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There are some situations where you can indeed tell a difference. Try playing a good recording of a kick drum (which in the real world will cause an initial compression). Try it both in proper phase (woofer cones compress on initial attack), and then reverse the speaker leads, so the initial attack is a refraction. You can tell the difference. I did a lot of investigation on this years ago using the Sheffield Labs drum record. My audiophile buddies could hear it too, so its not just me. You need a scope to make sure what polarity you are sending to the loudspeakers. Because of this, I still make sure my final polarity at the loudspeakers is proper. Various recordings may be all over the place, but at least I know that if I send a positive pulse into my preamp, I get a positive pulse to my loudspeakers.
But (1) I doubt that the distinction between phases is as easily made with instruments that operate predominantly at higher frequencies, and (2) if more than one microphone is recording more than one instrument, then the issue of phase relationships becomes very complex. (I don't doubt that you or someone else might still prefer one phase vs the other; I think that's mostly a function of the speakers and the listening room than of the recording.) I and some other listeners have found it impossible to distinguish phase difference, using my dipolar speakers.
there are test LPs that test your speaker's phase
in and out of phase. on my system - you can tell
But I do doubt that the reason you can hear it is because recorded music is monolithic in phase across frequencies, regardless of microphone(s), instruments, rooms, recordings, etc. (It's not.) On my own speakers, I suspect the reason I cannot hear an iota of difference between phases has to do with the fact that they are huge dipoles from top to bottom frequencies. I double-blinded my wife and then teen-age son while I switched back and forth; they could not hear any difference, either. This was on music, not test LPs. To my mind, music is what matters. I'm kind of glad I can't hear a difference, one fewer thing to obsess over.
That's an excellent post Lew!
I would highly recommend you and other inmates take a look at the excerpt from an AES oral history from Edgar Villchur - the founder of Acoustic Research and driving force behind acoustic suspension loudspeaker systems. The 2nd half of the "Loudspeaker Performance" excerpt (link below) is VERY interesting! While he's talking about loudspeakers what he discusses is widely applicable to any discussion of phase.
The Mind has No Firewall~ U.S. Army War College.
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