RR 20 Inversed Polarity Audio

The new synthesizer in Reason 4, Thor, is truly impressive. Of course it can produce the most diverse sounds imaginable. But I personally truly adore it for its abilities to route and control audio and cv signals.

One of the practical implications is Thor’s ability to simply inverse the polarity of an audio signal. A normal upward saw wave goes first upward, drops sharply and rises again. When the polarity of this upward saw wave is inversed it first goes downward, rises sharply and falls again.

Normally we humans do not hear a difference when the polarity of one single isolated sound is inversed. But if a sound, a hihat f.e., is coming out of the left speaker and the inversed hihat is coming out of the right speaker, we do hear the difference between the two speakers clearly. It seems our hihat has an extremely wide stereo width.

You'll find the ability to inverse polarity on most (hardware and software) mixers as a button called flip phase. Scientifically speaking, phase and polarity are not the same, and since we are simply inversing the polarity we'll keep on using this more scientifically correct term.

So we have a hihat coming out of the left speaker and the inversed hihat coming out of the right speaker.

Now if we mix these two hihats to mono the result is: we hear nothing. Both audio signals simply cancel each other out. It’s like two people of equal strength pulling a rope in opposite direction; the rope stays stationary. Or mathematically speaking: 1+ (-1)=0 and 37465+ (-37465)=0 and etc.