View Poll Results: Speaker Preference: Bright or Warm

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  • Bright

    1 5.00%
  • Warm

    14 70.00%
  • Both!

    5 25.00%
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Thread: Do You Prefer A Warm Sound or a Bright Sound?

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    Default Do You Prefer A Warm Sound or a Bright Sound?


    Unless your spending enough money to buy a car with on speakers, you're going to get some amount of coloration.

    Warm or bright. It's completely subjective, there is no 'correct' answer.

    Just thought it would make a fun poll.

    Me?

    I have two set's of Polk LCR, a set on Infinity Beta 5.0, and two channel B&W DM308.


    I grew tired of my beta's. The hard dome tweeter and CMMD driver eventually fatigued me. They aren't even hooked up anymore.

    My favorite is actually the least expensive set I have: Monitor 60s and a CS2. I don't know if the tower effect is making them sound better then my Polk RTi bookshelfs, but it's became my go-to set-up for critical watching/listening.

    Mid bass is punchy, and treble is nice and soft.


    If money grew on trees, we'd all pick neutral, so it's omitted from the poll.
    Last edited by kamspy; 04-09-2009 at 05:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves2Watch View Post
    I prefer neutral so I can hear exactly what was meant to be heard.
    Well, my poll is flawed.


    I prefer neutral too, and I think everyone does.

    Hmm. Maybe delete that option from the poll if you could because everyone would pick neutral.

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    FATHER TIMELESS ImRizzo's Avatar
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    I prefer Warm or Nuetral, to the cold sterile Bright digital sound. Similar to the differences between Vinyl VS CD's, just a bit un-natural. IMO
    Last edited by ImRizzo; 08-15-2009 at 09:15 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves2Watch View Post
    What option do you want deleted from the poll?
    The one you picked

    I'll change the OP.

    If money was free, everyone would pick neutral, so it kinda defeats the poll. :/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loves2Watch View Post
    Dunn.
    :bowdown:

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    I chose warm because that's what I prefer. We're not talking about gross colourations, at least I hope not. Any well designed/well executed speaker is going to be pretty neutral. I have Totem Forests and they're a ton of fun to listen to but they are certainly on the lush side of neutral. I have sold and owned stuff with very flat measured response - Dynaudio comes to mind - but unless you have a well damped space and very high quality recordings they can be utterly ruthless.

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    I like the one that makes my ears bleed!!!!:D
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    Blissfully Ignorant uminchu's Avatar
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    Like others posting in this thread, were money obstacle I would go neutral. Between warm and bright, I'll take warm.
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    Neutral to a bit bright.

    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by hdtvjunkie View Post
    I like the one that makes my ears bleed!!!!:D
    +1

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    i'd have to say i prefer a warm sound, but i do like my top end as well. i like the shimmer.
    Samsung PN58B560 - 80gig PS3 - Yamaha RX-V2500 - Infinity Alpha 50 mains - Alpha center - Harmon Kardon HKB6 rears, Epik Sentinel & ED eQ.2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hdtvjunkie View Post
    I like the one that makes my ears bleed!!!!:D

    Junkie Junkie.....Junkie...we need to talk.. you showed so much promise there for awhile...

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    Although it isn't an option, I prefer a neutral sound...
    It's always time for pie
    Live everyday as if it was your last and plan on living forever...

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    I'd like to share something I wrote up for that other AV forum, as I think it could be of some use here. It's pretty long, but I hope that it is of some use to anyone looking for a neutral / accurate speaker.

    There is no perfect speaker . . . because no two recordings are alike. For one album I would prefer a bright speaker, for another I might prefer a bit more bass, and for yet another I might want the midrange to be more "present". This became crystal clear when I installed a Mac Mini in my rack that I use as a music server. Having instant access to hundreds of different recordings makes it quite apparent just how different each album was mastered. I don't how many times I've heard someone say that they want to hear what the artist / recording engineer intended, and then they set out to buy the most accurate speakers (and front end gear) that they can afford (myself included).

    While this is an admirable goal, I really think we are fooling ourselves. There are just too many variables that come into play. It's a moving target. There is the tonal balance of the monitors (and the microphones I've recently discovered) used at the recording studio vs. the speakers you own, the type of speakers the engineer / artist expects the music to be played back through, and the level that they mastered the music vs. the level you like to listen to. There are probably other factors as well, but these are enough to make the point.

    Recording studio monitors vs. your speakers - If the monitors used at the recording studio are tipped up in the treble (for example) and you have speakers that are flat through the treble (neutral), there is a good chance that recordings made with these monitors will sound dull through your speakers. Are you hearing what the artist intended in this situation? Not unless the frequency response of your speakers matches the studio monitors. And how will you ever know unless you were there? So even if your speakers have perfectly flat response in all directions from 20Hz - 20KHz, it is highly unlikely that you will ever know if you are hearing "what the artist intended".

    Microphone quality / character - I recently picked up the 1st "Stereophile Test CD". Track 5 is a reading of an article the was recorded using 18 different microphones. It was surprising to hear that many of them imparted a distinct character on the sound. Some obviously sibilant, others sound closed in, and some sound very transparent and natural. If this is the case, and you have some reference tracks that sound overly sibilant, thin, etc., it might not be your speakers at all, it could be the mic used for the particular recording you are listening to.

    Engineer's / artist's assumptions of the consumer's playback system - This one won't be news to many. I think most of us in this hobby have heard the tales of recording engineers having intentionally crappy speakers on hand to emulate what they think there music will be played through. If you listen to only audiophile recordings, you're pretty safe with neutral speakers, but if you like Rock / Pop, there is a good chance that the master recording was intentionally mucked with to sound good on an iPod or Boom Box. So those highly accurate speakers you own are about as far from being able to provide the "intended" sound as you can get.

    Reference volume - Dance club music is expected to be played at party level, while jazz at moderate to low levels. Since the human ear is less sensitive to bass and treble at lower volumes, the recording engineer may boost the extremes to get the balance right on the Jazz album. If you like to listen to your Jazz at high-ish volumes, these recordings may sound bright and boomy, or you may unknowingly buy speakers that that are rolled off a bit in the extremes to compensate for high level playback of recordings that were EQd for a lower reference level.

    Hearing ability of the recording engineer / artist - If the engineer / artist has any hearing irregularities, they may compensate for the loss in their EQ of the mix and what you hear through your system will not be what the engineer heard. Hopefully the engineer is responsible enough to have their hearing tested and apply the compensation needed to the playback system rather than the recording, but there is no guarantee of this.

    Considering all of the above, and as the result of some down to earth conversations with another audiophile friend, I've come to accept that EQ is my friend. It's pretty broadly accepted these days that EQ can be helpful in compensating for the effect of the room on the sound, and this can give you a good foundation to work with (I use room EQ), but I'm talking about good old manual EQ.

    I've typically owned somewhat bright speakers because I have a thing for detail and like an "open" sound, but I've found that there were many Pop / Rock / R&B recordings that sounded edgy and aggressive through these speakers. Now that I've changed to speakers with more balanced treble response (with some help from room EQ) very few recordings are offensive, but the recordings that sounded balanced on the bright speakers now sound a little shut-in and lacking detail. This is where something like iTunes EQ comes in quite nicely. Since I listen to all of my music through a Mac Mini (all lossless files), with iTunes as the interface, I simply assign an EQ curve in iTunes to those albums that need a little help, and leave it flat for those that don't. The cool thing is that you can have iTunes automatically engage a different EQ curve for each song or album. Though I have to admit that it would be neurotic to set a different EQ curve for every song in my library.

    We all have those recordings that are obviously bad, but it's those tracks / albums that sound pretty good overall, yet they leave you wanting in some way-- those are the dangerous ones. It was these subtle deficiencies that often lead me down the path of thinking I needed to change speakers, when all that was needed was a little "personal remastering" of some of my music. Artist's intent be damned! For instance I have the original CD pressing of the Scorpion's "Blackout" album, and the recording quality is crap. I don't think anyone would expect a better set of speakers to change this. I had to really goose the upper/mid bass and slightly raise the overall treble level to get it to state that was even remotely enjoyable. On the other hand, I've come across a couple dozen albums that sound slightly dark or shut-in (out of the hundreds of albums I own). When I hear a few of these tracks in a row, they get me thinking that there is something lacking in my speakers / system. Thankfully, all it took was a 2-3 dB boost of the treble region to make them satisfying. It wasn't same for all of them, as some responded better to a lower treble lift, some mid treble, some high. So it takes some fiddling, but it goes pretty quick once you get familiar with how the different filters affect the spectrum of the music.

    If I would have come to this realization sooner, I probably never would have gone through roughly 13 different sets of speakers over the course of 8 years in the search of the perfect speaker. What can I say, I'm a slow learner.

    Now I'm not saying that EQ will fix every problem, as I've had some speakers in the recent past that had "character" that I couldn't EQ out of them. And there are attributes to speakers that have nothing to do with their frequency response curve, such as the size of the soundstage they project, their dynamic capability, their resolution, etc., but if you are considering a new speaker purchase because some of your music is dissatisfying, EQ is worth a try, and it may save you some money and heartache.

    Below is a link to download that microphone demonstration track from the test CD I mentioned. There is no notice as to when a different mic is being used, other than a slight pause in the reading, but it should quite evident when it happens. It's an ear opener for sure.

    http://www.mediafire.com/?zmua3zmikmh
    Cheers,

    - Tim

  15. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to AV-OCD For This Useful Post:

    AxGates (09-19-2009), davidjschenk (09-19-2009), mytime (09-19-2009), nobsplease (09-19-2009)

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    Excellent post, Tim. Thank you for that.

    Yours,

    David

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    very good. i read that over on the forum of which we do not speak and it is a very good read. lots of truth to it. in the end get your speakers sounding the way you like it with the music you listen to.

    nice to have some audiophiles or audio guru's joining the forum here. i'm more of an audio guy myself.
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    Casual HD User AV-OCD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidjschenk View Post
    Excellent post, Tim. Thank you for that.

    Yours,

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    very good. i read that over on the forum of which we do not speak and it is a very good read. lots of truth to it. in the end get your speakers sounding the way you like it with the music you listen to.

    nice to have some audiophiles or audio guru's joining the forum here. i'm more of an audio guy myself.
    Glad you found some value in it guys. This hobby can be like chasing a rainbow at times, with that pot-o-gold always just out of reach. It took me a long time to learn that my expectations were simply unrealistic. No speakers / sound system is going to make everything sound good, but with a great set of speakers and EQ you can close the gap.

    Now with that said, there are still speakers that are clearly better than others and not all "accurate" speakers are created equal. Some that I've owned sound great with high quality recordings, but make mincemeat out of mediocre ones. In my search it was important that I be able to enjoy a wide range of musical genres. Thankfully I eventually found that.

    Jason - Glad to see another audio guy over here. I really like the vibe here, but it is definitely geared towards video. I love the whole gamut of A and V, but what some of the video guys don't realize yet is that all of the emotional impact of what is on their screen is conveyed through the soundtrack. The payoff of a good sound system is equal to or greater than the picture quality IME.

    Did you guys listen to the audio file I posted? I'd like to get some feedback on what you hear. You should notice after about the 5th or 6th pause in the reading that the sound quality starts shifting noticeably, all just due to a change in the microphone used.
    Cheers,

    - Tim

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    13 pairs of speakers in 8 years? OCD fer sure. Did you actually buy all those speakers? And I'm guessing you ain't married.
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    audio guy & Samsung liker JasonB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AV-OCD View Post

    Jason - Glad to see another audio guy over here. I really like the vibe here, but it is definitely geared towards video. I love the whole gamut of A and V, but what some of the video guys don't realize yet is that all of the emotional impact of what is on their screen is conveyed through the soundtrack. The payoff of a good sound system is equal to or greater than the picture quality IME.
    yup, audio > video in my book. video is easier though. there are simple right and wrong settings for video while you could spend your whole life trying to get your perfect audio system sounding as close to perfect as possible. video is more set it and forget it, audio is never perfect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobsplease View Post
    13 pairs of speakers in 8 years? OCD fer sure. Did you actually buy all those speakers? And I'm guessing you ain't married.
    he mentions a pair not having a high enough "WAF", Wife Acceptance Factor. so i guess he is married or at least living with a lady.
    Samsung PN58B560 - 80gig PS3 - Yamaha RX-V2500 - Infinity Alpha 50 mains - Alpha center - Harmon Kardon HKB6 rears, Epik Sentinel & ED eQ.2.

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