Questions for specialists on “warmth”

I have heard sound from speakers that are more neutral and detailed in texture and focus the presence of all frequencies, sound that captured air resonance and produced a holographic image, but I doubt that’s what warmth is.

It seems to me that “warmth” is manipulated by engineering.
What is the purpose of “warmth”?
Does it actually exists or is it in imagination, or is it given a phony name (resonating warmer air?) in result I couldn’t link what I heard to “warmth”.

Sorry for the many questions below, without evidence of existence of this “warmth”, I get that feeling somebody is telling me the earth is flat whenever they mention “warmth”.

Maybe it is more psychological, is it then related to the release of a certain type of chemical in the body?

I had thought that maybe warmth means organic. If that’s true, is warmth created with possible ways to give the listener organic illusions? If that’s true, can the sound become too warm that it becomes hot; or too organic that it makes the actually sound we hear in our daily lives in comparison cold, is that good for one’s marriage?

What are the differences between warm and cold, can any expert give some generalization of the technical differences that sets them apart? Are the sound manipulated, how?

How can warmth be created from the play back perspective?
With what material, why
With what construction, why
Why and what done in digital processing; AD (analogy to digital) and DA
Are they then best to be construction with organic material?
I think it's pretty simple. If measured, a warm system will have a boost in the midrange frequencies and attenuation in the highs.

The result can be achieved in many ways.
"It seems to me that warmth is manipulated by engineering".

Got some news for you, everything in audio reporduction is 'manipulated' by engineering.

ROTFLMAO. You get the troll of the day award! If this ain't a troll.....oh well.
Post removed 
I am in no way new to music, but I am no specialist, I have done recording and editing with Digidesign and Pro tools, Ive worked with violins, pianos and many synthesizers. And in production, I have not heard people use the word “warmth” except talking about lunch meals, neither have I in recording.

Please in no way feel that I am criticizing, I buy silver cables such as AQ sky and Nordost Valhalla and I am in the market for a Meridian 808, and I feel that they are worth every penny.

Tube owners often talk about warmth and none described clearly what it is and what it’s purpose is. The purpose for this tread is to clarify what is “warmth” as titled, and that when we talk about warmth we are not on a different page, referring to different things or things in one’s imagination, to not discuss purposelessly or unconstructively.

If warmth is as you had described, would one be able to get warmth out of any speaker with by filtering the signal through a good EQ? Does warmth differ in fidelity (between the warmth on a JBL or on a B&W?)

The tread asked a question and what was your point?
If you know well that everything is manipulated, would you care to explain how it is manipulated by answer any of my questions, such as, what is the purpose of warmth and how it is different from cold, to people psychologically or in technical terms of sonic.
If warmth is as you had described, would one be able to get warmth out of any speaker with by filtering the signal through a good EQ?
That would be one method, yes.

Does warmth differ in fidelity (between the warmth on a JBL or on a B&W?)
Any difference in sound between these two speakers has to do with their respective frequency response curves.

IMO, fidelity is a subjective term. Define fidelity.
My Paradigm Studio 60s were cold and harsh. My Meadowlark Audio Kestrel HRs are warm and smooth. "Warmth" is easier on my ears.
I thought this was a Mrtennis thread when I read the first few sentences.
Trackmango, You asked 'what was my point'. OK, here is my point.

I detected nothing in your original post that even remotely suggested to me that you were honestly trying to define the term 'warmth' or in what context people used it. You sounded to me 1) either like someone who didn't have a clue and were asking a very convoluted and poorly phrased question which defied a simple direct response, or 2)a 'troll' looking to stir up some controversy and arguement to no end but your own amusement.

Your second post on the subject seems to support the latter. You are by your own admission quite knowlegable about audio and its terms and know the context in which audiophiles use these terms. 'Warmth' may not be a precise term to fit your use, so don't use it. There are words which are far more descriptive to those knowlegable enought to use them. . If someone uses this term and its important to you to understand what he means, ask him at that time what he means.

Tvad told you specifically what 'warmth' meant to him. Did you accept his honest and direct answer. No.

I'm not standing in for Tvad, he can speak for himself if he choses, so can others. But, I'm opting out of this barren 'intellectual exercise'.
I have no idea what a 'specialist on "warmth"' is, but I know what 'warm' and warmth' mean.

It's a characteristic defined by frequency response, with the upper-bass and lower-midrange frequencies (specifically, from around 100Hz to maybe 500 Hz) higher than the rest of the band. It's NOT louder midrange frequencies--that's forwardness, and it's NOT quieter high frequencies--that's darkness, the opposite of brightness.

Many of us like speaker systems that are a bit warm because they reinforce what my friend calls the 'power' region of the orchestra, the frequencies where so many instruments--cellos, trombones, French horns, tympany, etc.--have their fundamental frequencies. But warmth quickly turns into thickness, and I believe not many of of like 'thick' sound.

I hope this helps.
In conclusion: those who few spend $$$ on tubes solely to achieve warm sound, could get an EQ and manipulate how much warmth they want, if any, without losing speed nor response time.

Id think two speakers both flat in response will differ in sound coloring (changing the texture of the sound) and response time (whether if they can delivery the resonance with no delay and stops the exact instant after delivery).

I will only try to describe fidelity in recording and playback in theory.

Imagine there is a piano between you speakers, and a mic approximately where your two ears will be. When the recording is finished, you sit in your chair and your speaker plays the recording, and it is exactly what you would have heard if you were in the chair when the piano was been played.

If through engineering, the sound can be replayed elsewhere from where the recording was done and achieves this type of fidelity, then it is fidelity in neither recording nor play back, but fidelity through sound engineering, which is heavily limited by the laws of physics (Beethoven’s 9th in a bathroom).
Newbee, you really are an asset to this community. Thanks for calling things what they are.
Greetings all, just my two cents, not to be rude, but if you have to ask what "warmth" is, than I for one, wouldn't want to try to explain it.

I believe it is something that must be heard to be understood.

If you really want to shake things up, ask what the following mean: 1)Bright
tvad, i think your partially correct in your definition of warmth. it is an attenuation of lower treble and upper midrange, with a boost in the lower midrange.

if the entire midrange is elevated, brightness may occur, because emphasizing the upper midrange can be a source of unplesantness.
Yes. One could use EQ in lieu of tubes to warm up playback, however, in my limited experience with EQ devices (Audio Control and Behringer), these units affect transparency by reducing ambient cues. If chosen carefully, tubes are more transparent than an EQ device in the signal chain.

Clearly, two speakers can have flat frequency response curves and sound completely different because of the differences in their drivers, crossovers, cabinets (or lack thereof), or any number of other factors.

I'm going to pass on commenting about your definition of fidelity.

I tend to agree with Newbee that this thread will soon be affected by entropy, so I'm going to move on before I get thrown off this carnival ride...
maybe a better term would be 'warmly balanced sound' because it is always a balancing act between high, mid and low frequencies. If speakers are too close to the wall, the lower frequencies will be louder and this would add warmth to the sound so the balance would be toward the warm side etc...

bottom line to me, warmth is a variation in frequency response with the region of approx. 100hz to 300hz being boosted in relation to the upper frequencis - nothing more.
I continue to have trouble with the word "musical" as a descriptor for how our systems sound. Speakers, amps, etc. are not musical instruments designed to create sounds of their own. They should pass the source through without placing an individual stamp upon it. For me the goal will be how Peter Walker of Quad described his gear: "The closest approach to the original sound." I keep trying to get sound in my listening room that sounds like what I hear in a live performance. It's up to the musicians to make it sound "musical."

Because components have still not achieved perfection I think it's legit to continue using terms like "warmth" and "bright" and others to help us describe to each other ways in which our systems or a component stray from the sound of what is real...real to each of us INDIVIDUALLY, as if it weren't complicated enough already!
Warmth in my opinion is when you have the upper and lower mid's to blend a bit better with a type of harmonic distortion that is pleasing to the ear, vs. the excessive overly accurate and piercing sound, or overly defining something like a womens voice, guitar, etc...with a more smooth and spread out sound. Basically the way I see it is if you hear a little warm and fuzzy in the middle making it less direct at you, its kinda like it spreads it out and has a more faded roll off with a unique fatter or deeper kinda echo quality.
How do you get there? Not sure, but so far the only way I have kept pretty explosive dynamics, with a good solid touch of warmth and not going to far one way or the other is with:
1-Paper drivers to handle the mids..

2-Tubes in most cases have the ability to help and tube rolling can find this character if you try.

3-Pretty high efficiency just so its not too warm and dynamics don't get lost easily.

4-mostly copper based cables with the occasional silver coating, but you gotta experiment.

5-very strong power supplys which is why I pretty much went with a good tubey sounding preamp and neutral solid state amps.

....Most other variations of equipment have been tuffer to achieve such results for me. And yes in a way Vinyl is far easier to reach this magical "warmth" By default, but digital can do it, it just takes a pretty good D/A conversion of the right type to make it happen.
This is not the end all be all, but just my results after years of looking for the most musical simple sound that has dynamic definition, but still pleasing with warmth.
I have never understood the tight association many see between tubes and warm sound. I have heard more accurate tube amps and line stages and slow, thick tube equipment. I would never tolerate such tube equipment. I have never heard bright and edgy tube equipment, but have heard such solid state equipment. I would never tolerate it either.

Much to my surprise, my present system includes no tubes anywhere. With one brief two month period about 20 years ago when I had an all Krell system, I have not had all ss in 40 years. It is not at all bright and brittle. It has much greater power than I have had in years. I did not go this way to rid myself of warmth, NO.

I think that digital front end and poorly set up and bad equipped vinyl front ends can sound bright, but the solutions is to rid yourself of them not to expect slow tube electronics can somehow ameliorate this brightness and edge.
Your humour in your thread made me burst into laughter for a while. Anyway...

I was quite mixed up with adjectives/hifi jargons used in description as well but got that sorted out now.

warm=*can't think of any synonyms at the moment*

I can't describe as well as others but would categorize 'warmth' in an audio context as a sound that lacks treble energy.

10-15-06: Mrtennis
tvad, i think your partially correct in your definition of warmth. it is an attenuation of lower treble and upper midrange, with a boost in the lower midrange.

if the entire midrange is elevated, brightness may occur, because emphasizing the upper midrange can be a source of unplesantness.
Mrtennis (Threads | Answers)
Thank you. That indeed was what I intended. My post was imprecise.
I have never understood the tight association many see between tubes and warm sound.

I completely agree: In my experience there has been no correlation whatsoever with warm and the destinction between SS and tube equipment, at least not with respect to the definition of the term according to Tvad and Mrtennis.

The reason for me to go to tubes is the added realism that is more a result of better resolution, transparency, better transient response and better speaker-amp interaction. The simplicity of tube amps seems to play a big role too, in not destroying ambient information and details.

Finally for a simple clarification of terms since you are "new" here: Try the stereophile glossary before starting a thread:

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

dark A warm, mellow, excessively rich quality in reproduced sound. The audible effect of a frequency response which is clockwise-tilted across the entire range, so that output diminishes with increasing frequency. Compare "light".

Of course you have a point, the term "warm" is used in all kind of ways, most not very accurate, the most prevelant being the one Tvad used, i.e. a tilded frequency response with attenuation of the upper midrange and highs.
Tube amplification offers "soft" clipping, which contributes to a naturalness in amplified sound.

I agree about tubes offering better resolution, transparency, etc.

However, some tubes are less resolving than others, i.e. Brimar 12AU7 versus Amperex 12AU7, and therefore provide a "warmer" sound that is less detailed.

At least this has been my observation in my home.
Here is something I've been thinking about. Can the perception of warmth be less of a matter of frequency bending and more of the rise and decay of the electronic's.

I think a lot of equipment, especially SS stuff, is so fast, especially in damping that a lot of the natural decaying sounds are cut off prematurely and this contributes to a 'cold clinical sound' vs a tube unit which has slightly slower rise and decay time. This would also go to the issue some raise of 'resolution', 'what is too much'. Again, nothing to do with frequency so much as the naturalness of decay.

Just food for thought........
Newbee that does make sense, its cut short adding barriers that you hear as anylitical.. Something that sounds warmer seems to let notes decay with a slightly fuzzier tone or something, its not so cut and dry sounding, or very plastic. And then a lot of it comes down to the recording itself.
If you have a preamp with tone controls and turned the treble counterclockwise you could hear a warmer sound but most audiophiles know that this extra circuitry will degrade the sound to some degree and there will be some loss of transparency & fine detail, few exceptions do exist. You can still have a combination of warmth, transparency, and fine detail with high quality preamps/power amps without equalization and is accomplished in other ways. A component that sounds bright or warm has little to do with its overall sound quality, matching of components is critical here.

The final sound of any given component of course is engineered into the product by the mfg so that when matched with their line of components the desired outcome is achieved otherwise it is hit or miss. That is precisely why many quality components are designed by ear. When you buy a component you are agreeing that they, the manufacturer knows how to produce a product that sounds good to you whether it sounds bright or warm.

I was told by an electronic tech that he could change the sound of any preamp or power amp by swapping out resistors. Aside from a warm sound & resistors, the sound you hear with any component has just as much to do with other parts and their implementation. Although varying degree of quality in resistors do have a substantial impact on sound.

Some audiophiles prefer a more extended, revealing sound while others prefer a warmer sound. That is exactly why we have an amp/preamp game. I have had a combination of components in my system that produced a warm sound, got tired of that and went back to a more extended, revealing sound.
Choosing the types of capacitors used in the power supply and signal path of amp, preamp and source components can also add or subtract to the "warmth" factor. Just opening up a new can of worms here. I have been experimenting with different bipolar low-voltage caps on my tuner's MPX board and it has opened up my ears to new revelations in sonic adjustments. I'm having some fun hearing what Blackgate and Nichicon Muse ES caps are doing to the sonic portrait. This hobby can sure be fun and enlightening sometimes.