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How can you tell if your amp is warm or bright?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Is there a way to verify by ear whether your amp is bright or warm, without using a scope.  Obviously your easy can sense brightness or warmth, but how can one determine to what degree is the amp's doing and to what degree is the headphone's doing, as well as the source.  In order to determine brightness and warmth, there needs to be a fixed middle point.  Can this be done with any accuracy without a scope?

 

If so, how?

post #2 of 11

Hmm when i had arcam cd 192 , GS 1 amp and RS1/HD650/K701, I somehow felt that the amp was rather dry sounding. How I know? Hmm... cd192 is not known to have dry and clinical sound neither do the headphones but I just feel its abit dry compared to a xcan v3 or mad.

post #3 of 11

You keep switching headphones, other components, and recordings around to triangulate the answer. The more experience you have, the more confidence you can have in your conclusions, but they will never be perfect.

post #4 of 11

Compare it to another amp by ear. 

 

If you want to get fancy get a little "amp selector" box, volume match, and switch back and forth. I'l try to remember to bring a single ended one to the NYC meet.

post #5 of 11

Real sound is the best measurement.  Not everyone has access to live performances though, so thats not going to work for all.  

 

I've best/most easily noticed how my system sounds in late night sessions.  You'll simply have a gut feeling, and if that feeling is consistent over time... there you go!

 

post #6 of 11

You go by published reviews, or blogs/message boards and plan your system accordingly.

post #7 of 11

You can shoot me for saying this, but if you amp sounds bright, then it is bright.

 

If your amp sounds warm, then it is warm.

 

Thank you very much.

post #8 of 11

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kboe View Post

Real sound is the best measurement.  Not everyone has access to live performances though, so thats not going to work for all.  

 


Have you ever heard convincingly real sound through a pair of headphones? Do you remember the system?

post #9 of 11

Interesting thread and sure made me think.

 

Comparing amps will be against one source, right? Then how do you define if the source is bright or warm?

 

post #10 of 11

tagosaku, you can only make relative descriptions. The descriptions will never be exact, but so long as they are adequate enough for practical use it's okay.

post #11 of 11


This is a tough question because there is no standard measurement or unit that describes warmth or brightness. If you are just trying to determine if an amp is bright or warm, listen to your headphones straight from the source with the amp bypassed and then listen with the amp inline and contrast the two sounds. With the amp, if the highs have recessed and there is prominance in the low end, then it would be safe to say that the amp is warm. If the effect is opposite, say the highs are more pronounced and the bass is reduced with the amp, then the amp would be bright.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

Is there a way to verify by ear whether your amp is bright or warm, without using a scope.  Obviously your easy can sense brightness or warmth, but how can one determine to what degree is the amp's doing and to what degree is the headphone's doing, as well as the source.  In order to determine brightness and warmth, there needs to be a fixed middle point.  Can this be done with any accuracy without a scope?

 

If so, how?

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