Warm submerging sound
Feb 19, 2020 at 11:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12


New Head-Fier
Feb 18, 2020
Iam sorry to ask such a subjective question that really has no correct answer (since everyone likes different sound) but ill ask it anyway.

This might not be a technical thread but iam interested in your subjective opinions on the subject

I love listening to relaxing ambient drone music
- imagine warm fuzzy soundscapes with some lo-fi undertones
- imagine syrupy analog warmth that make you feel like you are snuggling under a warm duvet or in a hot bath
- imagine as if being locked or submerged inside the music soundscape with the frequencies enveloping your 360 degrees

I listen on borrowed ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING Sony WH-1000X M3

Actually some tracks almost work like ASMR and make me physically relax and tune out into a meditative state of bliss and physical feeling of warmth over my body. It really is a form of submerging into a sound bath. Especially with low frequency drones, music takes on almost a sound trip quality.

Example tracks:

Loscil - Equivalent 6
Loscil - Equivalent 5
Strie - Unseen Weight
Strie - Perpetual Journey
Warmth - Soil

The Sony headphones are certainly colored but due to their coloration they are really good at enveloping you in the sound - i think its due to several factors (some maybe unintentional by the manufacturer)
1) the Sonys are quite dark (less high frequencies) and with pronounced bass - this makes them sound WARM
2) the ANC (Active Noise Cancelling) tends to shave bit of high frequencies too - again making them subjectivelly WARMER
3) the soundstage is not very wide - they sound pretty "in your head" - which enhances the feeling of being enveloped / locked / bathing inside the sound rather than spreading the soundscape wide and open further away from you
4) the ANC creates almost a sense of vacuum (not really, it just sounds like all sound was sucked out of the ear cups and you became deaf) - this unussual physical sense of ANC on your eardrums makes you feel like inside your head / body cavity (again the "submerging inside music" effect)

I think ANC headphones in general (regardless of brand) are not the benchmark of sound accuracy and uncolored reproduction
But on the other hand I can imagine the ANC technology in general (again regadless of brand) has properties that suit specifically the ambient drone genre and make it more "physical" and warming
- tighter soundstage making you feel more enclosed in the soundscape
- less high frequencies - sounding warmer
- the "vacuum" effect of ANC that puts the sound source closer to you (or You inside the sound)

I assume some genres / insturments are more inherently warm sounding (with less high frequency sharpness) leaning naturally towards the warm fuzzy feeling (ambient drone electronica, ambient cinematic orchestral and electronica, chamber acoustic quitar and double-bass, cello)

I think POP or HARD ROCK or even CLASSICAL listeners might find the above properties of the headphones less desirable (less high frequency, in-your-head sound with tight soundstage)

Do you have experience with other models and brands (ANC or not) that would enhance this WARM FUZZY feeling of bathing inside the sound ambience ? Iam perfectly fine to buy expensive headphones ONLY for ambient music (not using them for any other genres) if what I get is this incredible blisfull submersion into the sound :D

Iam not sure what particular properties of headphone sound contribute the most to the warm and enveloping sound that suits the ambient drone music so much (ANC, soundstage, Bass EQ curve, High freq cut) but ill be happy to get some suggestions to get headphones that create this particular "physical effect" when combines with ambient drone music
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Feb 21, 2020 at 7:24 PM Post #4 of 12
The Sony MDR-Z7 MK1s come to mind, so do the AudioQuest Nighthawks, these are the pairs I'm familiair with and btw, I listen classical music a lot and still like my sound to be on the warmer and fuzzier side of neutral. The thing with these Sony's and the NightHawks is that they do not sound muffled, there's lots of clarity, texture and definition, but without being tonally bright sounding.
You may want to look at some ZMF headphones as well, like the Atticus and Aeolus.
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Feb 22, 2020 at 12:01 AM Post #5 of 12
The most relaxing, ultimate chill-out headphones I've heard are the LFF Enigma. They're still very neutral and accurate, but there's something truly special about what they do with the sound. But at the same time they aren't closed in like you're describing. More like bathing in a heated pool than a bathtub.

I can second Mink's suggestion of the ZMF Atticus (although I haven't heard the Aeolus). Once again, you're not getting a closed sound, but very natural and forgiving while maintaining accuracy. If that's a little rich for your blood, the ZMF Blackwood is also very nice; I have a pair on my desk at work. I wouldn't consider either of these models a specialist headphone, though. I've had a lot of time with the Blackwood and they do great with faster genres as well.
Feb 22, 2020 at 11:45 AM Post #6 of 12
Sennheiser's HD650 is warm, has elevated bass and dark with subdued treble.
Feb 22, 2020 at 2:31 PM Post #8 of 12
The HD650 might seem like a reference headphone then, other than some temporary acclimatisation effects the midrange will become one of its best features.
Feb 23, 2020 at 2:57 AM Post #9 of 12
Get a good tube amp and almost any headphone can sound like desired. For example even my Aiva from Sendy, which is actually know for a straight forward and a bit aggressive signature, now got ultimately smooth and relaxed, like laying your ears on a silky pillow. Resolution is still excellent and soundstage was widened significantly too.

BTW check out ultimae.com
You can stream all their own releases in 24 bit quality and most of this stuff is simply gorgeous.

Have a great sunday!!
Feb 26, 2020 at 11:36 AM Post #11 of 12
iam listening to the tracks linked in OP on Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 (closed back) - the sound is very different and although very clear it doesnt have that warm submerging quality as the ANS Sony WH-1000X M3

on the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 the sound is less in your head (submerging) and more open < this sounds like a good thing, but it takes away that warm fuzzy feeling rendered by Sony WH-1000X M3
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