What is a “warm” system?: A Discussion with byroncunningham

Many audiophiles set out to assemble a system with a certain temperature to the sound. A system can sound “warm” or “cool.” We talked with member byroncunningham about his definition of a “warm” system and how to create one.

AUDIOGON: How would you describe a “warm” system?

BYRON CUNNINGHAM: It seems to me that the term “warm” can refer to a surprising number of different system characteristics.

AGON: Can you name a few examples?

BC: Here are a few:
1. Harmonic content, esp. added low order harmonics
2. Frequency response, esp. elevated lower midrange/upper bass
3. Transient response, esp. underdamped (high Q) drivers for midrange or LF
4. Cabinet resonance, esp. some materials and shapes
5. Room resonance, esp. some materials and dimensions

AGON: What is your opinion of “warm” systems?

BC: I have heard several systems that could be described that way. Some of them sounded wonderful, but others were less so.

AGON: Do you strive for a “warm” system?

BC: Personally, I have not set out to assemble a system that sounds warm, but I can see the appeal in it. As my system changes over time, I sometimes consider experimenting more with various kinds of “warmth.”


We want to know how you’d like your perfect system to sound. To join in the discussion, click here.

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