I’ve been using the same description for quite a few DACs that I’ve come across recently: “warm” and “detailed”. The term has been used so many times that now they almost work like a single adjective “warm and detailed”.
That’s precisely what most audiophiles like to hear these days, and manufacturers who’s done a good market research will know that. That is why a lot of DACs all take a similar stance when tuning for sound signature: warm and detailed. Quite a few DACs fall into this description: The Styleaudio UD-1, the Ibasso D4, the Audinst HUD-MX1, the uDAC, the AMB Gamma2, the Headamp Pico, the Neko D100, the Dr. DAC2 DX, and the Matrix Mini-I DAC. And although they all fall into different price brackets, and their technical performance is also quite varied, it won’t be wrong to classify them as “warm and yet detailed”.
Here’s a simple illustration to describe what I mean:
They are all slightly different, but you would still call them as “Red”. Likewise, there are different DACs with the same “warm and detailed” description, yet they each maintain a slightly different rendition of “warm and detailed”. Hence you can say “it’s very warm sounding”, or you can say “it’s slightly tilted to the warm direction”.
This phenomenon actually extends more to just DACs, but to IEMs, Amplifiers, and full size Cans. The CEC HD53N is warm and detailed, and so is the Beta22. The Hifiman HM-801 warm and detailed, and so is the Sansa Clip. The Fischer Eterna is warm and detailed, and so is the UM Mage. Though possessing the same adjective of “warm and detailed”, there are still differences in the degree of warm or the level of detail, and if it’s possible I wouldn’t mind using numbers to describe them: i.e warm (6) and detailed (7). But of course that would be ridiculous.
Now I’d like to talk about another adjective that’s also used quite often: Neutral. A lot of products have also been branded as “neutral”, and the same phenomenon applies here. Is “neutral” described as a single point in a scale, or is “neutral” a range of values within a given parameter? Is neutral, a dot, or a circle?
After the first illustration with the red blocks, most of you will probably agree that neutral should be a range of values. I think so too. Neutral can’t be a dot, because that is too limiting. Just like I am human and you are too, but that doesn’t make us the same. So, the HD800 can be considered neutral, like how the UM3X can be considered neutral, but they’re actually quite different sounding.
Okay, last one.
Is “good sound” subjective, or is it objective? If good sound is subjective, then can you claim that the JH13 is better than the Ibud?
The comment box is below.