Lou Judson wrote: "This is interesting - all my 45 year career I have
been taught and adhered to the practice of red is right, and no matter
what the colors,
the lighter one is left and the darker (or redder) right: gray/white.
Until getting the Nagra V, I had always used red as right, and white
or black as left. 'R' for 'red' is easy to remember.
For years I have drawn out connection diagrams and similar, either as
part of planning for a gig, or as part of my teaching work, and I
always ran into the same problem. If you're drawing a connection
diagram, you need at least three colours: one for the left channel,
one for the right channel, and one for common connections. It makes
sense to use black for the common stuff, but that leaves only white
for the left channel, and you can't draw a white line on white paper
or on a whiteboard!
(Yellow is out, of course, as it is used to refer to video
connections. And in some audio institutions, yellow indicates a
polarity reversal lead.)
Nagra ovecome this problem for their connection and signal flow
diagrams by adopting naval colouring (which is also used in the
aviation industry). By using black for all the common connections and
red and green to define the left and right channels, it is easy to
draw a connection diagram and keep the two channels clearly defined.
Some amusing stuff about port and starboard, left and right, red and
green can be found here:
Interestingly, the Y cable supplied with my Schoeps MS rig has a red
dot on the connector for the M channel microphone, which is
traditionally recorded in the left channel of a stereo track - so once
again 'red' becomes 'left' in my rig. Likewise, Schoeps place a red
dot on the + side of their bidirectional microphones, which indicates
the left side when making MS recordings.
Lou also wrote: "Never seen a link between nautical colors and audio."
Me either, until I got the Nagra. But I can see the sense in their
choice, because there's no point in reinventing the wheel - if an
established international standard exists for defining left and right
sides, and which overcomes the black and white problems mentioned
above when clear graphic communication is required, why not use it?
So, for me, 'R for red' has become 'red sounds like left'.
I never proclaimed it to be an audio standard. It's a personal thing -
whatever makes sense to you. I made a set of identical stereo looms
for a fellow Nagra V using friend, and he uses red for the right
Whatever floats your boat!