What defines a warm sound?

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by 0Hz, May 8, 2018.

  1. Steven Tate

    Steven Tate AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sampling rate is the key. If you had a sampling rate of 2X/sec, you could make an analog signal, but it wouldn’t sound very good. I’m sure the high sampling rates we have today are adequate to get a near perfect analog reproduction, but just because it’s digital doesn’t guarantee that. Lower sampling rates and lossy codecs can result in loss of detail.
     

     

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  2. OutlawSun

    OutlawSun Active Member

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    To me warmth is associated with smoother sound with emphasis on the mid range. The treble is there but the sharp highs are rolled off and the bass is more prominent than the treble but not overpoweringly deep. For instance Dynaco A-25s are what I'd consider a warm speaker.
     
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  3. twiiii

    twiiii Addicted Member

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    If thats true then why does an Ayre player sound different than an Oppo Player sound different than a Sony Player which is different from a Denon player? With as many different players and Dacs as there are in the world if digital is so simple then why are there so many solutions to decoding the digital signal. It doesn't seem to me that Digital is the final solution. We have been dealing with digital for over 35 years and I still don't see a solution. I am not saying analog is perfect, it has as many issues as ever. But at least there has been measurable improvement of over 50 db increase in Signal to noise and distortion levels dropping from over 1% to below .0005%. I don't think you can say the same thing about consumer Digital.
     
  4. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    Multiple reasons. Most of what you hear has nothing to do with the digital origin. Every DAC or CDP has an analog stage and just as there are vast differences in other line level products like preamps, you find the same differences with them. I have an Oppo 103 in the HT, but its audio performance is crippled by the 5532 op amps and weak power supply. I greatly prefer the use of more linear zero feedback JFET outputs. For a direct comparison, I replaced the more modern OPA2134s in a Music Hall DAC with Burson FET modules for a decided improvement in resolution and focus.

    The Redbook 44/16 standard is a dated compromise and some companies like Ayre offer different filter profiles so that you can choose your poison - flat top end response and post ringing or a slightly rolled off top with better time domain response. I've found that good 96/24 (or higher rez) content addresses the downsides of forcing a steep filter profile.

    I find that high resolution digital - with gradual (phase coherent) filter slopes using known high linearity analog stages can provide exceptional results.
     
  5. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    A solution to what problem?

    There are actually relatively few digital audio representations, at least compared to other digital media and document and application data formats.

    The differences in sound are in the analog portions, the 'A' part of the ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) and the 'A' part of the DAC (Digital to Analog Converter).
    Without context, this isn't very meaningful, but there are digital devices where the distortion is effectively unmeasurable (i.e., less than .0005% distortion) and even 16-bit Red Book CD defines a S/N ratio almost double that of 50db.
     
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  6. 432HzBob

    432HzBob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I just recapped my Infinity RS6's and for me a warm sound was achieved with bypassed Sprague caps on the tweeters and small Vit. Q bypass caps on the 2 midrange caps.
    What could have and has been before, an edgy, forward, shouty sound all of a sudden became 3 drivers fused as one with a "just right" crystal clean high that made EMIT's famous (and me love them ever since the mid 1970's) and 3" Polydome midrange that has every opportunity to stridently bore a hole through metal if not done right.
    Now it's mellow, but not sappy, recessed mellow, and brings out even more detail than before.
    This was not case with Solen PP caps without a 0.47 PIO bypass to take the harsh out.
    Now if only the old Luxman was still working it would be the ideal combination I've waited 30's years to rediscover.
    Now, old Luxman gear, that's a whole 'nother chapter in "mellow". Same for Marantz.
    Both have their own chapters that redefined Mellow as having it all there, never fatiguing, yet never leaving out the detail, soundstage and dynamics you expect.
    Both, and many more manufactures, are famous for a "Mellow" sound that's frankly, addictive, and allows you to listen to it without fatigue for hours at a time, especially with a good TT setup.
    Older Pioneers could be called "Mellow" too I think, The SX-626, 828 etc lineup, but when you get into the 950-1010+ late 70's kit, I wouldn;t call it mellow. Certainly excellent sounding, but a harder sound. Lots of power, but missing the "echo" an ;aid back sound of the earlier models.
    "What is Mellow?" is a great question to ask on the AK.
    It really is a relevant question to the amps, speakers, cartridges and even DAC chips in CD player choices we all use here.
     
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  7. 432HzBob

    432HzBob AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I 2nd that. Dynaco A-25's are very much a "Mellow" speaker. I have a pr in the bedroom.
    They are so laid back that they work great to lull you to sleep. Even with a recap they still qualify as Mellow
    The perfect speaker for hanging in a pub for music while sipping pints with your pizo's.
     
  8. ev13wt

    ev13wt Super Member

    Are we discussing flea farts being louder than someone elses flea farts again? How is 0.0005% anything relevant when speakers distort with 5 to 10%? Worried about TIM with such high neg feedback? (Amps)

    Everything sounds different, until you really test them against each other without knowing what is what - both playing at the same volume. Its a fun thing to try, that way you can really exclude your own bias about things. I have cheated myself many times, I even read one bad review and my new headphone amp sounded like crap because of it. For a couple of days.
     
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  9. ev13wt

    ev13wt Super Member

    "Axiom's tests of a wide range of male and female listeners of various ages with normal hearing showed that low-frequency distortion from a subwoofer or wide-range speaker with music signals is undetectable until it reaches gross levels approaching or exceeding the music playback levels. Only in the midrange does our hearing threshold for distortion detection become more acute. For detecting distortion at levels of less than 10%, the test frequencies had to be greater than 500 Hz. At 40 Hz, listeners accepted 100% distortion before they complained. The noise test tones had to reach 8,000 Hz and above before 1% distortion became audible, such is the masking effect of music. Anecdotal reports of listeners' ability to hear low frequency distortion with music programming are unsupported by the Axiom tests, at least until the distortion meets or exceeds the actual music playback level. These results indicate that the where of distortionat what frequency it occurs is at least as important as the how much or overall level of distortion. For the designer, this presents an interesting paradox to beware of: Audible distortion may increase if distortion is lowered at the price of raising its occurrence frequency."
    Source: https://www.axiomaudio.com/blog/distortion
     
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  10. UncleBingo

    UncleBingo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Perhaps think of it as sunlight vs a white LED.
     
  11. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    Because the former figure only reflects performance in a non-correlated sine wave environment. As Nelson Pass has demonstrated, those values rise exponentially and with high order harmonics when presented in the real world using complex signals, aka music. Our hearing is very sensitive to that kind of dissonant distortion.

    In the case of speaker distortion, most of it is relatively innocuous doubling distortion.
     

     

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  12. ev13wt

    ev13wt Super Member

    He is talking about IM at figures of 1%. Even your article says that trying to achieve 0.0005 with negative feedback is detrimental to sound quality.

    So, an amp with a figure of 0.02% IMD (60:7000Hz 4:1, SMPTE) at rated output of 80w into 8 Ohm
    Down -1dB @ 100KHz
    S/N (IHF, A)120dB

    Is a great sounding amp? I guess? :)
     
  13. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    He references both IM and harmonic distortion. Figs 4-6, 10-12 are about THD.
     
  14. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have read this thread since it started but have not posted since I really have no idea how to describe 'warm" except to say I know it when I hear it. Most of my gear could be considered warm except for my Marantz HT AVR and the newer Polk speakers I have. I just had my Pioneer CS88s recapped and they can easily be adjusted too bright, but depending on the music the back controls will tame them from bright and screechy to accurate and warm. My Marantz Imperial 6s are warmer and probably could use a recap, but I love them how they are.

    The 2230 I picked up today just sounds fantastic with the 6s and to my ear the sound is smooth and warm........how else to describe it I have no idea and I really dont worry about it.

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. cgutz

    cgutz AK Member

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    You have a great album cover on your amplifier :)

    That is my "go to" album for comparing TT, carts, alignment, etc.
     
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  16. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    LOL I laugh every time I put it on......I got it at Goodwill for $3, does not even have an inner sleeve and looks pretty beat up but works like a champ.......better than many other use records that I paid a lot more for.
     

     

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  17. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    A warm sound is defined by "Laurel".

    ;)
     
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  18. cgutz

    cgutz AK Member

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    I still have mine that I purchased in fall of 1976!
     
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