Understanding Sound Properties!
Buying a home speaker system is a huge investment, so it is important to understand exactly what you are getting into. You will hopefully be using your new speakers for many years to come so you will want to make sure that they are up to scratch for all your future uses.
Depending on how you will be using your sound system, you will need to be looking for different qualities in the speakers. For example, if your speaker needs are strictly for quiet background music and listening to the news in the morning, having a really good bass system won’t be on the top of your priorities. There are also other aspects to bear in mind; even the shape and size of the room the speakers are in could potentially affect the sound quality!
In order to make the best decision possible, we have provided you with a list of sound properties to bear in mind when shopping around for your system. This list is quite jargon heavy and technical, but you are likely to come across many of these terms and phrases when looking around at various systems.
Airy – This describes the space and openness of the product, and is usually associated with open back headphones and music in live settings.
Analytical – This describes products that produce high levels of detail in terms of the music being played back.
Balance – This usually describes the tuning of the earphone. For example, a well-balanced set of headphones wouldn’t have a particularly dominant frequency, so the bass, mids and highs are all well balanced.
Bass – This refers to the lower end frequency of human hearing. Bass is measured in quantity (heaviness) and quality (clarity within the frequency). There are other bass descriptors such as muddy and boomy.
Bloat – Usually found in the mid bass.
Bright/Brightness – This is displayed in the upper frequencies or upper mids. Brightness is a feature that many look for, but it can become unpleasant because it tends towards treble peaking.
Congestion – When sounds overlap each other and result in poor clarity.
Crisp – Clear sound quality.
Dark/Darkness – This is where the higher frequencies are less prominent.
Decay – Refers to how a sound/note/resonance fades away ie the note decay was lengthy.
Depth – How far away the instruments spacing is from back to front.
Detail – When all sound and notes are fully audible and present.
Forward – An intense presentation of sound. The opposite of this would be laid back and relaxed.
Fun – A high-energy sound with more emphasis on the bass.
Harsh – Describes the upper mid to upper frequencies when you get too much treble; an unpleasant quality.
Highs – The upper frequencies/ higher notes.
Imaging – The placement and position of an instrument as interpreted through the use of a product.
Lush –Rich tones with warmth to the overall presentation.
Microphonics – Friction sound heard in a headphone/ earphone that is caused by the movement or rubbing of the cable. Having high microphonics is very unpleasant.
Mids/Midrange – The middle frequencies, usually the main body of vocals and acoustic guitars amongst others.
Muddy – Unclear presentation of sound. The opposite of clean/clear.
Natural – Sounds as it should, real and true to life.
Openness – Displays good width and depth in the presentation, plenty of room in between instruments.
Punch – The impact and pop of a particular sound or frequency.
Sibilant – The high unpleasant peaks that are usually unpleasant to the ear if they are too prevalent.
Signature – The overall tone and tuning of headphones and earphones. The signature can be balanced, bassy, sibilant etc.
Soundstage – Described in 3D terms (height width and depth).
Timbre – The tone of a note.
Transparent – Similar to clarity, this refers to clean, clear, open and detailed quality.
Warm/warmth – Engaging vocals, bumped mid bass and clear and lush midrange.
At Wire Monkeys, we are all passionate audiophiles and it is in our best interest to have a full understanding of all that goes into making a mind blowing audio experience. If you have any questions, or are unsure about what you are needing from your speakers, please don’t hesitate to contact us, or visit us and we’ll be more than happy to assist.