Warm vs. Analytical - What Exactly Do They Mean?
post-824727
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 8

Zoide

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 2, 2004
Messages
2,978
Reaction score
85
Joined
May 2, 2004
Posts
2,978
Likes
85
Hi,

Over time, I've come to notice that two of the most common Head-Fi words are "warm" and "analytical". Usually, this refers to the sound that you get from a tube amp vs. a SS one with the AD8610, or the sound of one headphone vs. another one. Or vinyl vs. CD. It goes on and on and on.

But what exactly do warm and analytical mean? Is there a good explanation, analogy, or pair of comparative sound files that someone could contribute so as to clear up this thing?

Thanks!
 
     Share This Post       
post-824845
Post #2 of 8

Permonic

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Messages
1,178
Reaction score
10
Joined
Dec 12, 2003
Posts
1,178
Likes
10
     Share This Post       
post-824922
Post #3 of 8

KR...

Curator of the Headphone Lust Museum
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Messages
9,534
Reaction score
27
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
9,534
Likes
27
analytical Very detailed, almost to the point of excess.

warm The same as dark, but less tilted. A certain amount of warmth is a normal part of musical sound.

you can see the full list here :

Sounds Like? An Audio Glossary
by J. Gordon Holt

http://www.stereophile.com/reference/50/index.html
 
     Share This Post       
post-825136
Post #4 of 8

fewtch

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 23, 2003
Messages
9,559
Reaction score
24
Joined
Jul 23, 2003
Posts
9,559
Likes
24
If you're talking "warm vs. analytical" then warm refers to a sound that makes you focus just on listening to the music in a "big picture" sense, while analytical makes you want to analyze the details of the music while listening.
 
     Share This Post       
post-825308
Post #5 of 8

Snake

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,002
Reaction score
12
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Posts
2,002
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by KR...
warm The same as dark, but less tilted. A certain amount of warmth is a normal part of musical sound.


I'm sorry, but with respect I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Some instruments have a natural sound which we describe as "warm", while others definitely do not. If you have ever heard a trumpet, trombone, flute or drum set with high hats played in a close space, naturally, these instruments have no "natural" warmth as we, audiophiles, describe it.

Warmth, as used in audiophilia to describe the recreated sound, is an effect which overlays all sound created by that system, increasing fullness in the bottom octaves. It is a psychoacoustically pleasing effect, but it is NOT natural as it impresses that effect on the entire spectrum of instruments being played, whether it is a naturally occurring phenomenon of the instrument or not.

"Warmth", the increase of apparent energy in the lower octaves of an instrument's range, occurs naturally due to either construction of the instrument itself or the environment it is being played in. Each instrument is different, but when the energy increase occurs across all instrument ranges this is when you know that effect is completely artificial, impressed by external forces (either the recording location, the recording mix or the reproduction system). By almost all accounts as you climb the scale of reproduction systems into the stratosphere of the cost / performance scale you will find that 'warmth', that is as applied across the entire audio / instrument spectrum, decreases. Each instrument increases its uniqueness inside the reproduced audio spectrum, where 'warm' is only applied to those conditions which merit it - that is, where 'warm' actually exists in the recording of the instrument's performance.

"Warmth" is a common desire of many people for it's pleasing, mellow effect on the psychoacoustics of music reproduction but, by no mistake, should "warm" be considered a natural effect of the creation of music. If it were, frankly, audiophiles and recording engineers would not have coined the term nor would they take such pains to try to describe and moderate it's appearance. If it were "natural" the presence of it would not be bothersome in the consideration of purity inside the audio chain. If an instrument, or for that matter instrument / performer / performance acoustic space combination, creates a bump in lower frequency energy response apparent to the human ear, versus other combination of factors utilizing a similar instrument in a different combination, then that should be shown by the reproduction system. If the effect of lower frequency energy bump is not there, as a natural phenomenon preserved on the recording, then the reproduction system as absolutely no right to create that energy bump on its own.

That's called accuracy.
 
     Share This Post       
post-825341
Post #6 of 8

KR...

Curator of the Headphone Lust Museum
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Messages
9,534
Reaction score
27
Joined
Jun 22, 2001
Posts
9,534
Likes
27
Quote:

Originally Posted by Snake
I'm sorry, but with respect I'm going to have to disagree with you there.


You can't do that since I didn't write it, that was J. Gordon Holt's words, take it up with him, if you dare, LOL!
 
     Share This Post       
post-825372
Post #7 of 8

Wodgy

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Messages
4,657
Reaction score
12
Joined
Feb 24, 2002
Posts
4,657
Likes
12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Snake
By almost all accounts as you climb the scale of reproduction systems into the stratosphere of the cost / performance scale you will find that 'warmth', that is as applied across the entire audio / instrument spectrum, decreases.


I disagree. There is such a thing as excessive warmth, but in my experience high end gear (Meridian, etc.) is warmer than cheap mass-market gear. Similarly, in my own DIY designs, as the power supply is improved, the sound generally becomes warmer. Excessively analytical reproduction is usually a sign that a component is not properly designed. There's a difference between a trumpet having bite (good) and a system that doesn't reproduce the warmer acoustics of that same trumpet when played in a fine concert hall.
 
     Share This Post       
post-825388
Post #8 of 8

Snake

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Messages
2,002
Reaction score
12
Joined
Nov 20, 2003
Posts
2,002
Likes
12
Very much true. But in general the higher end you go the more that direction towards warmth is dampened to a feeling of "exactly what is necessary, and not a bit more". Lower end gear, when tilted towards warmth, ends up feeling "more than accurate"

Also note the "trumpet when played in a fine concert hall". It's the concert hall adding that warmth, which therefore must be recreated accurately by the reproduction system. If the concert hall does not add that warmth then it has absolutely no right in being presented during the playback, and therefore the comment of "warmth is natural" is false. Avery Fisher Hall, before mods, was a dry hall. To reproduce it as warm was dead inaccurate. It's still a matter of factors adding up into a unique performance, where inside that performance warmth may, or may not, be present. A system should reproduce that, both sides, without fail. A system which skews towards one direction, and one direction only, should not be considered accurate.

I think it's a question of viewpoint mindset. Is a Meridian 'adding' warmth, or is it just better at resolving exactly what is there in the first place, 'adding' nothing? I prefer the second view.
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top