Facebook social media iconTwitter social media iconYouTube social media iconSubmit to Reddit

An Introduction to Equalization - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Equipping Your Home Recording Studio - A free download from Audio Masterclass

An Introduction to Compression: Basic Compression - A free download from Audio Masterclass

Why your new monitors should make your mix sound bad

New monitors? Now you need to tune in your ears.

How to double track easily and efficiently

The importance of managing configurations and preferences in professional work

What should you fix before you mix?

Why choosing a key for your song is one of the most important aspects of preparation for production and recording

The importance of monitoring in the recording studio

This one simple mistake will lose you a third of your songwriting royalties - with video

How not to run a recording session!

Q: "Why is the signal from my microphone low in level and noisy?"

Adding warmth with control and consistency

Do your recordings have warmth? Yes? But does the amount of warmth vary with the signal level? Wouldn't you like it to be more consistent...


It is widely known that the right kind of distortion can give a recording the subjective quality of 'warmth'. A single-ended tube stage of amplification, which will of course naturally be Class A, will give you plenty of those lovely even-order harmonics - the ones the ear likes.

But the problem is that the amount of 'warmth', or distortion to use the proper term, depends on the level of the signal. The louder the signal, the more distortion.

But what if you want a little more warmth in the low-level subtle sections of your playing? What do you do?

One answer might be to compress the signal so that it is pretty much all of the same level, then the degree of warmth will be consistent. But then you have lost those low-level subtleties. Can we do better?

Yes we can. Split the signal into two so that one feed goes straight through and the other to the compressor, and then to the 'warmth generator'. Now mix the compressed and warmed up signal with the 'dry' signal. The result is consistent and controllable warmth. Just mix in as much as you need.

As a final touch, you can also try cutting the bass from the signal before the compressor and warmth generator. The advantage of this is that low frequencies tend to produce harsher distortion than mid and high frequencies, where the distortion is smoother. In fact, you could probably cut as high as 500 Hz with benefit.

No more cold winter nights!

(Or you could buy an Aphex Aural Exciter.)

Please click here if there are broken links or missing images in this article

By David Mellor Saturday August 15, 2009
Online courses from Audio Masterclass