Portable audio is one part of the whole Audio world. Portable audio world actually does not have a specific benchmark on how to evaluate a product. Therefore many terms are used to interpret the sound results of a product. There are so many terms that are quite foreign to connoisseurs who are new to know to enter into it. Here are some terms that can help you understand more deeply about the world of portable audio.
Airy: large. Open. The sounds of various instruments rang as if surrounded by a large empty room. Good high frequency reflection reproduction. Frequency response widens to 15-20 kHz.
Bassy: low frequencies below 200 Hz are dominant.
Blanketed: High notes are weak, as if a blanket is placed over the speaker.
Bloated: Mid-bass around 250 Hz in excess. Poor low frequency attenuation, low frequency resonance. See Tubby.
Blurred: Poor short response. Blurred stereo shadow, out of focus.
Boomy: Bass around 125 Hz is excessive. Poor low frequency attenuation or low frequency resonance.
Boxy: Having a reflection as if music is included in the box. Sometimes the dominant frequency is around 250 Hz to 500 Hz.
Breathy: breath sounds heard on musical instruments such as flute or saxophone. Good mid-upper / treble response.
Bright: Dominant at high frequency. Harmonics are stronger than basic notes.
Chesty: The voice of the singer sounds as if his chest is too big. Strengthening response at low frequencies around 125-250 Hz.
Colored: reads not like the original. Uneven, bumpy frequency response.
Crisp: wide high frequency response, especially on cymbals.
Dark: the opposite of bright. Weak at high frequencies.
Delicate: High frequency reaches 15-20kHz as if without peak.
Depth: A kind of feeling of distance (near to far) from a variety of different instruments.
Detailed: Detailed musical sounds that are easily heard; clear articulation. Sufficient high frequency response, sharp short response.
Edgy: Too much high frequency. Too treble. Harmonic is too strong compared to the basic tone. Distorted, containing unwanted harmonics that add a rough impression.
Fat: See Full and Warm. Or, the sound seems to move to one side, slowed, then moves to the other side. It can also be a slight distortion in analog band distortion or tube distortion.
Full: strong fundamental over harmonics. Low frequency response is good, not excessive, but contains a level of around 100-300 Hz which is sufficient. Male voice is heard in full at around 125 Hz; full female voice and violin around 250 Hz; saxophone sounds full around 250-400 Hz. Opposite to Thin.
Gentle: opposite to Edgy. Harmonics (treble and mid-upper) are not excessive, can even tend to be weak.
Grainy: music sounds like it is composed of small beads, not flowing in one piece. Not liquid. Experiencing harmonic distortion / I.M. Some A / D converters from earlier times sounded grainy, just like today’s products that are of low quality.
Grungy: a lot of harmonic distortion / I.M.
Hard: too much mid-top, generally around 3 kHz. It can also be a good short response, as if the sound hit you loudly.
Harsh: too much mid-top. Frequency response between 2-6 kHz strong. Can also be too large phase shift on a digital recorder filter lowpass.
Honky: like clasping hands around your mouth. A frequency response that strengthens around 500-700 Hz.
Mellow: High frequencies are reduced, not edgy.
Muddy: not clear. Weak harmonics, improper response time, I.M. distortion
Muffled: sounds like it’s covered in a blanket. Weak high / mid-top notes.
Nasal: honky, strengthened at a frequency response of around 600 Hz.
Piercing: too hard, ear pain. The peak frequency response is sharp and narrow around 3-10 kHz.
Presence: as if the instrument is in the listening room. Synonyms of edge, punch, detail, closeness and clarity. Fair / dominant frequency response around 5 kHz for most instruments, or around 2-5 kHz for kick drums and bass.
Puffy: strengthened at a frequency of around 500 Hz.
Punchy: good dynamic reproduction. Good momentary response, with a strong impact. Sometimes it strengthens at a frequency of around 5 kHz or 200 Hz.
Rich: see Full. It can also be pleasant distortions created from regular harmonics.
Round: improper high frequency. No edgy.
Sibilant: excessive sound “s” and “sh” as in the pronunciation of “Essy”, due to the strengthened frequency response around 6-10 kHz.
Sizzly: see Sibilant. Can also be too many high notes on cymbals.
Smeared: no detail. Poor short response, too much leakage between microphones. Bad focus.
Smooth: comfortable for the ears, not rough. Flat frequency response, especially in midrange. Less peaks and valleys in frequency response.
Spacious: bring the impression of spacious feel or space around the instrument. Resounding stereo. Bounce off.
Steely: dominant in the mid-top tone around 3-6 kHz. Corrugated and uneven high frequency response. See Harsh, Edgy.
Sweet: Not loud or deafening. Soft. Flat high frequency response, low distortion. There is no strong tone in frequency response. High notes reach 15-20 kHz, but the sound is not dominant. Often used when describing the sounds of cymbals, percussion, strings, and hissing sounds.
Thin: weak basic notes compared to harmonics.
Tight: good response and low frequency details for a moment.
Tinny, Telephone-like: narrow bandwidth, weak low notes, high-pitched mid voice. Music sounds as if it came out over the telephone or can.
Transparent: relax when listening to music, detailed, clear, not muddy. Wide flat frequency response, sharp response time, very low distortion and noise.
Tubby: there are low frequency reflections such as singing in the bathroom. See bloated.
Veiled: speaker like covered by silk cloth. Little noise or high frequency or distortion is rather weak. Not transparent.
Warm: good bass, sufficient high frequency, adequate basic tone compared to harmonics. Not thin. Can also be excessive bass or midbass. Or a pleasant broad feeling, with adequate echoes at low frequencies. See also Rich, Round. Warm highs are the same as sweet highs.
Weighty: good low frequency response, around 50 Hz. Impressing an object of weight / weight, such as a diesel locomotive.
Those are some terms that are widely used in the world of portable audio. But apart from the terms used above, the valuation of a product depends back to the audience.