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What is the word? (sound quality)

Started by Carlos Moreno April 9, 2004
Hi,

I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that
quality of the sound resulting from having the right
amount of high frequencies.

For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at,
say, 3kHz, it sounds different.

In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say
that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the
version with the right amount of high-frequencies
sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing").

Is there a typical word in English that is standard
terminology to describe that quality?  (I'm talking
about a word that is standard in the technical
community)

Thanks,

Carlos
--

"Carlos Moreno" <moreno_at_mochima_dot_com@xx.xxx> wrote in message
news:Mwydc.26409$ih4.821654@wagner.videotron.net...
> > Hi, > > I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that > quality of the sound resulting from having the right > amount of high frequencies. > > For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, > say, 3kHz, it sounds different. > > In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say > that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the > version with the right amount of high-frequencies > sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). > > Is there a typical word in English that is standard > terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking > about a word that is standard in the technical > community) > > Thanks, > > Carlos > --
Audiophiles in the US often describe the sound from vinyl records as "warmer" than CDs, implying that this distortion is desirable. I think vinyl records have a lowpass characteristic so I guess warm means the attenuation of high frequencies. -Kevin
Kevin Neilson wrote:

> "Carlos Moreno" <moreno_at_mochima_dot_com@xx.xxx> wrote in message > news:Mwydc.26409$ih4.821654@wagner.videotron.net... > >>Hi, >> >>I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that >>quality of the sound resulting from having the right >>amount of high frequencies. >> >>For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, >>say, 3kHz, it sounds different. >> >>In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say >>that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the >>version with the right amount of high-frequencies >>sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). >> >>Is there a typical word in English that is standard >>terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking >>about a word that is standard in the technical >>community) >> >>Thanks, >> >>Carlos >>-- > > > Audiophiles in the US often describe the sound from vinyl records as > "warmer" than CDs, implying that this distortion is desirable. I think > vinyl records have a lowpass characteristic so I guess warm means the > attenuation of high frequencies. > -Kevin > >
"Warm" is usually taken to mean the kind of low-order harmonic distortion that's characteristic of vacuum tubes. -- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com
Carlos Moreno wrote:

> > Hi, > > I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that > quality of the sound resulting from having the right > amount of high frequencies. > > For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, > say, 3kHz, it sounds different. > > In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say > that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the > version with the right amount of high-frequencies > sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). > > Is there a typical word in English that is standard > terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking > about a word that is standard in the technical > community) > > Thanks, > > Carlos > -- >
"Presence" is the closest one I know. Really, there aren't any well-defined terms to describe sound quality. We haven't learned yet what kind of processing makes reproductions sound good to the human ear, so there's a lot of art in sound reproduction. You just need to read as much literature as you can and absorb the meaning by gestalt. There's also a lot of BS. I'm an old radio collector, which has led me to a lot of vacuum-tube audio sites. I can believe that there might be some discernible difference in sound between transistor and vacuum tube equipment, but some of the theories propounded and products sold ($100 for a wall socked dipped in liquid nitrogen, anyone?) are pretty far out there. -- Tim Wescott Wescott Design Services http://www.wescottdesign.com
"clear", "transparent", or "bright".  To me at least, the first 2 imply a "just
right" amount of high frequency while the "bright" implies perhaps a little
extra high frequency content, but in a pleasing manner.

"Carlos Moreno" <moreno_at_mochima_dot_com@xx.xxx> wrote in message
news:Mwydc.26409$ih4.821654@wagner.videotron.net...
> > Hi, > > I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that > quality of the sound resulting from having the right > amount of high frequencies. > > For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, > say, 3kHz, it sounds different. > > In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say > that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the > version with the right amount of high-frequencies > sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). > > Is there a typical word in English that is standard > terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking > about a word that is standard in the technical > community) > > Thanks, > > Carlos > -- >
The "technical" community would never use any of these
words, they would describe the spectrum above 3KHz.  The
"audiophile" would use all of these words and more and they
would still be wrong because your "right" is different then
somebody else's "right".  And your "right" changes from
moment to moment and from place to place.

Look up the difference in objective and subjective, the
difference between acoustics and psychoacoustics, the
difference between measurement and perception.

Chip Wood

"Jon Harris" <goldentully@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:c56j63$2mqcbr$1@ID-210375.news.uni-berlin.de...
> "clear", "transparent", or "bright". To me at least, the
first 2 imply a "just
> right" amount of high frequency while the "bright" implies
perhaps a little
> extra high frequency content, but in a pleasing manner. > > "Carlos Moreno" <moreno_at_mochima_dot_com@xx.xxx> wrote
in message
> news:Mwydc.26409$ih4.821654@wagner.videotron.net... > > > > Hi, > > > > I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that > > quality of the sound resulting from having the right > > amount of high frequencies. > > > > For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, > > say, 3kHz, it sounds different. > > > > In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say > > that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the > > version with the right amount of high-frequencies > > sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). > > > > Is there a typical word in English that is standard > > terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking > > about a word that is standard in the technical > > community)
"Carlos Moreno" <moreno_at_mochima_dot_com@xx.xxx> wrote in message
news:Mwydc.26409$ih4.821654@wagner.videotron.net...
> > Hi, > > I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that > quality of the sound resulting from having the right > amount of high frequencies. > > For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, > say, 3kHz, it sounds different. > > In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say > that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the > version with the right amount of high-frequencies > sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). > > Is there a typical word in English that is standard > terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking > about a word that is standard in the technical > community)
I think I've seen "brightness" used in this context. Leon
Kevin Neilson wrote:

>>I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that >>quality of the sound resulting from having the right >>amount of high frequencies. >> >>For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, >>say, 3kHz, it sounds different. >> >>In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say >>that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the >>version with the right amount of high-frequencies >>sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). >> >>Is there a typical word in English that is standard >>terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking >>about a word that is standard in the technical >>community) > > Audiophiles in the US often describe the sound from vinyl records as > "warmer" than CDs, implying that this distortion is desirable. I think > vinyl records have a lowpass characteristic so I guess warm means the > attenuation of high frequencies.
Two comments: notice that I'm looking for the word to describe the right amount of high-frequencies (or, say, the presence of high frequencies). I used the example of a low-passed piano to imply that I was looking for the adjective that describes the original as compared to the low-passed version (you hear both and you go: "there, this one sounds ____" -- "brighter", as per Jon's message) As for the "warmth" of vinyl sounds, I think what is implied is the lack of distortion at high frequencies, or in general the lack of excessive high-frequency contents; at least that's my notion of "warmth" when talking about sound (in the context of music). Carlos --
I would have to say "no".

The first difficulty is in avoiding describing the source sound, rather than the 
quality of the tranmission. The opposite to "opaque" is "transparent". To 
describe a sound as bright depends on whether the source is bright to begin with.

The other difficulty is the overwhelming majority of adjectives, including those 
above, and of course "bright" and "dark",are borrowed from the visual domain, 
which translates only inexactly to sound. We have extremes: dark v bright, but 
not much in between. Attaching to them any quantity (on a scale 1 to 10 say) is 
ostensibly impossible. We also use onomatopoeic terms ("boomy"), or 
causal/mechanical terms ("brassy","grainy"), or terms from the sense of touch 
("warm", "thick"). In short, we are obliged most of the time to describe a sound 
by reference to some other sound, by common consent.

In the meantime, the word "muted" would seem useful to describe the l/p filtered 
sound, as that does at least describe an obstacle to reception, rather than a 
quality of the source. On this basis, the opposite has to be "un-muted", as we 
have little vocabulary to express the absence of an effect.

The alternative is strict clinical descriptions of the sound such as the 
spectral centroid, but this may cause eyes to glaze over in every-day social 
discourses.

Richard Dobson


Leon Heller wrote:
> "Carlos Moreno" <moreno_at_mochima_dot_com@xx.xxx> wrote in message > news:Mwydc.26409$ih4.821654@wagner.videotron.net... > >>Hi, >> >>I'm looking for the word (adjective) that describes that >>quality of the sound resulting from having the right >>amount of high frequencies. >> >>For instance, if you low-pass filter a piano sound at, >>say, 3kHz, it sounds different. >> >>In Spanish (at least where I come from), we would say >>that the low-passed version sounds "opaque", and the >>version with the right amount of high-frequencies >>sounds "shiny" (or "glowy/glowing"). >> >>Is there a typical word in English that is standard >>terminology to describe that quality? (I'm talking >>about a word that is standard in the technical >>community) > > > I think I've seen "brightness" used in this context. > > Leon > >
Carlos Moreno wrote:

   ...

> Two comments: notice that I'm looking for the word to > describe the right amount of high-frequencies (or, say, > the presence of high frequencies). I used the example > of a low-passed piano to imply that I was looking for > the adjective that describes the original as compared > to the low-passed version (you hear both and you go: > "there, this one sounds ____" -- "brighter", as per > Jon's message)
... Trite as it may seem, the description "high fidelity" comes to mind. Note that good high-frequency response is not always a good thing. Under some conditions, a low-pass filter can improve the pleasantness of music. Low-distortion audio in a flat passband tends to sound best to people with normal hearing when the product of the upper and lower cut-offs is close to 400 (KHz)^2. When small speakers limit the base response, the extreme highs become unwelcome. Jerry -- Engineering is the art of making what you want from things you can get. &#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;&#2013266095;