Question about neutrality and transparency in an amp


I've just acquired a Hegel H160 integrated along with a pair of Dynaudio Focus 160 speakers and am breaking in this combination with a digital source. The amp is quite colorless and neutral, as are the speakers. I'm personally inclined toward a warmer sound. I don't have any analog sources at the moment, but I'm wondering... if I connected a turntable, cartridge, and phono stage combination that, taken together, presented a decidedly warm sonic signature, would this warmth be conveyed by the amp and speakers to my ears?
echobase
I don't have experience with your specific set up but all things being equal, in my system the vinyl generally has a "warmer" sound but with a trade off between the loss of some of the details at the two extremes of the frequency range. I think it all depends on the difference in the quality between the two different types of the sources. Your question is difficult to answer.
Your claim that both your speakers and integrated are, " quite colorless and neutral", should answer that question for you. Transparent, colorless and neutral all connote faithfulness to the source, or whatever’s upstream. If you want warm colored analog, pick a tubed phono stage and play with some British valves(ie: Brimar or Mullard). There are also tubed buffers, that can warm up your digital sources. Some integrated have Pre Out / Main In features(or a Tape loop), that would allow one to insert a tube buffer, and warm everything up.  Didn't see those mentioned in the Hegel's manual though.
I’m curious as to how you determined that both your Hegel amp and Dynaudio speakers are both colorless and neutral sounding. Have you listened to them both with other amps and speakers?
I ask because though I have not heard the Dynaudio Focus 160 speakers, nor any Hegel amplifiers, I have heard quite a few Dynaudio speaker models, and I can’t say that I heard any of them sound colorless or neutral. The Dynaudio speakers I have heard, sound full bodied, vibrant and warm.

That said, I don’t know that analog would necessarily improve the warmth in your system. It certainly could, however, much of that would depend on the analog and digital sources that you select. I have heard, and currently own digital and analog gear. Some analog and digital gear sound neutral and colorless, some sound rich and warm.

I think at this point it is best to continue to let your amp and speakers continue to break in. Experiment with speaker placement and toe in. Experiment with room treatment.
If you still feel that the sound is too neutral or transparent for your tastes 2 or 3 months from now, then maybe you could consider trying a different source, either analog or digital.
echobase
"I've just acquired a Hegel H160 integrated along with a pair of Dynaudio Focus 160 speakers ... The amp is quite colorless and neutral, as are the speakers ... if I connected a turntable, cartridge, and phono stage combination that, taken together, presented a decidedly warm sonic signature, would this warmth be conveyed by the amp and speakers to my ears?
By definition, if you have a neutral system and you feed it a warm signal, you'll get a warm result.
jmcgrogan2  +1  You need to allow a couple of hundred hours for the caps to burn-in and the drivers to break-in before any critical listening. To help achieve a warmer, organic presentation, I highly recommend this Sablon power cord. I’m surprised that it’s still available.
I would guess that for now your system sounds lifeless and incoherent, not colorless and neutral, which is an abstraction. Also, colored and colorful are totally different things, the former is bad, the latter is good.
Analog can also sound cold and uninviting, it depends, including on the recording. But, yes, good analog source brings out the best in amps and speakers.
It's just my perception that this combination sounds very neutral having just transitioned from a Rega integrated and Acarian Alon loudspeakers that sounded like honey on a stick in comparison. I've only got 100 hours on the new gear, so yes, it's still early... I will continue the break in process.

@rodman99999 Thanks for the tube recommendations.

@jmcgrogan2 I'd be really interested to know which digital sources you'd describe as rich and warm.
No digital system I am aware of can sound rich and warm in a natural way. It might one day but not yet. He was kidding. Adding tube amp in the middle may help create this illusion, but it is what it is - an illusion. 
As others have stated, it’s too soon to hear the true sonic signature of your system. In the end, your amp may end up with neutral sonics, but the dynamics and depth will have opened up.
I also agree that the Dynaudio Focus line has warm, full-bodied sonics. You’ll need some time to break-in the speakers.

And realise that the brand and type of cables used can influence the warmth and every other aspect of sound.
@echobase, I have owned a couple CDP's that I would say sounded rich and warm. My Marantz SA-11S1 with Ultimate Tube mod by pcX, and a BAT VK-D5SE. Yes, both had tubes in them, perhaps that is a common theme. Though I have heard other Marantz CDP's without tubes sound full bodied and smooth too.

I have also owned analog gear that was very neutral and revealing. Lyra cartridges, Walker Audio phono stages, and Basis turntables specifically.

You have to understand that neutral and colorless on it's own is not necessarily a bad thing. We all try to balance a system with enough neutrality and warmth to suit our own personal tastes. I have heard systems that were too revealing for my tastes, just as I have heard systems that were too warm for my tastes. It's just a matter of balance.
I agree with Jmcgrogan2, some analog front ends can certainly sound clinical,sterile and threadbare. There are digital sources that can provide an organic/natural warmth and tonal richness. Either analog or digital can sound excellent or very poor. I just don’t find the old stereotypes of both genres to be true or useful when one has quality components and a well constructed synergistic audio system. I agree with Inna’s comment that theres a difference between colored and colorful. Live unamplified music is colorful, vibrant and has an innate richness.
Charles,
Ladder dacs can sound warm and rich. Examples would be the Teradac Chamelion And the Audio-GD dacs using the 1704 chip
Alan
I'm pretty new to the audiophile scene although I've had my share of quality audio equipment over the years and played piano professionally. Every ear is different. I hear pianos that I describe as warm and rich; others tinny and lifeless. Same for audio systems. If warm and colorful is what pleases your ear, then pursue tubes. Yea it may "color" the digital crispness, but hey, it's your ear and your money. I feel the same way and feel like I warmed up my digital streamer McMB100 by using the DAC in my Aesthetix Romulus eclipse. As a CDP the Romulus gives me a warm sound I really love. Colored?  Maybe. But it's my ear and mummy net. It's played through my McC52, Aesthetix Atlas eclipse and Burmester B30s. My point is tubes are noticeably warmer for digital and analog So go for what you love to hear. Audition equipment n a way to isolate and appreciate their sonic differences. 
Almost bought a Hegel...Demo'd at home.  Cold sounding...got a Krell Vangaurd!  Faithful to the music, colorful and dynamic...warmth?  Yes
One thing to keep in mind in a conversation like this is that the human ear/brain system converts all forms of distortion into tonality.

Tubes are often docked for having a 'warm' sound- this is often due to the presence of a second harmonic. Transistors are often described as 'neutral' and also perhaps a bit 'dry'. The 'dry' sound is caused by the presence of higher ordered harmonics in trace amounts- which the ear converts to 'harsh' and 'bright'.

It is very difficult to tame these colorations! They lie at the heart of the tube/transistors debate which isn't going away anytime soon.

From the OP, I do get the feeling that the equipment must not be truly neutral as claimed, else the closing question would not have been asked. If I got this right, then the answer is that an analog playback through this system will likely retain the character of the system as described. If I am wrong and the system is truly neutral then the analog playback will sound 'warmer' (which is because digital playback often has distortions that don't usually show up in the specs, which the ear converts to brightness and hardness. The most common distortion is an intermodulation between the musical material and the scan frequency. This distortion is not usually described on the spec sheet). The analog will lack this distortion (unless mastered from a digital source) and often has some lower ordered harmonics added depending on the care taken in the recording. 


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