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October 10, 2014

Updates to Polarity List

CD, SACD, and DVD Audio Label Polarity List

Update only of “The List” May 3, 2009 by The Polarity Project™

When a CD is made in normal (absolute) polarity (N), a non-inverting playback system will play the CD such that its compressions and rarefactions are in sync with the live performance.When a CD is made inverted, the compressions and rarefactions of a non-inverting playback system will be exactly out of sync with the live performance.

In my experience the major labels are more likely to have CDs of both polarities but they tend to be predominantly one polarity and the list includes some of the CDs that are not in a label’s usual polarity.When the relative polarity of all the tracks on a label’s CD sampler is the same, it’s usually indicative of the label’s polarity for all its discs, because the sampler is probably representative of many of the label’s offerings.It may appear that the polarity of some labels CDs is random, e.g. Verve is an example of an umbrella label that has sub-labels that may have different relative polarities but each sub-label’s CDs are usually the same relative polarity.Therefore, each sub-label is listed as if it’s a totally separate label.If the CD isn’t silver (aluminum), e.g. gold it will be noted.

So far the only reissued CD I’ve heard whose polarity differs from the original is the DAFOS CD recorded in 1984 by Rolling Thunder Productions and issued inverted in 1985 by Reference Recordings and reissued in polarity in 1989 by Ryko – Rykodisc – The World.However, it seems to me that most if not all of Reference Records vinyl records of the same music as their CDs are in polarity.I’ve heard other labels with reissued CDs that have the left and right channels reversed relative to the vinyl record.Some stereo microphone and multi-microphone feed CD reissues have one or more feeds remixed into different channels.

The polarity designations are as stated only if the majority of CD manufactures are making CDs in correct polarity (N), but if the opposite is true, then the polarity designations should be reversed (R) but the relative polarities of the listings won’t change.

The Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” (W/S) recordings are a special case because at both live and recorded performances Phil Spector wanted the lead vocalists and instrumentalists in absolute polarity (N) to spotlighted in b relief against a 2-dimensional wall of sound he created by having everything else heard in inverted polarity (R).

I’ve discerned the polarity of thousands of CDs but don’t think it’s useful to list them all. I can only determine the polarity of CDs by listening.I want to list specific CDs and CD labels that are of special interest to music-loving audiophiles.Because as the Perfect Polarity Pundit in reality I’m not always perfect, the list is subject to revision, so please feel free to suggest corrections and additions.

I listen to CDs on a player with a volume control and remote control digital domain polarity switch connected directly to a non-inverting power amplifier over a minimum phase speaker system of my own design.I discern polarity by deciding which polarity sounds more like live music.For SACDs, DVDs, internet downloads, and vinyl records I add a preamplifier with a remote control polarity switch.And for vinyl records I use a linear tracking turntable with a strain gauge cartridge.

Updates to “The List” will be published both separately as “The List Update (with its date) and fully integrated into “The List.”

For information on the sonic effects of polarity you may read A Speculation on Perception of Detail.

Anyone who’s interested in a free listening session sharing some of their favorite music/my favorite music/using my CD player’s remote control polarity switch to hear polarity differences for themselves, please email: or call 619-401-9876 7-days a week from 9AM to 11:45PM Pacific time and I’ll do my best to accommodate you.

A “The” at the beginning of a label name will be omitted for the purpose of alphabetizing but shown in parenthesis after the label name, e.g. (The).

  1. A World of MusicN
  2. – Columbia River Entertainment Group)N
  3. Appleseed RecordingsN
  4. Arista = RCA – BMGN
  5. Astree NaïveN
  6. Blues Express Inc. N
  7. Caltex RecordsN
  8. Capitol Records – bel BIEMN
  9. Capitol Records, Inc. – Jasrac –Tosiba-EMI LTD.N
  10. CDJAYN
  11. Cema Special Markests – Sound ExchangeN
  12. CollectablesN
  13. Collectors’ Choice MusicN
  14. Dennon Records/Nippon Columbia Co. Ltd. MonauralN
  15. Digital MasteringN
  16. Discos de Centroamerica, s. a.N
  17. Elektra – MusicianN
  18. Eleven Seven MusicN
  19. Eleven Thirty Records – Viewfinder Records
  20. EncoreN
  21. Epic Red InkN
  22. Flavor Unit Records – Vector – AEG Live –Creative Battery – A&M Records – UniversalN
  23. Frenchkiss RecordsN
  24. GarlandN
  25. Ginfline –Fineline ClassicalN
  26. Hanssler ClassicN
  27. Harmo;nia Mu;ndi Production USAN
  28. Hindsight Records, Inc.N
  29. Inak – GemaN
  30. InnerscopeN
  31. J Records – MBK EntertainmentN
  32. Jahaza Records – EpicN
  33. Jasmine Records – CEDARN
  34. Jazz Land(hybrid SACD only tested CD layer)N
  35. Lightening Rod RecordsN
  36. Live & Intensified! ReCoRDsN
  37. Living Era – ASVN
  38. Manteca World MusicN
  39. Metro Blue – Blue Note – Finest Jazz Since 1939 – Yellow Tangerine –PhilipsenN
  40. Metro Blue – EMIN
  41. Morgan Creek – Magnatone Curb –IslandN
  42. Musician – ElektraN
  43. Nacional RecordsN
  44. Network America LLCN
  45. Omi ToneN
  46. Or Music -Jdub Records – Matisyahu – Epic
  47. Pair – BMG Music – RCA Special ProductsN
  48. QuintessenceN
  49. Real Talk – Koch EntertainmentN
  50. Reprise Warner BrothersN
  51. SepiaN
  52. Shangri*La – Entertainment- Artist –adaN
  53. Show Dog Nashiville -= TKO Artist Management – UniversalN
  54. Signum ClassicsN
  55. Soul What RecordsN
  56. Sycuan Resort & Casino Minutes Away Miles ApartN
  57. Take Two RecordsN
  58. Team LoveN
  59. Telarch Surround(hybrid SACD only tested CD layer)N
  60. The Gold Label-Honest Entertainment, Inc.N
  61. Touch and GoN
  62. Traffic Entertainment GroupN
  63. TransmatN
  64. Troy990- AlbanyN
  65. Turner Classic Music – Rhino Movie MusicN
  66. V2 MHN
  67. Wem RecordsN
  68. World Circuit – NonesuchN
  69. YepRoc RecordsN

Link to “The List”

The above list only represents my opinions and should be evaluated by each person for themselves and is protected by my First Amendment rights.

Copyright © 2014 George S. Louis

George S. Louis CEO, Digital Systems & Solutions

Phone: 619-401-9876 and toll free 888-588-9542