...So did anyone ever figure out what 'warm' means?

For anyone who may not know, the Recording Review forum which many of us migrated to IRD from had literally banned the word ‘warm’. If you attempted to type if you would see ****. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone who was a part of this group thinks twice about using it as an adjective in audio related conversations.

There’s no correct or incorrect answer here. Question:

Without overthinking, if I were to say ‘warm tone’, what is the first thing that comes to mind when you interpret that phrase and assign meaning to it?

(…being kind of humorous here…)

WARM: When the guitar tone sounds how a freshly baked brownie smells.


Boosted lower mids and reduced high frequencies.

I think twice about using any adjective that has no clear meaning. Warm was just the worst offender of all the audio buzz words.

I think low pass filter and distorted.

Clapton’s ‘woman tone’, explained at 2:00.

Pat Metheny = warm
BB King = Twangy

When I think warm tone I immediately think of jazz tones as opposed to rock or country or pop. I think of George Benson’s guitar. To me it’s the sound of a valve preamp lightly saturating sound just before it breaks up.

I immediately think of Gary Moore’s blues phase… that immaculate, full, round, amazingly comfortable, on the verge of break-up tone that you want to wrap yourself in like a blanket. :slight_smile: I know… all very subjective… but that’s what I think of.

Attaboy Al. Especially if you use soome secret ingredients in the brownies.

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To me, it has always been an analog vs. digital thing. Analog can equal warm if done properly, digital gets run through tape emulators to approach warm.
On the slightly more technical side, it’s where the harmonics live within the distortion of the original signal. In other words, even harmonics can add a little distortion, such as in an audiophile tube amp, without causing listening fatigue. Odd harmonics tend to add a brittle distortion. If you listen to a Krell amplifier, for instance, you probably can’t push it into distortion, but being a very fine solid state amp, it doesn’t round off transients at all, so there is a quickness to the signal that a driven tube amp, such as a McIntosh, will round off a touch. The Mcintosh, playing the same signal as the Krell, might be considered warm, whereas the Krell would be considered accurate, and therefore a bit brittle in comparison. If you want to hear bones breaking accurately, you go with the Krell. If you want warmth, you go with a tubed McIntosh. Both fantastic amps that I wish I could own, but frankly, I’d take the McIntosh, partly because of the sound, and partly because of the warmth that happens in my pants when I see glowing tubes. Sorry for the graphics, but to me a McIntosh tube amp is like love plugged into the wall.

I think of “warm” as a pleasing, slightly saturated sound without the brittle, hard-edged high end frequencies.

I think of that feeling of peeing your pants when young. It feels so nice … for a minute. It’s WARM!

Now, the audio feeling of that continues, at least through one whole song. Maybe through a whole evening. It doesn’t turn cold like the urinated pants feeling does. That’s what makes it so great! Anything else is “piss-poor”, if you get my drift.

I couldn’t turn down a well-baked, generously herbed brownie, either. :wink:


Great; Now I get to imagine that every time I’m setting up or EQing a mic.


Warm is like going number 3.

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Not that this helps define ‘warm’, but I thought it interesting that Eddie Kramer uses the word as if it means exactly what he wants it to mean, and Warren Huart doesn’t interrupt him and ask him to define it. Kind of like the word ‘mojo’ or ‘juju’; you don’t need a dictionary definition to get the idea.

The video is time-stamped to right before he talks about it:


I think its a bigger secret than anyone knows …

Warm = Transformers!!! per Eddie… here it is the answer.


So do you think the transformers on th A/D soften things up a bit? Like softening the transients and rounding them off a little?
On a side note, I wonder how much it would cost to talk to Eddie Kramer for an hour. I’m sure he is booked until the end of time, but I’m not familiar with any of his recent projects other thanJimi.