- by Kevin Deal
Every live mix, unless amplified, are usually in the right polarity. When you invert a polarity, you usually end up with an audio with harsh sibilance, blurry transients, and muttering vocals. It lowers down the quality of refined tones. However, phase inversion is still commonly used.
What is absolute phase?
Absolute phase is a situation with an audio that you will encounter when the you connect a black terminal to a black wire lead, and a red terminal to a red wire lead. When you do so, something happens with the electrical polarity of your audio system. When you invert this, you usually end up with throwing the initial snap into the speaker cabinet and not directly to ears. This causes the sine waves, like percussion, to approach something of a square wave. Hence your ears may not be able to hear it.
How to recognize inverted polarity?
At first, it will be hard to recognize polarity. This problem is not only experienced by beginners. Even few designers can’t sometimes identify the issue. It takes, time and practice for you to be able to identify it with ease. To begin with, you need to routinely mark your recording. Some recordings have individual tracks in inverted polarity already, so be keen. When your ear learn to pick out polarity inversions, then you may not need to do the markings.
Why invert a polarity?
When making a video and you want the sounds effects to stand out more than the dialogue, then you can use inverted polarity. To do this, you usually have to turn your center channel volume up by significant level. If this does not satisfy you, then you can try inverting the red ad black wires. Connect the black terminal to a red wire lead and the red terminal to the black wire lead. Do this either on the speaker or amp side, but never to both.
In audio, when you want to cover the issues you have with a component, then inverted polarity comes in handy. Since it gives off the blurry sound details, it can often disguise the disparity in speed within the panels. When the problem involves woofers, you can use a hybrid speaker system that uses electrostatics to invert polarity. However, when doing so, you should remember that this does not actually add detail to the audio. In fact, it even drags the sound down. The bass will be a half or so beat behind, classical music will seem distracted, and jazz will lose the “tight” feeling common in it.