POLARITY: The conundrum

Paul McGowan writes:

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.