Nomenclature (411) Q&A

What is a Cold sound? edit

What does it mean when someone says something is 'cold sounding'?
1 Answer
Michael Davis, I work here
Saying that something is cold sounding is almost always a pejorative.

A cold sound is the opposite of a warm sound. It is usually a sound with too few harmonics [too little 'color', i.e. a 'lean' sound] and with note decays truncated in an artificial and abrupt manner.

Another way to put this is to call something 'overly neutral'. Because those who eschew a warm sound refer to the sound they prefer as a 'neutral' sound [not too cold, not too warm], this is like describing a sound as 'overly perfect'. But in reality this means that in the pursuit of a neutral sound, the stereo system has gone too far away from warmth and ended up sounding 'cold'.

One of the problems with a cold or overly neutral sounding hifi system is that it can more easily end up sounding 'bright' whereas it is quite difficult for a warm sounding system to sound bright [whose greater risk is that it will sound muddy].
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