it comes back up, compression. Most people would say the sound begins when the stick hits the skin. But that's down. That's rarefaction. Most people I would bet assume the sound begins with a pressure wave, not a rarefaction or vacuum.
In other words polarity of sound does not exist. There was none to begin with, so there is none to be preserved, and none to be played back.
Yes folks it is that easy to reduce this whole conversation to the inanity that it is. Go play in the road is in this context as sensible a comment as any other.
If only it was that simple. Too bad it's not. Air is basically a single ended medium. Pressurizing air is a more efficient endeavor than depressurizing it. Let's reexamine the drum head. When struck, the top surface does first create low pressure, but the pressure increase on the bottom of the head is higher than the drop on the top. It's possible to strike the drum head hard enough to create 2 or 3 atmospheres of pressure on the bottom side, but you can never draw less than 0 atmospheres on the struck side. That's basically exactly how a single ended amp works. Atmospheric pressure is basically the bias and pressure below that is increasingly nonlinear compared to pressure increases. Our ears are very used to this phenomenon and that's why 2nd order harmonics are very benign to our ears.
Reversing phase doesn't so much change the fundamental tone, but it does completely change the harmonic character. There's a lot of spacial information in there. It's reasonable to conclude that flipping phase would play games with the tone and spacial features of music. My listening observations seem to agree with this hypothesis.
The Polarity pundit claims 92% of CDs are in Reverse Polarity. And he has a Polarity List to back it up. Furthermore the Polarity Pundit claims entire record labels are in Reverse Polarity. What evidence do you have? Who is right? I await your evidence.He does and presents no evidence whatsoever. He came into our room one time and insisted that our room was in reverse polarity. I flipped the polarity switch on our preamp. Then he insisted that you couldn't hear it on LP- only CD. So I played the same track on CD as I had it on hand. Then he insisted that you couldn't hear it if the source was analog...
And then he left the room hastily, leaving behind only our impressions of him, with which we made jokes from for the rest of the show.