It's only as bright as the tube you use in it. I wasn't a fan of the stock tube. I wouldn't call it bright. I thought it was a little harsh. You want warmth? Use a 6922 or 7308 tube made in the Heerlen factory. I preferred the sound of the German tubes which I think are more accurate and precise. My favorite are the Siemens CCa gray shield tubes from the very early 60's. I used Sennheiser HD 650 cans and did not think the Vali 2 was bright.