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  • Acoustic Polarity

    This thread is prompted by Myles' post on Records for checking VTA/SRA and its link to the Audio Asylum thread on VTA, wherein the latter he remarks on the importance of absolute polarity and how this can vary by record. I was going to post on this topic there but thought better of cluttering it up.

    The Atma-Sphere MP-1 was the first preamp I owned that had an easily accessed switch to swap between normal or '0' and inverted or '180 degree' absolute phase. I quickly learned my ears are sensitive to the phenomenon. Happily the ARC line-stages that followed in my room have the functionality available via their remotes. My "discovery" wrt absolute phase was triggered by the ease of switching it, but my awareness really came with higher resolving phono stages. And perhaps as a result of dialing in SRA as well - which I found easier to do with a higher resolving phono stage - or not. Perhaps that was coincidence - it would seem that resolution has no correlation.

    ==> I'd like to hear from my fellow Nirvanistas what is your view on the phenomenon, its perception and relative importance to your listening. Can you hear the difference? What do you hear?

    Is there a dependency on having all drivers in speakers wired in the same phase? I'm vaguely recalling this is not a priority for Wilson.

    Calling it a phenomenon gives away my own current view, which largely falls in line with Clark Johnson's, as laid out in his paper/commentary on The Wood Effect:
    Yes, Polarity is Absolute - But Only Your Ears Know For Sure! published in Positive Feedback circa 2002.

    Another article by Gordon Holt in Stereophile from 1980: Absolute Phase: Fact of Fallacy?


    If you've read this far here's a biscuit: Kevin Tellekamp of SRA created a handy Absolute Phase Chart (pdf) that divides record labels into Zero and Inverted. I have tested this guide over the years with my own ears and to a large part find it agreeable. The chart doesn't cover all record labels. While there are exceptions I find it easier to start by adjusting by label.



    PS - if this post should go in a different section than Preamps, please move it.

  • #2
    Oh this is a tough one. Out of phase sounds well...phasey. In my experience almost all recordings are somewhere in between and this is due to mic'ing and or patching and is typically seen at the mix. Lissajous scopes help the mixer here. In phase shows a vertical line and out of phase horizontal. There are implications for mono compatibility so that I think shaped practice then and still applies today for AM and terrestrial analog TV broadcast. I don't really know how SRA/VTA affects this as usually the issue is with Azimuth. Perfectly in phase signals (L and R) should have a +6dBv effect and one theoretically should be able to get in the azimuth ballpark without a Lissajous/vectorscope by converting dBv to dB then shooting for the +6 equivalent with an SPL meter.

    Personally I'm not driven batty by this. Maybe I'm just not that sensitive to it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by tima View Post
      If you've read this far here's a biscuit: Kevin Tellekamp of SRA created a handy Absolute Phase Chart (pdf) that divides record labels into Zero and Inverted. I have tested this guide over the years with my own ears and to a large part find it agreeable. The chart doesn't cover all record labels. While there are exceptions I find it easier to start by adjusting by label.
      but this tells only part of the story, multi track recordings can have one or more tracks out of phase that go uncorrected (unintentionally) when they're mixed down to 2 track.

      with all the fussing 'philes go through tweaking their audio many don't know or seem to care about the polarity of their systems. I don't understand why most pre amp mfrs can't provide an absolute phase switch. ARC did for the longest time, I don't know if they still do. I had a Herron Audio linestage that could invert phase through the remote.
      TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

      "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tima View Post
        This thread is prompted by Myles' post on Records for checking VTA/SRA and its link to the Audio Asylum thread on VTA, wherein the latter he remarks on the importance of absolute polarity and how this can vary by record. I was going to post on this topic there but thought better of cluttering it up.

        The Atma-Sphere MP-1 was the first preamp I owned that had an easily accessed switch to swap between normal or '0' and inverted or '180 degree' absolute phase. I quickly learned my ears are sensitive to the phenomenon. Happily the ARC line-stages that followed in my room have the functionality available via their remotes. My "discovery" wrt absolute phase was triggered by the ease of switching it, but my awareness really came with higher resolving phono stages. And perhaps as a result of dialing in SRA as well - which I found easier to do with a higher resolving phono stage - or not. Perhaps that was coincidence - it would seem that resolution has no correlation.

        ==> I'd like to hear from my fellow Nirvanistas what is your view on the phenomenon, its perception and relative importance to your listening. Can you hear the difference? What do you hear?

        Is there a dependency on having all drivers in speakers wired in the same phase? I'm vaguely recalling this is not a priority for Wilson.

        Calling it a phenomenon gives away my own current view, which largely falls in line with Clark Johnson's, as laid out in his paper/commentary on The Wood Effect:
        Yes, Polarity is Absolute - But Only Your Ears Know For Sure! published in Positive Feedback circa 2002.

        Another article by Gordon Holt in Stereophile from 1980: Absolute Phase: Fact of Fallacy?


        If you've read this far here's a biscuit: Kevin Tellekamp of SRA created a handy Absolute Phase Chart (pdf) that divides record labels into Zero and Inverted. I have tested this guide over the years with my own ears and to a large part find it agreeable. The chart doesn't cover all record labels. While there are exceptions I find it easier to start by adjusting by label.



        PS - if this post should go in a different section than Preamps, please move it.
        Kevin's absolute phase chart comes from the late Lars Fredell piece that was originally appeared in Ultimate Audio around 1998-99 IIRC. Remember this. All the absolute phase determinations were done with CDs back then. Obviously some were new recordings while others were reissues and thus the results might be dependent upon the quality of the remastering. And back then there certainly was the type of attention paid to remastering that there is nowadays. So are the findings pertinent to the original recordings? Probably in some but not all cases. I've seen some people take issue with Lars' findings but that might be one explanation. I'll have to look for the issue but I also recall publishing a letter to the editor from Clark when I ran Lars's piece. If I can find it, I'll take a picture and post it.

        Personally, I don't get all bent out of shape over it. I find it to be a small difference. Probably the biggest thing I hear is a slight tonal difference in the upper mids. Actually cleaning your albums makes more of a difference here and bigger improvement in my system. I have to listen for the changes with absolute phase; the differences are immediately apparent with cleaning an lp! Maybe part of my indifference toward absolute phase was it wasn't until the Doshi phono that I had a preamp or phono section where I could easily correct for absolute phase. Absolute phase can actually be changed remotely with the Doshi phonostage. No fuss, no muss.

        Many recording/mastering engineers do check for absolute phase though gets trickier and trickier the more mikes being used. I remember Chesky always checking for absolute phase when cutting the RCA Living Stereo releases using exactly the method Jack described. People like Kevin Gray do it routinely. I assume Steve Hoffman does too.

        I remember years ago some people pointing out the absolute phase on Sheffield recordings being all over the place.

        Perhaps with changes to the system, should go back and check.
        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
        ________________________________________

        -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
        -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
        -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
        -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
        -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
        -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
        -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
        -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
        -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm aware of it more with digital than analog. There was a time when I used to mark the polarity of every track but I don't care anymore, maybe because I rarely ever sit in a fixed sweet spot nor do I analyze the sound and system any longer when listening to music. It's my approach to system building and setup, nothing distractive specially if it's impressive!

          david
          Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
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          Comment


          • #6
            Not sure if this is the same issue or not, but years ago when Brian Cheney came to my house to set up my VMPS RM-2neo speakers, the second most time consuming part of the installation (after mass loading the passive radiator) was verifying absolute phase of each piece of equipment. We had non-polarized 2-prong power adapters for each power cord so we could plug each component in one way or the other. Leaving the preamp as a starting point, we reversed plugs on each other component until switching any of them degraded the sound. It started off slowly, as we didn't know which ones were not correct, but in the end, between the preamp, both power amps (the system was biamped) and CD player. When completed, reversing any plug caused an issue. The CD player was subtle, but he power amps or preamp were very easy to hear the difference.
            Steve Lefkowicz
            Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
            -
            Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
            Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
            Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
            Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
            Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
            Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
            Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
            Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
            Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

            Comment


            • david k
              david k commented
              Editing a comment
              Tim is discussing absolute phase in recordings not the electrical wiring of your outlets and equipment, very different things.
              david

            • Steve Lefkowicz
              Steve Lefkowicz commented
              Editing a comment
              That's what I figured, and thinking back Brian referred to it as absolute polarity, not absolute phase.

          • #7
            Originally posted by Steve Lefkowicz View Post
            Not sure if this is the same issue or not, but years ago when Brian Cheney came to my house to set up my VMPS RM-2neo speakers, the second most time consuming part of the installation (after mass loading the passive radiator) was verifying absolute phase of each piece of equipment. We had non-polarized 2-prong power adapters for each power cord so we could plug each component in one way or the other. Leaving the preamp as a starting point, we reversed plugs on each other component until switching any of them degraded the sound. It started off slowly, as we didn't know which ones were not correct, but in the end, between the preamp, both power amps (the system was biamped) and CD player. When completed, reversing any plug caused an issue. The CD player was subtle, but he power amps or preamp were very easy to hear the difference.
            Audio polarity , absolute phase and ac power polarity are 3 different things
            Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
            Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, Brinkmann 12.1 , .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Koetsu Rosewood Signature Platinum, Lyra Atlas, Lyra Etna SL Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
            Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
            Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
            Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
            Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

            Comment


            • #8
              Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_3402.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.67 MB ID:	44421
              Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_3401.JPG Views:	1 Size:	1.99 MB ID:	44419
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #9
                Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_3400.JPG
Views:	162
Size:	1.97 MB
ID:	44425Click image for larger version

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Views:	168
Size:	2.17 MB
ID:	44424
                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • #10
                  I remember the phenomenon around the Wood Effect, and the list. I did hear differences on some records, but like many things, I guess I neglected to pay attention to it after a while. I did mess with the relative phase of tweeter, woofer and subs with my mid-horns, and that made a difference in the overall sound of the system and how it was wired. My phono stage allows me to push a button on the chassis to invert, but I don't. I guess I subscribe to Rob's observation that there are so many convolutions in the chain before it gets to the record, it's kind of hard to be "absolute" about it. I still have the book- I think it got packed again.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Phasing is important for me to be set and left alone after. I am of the camp there is no perfection anywhere or anything in our holy order systems.
                    Geneisi has a wonderful document that lays out setting up speakers. His has examples of music and how it should sound when correct.
                    I also have cd for purpose as well. For me I find I am nkt phase sensitive and choose not to become either. We can teach ourselves to hear much better in obscure ways I feel. But at what price ? There was a thread on here that showed how we can hear water markings on tracks
                    it's true and I can tell not all but some. But the bigger point is why would we want to learn something that would take yet another pc of this hobby from us.
                    I have reworked and checked all possible phasing in my system beyond that I will not go further. To the best of my ability I know I am in phase in wiring and equipment
                    digital end I have no idea as I cannot clearly tell from my test tracks and will not go further then that. I find the more we read the less we enjoy
                    analog stuff.
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                    otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                    sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                    new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                    thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                    thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                    kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                    phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                    speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                    mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                    digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                    Dacs lampi various

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      what is a good record for demonstrating absolute polarity that most of would already have (i.e. common)?
                      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                      Comment


                      • Bill Hart
                        Bill Hart commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Casino Royale on the track The Look of Love- was the sax blowing or sucking? That's the one I remember-I think the Wood Effect booklet addressed it specifically, and it was pretty obvious. Also a pretty common "audiophile" warhorse back in the day.

                    • #13
                      One of the many mods I did to my CJ PV-10A preamp was to add absolute polarity inversion to the front panel and remote. I rarely use it however.
                      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        I won some of the genesis cd s and a few others. Hd tracks has a few from them as well. I have many odd to play with for me
                        analog stuff.
                        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
                        otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
                        sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
                        new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
                        thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
                        thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
                        kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
                        phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
                        speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
                        mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
                        digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
                        Dacs lampi various

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          I notice both Capitol records and Analog Productions are normally inverted polarity. What happens if its an Analogue Productions reissue of a Capitol record? Is it a double inversion or non inverted polarity?
                          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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