The polarity conundrum

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I am going to stick my neck out and make you a wager. I'll bet that if I crept into your home one night and swapped +/- on each of your speakers that you'd not notice the difference. Yet, in the heat of the moment during a listening session you'd hear the swap immediately—even if you didn't know what it was I was doing. In fact, I know this to be true because I've done both experiments. What might we conclude from this observation? That long-term polarity swaps are meaningless, yet short-term ones are noticeable? And, if that is so, why? My guess is that the ear/brain's sensitivity to whether transients launch in the + or the - direction is easily discerned in a real-time comparison, but nearly impossible with long-term change. In other words, it is the quick comparison we're sensitive to, not the long-term effects of it. It's an interesting puzzle and if you want to learn more about what's actually taking place with polarity changes, go here and enjoy this short video.
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Paul McGowan

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