So what's "warm" (if not an SM 58)

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by BobRogers, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Blacksburg, VA
    For some reason, tonight I'm getting impatient with all of the "wine-tasting" words that we use. In another thread, someone wants a sub $300 condenser vocal mic that is "warm." So what does "warm" really mean? The term gets used all the time, but the definition kind of moves all over the place. I think of a mic that is strong in the octaves between 500-2K and rolls off a bit after that. At least that's what I think people mean when the want a cheap warm mic. Maybe "warm means something different when we are talking about mics and pres in the $3K range?
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I dunno, when I think of 'warm' I think of that classic analog sound, kinda thick, kinda colored (like the analog thickener preset in an H3000) - but colored in a pleasant, vinyl kinda way.

    Most people say it's exactly the opposite of digital, which can often be cold and sterile.

    In my experience, I've found that it's not really the mic you choose that makes a warm sound, more that it's the gear immediately after it (or in the case of a good tube guitar amp, before it) that introduces the warmth that you're talkin' about...
  3. nickeveslage

    nickeveslage Guest

    I think "warmth" can come from many places. Obviously from the source, like said earlier about a good tube amplifier. A microphone can help add warmth depending on it's frequency response. A pre can for the same reason as well as because of the innards.

    I guess I don't think a characteristic like "warmth" can really be defined or narrowed down so much since it depends on who is doing the listening. It seems to me that "warmth" just sounds....well.....warm.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Warm as in ribbons. Warm, as in mushy transformers. Warm, as in class A. OK so, also a U67 with a nice thick 6 micron diaphragm.

    I don't want no stinkin' 3 nor 1.5 micron capsules. They sound as crunchy as destroying potato chips, in the bag. OK so if you don't have a vintage U67 than an 87 is doable.

    Those $160 Cascade ribbons don't sound horrible either but they don't sound great either. OK if you like that little bit of honk between 200 and 400 hertz. So much warmer than a cheap Chinese condenser. I'd go for one of those before I purchased a cheap Chinese condenser microphone.

    No cheap microphones here
    Ms. Remy Ann David

    OK, so I lied, I have 8 Radio Shaft PZM's along with my Crown.
  5. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Warm is often the high-end rolloff of some analog gear, coupled with the 80hz "Head-bump" you get with analog tape. It's no mystery if you know your math and physics. The gap in the head along with the response of the tape almost always results in a slight rise at 80hz, which used to be known as "Head bump" by those who aligned them.

    Takes a lot of the mystery out of the whole argument, once you know what it is. Tape emulation software takes this phenomenom into account, as well as the effects of bias adjustment, etc.
  6. jenifer

    jenifer Guest

    i always felt the idea came from tubes not only in the idea that there warm but how they treat the signal.. the sound wave is much different than any daw ... i believe the term started as a argument between two analog inventions the tube and the transistor. Early on there was a noticeable difference in the way a a square wave was viewed on a measuring device the edges were rounded off in tube gear .. you send a pure sound wave in to a tube device and you dont get a perfect sound wave back you get one with rounded corners the more you push your gain the more distortion you can achieve . transistors solved this problem you would get more of a square wave when measured its return out .. but its preserved as accurate and cleaner in the returning amplified sound of transistors where as now the wave is in numbers on any daw and quite square and precise but there are relationships in side of realizations with sound and some say the accurate harmonics are perceived by the listener as harsh .. some thing is missing so the long persuade to get it back has chased down everything from the mic to the pre-amp no so much as the speaker you can achieve this tone(warmth ) thru the mic thru the pre amp thru the media you record on and for the listener thru how the music is perceived the play back amp this is a good solution for those not in control to achieve this tone , and some magic was found along the way as in the some of the early UA eq were the variable input impedance's worked in the favor of the recording days we get hybrids to deal with signal integrity but the idea is ..its calling a tone a name ...thats heard understood but hard to describe with out being messured.
  7. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    All true statements.

    Lets go a bit deeper. Tubes, while exhibiting this characteristic 'harmonic distortion' when pushed hard could be described, in this instance as 'warm'......However, a tube circuit can be wired to display NO audible distortion characteristics at all...Could this be said to be 'warm'?

    Yes and no. There are pieces of audiofile equipment that are all tube and they are as 'glassy' and clean as you can imagine. (another damn term.....glassy) Is 'glasssy' warm? It doesnt lend itself to the term directly.

    So in such a case, couldnt we assume that 'warm' is in the ear of the beholder no matter what the machines say were hearing?

    I get 'warm' from the almost instantaneous signal response of sound traveling around and around and around the metal core of a transformer hooked in there somewhere. Combine this with an output that doesnt leave out any frequencies, and you've got warm.........

    Leo Fender knew what warm was .....EMI built some warm sounding stuff......Ampeg made millionaires outta warmth........

    I have a 'vintage' U87. Its warm. Doesnt have the big bright upper end the newer U87ai seems to have, and it doesnt need to be hyped anywhere in its response. Doesnt lack for clarity and all. It makes me warm to hear tracks made with it!

    The Germans know warm. Can you say V72 preamp?

    I'm gonna take a tropical vacation after the first of the year.......hope its 'warm' there..............!
  8. nickeveslage

    nickeveslage Guest

    Minnesota is 'warm'.
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    It's STILL warm here in Florida! I get warm and fuzzy just thinking about it...
  10. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Pacific NW
    The MAIN problem with 'Warm Spots' such as Minniesoda, and Flouriddoor, is having MosQuitoeS big enough to carry off yer sandwich and a small child........
  11. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    Aw, man. You see that mosquito?
    It's huge, man, huge!
    I could use it's stinger for a pool cue!
  12. nickeveslage

    nickeveslage Guest

    Yeah, the skeeters are nuts. No hurricanes though. Haha, the winters haven't been too bad anyway since global warming came into fashion.

    So there, I'm in Minnesota and having to adjust to winter temps, but you have to worry about the ocean getting pissed at you.

    Anyway, sorry I threw this topic off into left field. So, back to discussion:

    I think the Dragonfly, by Blue, is quite warm (if you look at some of my previous posts you will see that I am in love with that microphone for just about everything...nothing weird though. haha)
  13. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    I've thought about getting a Dragonfly, you really like it, eh?
  14. nickeveslage

    nickeveslage Guest

    very, very much.

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