is it true that bright sound has better imaging than warm sound

Robert George

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While I agree with Larry in a general sense, there are circumstances where a system that has what is generally described as a "warm" sound will have less than optimal imaging.

The detail in sound, and by extension the precision of a stereo image, comes from the mid and upper frequencies. Some amps and pre/pros that could be described as "warm" may actually be lacking in upper frequency detail which can result in a smeared or less precise stereo image.

The bottom line is, how well a system images is a result of the quality of the components, not whether any or all of the components have a "bright" or "warm" sound.
 

Aslam Imran

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I agree with you George. On a similar note, what determines the soundstaging of an amp, the lower or upper end? I like a wide and deep soundstage with precise imaging. Are they mutually exclusive properties of an amp? Or are they reserved for the high end because I have heard some fully balanced Krells that have both properties but no amp in the mid fi arena (Rotel, B&K, ATI, Parasound or Adcom) that could throw a wide and deep soundstage with precise placement of vocals and instruments.

I know speakers have a lot to do with that and most of the mid fi gear I heard was on good speakers like Mirage OMs, Sonus Fabers, Vienna Acoustics, B&W (not the nautilus line) while the Krells I heard were connected to Thiels.

Thanks.
 

John Garcia

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How do you know what bright is? One person may feel one component is bright while another may not. It's whether or not YOU like what you hear.
 

Aslam Imran

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How do you know what bright is? One person may feel one component is bright while another may not. It's whether or not YOU like what you hear.
You mean when I am comparing two amps can I tell which is bright? In that case I can. Also I dont mean bright in a derogatory sense. All I am asking is does better imaging come with a pronounced upper end (given similar amps of similar build quality).
 

Walt N

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Assuming solid state amplifiers that are performing properly ie. no excessive channel bleed/crosstalk, soundstage and imaging is mainly a function of speakers, placement, and the room.
 

Robert George

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An audio system is just that, a system. The overall performance of a system will be determined not by a single component, but by the synergy of the entire system. A well designed audio system will be greater than the sum of its parts.

To create a soundstage that has both depth and detail requires a system that does everything well, but that does not necessarily mean it must be esoteric in quality or price. "Mid-fi" is a subjective term that will mean different things to different people. I have heard what I consider "mid-fi" systems that sound amazingly good. However, at this level, careful component matching becomes even more important because, as they say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

The most often overlooked component in an audio system is the room. When discussing soundstage, the room becomes, perhaps, the most important component. No electronics or speakers, no matter how expensive, can overcome poor acoustics. On the other hand, what might be deemed a mediocre, or "mid-fi", system can be made to sound much better than the quality of the components in the system if it is properly set up in an acoustic space that allows for optimal soundstaging.
 

David Judah

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I say no, because I consider imaging more a product of timing(when the signal from the stereo pair arrive at the listener).

However, I do think it affects accuracy(although I know you didn't ask about that), because as Obi mentioned, a warmer sound usually involves a roll-off of HF info.

DJ
 
J

John Morris

I used to think that all warm sounding amps had rolled off upper frequencies, however, lately, I've been messing with a tubed headphone amp. IMO, using a headphone removes some of the other contaminants which can make careful listening somewhat harder. The amp I am testing came with a set of tubes which emphasized a midrange bloom. That sounds kinda pleasing for some music, but has me wanting for the lower distortion, and the treble and low end bang that I like too. So, I've been swapping different tubes in and out of this thing and have very suprised how differently the amp sounds with different tubes. Recently, Nick Dangerous from Dallas sent me one of his tubes from his now sold amp like mine. Instantly, I could tell the difference. The upper treble was there, not pronounced, yet not hidden. The low end was also appropriately present. Bass was fast, and not blurred into the surrounding freqs. Yet, the lush midrange, which is making me start to really like tubed amps, was still there. So, now I believe that warm, detailed, and full range CAN exist in am amp or preamp!
 

Aslam Imran

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Assuming amplifiers that are performing properly ie. no excessive channel bleed/crosstalk, soundstage and imaging is mainly a function of speakers and the room.
Then why do reviewers characterize amps as having open soundstage and rock solid imaging, etc?
 

Aslam Imran

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Good point Robert about system synergy. I guess I am naive in focussing only on one component. I should be looking at the whole system.
 

Saurav

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because as Obi mentioned, a warmer sound usually involves a roll-off of HF info
It's just as likely that a brighter sound is caused by a slightly accentuated treble, which is something that can be found on several speakers.

It's all relative - a neutral component will sound warm when compared to one with an up-tilted treble curve. And vice versa.
 

Larry B

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Aslam:

Or are they reserved for the high end because I have heard some fully balanced Krells that have both properties but no amp in the mid fi arena (Rotel, B&K, ATI, Parasound or Adcom) that could throw a wide and deep soundstage with precise placement of vocals and instruments.
In general, the better the electronics, the better the soundstage and imaging. IMO, no mid-fi components (Rotel, B&K, etc.) can produce anything even close to that which can be achieved with products from manufacturers such as Naim, Linn, Levinson, Lamm, etc.

Larry
 

David Judah

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I would consider it possible, Saurav, but not as likely. It is especially easy to detect when you are comparing products and one particular range is out of balance.

It is much more common for speaker manufacturers to boost the upper midrange frequencies, so when someone is exposed to a more neutral speaker through the entire range(mid-range & treble), it sounds like the treble is accentuated, when in fact it is not--the mid-range is just not "drowning it out."

I agree though that alot of it is relative.

It's a great topic for discussion, Aslam, since we are all coming from different places due to our personal preferences and experiences with different equipment.

DJ
 

chung

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In general, the better the electronics, the better the soundstage and imaging. IMO, no mid-fi components (Rotel, B&K, etc.) can produce anything even close to that which can be achieved with products from manufacturers such as Naim, Linn, Levinson, Lamm,, etc.
Wow, that's an extraordinary claim! I think you should try doing a level-matched DBT test with good solid-state power amps from "mid-fi" manufacturers and the high-end ones. You may be in for a big surprise. I think you will be amazed that mid-fi CD players, like the Meridian's or the Arcam's, or some of the Sony ES's, can easily match the expensive 2-box sets in DBT's, too. (That's one of the reasons why high-enders hate DBT's.)

There was a pretty well-known case of a high-end audio salesman not being able to tell the difference between a $500 Yamaha integrated amp and a Nelson Pass $$$ power amp in a DBT. Not all power amps sound alike, but the good ones are very similar.

Seriously, I think imaging and soundstage is about 95% speakers and room acoustics. The rest is basic audio engneering on the electronics to make sure they do not screw things up. Not really hard to do, but then no guarantee that they will be done correctly.
 

Aslam Imran

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It's a great topic for discussion, Aslam, since we are all coming from different places due to our personal preferences and experiences with different equipment.
I actually was listening to some music score last night on my Denon 3801 and Infinitys and noticed that I could clearly place stringed instruments and piano notes in the sound field while I couldnt really place the drums exactly. I changed over to some other music scores and noticed the same thing. So I extrapolated and thought that if image specificity is an attribute of upper frequencies then brighter sounding amps with their pronounced treble should image better then warmer rolled off HF amps. But this is only a guess as I am beginning to find out from all of you.
 

Larry B

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Chung:

Wow, that's an extraordinary claim! I think you should try doing a level-matched DBT test with good solid-state power amps from "mid-fi" manufacturers and the high-end ones. You may be in for a big surprise. I think you will be amazed that mid-fi CD players, like the Meridian's or the Arcam's, or some of the Sony ES's, can easily match

the expensive 2-box sets in DBT's, too. (That's one of the reasons why high-enders hate DBT's.)
In the interests of peace, I withdraw my statement and hereby state for the record that (1) all SONY products are every bit as good as higher-end products, and (2) any perceived differences between, for example, a SONY CD player and a Levinson reference player, are imaginary, and due entirely to pre-conceived notions.

See you all later.

Larry
 

Aslam Imran

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There was a pretty well-known case of a high-end audio salesman not being able to tell the difference between a $500 Yamaha integrated amp and a Nelson Pass $$$ power amp in a DBT. Not all power amps sound alike, but the good ones are very similar.
Couldn't find difference between a Pass amp and a yamaha integrated in a DBT? Wow that is infact mind blowing.
 

Saurav

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Chung,
Links and references, please
Also, what was the associated equipment, and what kind of music was played? I would assume that the salesman would have ensured that the situation would be one that would adequately stress the Yamaha integrated?
 

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