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How do you tell if you wired your speakers backwards?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JHMAVRO, Sep 16, 2000.



    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    Got my shiny new SVT3-pro the other day. I dont have a cab so I decided to strip a wire and use the speakers on my Peavy 210tx combo. It sounds great, but I dont want to
    f--k up anything. I tried hooking it up one way then thought I might have it backwards, so I switched the wires. It sounds the same both ways. Even when cranked. How do I know if I have the polarity right? Is polarity even the right word???

  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Polarity is the right word. Both speakers and amp outputs have + and - terminals so that the phase is maintained. When in phase, a bass note you play will push the speaker cone out - as you noted, it isn't easy to tell by ear which way it is, but if two speakers are involved and one is out of phase, the bass is severely reduced since the in/out motions effectively cancel each other out - and in a perfect scientific experiment, you'd hear nothing. There are devices that work on that principle.

    But to your quandary... you can take your basic garden variety 1.5 volt D cell and hook the negative side to one speaker wire and then touch the second wire to the positive terminal -- as you touch it you will hear an audible click and should see or feel motion. If it goes out, mark the wires to correspond with the + and - terminals of the battery. If it goes in, it's the opposite. Now you, too, can be properly polarized.
  3. Well, if yer speakers are wired in reverse and you play Country & Western (both types...) you'll get outa prison, yer dawg will come back to life, yer woman will come back to you...

    ...if you play New Age Musak, it'll sound exactly the same...

    ...however, if you play the blues, you won't wake up this mornin'

    Actually, on second thoughts, go with Bob G's battery suggestion - it's much easier...

    - Wil

    PS - it's also known as "phasing"

    [Edited by Wil Davis on 09-16-2000 at 06:39 PM]


    May 29, 2000
    hooksett NH USA
    Thanks for the info guys.
    But what I really needed to know was: On a 1/4" mono cable, Is the ring positive, or the tip???
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    It really doesn't matter in your case whether the polarity is reversed in the cab, except that both speakers should have the same polarity to avoid phase cancellation. Bob's method will check that for you. On the plug, tip is hot, sleeve is ground.

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