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First, some people can hear absolute phase, some can't. I've never heard it, including on direct-to-disc recordings. (However, RIAA encoding and decoding causes LOTS of phase distortion due to the multiple filters used on both ends).
Second, as others have pointed out, multi-mike recordings, mixing, and electronic music have no inherent absolute phase.
Third, not all instrument have absolute phase. Strings don't, for instance, but I think most woodwinds do.
Fourth, there is no standard for absolute phase in recordings, so even those that MIGHT have absolute phase you'd have to guess (experiment) with. Almost everything in the 1960s and 1970s was multi-miked, so forget those recordings. On others, do what sounds better, if either setting does sound better.
"(However, RIAA encoding and decoding causes LOTS of phase distortion due to the multiple filters used on both ends)."
Isn't the phase corrected, along with the amplitude, with the application of the RIAA filter* in the phono preamp?
Note* I think that filter is more correctly called a "reverse RIAA filter". The filter use when making the record is the RIAA filter.
To be clear, A "RIAA filter" (the one used to make a record) cuts the bass and boosts the highs. A "reverse RIAA filter" (the one used to play a record, ie; the one in our phono preamps) boosts the bass and cuts the highs.
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"Still Working the Problem"
Generally, no. There are innumerable designs for filters on both ends, each with their own phase signatures (for lack of a better term).
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