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View Full Version : If someone asked you..."how do I get a warm sound"......




theapex
Apr 10, 2008, 09:31 PM
What would be the top 5-10 or so things you would tell them?



zimv20
Apr 10, 2008, 10:30 PM
I would ask them to define warmth, then come back in a year to see if they've given up yet.

theapex
Apr 10, 2008, 11:04 PM
I would ask them to define warmth, then come back in a year to see if they've given up yet.

come on zim!!!! lol.

help a brother out. You hear this term used SOOOOO frequently when it comes to audio production...

I'd say use your own definition of warmth...teach me what it is....

now what?

junior
Apr 10, 2008, 11:14 PM
What would be the top 5-10 or so things you would tell them?

It's completely dependent on the genre and instruments in use.
Give us an example!

Drumjim85
Apr 10, 2008, 11:40 PM
neve style preamps, 2" tape, tape emulators (I think rupert neve makes a tape saturation unit), good instrument / mic combination, u47, u67?....

theapex
Apr 11, 2008, 12:56 AM
It's completely dependent on the genre and instruments in use.
Give us an example!

I mean there are some general standards thought right?

I mean come on yall...if some big time AR person was looking to higher for an audio engineer for a MAJOR record label asked you this question and you had to give an answer (not some easy way out...zim and junior :D)

what would you say!?!?!?!?!?!?

junior
Apr 11, 2008, 02:52 AM
I mean there are some general standards thought right?

I mean come on yall...if some big time AR person was looking to higher for an audio engineer for a MAJOR record label asked you this question and you had to give an answer (not some easy way out...zim and junior :D)

what would you say!?!?!?!?!?!?



I'd think it was the craziest question ever. They would first of all explain what division, if there are a few, they'd be looking at employing me for. That may narrow down the genre a bit. Then they may make me listen to a past release and tell me that specific record didn't have the 'warmth' they wanted. To that specific question, I could explain to them what the mix engineer and/or mastering engineer, could/should have done.
As someone who regularly employs and directs engineers, I would be embarrassed to ask such a broad/unanswerable question to them.
Honestly, you've gotta be more specific.

Bobbi Flekman
Apr 11, 2008, 04:32 AM
I would ask them to define warmth, then come back in a year to see if they've given up yet.Funny... And completely true. Warmth is extremely subjective.

As junior said, get them to play you some mixes that will show you what they define as warmth (or not). And after that, go and mix until the sound is sorta like it and they're happy.

RedRedBlockhead
Apr 11, 2008, 05:45 AM
Have you tried setting your guitar on fire?

zimv20
Apr 11, 2008, 06:35 AM
warmth is like pornography. you can't define it, but you know it when you see it.

Queso
Apr 11, 2008, 06:49 AM
Synthesised strings and lots of reverb :)

Drumjim85
Apr 11, 2008, 08:09 AM
Synthesised strings and lots of refurb :)

well my iPhone is a refurb. So I guess I'm off to a good start. ;)

mbpcron
Apr 11, 2008, 08:19 AM
not tinny with clipped high notes and smooth, even low ones. But mostly, it's the ability to hear the notes/sounds finish their faintest oscillations to provide a complete hearing experience.

Now, where is that AC/DC mp3 ?:D

theapex
Apr 11, 2008, 09:40 AM
well my iPhone is a refurb. So I guess I'm off to a good start. ;)

lol

Queso
Apr 11, 2008, 10:25 AM
well my iPhone is a refurb. So I guess I'm off to a good start. ;)
Oops :o :D

RedRedBlockhead
Apr 11, 2008, 11:43 AM
In seriousness depending on where you're trieng to get this effect get a dusty old valve amp or use a compressor. Recording to tape also rolls of highs (though this can be simulated).

Killyp
Apr 11, 2008, 11:49 AM
A slight low-end lift and hi-end drop, high amounts of 1st overtone harmonics, and a bit of hiss and hum :p

To get a warm/beefy sound, I tend to push things through an old 80s Yamaha mixing desk I acquired - half of it doesn't work properly any more but it sounds great if you use the right channels. I also tend to run bass/dirty sounds through my MoogerFooger to get a really beefy sound...

zimv20
Apr 11, 2008, 11:52 AM
come on zim!!!! lol.

right. if you *really* want to know what i think about warmth, read this thread (http://www.bigbluelounge.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=26578).

my stance today is: i don't use the term, because i don't know what it means, and i've never seen a satisfactory definition that we can all agree on.

theapex
Apr 11, 2008, 11:56 AM
What do you all think about this mix. The overall sound...warmth, whatever. What do you think about the sound. This is one of the last tracks that I did. I used Reason and Logic to complete it all.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/8965479da0ddee/

RedRedBlockhead
Apr 11, 2008, 12:13 PM
I really like it. What did you use to make it?

In terms of comments feel free to ignore everything I say, particularly as I'm not a professional and also because I've generally commented on the things I would change and that may not apply to you.

The mid range seems not existent, give that piano a bit more say in the mix perhaps
Bass is pretty solid but I''d say it needs a cut beneath 40, or see how you feel
I think you may wish to add more oomph and snap on the snare. They sound a bit thin - have you tried overdubbed 40hz blips with a gate or the like?
I like the symbols though they are just too tinny, have you tried using a sibilance filter on them, perhaps get em to chuhh not chssssh?
It'

theapex
Apr 11, 2008, 01:32 PM
I really like it. What did you use to make it?

In terms of comments feel free to ignore everything I say, particularly as I'm not a professional and also because I've generally commented on the things I would change and that may not apply to you.

The mid range seems not existent, give that piano a bit more say in the mix perhaps
Bass is pretty solid but I''d say it needs a cut beneath 40, or see how you feel
I think you may wish to add more oomph and snap on the snare. They sound a bit thin - have you tried overdubbed 40hz blips with a gate or the like?
I like the symbols though they are just too tinny, have you tried using a sibilance filter on them, perhaps get em to chuhh not chssssh?
It'

boy do i have a long way to go. I have not ever used any of the effects that you speak of...not even sure what alot of it means. LOL!!!!

I used Reason and Logic to make the track. Yes the mid range does seem non existence. But once vocals are applied that won't be an issue any more.

I'll wait thought and hear what other people have to say. but i would guess with those comments that you made, it probably certainly does not sound professional then right?

theapex
Apr 11, 2008, 01:34 PM
I really like it. What did you use to make it?

In terms of comments feel free to ignore everything I say, particularly as I'm not a professional and also because I've generally commented on the things I would change and that may not apply to you.

The mid range seems not existent, give that piano a bit more say in the mix perhaps
Bass is pretty solid but I''d say it needs a cut beneath 40, or see how you feel
I think you may wish to add more oomph and snap on the snare. They sound a bit thin - have you tried overdubbed 40hz blips with a gate or the like?
I like the symbols though they are just too tinny, have you tried using a sibilance filter on them, perhaps get em to chuhh not chssssh?
It'

thanks though for the comments i do appreciate them and I would greatly like to learn more about the things that you speak of. I want to get even better. I catch quite a bit of negatives due to my drums not really having any real personality. they need more... that is what everyone keeps telling me.

Killyp
Apr 11, 2008, 02:10 PM
Sounds okay to me. A lot of this kind of music tends to have a slightly rough edge to it and to be honest if it sounded perfect, it would sound wrong.

This sounds like some of say... Two Banks of Four's stuff...

theapex
Apr 11, 2008, 02:14 PM
Sounds okay to me. A lot of this kind of music tends to have a slightly rough edge to it and to be honest if it sounded perfect, it would sound wrong.

This sounds like some of say... Two Banks of Four's stuff...

who???

LOL

RedRedBlockhead
Apr 11, 2008, 03:00 PM
Sounds okay to me. A lot of this kind of music tends to have a slightly rough edge to it and to be honest if it sounded perfect, it would sound wrong.


Well said.

About those techniques have a look on youtube.
Also I'm not too keen on the name. :D

oban14
Apr 11, 2008, 03:20 PM
It means analogue. It gives you a warmer sound, which is why many people prefer tapes and records.

I occasionally use an old analogue computer when I'm craving a warmer computing experience.

RedRedBlockhead
Apr 11, 2008, 03:40 PM
I don't care what anyone says about my Differential analyser, it just works. :D

hakukani
Apr 11, 2008, 06:06 PM
Distortion from tape saturation and overdriven tubes.

Still sounds sweet.:rolleyes:

junior
Apr 12, 2008, 01:34 PM
What do you all think about this mix. The overall sound...warmth, whatever. What do you think about the sound. This is one of the last tracks that I did. I used Reason and Logic to complete it all.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/8965479da0ddee/


Hey, why don't you upload all your tracks separately at about 1 minute (or less) each and we can all have a little mixing competition!

theapex
Apr 12, 2008, 03:30 PM
Hey, why don't you upload all your tracks separately at about 1 minute (or less) each and we can all have a little mixing competition!
be more specific with what you are asking...it may be simple, but I don't really understand what you want.

zimv20
Apr 12, 2008, 04:16 PM
What do you all think about this mix. The overall sound...warmth, whatever. What do you think about the sound. This is one of the last tracks that I did. I used Reason and Logic to complete it all.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/8965479da0ddee/

how much compression/limiting did you use? i'd back it off some to let the mix breathe.

i like the tune, though.

iJohnHenry
Apr 12, 2008, 05:02 PM
It means analogue. It gives you a warmer sound, which is why many people prefer tapes and records.

I occasionally use an old analogue computer when I'm craving a warmer computing experience.

Perfect answer.

Digital is digital, and nothing else.

Warmth is flawed, and, as stated already, totally subjective.

I will gladly put up with some pops and scratches from my vinyl over CD's.

But Joni Mitchell's debute album had to be replaced. ;)

The worst pressing......ever.

junior
Apr 12, 2008, 07:34 PM
be more specific with what you are asking...it may be simple, but I don't really understand what you want.


Err...:confused:... Okay,

1. Bounce each track at 0:60 each, no eq, no comp.
2. Zip the folder with all the files in them,
3. Upload.
4. See what professionals/different amateurs do differently to get a better idea of mixes. WHat better way than to see the difference on your own music.
5. I was trying to be helpful
6. But if help is not needed, forget it.
6. Still confused?

OllyW
Apr 12, 2008, 07:41 PM
You could try using this piano.......

http://seattlest.com/attachments/seattle_dan/burning_piano.jpg

theapex
Apr 12, 2008, 07:52 PM
Err...:confused:... Okay,

1. Bounce each track at 0:60 each, no eq, no comp.
2. Zip the folder with all the files in them,
3. Upload.
4. See what professionals/different amateurs do differently to get a better idea of mixes. WHat better way than to see the difference on your own music.
5. I was trying to be helpful
6. But if help is not needed, forget it.
6. Still confused?

i get what you are saying...that a great idea, but it would take along time wouldn't it? and also there is not a certain track that i have in mind...this was a general question.

junior
Apr 12, 2008, 11:31 PM
You could try using this piano.......

http://seattlest.com/attachments/seattle_dan/burning_piano.jpg

Hahaha. That will be one smoking hot record!

junior
Apr 12, 2008, 11:40 PM
i get what you are saying...that a great idea, but it would take along time wouldn't it? and also there is not a certain track that i have in mind...this was a general question.

If you have, say 20 tracks at 0:30 sec each, the process should take you 20 minutes max to bounce and zip. Upload depends on your connection.
We do it all the time, especially with composers from abroad, though that's usually done with every channel bounced as stereo (for pan) and all the levels and effects in place, so that only tweaking is necessary on our side.

And yeah, it might have been slightly off topic, but I thought your sound needed a bit of help, and I was very bored yesterday.

Back on topic:

Would people on this forum consider Jack Johnson records to be 'warm'?

hakukani
Apr 12, 2008, 11:56 PM
What do you all think about this mix. The overall sound...warmth, whatever. What do you think about the sound. This is one of the last tracks that I did. I used Reason and Logic to complete it all.

http://www.zshare.net/audio/8965479da0ddee/

No offense, but I hear you compressors breathing.

theapex
Apr 13, 2008, 12:14 AM
If you have, say 20 tracks at 0:30 sec each, the process should take you 20 minutes max to bounce and zip. Upload depends on your connection.
We do it all the time, especially with composers from abroad, though that's usually done with every channel bounced as stereo (for pan) and all the levels and effects in place, so that only tweaking is necessary on our side.

And yeah, it might have been slightly off topic, but I thought your sound needed a bit of help, and I was very bored yesterday.

Back on topic:

Would people on this forum consider Jack Johnson records to be 'warm'?

just wanted to let everyone know...that is not really compressors making the sound sound like that. it is a sound that I was going for...experimenting per say....

i wanted to try and take alot of the mid range out of the mix until the vocals got laid, just to see how the vocalist voice would respond to the open space in the middle of the mix.

AceWilfong
Apr 13, 2008, 12:27 AM
At one time I'd have recommended a slight boost between about one and three or four khz, but the world has passed me by.:D

theapex
Apr 13, 2008, 10:28 PM
it is crazy how absolute foreign some of this terminology is. but i'm learning. but one thing is really crazy. all the talk about compressors and limiters. how do you even know where to start as far as effects are on tracks. is there a tutorial or faq somewhere that actually tells you what the intended purpose of each type of effect is?

hakukani
Apr 14, 2008, 12:52 PM
it is crazy how absolute foreign some of this terminology is. but i'm learning. but one thing is really crazy. all the talk about compressors and limiters. how do you even know where to start as far as effects are on tracks. is there a tutorial or faq somewhere that actually tells you what the intended purpose of each type of effect is?

Record your tracks where possible without processing, unless that processing (like guitar distortion) is part of the sound of the instrument. Then set up an effects loop so that you can mix effects. If a track has a severely wide dynamic, put a compressor (not too much-just enough to tame it) on that channel.

When it starts sounding pretty good, put a multiband compressor to tame the final mix--You don't want the whole mix to 'duck' every time the bass plays a note.

There's much more, but the above should be a start.

Mr Skills
Apr 17, 2008, 03:58 AM
There is the actual meaning of warm, and there is what most people seem to think it means.

Warmth actually means a pleasant, slightly soft aspect of the sound, with pleasing overtones and harmonics.

However, in all my years of working professionally, most non-engineers use it simply to mean "nice". So if people ask for something to be warm, and they are not an experienced engineer/producer what they usually mean is "make it better".

:rolleyes:

junior
Apr 17, 2008, 08:19 PM
There is the actual meaning of warm, and there is what most people seem to think it means.

Warmth actually means a pleasant, slightly soft aspect of the sound, with pleasing overtones and harmonics.

However, in all my years of working professionally, most non-engineers use it simply to mean "nice". So if people ask for something to be warm, and they are not an experienced engineer/producer what they usually mean is "make it better".

:rolleyes:

Heh, in all my years in the profession, I've never had anyone using the word 'warmth' to simply mean 'nice'. Makes zero sense.
Plus, 'warmth' is precisely the word used predominantly by non-engineers. I've never heard an engineer saying 'listen to the warmth I produced!' or 'yeah, the mix will be done as soon as I give it some warmth'.
It's ALWAYS the clients that use the word, but that's just from my experience so I'll take your word for it.

zimv20
Apr 17, 2008, 08:45 PM
Warmth actually means a pleasant, slightly soft aspect of the sound, with pleasing overtones and harmonics.


so, as an engineer, what exactly do i do to my signal(s) to achieve "warmth"?

Mr Skills
Apr 20, 2008, 06:23 PM
Heh, in all my years in the profession, I've never had anyone using the word 'warmth' to simply mean 'nice'. Makes zero sense.
Plus, 'warmth' is precisely the word used predominantly by non-engineers. I've never heard an engineer saying 'listen to the warmth I produced!' or 'yeah, the mix will be done as soon as I give it some warmth'.
It's ALWAYS the clients that use the word, but that's just from my experience so I'll take your word for it.

I think you're agreeing with me without realising it! You're right that it makes no sense for it to mean 'nice'. It's just one of those things that non-pros pick up on and say because it sounds professional. But I can't count the times when someone has asked for something to be more 'warm' and what they've actually wanted was for something to be more present/bright - i.e. the opposite of warm.

:)



so, as an engineer, what exactly do i do to my signal(s) to achieve "warmth"?

Well, assuming that your talking about warmth in its correct sense... well, that's a can of worms! There are all sorts of things. You can start with the instruments and how they are played. A snare drum hit gently will usually be much warmer than one hit hard (note: 'warmer' not 'better'). Certain mics are warmer than others. Vintage mics are often particularly warm, as modern mics are often made to sound bright, as is the fashion in pop sound. But it's really a case of using your ears. Don't fall into the classic trap of kidding yourself that something sounds warmer just because it's got a glowing tube.

zimv20
Apr 20, 2008, 09:03 PM
A snare drum hit gently will usually be much warmer than one hit hard

when a snare is hit lightly, i expect lower level (obviously) and less rattling of the snares, so the frequency response will be different. is it the lower volume or the missing frequencies which make it 'warmer'? or something else?

Vintage mics are often particularly warm, as modern mics are often made to sound bright

are you saying that, in order for me to make my sounds 'warmer', i should roll off the high end? or something else?

can you describe the sonic signature(s) you have in mind without using the word 'warm'?

Mr Skills
Apr 21, 2008, 05:51 AM
when a snare is hit lightly, i expect lower level (obviously) and less rattling of the snares, so the frequency response will be different. is it the lower volume or the missing frequencies which make it 'warmer'? or something else?





are you saying that, in order for me to make my sounds 'warmer', i should roll off the high end? or something else?

can you describe the sonic signature(s) you have in mind without using the word 'warm'?

Well yes, in a sense, I associate the word 'warm' with a reduction in high end, but it's more than that, because otherwise warm would just be the same thing as muffly. You can of course EQ something to be warmer, but if you want to achieve warmth without muffliness I find it much easier to use non-EQ means. Hence the example of hitting a snare less hard which, as you pointed out, reduces the frequency content, but in a more complex and musical way than just rolling off top. Of course, (to continue with the snare example) hitting it softly might be completely inappropriate for the music, but there are other ways of achieving the same thing, from the drummer's hitting technique, to the actual snare, to the skin used, to the mic position. And if all else fails, EQ :)

zimv20
Apr 21, 2008, 08:48 AM
You can of course EQ something to be warmer

oh, that's good news. what frequencies, specifically? can i simply do it to the entire mix, or must i do it to each track?

if you want to achieve warmth without muffliness I find it much easier to use non-EQ means.

most of the songs i mix, i haven't recorded. so i'm looking for techniques post-recording to make things 'warm'. are there additional non-EQ and post-recording things i can do? i have compressors, delays and reverbs, if that helps.

Mr Skills
Apr 21, 2008, 06:48 PM
oh, that's good news. what frequencies, specifically? can i simply do it to the entire mix, or must i do it to each track?


Well that's a how-long-is-a-piece-of-string question. It depends on which individual things you want to be warmer! If you're happy with the whole mix, but want a bit more warmth, of course you can put a bit of EQ over it (don't go crazy). But maybe it's just one instrument you want to be warmer... Generally low and lower mid type area is where the warmth is but be careful not to make things muffly, especially if they are having to compete with other instruments.

Since you sound a bit unsure, I'd say this: don't obsess too much about being warm. It's a word you hear all the time, so it's easy to worry about it, but most of the people using the word don't know what it means. Just think about what you want a mix to say - whether you want it to be bright and brash, or soft and silky.


most of the songs i mix, i haven't recorded. so i'm looking for techniques post-recording to make things 'warm'. are there additional non-EQ and post-recording things i can do? i have compressors, delays and reverbs, if that helps.

Well one thing that really helps with warmth is the cut button. The less there is going on the easier it is to make things warm. Think of a piano, for example. If you've got a busy, aggressive Britney pop track you're going to want it to be bright and brittle, to cut through all the other stuff and grab attention, and to carve it's own space. The actual sound in solo will probably be pretty thin.

On the other hand, think of a simple piano and vocal song. Then you've got room to make the piano lovely and big and wet and woolly and warm, without it getting lost or losing excitement. As a rule, the less there is going on, the more you can afford to warm things up.

:)

zimv20
Apr 21, 2008, 07:46 PM
Generally low and lower mid type area is where the warmth is

i tend to call those frequencies "low mids", and separate that from the idea of "warmth".

but most of the people using the word don't know what it means.

hmm.

The less there is going on the easier it is to make things warm.

isn't that just about separation of sounds, clarity and space?

Mr Skills
Apr 22, 2008, 02:10 AM
i tend to call those frequencies "low mids", and separate that from the idea of "warmth".

A warm sound is just one that is tilted away from the top end, but in a pleasing way.



isn't that just about separation of sounds, clarity and space?

Yes, and that does not create warmth in itself. It does, however, create a mix in which it is easier to feature warm sounds.

motulist
Apr 22, 2008, 02:22 AM
Though I'm not exactly a world class engineer or anything, I'd say that to get a warm sound you roll off the very high end frequencies and or try to run the signal through mainly tubes rather than digital and solid state IC equipment (i.e. any equipment that doesn't have tubes in it).

They say that analog creates even-order harmonic distortion rather than odd-order distortion that solid state devices create. I don't know if that's what creates the warm sound, but tubes definitely do something pleasingly different to the sound than solid state devices.

If you're trying to make an already recorded track sound more warm or your recording setup requires the use of lots of digital and or solid state IC equipment, then you can warm up the track by routing it out into a tube stage device where you're pushing the signal until right before you hear the tube output distort, and then recording that back in to your multitrack.

Mr Skills
Apr 22, 2008, 08:46 AM
Though I'm not exactly a world class engineer or anything, I'd say that to get a warm sound you roll off the very high end frequencies and or try to run the signal through mainly tubes rather than digital and solid state IC equipment (i.e. any equipment that doesn't have tubes in it).

They say that analog creates even-order harmonic distortion rather than odd-order distortion that solid state devices create. I don't know if that's what creates the warm sound, but tubes definitely do something pleasingly different to the sound than solid state devices.

If you're trying to make an already recorded track sound more warm or your recording setup requires the use of lots of digital and or solid state IC equipment, then you can warm up the track by routing it out into a tube stage device where you're pushing the signal until right before you hear the tube output distort, and then recording that back in to your multitrack.

There are plenty of solid state recording devices that are excellent at imparting warmth (e.g. Urei 1176, EMI desks, Neve EQs, GML, lots of ribbon microphones, Studer A800) and plenty of tube devices that sound brittle (e.g. many modern chinese microphones). It's a sad state of affairs that many budget equipment manufacturers seem to shoehorn cheap, poor-quality tubes into their designs whether or not they are necessary, just because they know that saying "tube" on the packaging will increase sales.

Tubes are neither necessary nor sufficient to create warmth. (Note: I'm not saying I don't like Tubes here. I've yet to meet a solid state or [*shudder*] digital guitar amp that I really love. And many of the greatest mics ever made are tube mics. But you can't tell me that a Coles 4038 isn't one of the warmest mics in the world!). A good tube in a product that really needs it, created by a talented designer is a wonderful thing. But the next day that designer might create something equally wonderful that is solid state.

I should also point out that it is not just recording equipment that imparts warmth! Part of me really enjoys geeky threads like this, but part of me is aware that these things are so incidental in the making of a good record :)

zimv20
Apr 22, 2008, 05:08 PM
i'm not at all convinced that we're any closer to understanding warmth. i do not agree that it's as simple as boosting or cutting frequencies, i do not agree that it's as simple as adding harmonics, i do not agree that it's dependent upon the type of equipment used.

i do agree that all of the above can be useful to making a good mix, but prefer to use terms like width, depth, and clarity, or refer to what's happening in specific frequency regions, than to try to convey any kind of useful meaning with the term 'warm'. even among engineers.

....

heck, i don't even know if warmth has to do with something physiological, or if we just associate it with the kinds of recorded music familiar to the last several generations of humans. who's to say that, in 50 years time, what we call 'cold and digital' today will sound natural, and all those tube and tape tracks will sound flawed?

so here's my challenge: i challenge anyone to come up with a definition for warmth that:

1. everyone can agree upon
2. doesn't use the term warm
3. leads to a specific set of steps to achieve the goal

there are many terms in audio engineering which i assert fit the above criteria. get a room full of audio engineers together, and we'll pretty much agree what it means when someone says, "de-ess those vocals", "widen the mix", "give the guitars more depth", or "the mix is too bright", and what needs to be done to achieve it.

i assert this is not so with warmth, and i challenge anyone to demonstrate that it is.

Mr Skills
Apr 22, 2008, 06:24 PM
i'm not at all convinced that we're any closer to understanding warmth. i do not agree that it's as simple as boosting or cutting frequencies, i do not agree that it's as simple as adding harmonics, i do not agree that it's dependent upon the type of equipment used.

Not meaning to sound flippant, but personally I have no problem understanding the concept of warmth, and it is an expression that in the pro recording world is used with consistency. It's just that after 8 years of working beside people and learning what it is by osmosis, it's actually quite a hard thing to put into words (just as to this day I struggle to define the word 'producer' even though I get paid to do it). All I can say is that warm is a bit like 'dark' but with a positive implication.

....

heck, i don't even know if warmth has to do with something physiological, or if we just associate it with the kinds of recorded music familiar to the last several generations of humans. who's to say that, in 50 years time, what we call 'cold and digital' today will sound natural, and all those tube and tape tracks will sound flawed?


Warmth is not the opposite of flawed. Warmth is just a way of describing a certain sound. I certainly do not want every mix I do to be warm. Sometimes I want them to be the opposite of warm, depending on the music. Digital does not equal cold.


so here's my challenge: i challenge anyone to come up with a definition for warmth that:

1. everyone can agree upon
2. doesn't use the term warm
3. leads to a specific set of steps to achieve the goal


I don't think there could ever be a specific set of steps. On one occasion, simply rolling off top will make a sound warm. On another, that will just be muffly.



there are many terms in audio engineering which i assert fit the above criteria. get a room full of audio engineers together, and we'll pretty much agree what it means when someone says, "de-ess those vocals", "widen the mix", "give the guitars more depth", or "the mix is too bright", and what needs to be done to achieve it.

i assert this is not so with warmth, and i challenge anyone to demonstrate that it is.

I challenge you to give a pithy, one-sentence description of 'depth'! Just because it's difficult to define doesn't mean people don't know what it is. Anyone who has been brought up in the old-fashioned teaboy-tapeop-engineer loop will understand what is meant when warmth is mentioned.

Ironically, given how much time people spend obsessing over it, warmth is not something that is highly valued on the radio today (which is a shame).

zimv20
Apr 22, 2008, 07:03 PM
Not meaning to sound flippant, but personally I have no problem understanding the concept of warmth

i'll refer back to something i said earlier in the thread:
warmth is like pornography. you can't define it, but you know it when you see it.

i assert we can't *define* it, or at least get agreement on a definition. i've no doubt that, upon playing back something, several engineers will nod in agreement on whether something is 'warm' or not.


I don't think there could ever be a specific set of steps.

then perhaps we're in agreement that it can't be defined.


I challenge you to give a pithy, one-sentence description of 'depth'!

depth is a quality of a mix where some elements appear more forward (closer to the listener) and others appear more distant. further, we achieve depth through application of reverb, delays, relative volume levels, or even positioning players/mics at record time.

Mr Skills
Apr 23, 2008, 06:09 PM
Well you met the challenge admirably :D

Zimv20 - looking at your recent, knowledgable answers I think I may have misinterpreted your earlier posts. I thought you wanted advice, but now I realise your questions were framed rhetorically as part of a debate. So sorry if I've come across a bit patronising! :)

zimv20
Apr 23, 2008, 06:19 PM
So sorry if I've come across a bit patronising! :)

no worries! warmth discussions are always interesting, especially because i have so little tube gear and someone always says, "use tubes."

motulist
Apr 23, 2008, 07:00 PM
warmth discussions are always interesting, especially because i have so little tube gear and someone always says, "use tubes."

Glad I could fulfill your expectations! :D

zimv20
Apr 23, 2008, 08:17 PM
Glad I could fulfill your expectations! :D

;)

Mr. Anderson
Apr 23, 2008, 08:23 PM
I saw this and all I could think of was sizzlin' bacon.... :D

But like its been mentioned before, you need a little more direction to get them what they want.

D

krye
Apr 24, 2008, 12:38 PM
warmth is like pornography. you can't define it, but you know it when you see it.

Exactly. You can't tell someone how to make a song "warm". No more than you can tell them how to make it "edgy" or make it "pop". It's how it's perceived by the listener. Your song that "pops" may be boring to me.

Hey, anyone know how I can make my song sound "deep"?

Mr Skills
Apr 24, 2008, 03:51 PM
Hey, anyone know how I can make my song sound "deep"?

Well, some teenage angst existential lyrics always help :D

torbot
Apr 25, 2008, 07:03 AM
Hey, theapex.... Ask this question over on the TapeOp message boards. Or Tweakheadz.

You'll get a different set and style of responses. Or just search their messageboards. But mostly, you're going to be looking at

Instrument choice
Preamp choice
Recording Levels (you want 'em as low as possible with a DAW, ironically)
Mixing to tape
Using real tube components in the signal chain

etc etc.

hakukani
Apr 25, 2008, 04:28 PM
Hey, theapex.... Ask this question over on the TapeOp message boards. Or Tweakheadz.

You'll get a different set and style of responses. Or just search their messageboards. But mostly, you're going to be looking at

Instrument choice
Preamp choice
Recording Levels (you want 'em as low as possible with a DAW, ironically)
Mixing to tape
Using real tube components in the signal chain

etc etc.

All those things add to distortion. Ergo, 'warm' means 'mild amount of distortion'.

zimv20
Apr 25, 2008, 04:42 PM
All those things add to distortion. Ergo, 'warm' means 'mild amount of distortion'.

low DAW recording levels lead to distortion? explain.

Sesshi
Apr 25, 2008, 05:38 PM
Play it back through a duvet?