Bright?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Chip Brogden, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. Chip Brogden

    Chip Brogden Extra

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    Can someone give me a complete definition of the term bright. I hear this term often and too my knowledge I believe it means "loud"?
     
  2. scott>sau

    scott>sau Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Chip,
    The audiophile term for bright, or brightness is sometimes subjective to each listener. Brightness is normally talked about when dealing with treble coming from tweeters. To be bright a treble sound would seem harsh and unnatural. A tweeter, speaker, or system could be as loud as concert levels and still not be bright, but sound clean and natural (if all the rules are adhered to). I am sure the material the driver is constructed from and room acoustics, (reflected sound) play a part in the level of brightness. Some people like brightness. Some tame and pad it. I have heard expensive tweeters that do not sound overly bright, but sound life-like and provide realism to HT and in music. [​IMG]
     
  3. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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  4. scott>sau

    scott>sau Stunt Coordinator

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    OK Angelo
     
  5. PhilMays

    PhilMays Stunt Coordinator

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    Funny subject[​IMG]

    I have always associated:

    Bright: Crisp

    Neutral: Blah

    Warm: Muffled

    But this is just one fools opinion[​IMG] :b [​IMG]
     
  6. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    There can also be varying degrees of 'brightivity' .......brightivity?! [​IMG].....
    from somewhat pleasant (to some people) [​IMG]
    to downright ear piercing [​IMG]
     
  7. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I think that technically most ‘bright’ speakers have a bit of emphasis in the higher frequencies (more db compared to other frequencies). This is frequently referred to as ‘tipped-up’. In addition to that emphasis, ‘bright’ speakers often have a clarity and or ‘ringing tone’ in these upper frequencies that other, more neutral ones may seem to lack.

    Now this can be good or bad, depending on your listening preferences. And depending on how bright the speaker is perceived to be. One of the speaker lines generally considered to be ‘bright’ is Klkipish, a sound which many love and others could do without.

    Usually those who profess not to like ‘bright ‘ speakers complain that they can’t play their system loudly for a long time without listening fatigue—where ‘brightness’ becomes to be considered ‘shrill’.

    In my mind, this is a very different term than ‘loud’ as close listening can discern ‘brightness’ at low levels—it is just more pronounced at higher levels.
     
  9. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    Scott:

    Didn't mean to bust your chops. [​IMG]

    I think Lew gave a good definition for you, in the sense that the term is usually used on HTF and elsewhere. I just don't put a lot of stock in these descriptors, because one man's 'bright' is another's... well, you know...
     
  10. scott>sau

    scott>sau Stunt Coordinator

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    Not a problem Angelo, I agree it is a totally subjective topic. That's why they wrote "Why audiophiles disagree" in Stereophile. Chip (the thread starter), is any of this helping? [​IMG]
     
  11. Randall Duncan

    Randall Duncan Stunt Coordinator

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    [stupid thought]I remember someone using the term "bright"
    to describe the sound of piezo horn tweeters and I totally disagree.
    Piezo horn tweeters are annoying at best...Not bright, just annoying. [​IMG]

    [/stupid thought]

    The term "bright" to me best describes the sound of a speaker
    system that uses dynamic horn tweeters, making the treble louder
    and more "in your face."

    Just some more opinions... [​IMG]
     
  12. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    I think horn tweeters just require the 'right' set of components or else they can sound very shrill and annoying. I've gone thru many components with my Klipsch KG5.2's, which would be considering a 'bright' speaker to many, and they have sounded shrill at times, but I have to say with my current set-up they are sounding very sweet indeed. I do not detect any brightness, just a 'naturalness' and a 'rightness' and an 'accurateness', unlike the dome tweeters in my Polk's.
     
  13. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I tend to favor the bright sound with its greater clarity both on speakers and pianos. A 'warm' sound strikes me as muddy, murky and highly unpleasant. YMMV.
     
  14. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    FYI:

    Bright: Listening term. Usually refers to too much upper frequency energy.

    brightness: The amount of high-frequency signal present in a sound, which tends to make the sound appear closer. The opposite of darkness.

    Coloration: Listening term. A visual analog. A "colored" sound characteristic adds something not in the original sound. The coloration may be euphonically pleasant, but it is not as accurate as the original signal.

    darkness: The amount of low-frequency, or corresponding lack of high-frequency, components of a sound. Reverberation from distant objects usually has fewer high frequencies and sounds darker than reverb from close objects. The opposite of brightness

    flat response: The faithful reproduction of the amplitude of an audio signal, specifically, variations in output level of less than one decibel above or below a median level over the entire audio spectrum. A system which has the same gain at all frequencies of interest will yield a graph of the gain versus frequency that will be linear.

    Grain: Listening term. A sonic analog of the grain seen in photos. A sort of "grittiness" added to the sound.

    Muddy: Listening term. A sound that is poorly defined, sloppy or vague. For example, a "muddy" bass is often boomy with al the notes tending to run together.

    sibilance: The high-pitched whistling caused by air passing around the teeth, such as is produced by saying certain letters: f, s, t, x, or soft-c. Most sibilance occurs in the 5-10kHz region.

    Warmth: A listening term. The opposite of cool or cold. In terms of frequency, generally considered the range from approx. 150Hz-400Hz. A system with the "proper" warmth will sound natural within this range.

    ====

    I lean towards (& own) "flat response" sounding speakers!

    Phil
     
  15. Steve Lucas

    Steve Lucas Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, I'll jump in with a question of my own. Recently there was a thread about Klipsch speakers, and I commented that they weren't "bright" enough to suit me. What I found that I liked was Paradigm. Wheat I specifically felt was missing in the Klipsch's was the "natural" sound of things such as the "sizzle" of a cymbal or the higher frequencies in the "snap" of a snare drum. I felt these were too laid back in the Klipsch. Not that I like them to be overpowering, it's a subtle sound that I don't like to have to consciously listen for to hear.
    If brightness isn't the correct term for what I'm refering to, then what is?

    Thanks,
    Steve
     
  16. HienD

    HienD Stunt Coordinator

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    When people say Klipsch speakers are bright, are they refering to the harsh sibilance and not an over powering treble? With an A/B comparison, my lower end Jamo's floorstanders were a brighter sounding speaker then a pair of Klispch synergy floorstanders. the Jamos's had more treble without the harsh sibilance the synergy speaker showed at higher volumes. My car speakers sounds very similar to Klipsch speakers. Almost a shrill sounding speaker. I think it time to upgrade the car speakers again [​IMG] . I loved the klipsch speaker for HT though. Very detailed/revealing and a tad better imaging.
     
  17. Chip Brogden

    Chip Brogden Extra

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    Scott, this is helping. It also shows that a lot of people were as unsure about this term as I was. But I do understand the general idea now. Thanks to all!
     
  18. PhilMays

    PhilMays Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve Lucas,

    I know exactly what you are talking about. In my main system I have all Klipsch Reference speakers. I was driving them with an Onkyo TX-DS 797 and they sounded warm to neutral as "I" defined above. I was so concerned that I was considering (heavily) to start replacing them with B & W speakers. I recently upgraded my receiver to a Yamaha RX-V3300 and the speakers are know "crisp" where a piano/cymbal/glass breaking is distinctly uniquely audible.

    I still like the Nautilus line from B & W, but that upgrade is now on the back burner.
     
  19. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    I like bright speakers without the annoying distortion... realistic uncompressed treble does not have to be harsh and fatiguing. (Not that I have that kind of sound yet. I think to get it really right, you need serious speakers.)

    As much as I may get flamed for saying this, the amplifier and setup does have something to do with it. Why do the people who complain about Klipsch speakers tend to have listened to them with cheap receivers or in unoptimized room settings?

    When I first set up my new amplifiers there was a little annoying "dry" distortion in the high frequencies. I think that wouldn't show up in a THD or FR measurement, since the amp has plenty of feedback and the bias was near the recommended level. I further increased the bias and the bad sound went away. The sound is every bit as bright, but not nearly as fatiguing.

    There's a similar effect with speakers, some generate distortion that might sound bad even if the frequency response is flat... especially when driven loud.
     

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