Warm vs. bright?


New member
Username: Glennkl

Post Number: 3
Registered: Aug-07
Can someone explain what a "warm" sound versus a "bright" sound is? I've read where if you have a warm receiver you don't want warm speakers and vice versa, but I can't find anything that explains what these terms mean. Thanks.

Silver Member
Username: Westcott

League City, Texas

Post Number: 302
Registered: Oct-05
warm usually refers to an emphasis on mid or lower frequencies, or bass. brights refers to an emphasis on the high frequencies, or treble.

Silver Member
Username: Stefanom

Vienna, VA United States

Post Number: 882
Registered: Apr-06
I suggest that instead of worrying about pairing a "warm" speaker with a "warm" amplifier, you go out and listen to a few complete systems. At that point, buy the system that sounds the most natural to you.

While you might not be able to pick out the "bargain" of the week speakers and hope they have good synergy with whatever receiver you pick out from a list, you'll undoubtedly end up with a system that you can listen to for years on end, and one which represents a good value to you.

Silver Member
Username: Huron

Post Number: 156
Registered: Mar-07
I own wharfedale speakers and there driven buy a Harmon/Kardon reciever, some people would say thats warm to warm, but I read threads on people running tubed amps with opus speakers, and Im sure it sounds sweet, I get listening fatgue with bright speakers after a time. I recently auditioned, klipsch reference, def tech, and yamaha speakers, I have to say the klipsch and def techs are very nice, klipsch are bright. I know someone that plays the saxophone, he has two, one is thinner gauge and sounds bright he says he uses that one if he needs to be hurd over other instruments and people talking, the other is thicker gauge and higher quality he uses for sounding sweet, I think speakers are like that, if I was to build a sports room I would have a klipsch setup, but in my home theater/ listening room, wharfedales, but there your ears go out and audition as much as you can and remember everything is going to sound different in your home

Bronze Member
Username: Db_audiofile

La habra, Ca Usa

Post Number: 43
Registered: Aug-07
Warn sound tends to be defined more musical. Less fatigue etc.
Amp / speaker combos can be very difficult to listen to for any lenth of time.
Tweeters that are "bright" tend to harsh and over powering to the rest of the music range.
"Warm" often tends to related to the Amp.
When you strike a note at 1000 cycles you generate a second signal at 2000 cycles and at 3000 cycles and so on. This is refered to as butterworth network.( help me Westcott on this one) The amps ability to reproduce these frequencies cleanly (2nd, 3rd and 4th order) ern the title of "warm" This dynamic head room defines the ability.
Your ears are different from mine. what is warm to you may be harsh to me.
Hoped I helped,
your friend,

Silver Member
Username: Stefanom

Vienna, VA United States

Post Number: 897
Registered: Apr-06
"When you strike a note at 1000 cycles you generate a second signal at 2000 cycles and at 3000 cycles and so on."

What you seem to be describing IMO is harmonics / and or harmonic distortion (if the amp is doing this itself, regardless of the source signal).... Harmonic distortion is generally considered bad, although high amounts of even order harmonic distortion can sound pleasing/warm.

Silver Member
Username: Leonski

Post Number: 179
Registered: Jan-07
Musical tones consist of 'fundamentals', that is the note sounded and 'harmonics'.

Music without harmonics would be incredibly....dull.
Try listening to early electronic instruments, maybe a Theramin (soundtrack to Forbidden Planet) or some early electric organs.
The Walter Carlos (pre Wendy!!!) album 'Switched On Bach' is a perfect example. Played on an early Moog Synthesiser.
Lots of fundamentals, fewer harmonics and a canned feeling thruout.

Silver Member
Username: Stefanom

Vienna, VA United States

Post Number: 903
Registered: Apr-06
I understand that leo, but if the amp is producing "extra" harmonics, that is generally considered bad, even if it can be pleasing.

Silver Member
Username: Leonski

Post Number: 180
Registered: Jan-07
apparently 'even' harmonics....2nd / 4th...etc
are considered pleasing.
'odd' harmonics, 3rd / 5th....etc are rasping.

An amps (for example) harmonic distortion is measured by feeding it a specified signal and looking at the output on an 'o'scope. I will research this and try to post a link to such an image. Most 'road tests' of amps/ integrateds, will include such an image along with the calculated %age. so called THD, or Total Harmonic Distortion, which is apparently the sum of all harmonics.
The ear is also pretty sensitive to this distortion at higher frequencies.....I don't know the threshold, but for woofers, 5% or so would be considererd 'good', while the same number at 5khz would be a disaster.

Silver Member
Username: Leonski

Post Number: 181
Registered: Jan-07

good article, illustrated, even, which will explain THD.
Other forms of distortion are referenced and while not explained, make it clear that THD is not the be-all, end-all of amp measurements.
« Previous Thread | Next Thread »


Shop Related Deals


Main Forums

Today's Posts

Forum Help

Follow Us