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What does coloured sound mean?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by headphonefred, Mar 29, 2012.
  1. Headphonefred
    Hi, title says it all. Thanks if you comment
  2. alv4426
    always remember google=friend 
  3. RPGWiZaRD
    Well basicly the opposite of neutral, the original signal has been twisted in a way it's not sounding as it was intended to, it can be anything like a boost or decrease in bass or mids or highs or usage of different filters/sound processings (Dolby Headphone, SRS to mention some examples) to the signal or even some devices (DACs/Amps) can color (or modify) the sound quite a bit from the original intended producer's signal.
  4. Citan
  5. Magick Man
    Unlike many, I like both neutral and "colored" sound. Depends on my mood. When I think of color, it's not "warm" or "cold", it's about texture and body, what I consider organic qualities. That's what I love about tube amps, you can potentially breathe life into a potentially bland recording, or take one that's very good and make it great. There are no rules with this. Sure I have good neutral SS gear for hearing a more pure form of a mix, and I do that a lot, but at the end of the day I'm plugging in to the big tubes and enjoying some ear candy.
  6. RPGWiZaRD


    To me distorted usually means a different thing, distorted sounds scratchy from amp clipping or the signal is being clipped for too much of a bump on the EQ for example. Colored may sound clean but doesn't sound like it was supposed to which doesn't have to be a bad thing either, it's more important if YOU like the colored sound or not than how it was supposed to sound like.
  7. Citan


    I think the term distortion has a fairly concrete definition which leaves little room for subjective interpretation.  Distortion is an alteration of the original signal, colored sound fits this definition.
    old tech likes this.
  8. TMRaven
    So. If a driver was designed for a u-shaped frequency response, and faithfully plays it with absolute clarity and minimum harmonics, it's a distorted sound? Sounds iffy to me. To me distortion is just a bunch of unwanted thd and imd, while clipping is clipping.
  9. acef2


    Yes, this is still distortion.
    Technically, everything that alters the shape/sound of the original signal can be called distortion. This isnt always bad however; many (not all) people appreciate "tube-sound" (a pleasurable form of distortion), while most do not like audible clipping. Even EQing is a form of distortion.

    So yes, coloured sound is distorted sound.
  10. TMRaven
    I don't see it as distortion at all. If something plays a certain way natively due to its construction and/or form factor, then it's playing it faithfully without any distortion. We're not talking about tube coloration, but a speaker's native sound.

    By your logic, digitally EQ'ing a DT990 to have a more linear frequency response is less distortion than playing the same DT990 without EQ.
  11. RPGWiZaRD
    Same, I don't see colored same as distorted and I certainly haven't seen any set-in-stone rules for this being the rule either. I gladly would see some references for that if you think otherwise, a forum "glossary" doesn't count.
    Distortion I see more like unwanted change/noise to to a signal which is bad in all circumstances while colored may even be wanted/positive in some cases such as "tube-sound" for some people. Amps could be adding more warmth or more brightness but I wouldn't classify that as distortion, then nearly all equipment would concidered "distorted" :p What ISN'T distorted in that case then? :)
  12. acef2

    If you have headphones that emphasizes bass they are still distorting the original sound information, even if we (usually) like it. Motion blur in video games are also a form of distortion -- even if rarely spoken of as such.

    Wikipedia has a fairly good article on distortion.


    (Also, noise and distortion are two separate phenomenons).

    (I think amplifiers should be kept out of this discussion because it will leave to flame-war and locked thread, mark my words).
  13. Headphonefred
    Slightly off topic, but how coloured are the Grado sr80is? Im thinking off getting them.
  14. maverickronin
    They can be fun though.  Depends on your tastes.
  15. proton007
    If your headphones favour bass/treble, its ' frequency distortion' as some comments say. 
    Tubes add 2nd/3rd/4th/Nth order harmonics, that is also 'harmonic distortion'.
    All these represent colored sound.

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