SH Spotlight SH Forum members: Are your speakers in correct phase?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Steve Hoffman, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. AudioGirl

    AudioGirl Active Member

    Los Angeles
    My friend Karen works at Capitol Records. She has a little stereo in her cubicle that was installed for her. It is pitifully out of phase with vocals that sound like they are coming from the elevator. When we offered to fix it for her by swapping out a wire she got this look of horror on her face and said "No, we are not allowed to touch our system."

  2. His Masters Vice

    His Masters Vice W.C. Fields Forever

    Sydney, Australia
    Yes, it's the first thing I notice and, yes, I've fixed it for friends.
  3. Sneaky Pete

    Sneaky Pete Forum Resident

    Yes, once you hear what out of phase sounds like you never forget it. I've made this wiring correction for friends occasionally.

    I know "absolute phase" can be turned into fetish by some audiophiles. Steve do you strive for absolute phase or polarity when you are mastering?
  4. jorgeluiz

    jorgeluiz New Member

    no matter the color of the wires, just use a single battery(1.5v or 2 battery=3v) and plug in the wires to test.
    if the speaker move to the front, the wire in the positive of the battery is the positive(+) pole.
    if the speaker move to back, the polarity is inverted.

  5. Tristan

    Tristan Member

    Asheville, NC

    While it is imperative that one checks their system absolute phase aren't many recordings done out of phase? This is one reason that I am thrilled that on my Soundsmith phono pre I've got a phase reverse switch. I could swear that I know which of the Living Stereos are recorded out of phase.
  6. Many thanks, Mr. Hoffman! Believe it or not, I had the copper/silver business reversed! Good thing I had evaluated and judged my music so far on headphones!!
  7. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    Back in the 70's, we discovered some JBL professional monitors with internal drivers wired backwards. On top of that, JBL used to use black as positive and red as negative.
  8. babyblue

    babyblue Pactches Pal!

    Pacific NW
    I just got a new amp and speakers and have been listening to lots of mono. They sound great with a solid, deep center image. Still in phase here.
  9. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage

    Vancouver, CANADA
    Can't read through all the posts so I hope this hasn't been asked yet.

    Steve, the company that makes my cables, Groneberg, recommends that all cables be connected in the direction away from the pre-amp. So, the writing on the cables from pre to CD would start at the pre, even though the direction of the music is the opposite. Writing on cables from pre to amp would also start at pre. Seems odd to me but that's what I do. I think I tried reversing the direction from pre to CD but could hear no difference.

    ATSMUSIC Forum Resident

    MD, USA
    To complicate things a bit some many Conrad Johnson products you have to do things backwards. Like for my preamp I actually have to put the positive on he negatvie and the negative on the positive because of the way the preamp is made. If I did it the normal way my system would be out of phase.

    I see you covered this :righton:
  11. billy1

    billy1 Forum Resident

    So if you have phono preamp that inverts phase (I don't) and you correct for it what happens to C.D playback?
  12. onlysleeping

    onlysleeping Forum Resident

    Chico CA, USA
    Say the internal wiring is wrong on both speakers. On the back of the speakers, when I connect the speaker wire, should I flip the wires? Or if both speakers are essentially moving the same way, will it sound any different. Will this make it out is in, in is out?
  13. Electric

    Electric The Medium is the Massage

    Vancouver, CANADA
    Good question. When I was 16 I bought a pair of Dynaco A50 speakers and they always hurt my ears after a while of listening. I kept checking polarity but never thought that their internal wiring might be wrong and which could have been fixed by inverting the speaker cables. I believe that was the problem, unless they were just bad speakers. I traded them in as soon as I could for a pair of EPI.
  14. onlysleeping

    onlysleeping Forum Resident

    Chico CA, USA
    Also, can the polarity get switched at the crossover? I'm convinced that one of my A7's has something swapped on the horn. Its not as clean sounding as its twin.
  15. Doug Sclar

    Doug Sclar Forum Legend

    The OC
    Well the best way to know is to use the old battery trick mentioned several times earlier in this thread. That is a clear way to tell which terminal is positive and which is negative.

    If both speakers move the same way you are assured that they are in relative phase with each other. Once again this is relative phase and not absolute phase.
  16. JA Fant

    JA Fant Well-Known Member

    Laughing about the record company example. Great information, Steve! Many Thanks.
  17. synfreak

    synfreak New Member


    I haven`t read thru the whole thread, but I thought that might be of interest / use to someone here:

    Download this (ZIP) file:

    unpack it and burn it (maybe several times) on a CD and replay it with your player(s).

    If your replay chain (including speakers ...) is "in phase", the woofer should make a bump outwards. If all of your speakers make it this way, they are in relative phase also.

    The file is a short positive pulse, so beware of too high volume levels!

  18. Pug

    Pug Elitist Snob

    Near Music Direct
    If you like the sound of the Beatles remasters then your speakers are out of phase. :laugh:

  19. Curiosity

    Curiosity Just A Boy

    United Kingdom
    Absolutely! :angel:
  20. semidetached

    semidetached Monkees Mixographist

    Bucks County, PA
    :righton: So that's what my problem is!
  21. Pug

    Pug Elitist Snob

    Near Music Direct
  22. Pug

    Pug Elitist Snob

    Near Music Direct
    Well, it's one of your problems. :D
  23. jorgeluiz

    jorgeluiz New Member

    it's irrelevant Pug, in phase don't sounds better.
  24. mmorris3

    mmorris3 Forum Resident

    Memphis, TN, USA
    I'm in phase, I hate that out of phase sound. I hear it all the time in stores & restaurants, etc. I've corrected out of phase systems of many friends & family members, and it's always funny to see the looks on their faces when they here their system with corrected phase.

    Cheap wire and good wire do sound different, though, it's not just the size of the wire that matters. I once heard this demonstrated using a $120 run of the mill shelf system, where a respectable brand of 12 gauge silver and copper was put to shame by some mid to upper end speaker cables. I would never have thought that you would have heard this unless it was on a high end system, but the sound was much warmer and smoother, and the sound stage opened up much wider with the better cables.
  25. vonwegen

    vonwegen Forum Resident


    If that ever gets around, EMI will go bankrupt before the year's over! :angel:

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