What does it mean for headphones to be "warm" or "dark"
Feb 28, 2013 at 2:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

seqasim

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Dec 12, 2012
Posts
175
Likes
15
I have the HD 598s and the HD 650s are on their way. I have often heard that the HD 598s are classified as "warm" while the HD650 are classified as "dark". Where can I find out what these mean? I keep getting conflicting responses.
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 2:07 AM Post #2 of 11

Tsujigiri

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Posts
1,163
Likes
107
There's a list of headphone terminology stickied at the top of the forum. These headphones are called that because they have a slight bass bump with more laid back treble that isn't fatiguing.
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 2:40 AM Post #4 of 11

Tsujigiri

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jun 19, 2009
Posts
1,163
Likes
107
As far as the difference between warm/cold and dark/bright, one of them refers more to the treble and one of them refers more to the bass. I forget which is which, though... It's kind of a moot point because you'll very rarely encounter a headphone that produces a sound that most people would call both warm and bright or both cold and dark. And these are subtle differences as well; if the headphones are really skewed in their sound signatures you start seeing terms like "bloated" or "thin."
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 5:46 AM Post #6 of 11

RPGWiZaRD

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Posts
6,343
Likes
382
It's not strictly bass versus highs balance, it's equally much mids vs highs. In frequency response talking about 0 - 3000~4000Hz vs 4000Hz+ range. There are also midrange focused headphones with rolled off bass and rolled off highs which can be concidered dark, stock Fostex TR50P comes to my mind.
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM Post #7 of 11

Beagle

His body's not a canvas, and he wasn't raised by apes.
Joined
Jun 29, 2001
Posts
8,642
Likes
2,540
Bright or dark are terms that are used when the sound of a component deviates from sounds of live instruments and voices.
 
Unfortunately, most people just compare headphones to other headphones and say "these are brighter or darker than those" etc. 
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 1:29 PM Post #8 of 11

AzN1337c0d3r

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Posts
302
Likes
11
Dark refers to a prominent bass with recessed treble.
 
Warm refers to a prominent bass with usually neutral treble.
 
Both terms are only meaningful when compared relative to something and I own the HD650 and HD558 (very similar to the HD598) so I would say that the HD650 is darker than the HD558 and the HD558 is warmer than the HD650.
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 3:02 PM Post #9 of 11

BetaWolf

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Posts
197
Likes
12
Seriously, is there a beginner guide for newbies anywhere? I see tons of stuff thrown around that has no meaning to me. How's a newbie going to know what warm, cold, dark, bright, etc. mean?
 
Feb 28, 2013 at 3:05 PM Post #10 of 11

streetdragon

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Posts
2,911
Likes
157
Quote:
Seriously, is there a beginner guide for newbies anywhere? I see tons of stuff thrown around that has no meaning to me. How's a newbie going to know what warm, cold, dark, bright, etc. mean?

there ya go 
wink.gif

 
Mar 1, 2013 at 3:07 AM Post #11 of 11

calipilot227

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
May 3, 2010
Posts
1,876
Likes
50
Location
San Jose, CA
I personally consider "warm" to be a forward midrange (particularly the lower midrange) and slightly forward midbass. I consider a very-forward midbass presentation to be "muddy."
 
"Dark" to me is the absence of treble sparkle, "Bright" is excessive treble (and sibilance). Granted, these are extremes.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top