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Confused about audio terminology...

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I've heard that Grado's are basically the polar opposite to Senns.

 

Then I read that Sennheisers are 'warm' and then read that Grado's are... warm??

 

How can warm be the opposite of warm? I've heard Grado's described as bright, but never cold. AKG's on the other hand are often described as cold AND bright, so shouldn't they be the opposite of Sennheiser??

 

So confused, thanks for help.

post #2 of 29

"Warm" is the absolute last word someone should use to describe the Grado sound.

 

The way I see it, warm and bright are opposites, and cold is more like "cold, calculating", revealing, really. And that, to me makes sense with AKG, at least the ones I've heard (K601's being the exception).

post #3 of 29

I think the RS1i is pretty warm... not HD650 warm (which I'd call lush), but RS1i-type warm. Yeah confusing.

post #4 of 29

I thought warm would be the opposite of laid-back sound, isn't it. Warm sound doesn't have to do with how bright or dark it is at least what I've gathered or how I had described it, as in it can still be perfectly balanced but be warm sounding. Forward sound might be a better term to use though. It's like having EQ boosted very high with very "up-front"/in your face sound while laid-back (or "cold") sounds more relaxed (distant?) and provides usually clearer instrument seperation especially and often bigger soundstage. 

 

Sennheiser HD800 are laid-back and bright sounding for example, Grados warm (or forward) and bright. Most beyers are laid-back and bright etc. People keep saying HD650 is both warm or laid-back sounding depending who you ask though, seems people's definitions of what "warm" sound is varies and many seems to associate it with slight bass boost vs slightly darker highs but IMO that's not really what it stands for but correct me if I'm wrong.

post #5 of 29

I always thought of "warm" as having a thick, spacious sound. Something with good bass and good mids, which is something common in both the HD650 and RS1i (but in different ways). Rich and round sound, with sweet highs. An analogy would be a rainforest - it's full of life, thick, and highly organic.

 

The SA5000 is what I'd call "cold". It's sharp and thin sounding, but extremely detailed.

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by idletime1213 View Post

I always thought of "warm" as having a thick, spacious sound. Something with good bass and good mids, which is something common in both the HD650 and RS1i (but in different ways). Rich and round sound, with sweet highs. An analogy would be a rainforest - it's full of life, thick, and highly organic.

 

The SA5000 is what I'd call "cold". It's sharp and thin sounding, but extremely detailed.


I definitely agree with how you describe warm/cold. It's like the cold is the analytical production of the music, whereas the warm is where the production has been adjusted for a more full sound, definitely with bass/mids present.

post #7 of 29

I agree with above as well as in:

 

warm - thick/fullier/meatier "fun" sound

cold - thin/edgy/sharp analytical sound

 

For me too cold or laid-back sound is rather boring to listen to, I generally prefer warm sound even if I might not hear all details as well as on a highly detailed laid-back/thin sounding headphone. I take back what I said about brightness though, the highs and the tonal balance definitely plays a role in it when I think about it, most headphones that are concidered "warm" sounding usually have a low-end and midrange emphasis and usually neutral to dark sounding highs while cold usually have quite a lot of highs present and necessarily not as full midrange and lowend.

 

Grado's are a bit special case in this case though they really don't have any exaggerated low-end but definitely are very bright yet people call them warm, hmm I'd rather call them forward sounding myself (forward vs laid-back sounding and warm vs cold, is this right?) would be better to speak about I suppose, I've previously somewhat mixed forward and warm sound a bit myself because often warm sounding headphones happen to be also more "forward" sounding like they'd be very similar but I think I'm starting to see the difference now. So to try and sum it up, is this the right definition of warm, cold, forward and laid-back terms?

 

Warm: Concerning the tonal balance, lowend, midrange emphasis and neutral to dark sounding highs which leads to a more thick/fullier/meaty or "fun" sound. 

 

Cold: Concerning the tonal balance, highs emphasis and neutral to dark / recessed lowend (doesn't necessarily have to be) and midrange, especially recession in the upper-bass to lower-midrange. Thin/edgy/sharp analytical sound.

 

Forward: Up-front/in-your-face/powerful/engaging sound. Often results in smaller soundstage and more smeared instrument separation (instruments flows into each other creating a more united sound).

 

Laid-back: Relaxed/distant sound. Often results in bigger soundstage and clearer instrument separation.

 

Would this be correct to you?

post #8 of 29

Reading this may help, lol

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by classakg View Post

Reading this may help, lol


Yea I think I've read some of the terms from that page once, I was more interested in hearing user's comments but seems what I just wrote fit also very well with that glossary.

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

yep, ditto, have read the glossary, was hoping for user comments

 

so if we put it on a spectrum;

 

Dark/laid back = Sennheiser HD6X0 -----------------> Bright/laid back = AKG K701

Dark/forward = ? -------------------------------------------> Bright/forward = Grado SR325i

 

What goes in the slot of dark/forward?

 

post #11 of 29

Would the Denon AH-D2000 be dark and forward? The AKG K81 DJ is a great example of that sound, but its not fullsize.

post #12 of 29

AKG K 518 / K 81 DJs would fit in that category very well. Also XB500 but I'd rather say warm and forward. Warm and forward is my preferred sound signature. Denon D2000 isn't that dark (or warm) it's fairly balanced in all aspects besides the emphasized bass, difficult to put it into a specific category, it's some there in-between but the mids are slightly recessed and highs are neutral or just slightly on the brighter side and bass emphasized so it's like a mild V-shaped frequency response so I'd almost put it into the laid-back and "cold" category but it's nowhere close to extremely laid-back sounding or cold sounding either, just possibly slightly towards that.

post #13 of 29

"Warm" and "cold" are clearly terrible words to try to describe sound. tongue.gif

 

When I first started writing impressions on Head-Fi, I admit I used "warm" a lot, and I think "cold" too, but recently I realized that neither word is very helpful and both are very subjective, so I stopped using them, and I'd recommend others do the same. It's possible to be more specific than "warm" and "cold" when describing sound, which is what I do now - I go into more detail than just use blanket terms like "warm", so people know exactly what I mean.

post #14 of 29

But if you know what they stand for those terms are incredibly useful and it's like the fastest way of determining if it will be a headphone that is to your liking or needs, but yea newcomers won't really know it but if you've tried several headphones with different sound signatures you'll quickly understand the differences. For me warm vs cold and forward vs laid-back are like among the very most important factors I look for to determine if it would be a suitable headphone for me or not knowing very well what kind of sound I like.

 

It wouldn't have to be called "warm" or "cold" it's just terms that happened to be used to describe those things, ofc it may be a bit similar to for example physics that has such a lot of fancy terms for different things that tells you nada unless you know what the term stands for. The terms warm and cold (or dark and bright) are pretty much already defined well enough to be used though.

 

A good way to describe headphones signatures would be to create a square with 4 different areas representing warm (dark), cold (bright), forward and laid-back and the stronger intensity of that particular signature the closer to the corner or a side they'd move. In the middle you'd keep an area presenting "neutral" sound for headphones that got sound signature that is in-between or very well balanced and the the closer to the middle the more balanced it is.

post #15 of 29

The LCD2 is dark-ish and quite forward.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cactus_farmer View Post

yep, ditto, have read the glossary, was hoping for user comments

 

so if we put it on a spectrum;

 

Dark/laid back = Sennheiser HD6X0 -----------------> Bright/laid back = AKG K701

Dark/forward = ? -------------------------------------------> Bright/forward = Grado SR325i

 

What goes in the slot of dark/forward?

 

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