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What does 'warm' mean to you and does it matter?
Old 25th August 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
What does 'warm' mean to you and does it matter?

Being new here, I'm sure I've missed plenty on this.

I hear the word 'warm' all the time as a goal for many, including myself. But what does it mean? And does it mean the same thing to everyone? It surely does not. So, language just fails most of the time I guess..especially with music. Sometimes I wonder if 'warm' really just means 'dull'.

So, what is a recording you would describe as 'warm'?

More importantly, how do you categorize the music you either love to listen to or aspire to create?

I get that words fail and that genre's and labels have little to do with making good music. But, this is a forum where people type so I feel okay asking about this kind of thing.
Old 25th August 2014
  #2
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
One of my favorite reference tracks.

Just the first few bars are enough to get the idea.

Old 25th August 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Unknown soldier's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesmonk ➑️
Being new here, I'm sure I've missed plenty on this.

I hear the word 'warm' all the time as a goal for many, including myself. But what does it mean? And does it mean the same thing to everyone? It surely does not. So, language just fails most of the time I guess..especially with music. Sometimes I wonder if 'warm' really just means 'dull'.

So, what is a recording you would describe as 'warm'?

More importantly, how do you categorize the music you either love to listen to or aspire to create?

I get that words fail and that genre's and labels have little to do with making good music. But, this is a forum where people type so I feel okay asking about this kind of thing.
I would call it more of a feeling thing than something you hear, if that makes sense. IMO music that is recorded and performed well, with great sources, and good quality gear tends to come out as sounding "warm". Bad rooms, bad performances, bad sources and bad gear means cold music.
Old 25th August 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
warm = comfort
Old 25th August 2014 | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke ➑️
warm = comfort
Can't wait for someone to create a plug-in that makes the listener feel comfortable.
Old 25th August 2014 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
theblue1's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesmonk ➑️
Can't wait for someone to create a plug-in that makes the listener feel comfortable.
Brings you tea and cookies and a little lap blanket while you're listening...





EDIT/addendum: And it jumps up to adjust the volume for you when your playlist jumps from classic, golden age of hi-fi Sinatra to Skrillex's latest -6 dB RMS aural assault.
Old 25th August 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
well plug-ins are just tools, there's much more to it.
Old 25th August 2014
  #8
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Arthur Stone's Avatar
 
92 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
To me, warmth is the absence of 'coldness' - not something wanted on a hot day but good in the winter.

I like the dull (but musical) thud of a kick or low bass and how that grounds a track. Dull but good.

I'm working with a Waldorf Nano synth which is bright and cold but sits perfectly as a pad in the track.
Sometimes ice is needed.
Old 25th August 2014
  #9
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Warm is pleasing to the ear.

Sometimes, I'll have my daughters listen to my tracks and watch their expressions.

Their much younger ears are super sensitive to high end detail, so I watch if they wince or squint as they are listening.

Then I'll ask them what bugged them about the sound.

It really helps to have a great preamp, even if you are tracking with a simple
SM57 or SM58. That will fatten up the sound a lot.

Condensers are great if your room is quiet enough.
Old 25th August 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 
28 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Recording to tape tended to bump the lows and roll off or smear the high transients. Using a lot of analogue gear introduced varying mounts of distortion/noise. Warm! Don't think there's more to it than that.
Old 25th August 2014
  #11
Lives for gear
 
IanBSC's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
To me warmth generally means a lack of piercing high frequency transients and presence of nice sounding harmonic distortion that makes a part sound present and upfront in the mix and maybe a bit more three dimensional.
Old 25th August 2014
  #12
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mattias78's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
A good engineer using the 330Hz band like a boss.
Old 25th August 2014 | Show parent
  #13
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Thom@s's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanBSC ➑️
To me warmth generally means a lack of piercing high frequency transients and presence of nice sounding harmonic distortion that makes a part sound present and upfront in the mix and maybe a bit more three dimensional.
This.
I was going to say- a track(or part of a track) that has an enveloping feel to it; no harshness; but still hi-fi.
Old 25th August 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Lives for gear
 
Unclenny's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mattias78 ➑️
A good engineer using the 330Hz band like a boss.
In my experience there seems to be much truth to this statement. That 200 to 400 Hz territory is crucial.

too much = mud

too little = sterile and cold.

If there is a Goldilocks Zone in my mixes....this would be it.

The day I get it right, I'll definitely be kicking back with.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 ➑️
....tea and cookies and a little lap blanket
Old 25th August 2014
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Ha, awesome.

Thanks. I'll pay more attention to that frequency range to understand it.
Old 25th August 2014
  #16
Gear Guru
 
Karloff70's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
It can mean all sorts of things in all sorts of contexts. And yes, it does matter! You already know it does.
Old 25th August 2014
  #17
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Valuable tips from one of the true masters of acoustic recording.

Studio Legends: Bil VornDick
Old 25th August 2014
  #18
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Warmth and Cold are like Ying and Yang in so many of our senses, not just aural. There are warm and cold colors, warm and cold tastes, warm and cold odours, even emotions, etc. Some are loosely associated with different vibrational frequencies: colour being the easiest to understand in that simplistic sense.

Art, and the state of being a human being that art represents, needs light and shade, warmth and cold. Too much of one and we yearn for the other.

Interesting, with color - the lower frequencies (red, orange, yellow) are warm and they get colder (green, blue, indigo, violet) as the frequencies increase. Some people publish charts of what colors map to musical notes - I find them too subjective, synesthesia is a complex subject but I don't think it is universally shared. But I think a large reason why digital sound is considered cold is because it can represent much higher frequencies than typical classical analog recordings seemed to feature.

Having said that, I am very aware of Nyquist and the fact that analog tape can record frequencies well beyond digital, certainly CD. But for some reason, multiple generations of tape and whatever processes were used in classical recordings had a tendency to roll off the highs and music had a warmth that can be missing in some digital recordings.

It's just not that simple though. There are elements of harmonic distortion, and randomness from moving machinery and noise and many complex things that give us a sense of warmth. Although a 4 pole Moog filter is fairly warm, and that's fairly easy to understand ...

Opinions will probably vary - I don't think their is an ultimate definition yet.
Old 25th August 2014
  #19
Gear Addict
 
🎧 5 years
the words "warmth" and "amount of low-mids" are interchangeable for me.

And I only go for "warm" if that's what the song calls for.
Old 25th August 2014 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by FFTT ➑️
One of my favorite reference tracks.

Just the first few bars are enough to get the idea.

doesn't a few Zepelin guys play on this song?, allen holdsworth plays guitar too I read one time
Old 25th August 2014 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Guru
 
FFTT's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule ➑️
doesn't a few Zepelin guys play on this song?, allen holdsworth plays guitar too I read one time
Dunno, but part by part this is just such a great recording.
Old 25th August 2014
  #22
Gear Addict
 
🎧 15 years
Warm = Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac
Old 26th August 2014 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesmonk ➑️
Can't wait for someone to create a plug-in that makes the listener feel comfortable.
single malt for some (probably weed for others) though it tends to be a fairly short lived reaction
Old 26th August 2014
  #24
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Warm = maybe stolen, maybe not.
Old 26th August 2014 | Show parent
  #25
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by netrom ➑️
Warm = Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac
there are 1000s of 60s and 70s albums that sound like that
Old 26th August 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
 
_Mark's Avatar
 
5 Reviews written
🎧 5 years
Recessed top end with a hint of air which isn't muddy β€” that's what I think it is.
Old 26th August 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
Lance Lawson's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Warm is like porn. I can't describe it but I know it when I encounter it.
Old 26th August 2014
  #28
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
'Warm' to me is lots of color/harmonic distortion/etc. I've never associated 'dark' (lack of highs) or 'round' (accentuated lows or low mids) with the term. I've heard brighter pieces that I would describe as warm. Some view using adjectives in place of something as intangible as music as silly, but it has its place IMHO.
Old 26th August 2014
  #29
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
To me it is having lots of note rather than lots of noise.
Old 26th August 2014 | Show parent
  #30
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by chainrule ➑️
doesn't a few Zepelin guys play on this song?, allen holdsworth plays guitar too I read one time
Donovan basically influenced Led Zep and very likely is the reason we have Stairway to Heaven and all that Celtic fairy tale stuff.

Donavan went to India with the Beatles and taught them folk picking - so he was hugely influential in inspiring so many of their songs. Aurguably the fifth Beatle.

Some of the Led Zep guys were his session players for his studio albums. I think he inspired them to be more than the basic blues players and to go away with the fairies like Donvans music ... in a good way.

I consider Donvan to be on a par with Dylan and The Beatles etc ... unfortunately he is best known for some lightweight pop songs. But listen to stuff like this ..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvl9fE_4qxA

and this ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTuPbJLqFKI
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