Audiophile Dictionary


There are so many words or terms used in audio world. Sometimes, it really hard to read a review if we do not understand what the terms mean. I myself sometimes have to search in google translate or wikipedia to find the meaning of some words or terms in audio world. Now, I have collected the words’ meaning and will share to you. Let’s find out.

Airy. Airy means wide, like in a large area. If we close our eyes and listen to the airy music, airy means the musical instruments seems to be surrounded by a large empty space. Frequency range is wide, 15Hz – 20KHz. High Frequency reproduction is good.

Bassy. May be all of us know what bassy means. It means the bass instrument is dominant. The low frequency response under 200Hz seems to be the strength point. Very good characteristic for basshead.

Blanketed. You all know blanket right? Yeah, imagine your speaker is surrounded by blanket, and listen to its sound. That kind of sound is called blanketed. Blanketed means a weak high frequency.

Bloated. Excessive Mid-Bass around 250Hz.

Blurred. Blur, the sound is not focus, bad frequency response.

Boomy. Excessive low frequency response. Bass around 125 Hz too much. Usually the mid and high frequency will be covered by the low frequency.

Boxy. The sound produced seems to be like inside the box. Dominant frequency is around 250 Hz to 500 Hz.

Breathy. The sound of breathing is present in the instruments such as flute or saxophone. It is caused by the mid-high frequency is really good.

Bright. Dominant in high frequency.

Chesty. The voice of the singer seems like he/she has a large lungs. Frequency response strengthen at low frequency.

Clear. The detail of each instrument clearly visible through the sound produced.

Colored. The sound produced seems different from its original form. It has some color which created the sound not exactly the same as its true sound.

Crisp.  High frequency response is wide. It usually produced by the cymbals.

Dark. The opposite of bright. Weak on high frequency.

Delicate. High frequency reach 15-20 kHz. Looks like have no limits.

Depth. Some kind of feeling of distance, dept, locations from any different instruments.

Detailed. Detail of the sound or voice is very clear, easy to listen, clear articulation. Fair high frequency response.

Dull. See Dark.

Edgy. Too many high Frequency.

Fat.  The sound seems to move to one side, slow, then move to the other side. See Full and Warm.

Full.  Low frequency response is good, not excessive, enough around 100-300Hz. Male voice is full around 125Hz, female voice and violin full around 250Hz. Saxophone full around 250-400Hz. The opposite of Thin.

Gentle. The opposite of Edgy. Harmonic (treble and mid-hi) is not too strong, even can be categorized weak.

Grainy. The music looks like consists of small parts, not flowing as one full body. Some old A/D long time ago is grainy, the same as low quality product this time.

Grungy. To much harmonic distortion.

Hard.  Too much mid-hi, generally about 3 kHz. It could also be a short response is good, sounds like the sound hit you hit hard.

Harsh. Too much mid-hi. Frequency response between 2kHz to 6 kHz is strong. It can be also phase shift is too large at lowpass filter in a digital recorder.

Honky. Like clasped hands around your mouth. Higher frequency response around 500-700 Hz.

Mellow. High frequencies are reduced, not edgy.

Muddy. Not clear. Harmonics are weak, bad response time.

Muffled. Sounds like the sound is covered by blanket. High / mid-hi tone is weak.

Nasal.  Honky, rose in around 600 Hz frequency response.

Piercing.  Too hard, cause pain in the ear. Frequency response peaks are sharp and narrow at around 3 kHz to10 kHz.

Presence. The sound looks like as if the instrument is in the hearing room. The synonym of edge, punch, detail, closeness and clarity. Sufficient / dominant frequency response at around 5 kHz for most instruments, or about 2 kHz to 5 kHz for kick drum and bass.

Puffy. Rose in frequency around 500 Hz.

Punchy. A good dynamic reproduction. Good short response. Sometimes it rose at a frequency of about 5 kHz or 200 Hz.

Rich. See Full. It could also be fun distortions created by the harmonic order.

Round. High frequencies that do not fit. Not edgy.

Sibilant. Sound “s” and “sh” which is too excessive as in the pronunciation of “Essy”, due to the strengthening of about 6-10 kHz frequency response.

Sizzly. See Sibilant. It could also be too many high notes in cymbals.

Smeared. No detail. Short response is bad, too much leakage between microphones. Focus is poor.

Smooth. Comfortable for the ears, not harsh. A flat frequency response, especially in midrange. Less peaks and valleys in frequency response.

Spacious. Make a widespread impression or some feeling of space around the instrument. Stereo echo. Bouncing.

Steely. Dominant in the mid-high tones around 3-6 kHz. High frequency response is wavy and not flat. See Harsh, Edgy.

Strident. See Harsh, Edgy.

Sweet. No loud or deafening. Gentle. A flat high frequency response, low distortion. There is no strong tone in frequency response. High tones reach 15-20 kHz, but the sound was not dominant. Often used when describing the sound cymbals, percussion, strings, and voices hiss.

Thin. Basic tone which is weaker than harmonic tone.

Tight. Frequency response and the detail low frequency are good.

Tinny, Telephone-like. Narrow bandwidth, low tone is weak, mid-pitched voice. Music sounds seemed to come over the phone or cans.

Transparent. Feeling relax when listening to music, detailed, clear, not Muddy. Wide and flat frequency response, the response time is sharp, distortion and noise is very low.

Tubby. There is a reflection of low frequencies such as singing in the bathroom. See bloated.

Veiled. Speakers such as covered by silk fabric. Little noise or distortion or slightly weak high frequencies. Not transparent.

Warm. Good bass, high frequency is sufficient, adequate basic tones than harmonic. Not thin. It could also be excessive bass or mid-bass. Or the broad sense of fun, with adequate reverberation at low frequencies. See also Rich, Round. Warm highs synonymous with sweet highs.

Weighty. Low frequency response is good, around 50 Hz. Make the impression of a weight object, such as diesel locomotives.

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