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What gives electronics their [characteristic] sound ? (1 Viewer)

Jason GT

Second Unit
Dec 12, 2002
The influence on a separate power amplifier on sound (warm/bright) seems to be a bone of contention here.

On the other hand, there seems to be little argument over the characteristic sound of receivers (brighter Yamaha, warmer Harman for example).

So my question is -- what gives electronics their 'sound'? Is it the preamp section (ie, separate preamps could be classified as warm/bright etc)?

Michael R Price

Jul 22, 2001
Well, all electronic parts contribute distortion. It's up to the manufacturer to decide what kinds of distortion they prefer to keep in their products. Both the preamp and amp and just about anything else, I bet, influence the sound.

Some distortions are "warm" and some are "bright"... there's no real meaning to any of those words... and it seems as if just because of the way people interpret the words, "bright" components are less pleasant to listen to. Cheap solid state electronics have a reputation for nasty sounding "bright" distortion. In comparison some tube amps could be called "warm" in part due to their higher output impedance and more harmonic distortion. Either way it's all relative and you could call a perfect system both bright and warm, depending on how you look at it.

I guess the reason for people being more sure about the sound quality of receivers might that the receivers are just worse than some more expensive amplifiers. Their distortion difference between a Yamaha and H-K receiver might be more obvious than the difference between two better quality amps. Although common sense dictates that almost any receiver compromises sound quality relative to separates, I can't say I have experience to judge them that way.

Also take into account that these differences in sound from electronics can be swamped by other things like speaker placement, room acoustics, whether you had a good day or not, etc.

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