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define "warm"

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:14 am
by Johnisfaster
people always use the word warm when discussing how things sound or plugins sound or how hardware sounds. define warm. exactly what does it mean for something to sound "warm"


also, visit my pluggo heeeellllllpppp thread as I'm in great need of some help there.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:02 am
by hambone1
Pissing yourself when in a freezing-cold swimming pool...

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:07 am
by minimal
never understood this warm thing, to me things sound either better or worst.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:10 am
by hoffman2k
You think the "analog sounds warmer then digital" myth would be worthy of a mythbusters episode? :lol:

I wish I had heat sensors in my ears.

Its a pretty touchy subject. The "real pro's" are laughing as we speak.
Since they went over this discussion at least a 100 times before.

But then again... I've heard people using "My stuff sounds warm" as an excuse for a shitty clipping mix.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:30 am
by bragi0
As near as I can make out from listening to things people describe as "warm" they mean distorted, but in a way that sounds good to the ear. Lots of random harmonics, big roll off in the highs, etc etc.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 9:57 am
by gezabelle
only thing i can think of with regards to a warm production is Will Sauls remix of the track its so by content.
the synths are very warm. toasty almost.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:17 am
by Bombastic
listen to any of the ambient stuff from aphex twin for warm.
http://www.soundclick.com/util/getplaye ... 11501&q=hi

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:22 am
by eyeknow
This is the best "analogy" I can come up with.

Take a guitar, any guitar......plug it into a motu traveler input 1......have an amp sim setup ( GAP is ok, but GR2 is better......) Use a good quality cord ( mogami makes a very nice instrument cord......kinda pricey though)....

Now, get a UAD solo 610, and You'll need yet another mogami cable ( 6 ft xlr) and plug the guitar into the front input, plug the xlr out to the motu input 2.

Get the levels correct, er, as close as you can.....

Check the "warmth".......you'll shit 8O

You just cannot believe the difference.......it's not a "tone".....it's not really "gain" it's not any of that........it's just smoother......silkier.......um, warmer!

Sorry, but that is the best example I can give at this time......

Re: define "warm"

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:38 am
by Machinate
Johnisfaster wrote:define warm.
Fewer high frequencies. A good solid low-shelf boost will more often than not give you that "vintage" sound, too.

The "warm" sound is very much the opposite of the nineties "hammock" mix style.

Hey eyeknow, what I'd really love is for you to make an a/b recording using the mogami cables and just any old set of cables with proper connectors. I've never really been faced with anyone that could convince me that expensive cables help all that much, but you seem to know your stuff there.

Andreas.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:52 am
by Funkstar De Luxe
'Warm' is merely a light, pleasant form of harmonically related distortion. Everyone else is talking shit about things they don't fully understand or can't articulate. As per usual ;-)

Edit: And no, cable type will not affect your recordings unless 1) They are broken or 2) Are picking up interference (ie, not properly shielded). You can run simple test to prove this with RMAA http://audio.rightmark.org/

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:34 am
by hoffman2k
So warm means muffled and slightly distorted?

I'm just playing dumb here..

Any answer given here is open to interpretation.
We all have our own personal reference for what we would call warm.

So the real question is: "where does the term 'warm' come from"?
Synths/tubes/amps that heat up?
Or a warm and fuzzy feeling like from a teddybear/puppy?
Or do you literally feel heat in your ears?

Is there any historical point of reference from where the term got started?
Is there such a thing as "digital warmth"?

I'll chuck in my own theory here:

Warmth is a phrase that is used to describe the inaccuracies of analog sound.
The buzz in the signal, the crackles of the records, the altered sound of "heated up" devices, CV controlled units, distorted harmonic effects...

Hence Dynamic Tube, Saturator and vinyl distortion :wink:

Still... why is it called warmth?

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:47 am
by Funkstar De Luxe
hoffman2k wrote: Warmth is a phrase that is used to describe the inaccuracies of analog sound.
The buzz in the signal, the crackles of the records, the altered sound of "heated up" devices, CV controlled units, distorted harmonic effects...
Hmm, yes. I have no idea why it's called warmth, rather than depth, or fullness or anything else. Warmth doesn't need to be muffled though, it can still be crisp and vibrant. Try the demo of Voxengo Warmifier and you'll get a good idea of the subtlety and character of 'warmth'.

It's not that you are dumb - a lot of musical and sonic terms are extremely difficult to portray in words alone. The difference between something sounding cold and something warm is much more subtle than I can describe to you. It's like the difference between 'white' and 'eggshell white'. It's a slight musical distortion that changes the character of the sound without ever making it's self obviously apparent. I wish I had the language skills to do it justice, but Voxengo Warmifier will help. Or Voxengo Lampthruster

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:48 am
by nebulae
I've heard that to the human ear, a certain amount of distortion is actually very pleasing...that certain harmonics and subtones become present and enhance the sound. Warmth, to me, is a derivative of this notion...that as you add some distorted gain, harmonics and subtones create a richer and fuller sound.

I think the easiest way to hear warmth is to listen to the output of any guitar connected to a real amplifier, or any analog synthesizer. These days, they are rare, but the Andromeda comes to mind...but even samples of a true 909 or 808. Compare those to say Rebirth. I think the main differentiating characteristics would be that the analog hardware has a thicker sound, with some high end noise/hiss and an overall crunchiness, while the software emulation would be a bit thinner, cleaner, and generally leaner sounding.

I'm not here to say if one is better than the other. Too much "warmth" usually leads to muddy mixes, and back in the analog days, your problem was to get a mix to be bright enough. These days of pure digital, the trend is to get your sound to be "analog" or "valvy" or "warm", whatever the fuck that means. I tend to use what sounds good to my ears, and most of my mixes have a combination of hardware and organic instruments, with software synths, to create an overall balanced mix.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:50 am
by nebulae
Also, if I was to define warm vs. not warm with examples, I'd say that the latest Nelly Furtado is not warm and totally crap sounding, while the last Cardigans record is so warm that it literally feels like my eardrums are being lathered in butter when I listen to it.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 12:00 pm
by Angstrom
Funkstar De Luxe wrote:'Warm' is merely a light, pleasant form of harmonically related distortion. Everyone else is talking shit about things they don't fully understand or can't articulate. As per usual ;-)

Edit: And no, cable type will not affect your recordings unless 1) They are broken or 2) Are picking up interference (ie, not properly shielded). You can run simple test to prove this with RMAA http://audio.rightmark.org/
which is why (I think) DSP aliasing is often the cause of 'non-warmth' , as it produces non musical harmonics.

many software instruments and effects produce aliased frequencies and that contributes to their digital sound. To make the distinction, everyday users coined this 'warmth' idea - to differentiate between harsh digital aliasing and analogue aliasing. There's also the shelving filter design, but I digress.
I don't remember hearing about relative warmth prior to the DX7 era. Everything was 'warm' then, or alternatively - it was harder to produce non musical aliasing during common processes.

yes, I am old.