Speaker Speak - Warm, Accurate and Dynamic - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 05-01-2013, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I think allot of people here have learned from reading the forums but we are reading other people like us who, for the most part, are also new to the world of audio.

So...I recently used the term warm to imply not neutral and having a emphasized top end...and was corrected. I was told warm can mean neutral but means having full mid range.

I thought accurate means being both neutral and picking up every small detail from the source material but that being dynamic (wide range of sound) and accurate seem to be used allot to describe conditions that are mutually exclusive? You can't have both?

Anyone help me out? If you prefer a "hot" high range what word is there for that? Can a speaker be warm and neutral..I didn't think so...
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post #2 of 24 Old 05-01-2013, 07:01 PM
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Why worry about words that can mean very different things to different people? This is like trying to judge wines by the silly language accompanying their reviews (which is what a lot of "high" end audiophool terminology is probably based in IMHO). What one guy might call warm is meaningless to me. He might like bud light regularly for all I know and get excited about a regular bud for all I know when neither is potable in the first place (rice beer, you've got to be kidding me). A hot high range if anything might translate as bright or forward but I really don't know, but that's what I gather from the term. Next thing you know someone wants to "pair" some electronics like it's a steak and red wine or something. YMMV.

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post #3 of 24 Old 05-01-2013, 07:16 PM
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I see it as wanting a wide range with flat response and high sensitivity to fulfill those terms.
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post #4 of 24 Old 05-01-2013, 07:45 PM
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post #5 of 24 Old 05-01-2013, 08:23 PM
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A speaker that has a warm sound will have a "full bottom end." In other words a "warm" speaker will emphasize its bass in a more prominent way. A speaker that is considered "bright" will emphasize its treble more and will have a prominent rise in its upper midrange frequencies. Some people will refer to a bright speaker as having too much or excess energy in its upper midrange. Another term used a lot is "climb the ladder"

A neutral speaker or a speaker that is mostly flat through its mid range and lower treble is often considered as being tonality neural or lacking any coloration of its own. Basically a neutral speaker doesn't emphasize any portion of the frequency range.
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post #6 of 24 Old 05-01-2013, 11:34 PM
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Just think of warm sound as tube sound sound. Where is it apparent? The mid. My interpretation about warmth is where a speaker has slight emphasis in the lower mid range. I did inquiry this question at decware forum, because i lkept hearing people discribing a warm sound but then nothing related to warm as i used to know,
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post #7 of 24 Old 05-02-2013, 12:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matts View Post

A speaker that has a warm sound will have a "full bottom end." In other words a "warm" speaker will emphasize its bass in a more prominent way. A speaker that is considered "bright" will emphasize its treble more and will have a prominent rise in its upper midrange frequencies. Some people will refer to a bright speaker as having too much or excess energy in its upper midrange. Another term used a lot is "climb the ladder"

A neutral speaker or a speaker that is mostly flat through its mid range and lower treble is often considered as being tonality neural or lacking any coloration of its own. Basically a neutral speaker doesn't emphasize any portion of the frequency range.

+1

Warm = mid to bass is emphasized
Neutral = flat FR
Bright = top frequencies are emphasized

Warm is the opposite of Bright. Therefore, it is easy for people to mistake Warm with a drop in the FR curve in the top end.
Why? Because if the speaker is 6dB down at 16kHz, it may sound like the mid and the bass are emphasized.
In my experience, at least for me, it is most difficult to tell if a speaker is +3db at (N) kHz, or -3dB at (N-1) kHz. or vice a versa.
Example: It is very difficult for me to tell unless I A/B them back to back to tell +3dB at 10kHz from -3dB at 8kHz.
Maybe that's just me.
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post #8 of 24 Old 05-03-2013, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Bright = upper end emphasized
Warm = mid emphasized
Dark = bass emphasized
Neutral = no emphasis

From what I am gathering here?
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post #9 of 24 Old 05-03-2013, 08:40 PM
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Since everyone has already given you their $0.02 on the description of bright and warm I'll answer your other question regarding dynamics and accuracy. These are not mutually exclusive of each other. Yes, you can have both as they are not related to each other in any way. A dynamic speaker is one the can play at reference or higher levels without distortion, compression or otherwise exceeding its limitations in any way. Reference is 85dBs with 20dBs peaks (30dBs for the LFE channel) so the speaker needs to be able to play at 105dBs cleanly to be considered a dynamic speaker. This doesn't mean that it needs to reproduce the source accurately, just that it can reach those levels cleanly.

Now accuracy, on the other hand, implies a neutral speaker. One with a flat frequency response curve. This means an accurate speaker can neither be bright nor warm. So accurate is mutually exclusive of bright and warm. An accurate will add no coloration to the source. What is on the media being played is what comes out of the speaker. Nothing more, nothing less. Hope this helps.
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post #10 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 01:51 PM
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I think it's easier to understand the terms if you get involved in the headphone world where the difference in response is often more dramatic than with speakers, and where people are doing a lot more direct comparisons, rather than basing their speaker evaluations off memory. Thus, Vardo's link in the head-fi glossary is a good resource.

I don't think warm necessarily means the opposite of bright as some people have implied, as if it's all about bass. For instance, I've listened to headphones with bright treble with a neutral to heavy bass emphasis; Beyerdynamic DT series comes to mind and is commonly described as bright, despite the fact the bass is either neutral or emphasized. I think it's the presence of lower mids along with the bass and then recessed upper mids without any treble emphasis that really makes the difference, such as with the HE-400



Dark usually means underemphasized treble in respect to the rest of the frequency response, not necessarily bass emphasis. Sennheiser HD598 are often described that way:



Accuracy implies more than just a flat frequency response, even though discussions about accuracy are often talking about it in that limited way. Decay and distortion can also be important factors.

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post #11 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Bright = upper end emphasized
Warm = mid emphasized
Dark = bass emphasized
Neutral = no emphasis

From what I am gathering here?
+1
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post #12 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Bright = upper end emphasized
Warm = mid emphasized
Dark = bass emphasized
Neutral = no emphasis

From what I am gathering here?

I think warm is just a lower end frequency emphasis (both bass and lower mid) vs bright, a higher end emphasis; can't say I've heard a speaker described as dark, though I do like the progression the words imply.

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post #13 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 06:20 PM
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This chart puts warmth in the 150 to 300hz zone.

And interestingly Jim Smith of 'get better sound' says the most pleasing systems he gets to hear usually have a slight increase at 300hz when the frequency response is measured.
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post #14 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

I think warm is just a lower end frequency emphasis (both bass and lower mid) vs bright, a higher end emphasis; can't say I've heard a speaker described as dark, though I do like the progression the words imply.

I've only heard dark applied to headphones, and particularly some Sennheiser models.

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post #15 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I have actually heard the Arx bookshelf speakers described as Dark...but again we may be throwing terms out there that are not "correct"

It is interesting it seems that there is a divide on Warm = JUST mid or Mid + Bass.

Also, duc135 makes sense when we talk about dynamic ...its the first time I heard it put that way though... I thought dynamic was having a full sound spectrum...almost the same as saying near full range (bass to upper response) but it makes perfect sense to me that it is referring to ability to play loud without distortion..and implies to some degree sensitivity of speaker...sort of as an implied...

And while there is allot of value in glossary if we all don't agree on how it or we use a word...does not help a ton. The glossary may be more "right" than how we use the words in these forums but trying to disseminate information from everyone's posts is difficult when the words do not have common meaning for all...

Example... Bright has a decidedly negative connotation to it... What is the "good" slant to a "bright" sounding speaker. I have often heard people who want to say that the "bright speaker" is "pleasant" sounding say it is "warm" or "dynamic"...but this really isn't true if the few posts in this thread are correct. I think, for whatever reason... Bright has almost become synonymous with a "harsh" upper end...

Lol.. semantics may just be words but they are important words when trying to decipher what people like / dislike in a speaker. wink.gif
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post #16 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 07:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Lol.. semantics may just be words but they are important words when trying to decipher what people like / dislike in a speaker. wink.gif
This is absolutely correct. And because of this, I try not to use these kinds of terms. "Warm" relates to temperature. "Bright" and "Colored" are visual references. None of these terms has anything to do with sound. Therefore, they are really inaccurate descriptors, and are totally open to interpretation and misunderstanding. Therefore, a more direct description of a sound's characteristics is much more a appropriate. If a speaker emphasizes the higher frequencies, just say so. If the highs are recessed and the bass is more prominent, then say that. If neither end of the spectrum is emphasized, and the speaker is balanced across the spectrum, then describe it as such. Using terms that have no meaning in relation to sound is... meaningless.

IMO.

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post #17 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

It is interesting it seems that there is a divide on Warm = JUST mid or Mid + Bass.
The term 'warm' goes back to the days of tube amps, and traditionally described the even order harmonics that tube amps could add to the signal. They would be heard in the 500 to 2kHz range, making it very much an enhanced midrange situation. It was called warm because that's also the primary range of the human voice, which was made more intelligible by those added harmonics, especially female voices.

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post #18 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 08:02 PM
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CraigJohn,

I agree with your opinion. The glossary thing I put in this thread was meant as sort of a joke....a rookie reviewers
delight, where a reviewer could throw around different terms or sound signatures if you will in a review. I owned some Klipsch LaScala's
for over 10 yrs, and the higher frequencies were to me overemphasized, unless they were paired with the correct power amp.
I was guilty of calling them bright speakers. Now I own Sonus Faber, and am still guilty by saying I like their "warrm" sound
signature. This has been done by so many reviewers of the Sonus, I guess it became a habit for me to do the same thing.

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post #19 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newbie01 View Post

Example... Bright has a decidedly negative connotation to it... What is the "good" slant to a "bright" sounding speaker. I have often heard people who want to say that the "bright speaker" is "pleasant" sounding say it is "warm" or "dynamic"...but this really isn't true if the few posts in this thread are correct. I think, for whatever reason... Bright has almost become synonymous with a "harsh" upper end...

It can still be used in a relative way for comparisons that is not negative. For example, the Energy RC series has a touch of warmth, while the Energy Veritas series is a little brighter in comparison. Yet many people prefer the Veritas.

But you are right in that on overly bright speaker can be fatiguing. Whereas an overly warm speaker may not sound good, but it doesn't have that same negative physical listening effect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

This is absolutely correct. And because of this, I try not to use these kinds of terms. "Warm" relates to temperature. "Bright" and "Colored" are visual references. None of these terms has anything to do with sound. Therefore, they are really inaccurate descriptors, and are totally open to interpretation and misunderstanding. Therefore, a more direct description of a sound's characteristics is much more a appropriate. If a speaker emphasizes the higher frequencies, just say so. If the highs are recessed and the bass is more prominent, then say that. If neither end of the spectrum is emphasized, and the speaker is balanced across the spectrum, then describe it as such. Using terms that have no meaning in relation to sound is... meaningless.

IMO.

Craig

They are metaphorical, so they do have meaning, especially within the discourse communities familiar with them.

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post #20 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 10:47 PM
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Those words arent necessary wrong. It is another way of discribing their impression. When it comes to impressions, is all about what you fell.
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post #21 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

They are metaphorical, so they do have meaning, especially within the discourse communities familiar with them.
They only have "meaning" if both parties agree to the same meaning. The problem comes in when there are different interpretations of the meaning... which happens ALL THE TIME on these and other fora! Just re-read the original post in this thread to see what I mean, (PI).

Succinct and accurate descriptions are much more effective means of communication than oft-misunderstood metaphors.

IMO.

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(Please see my post about "slow" and "fast" bass for further discussion: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1471124/what-measurement-is-used-for-subwoofer-speed/30#post_23280030 )

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post #22 of 24 Old 05-04-2013, 11:46 PM
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The problem is not so much about different interpretations, but wrong interpretation.
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post #23 of 24 Old 05-05-2013, 01:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

They only have "meaning" if both parties agree to the same meaning. The problem comes in when there are different interpretations of the meaning... which happens ALL THE TIME on these and other fora! Just re-read the original post in this thread to see what I mean, (PI).

Succinct and accurate descriptions are much more effective means of communication than oft-misunderstood metaphors.

IMO.

Craig

(Please see my post about "slow" and "fast" bass for further discussion: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1471124/what-measurement-is-used-for-subwoofer-speed/30#post_23280030 )

I think the difference here is that you are looking to define speaker characteristics in a way that can be measured. What I see people doing is using these terms to describe subjective, aesthetic experiences of how the speakers sound to the individual listening to them. There's a difference between saying speaker A is bright and speaker A sounds bright to me. There may be some shared agreement with certain audio experiences, but individual listening preferences can factor in. Speaker A might sound brighter than speaker B to one person, and not another. Or a speaker might be too bright to me, but not to you.

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post #24 of 24 Old 05-05-2013, 04:51 AM
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If my Arx A1b's could be considered dark, that would make NHT Classic 3's black holes.
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