All About Sound: What is Coloration?

You're seeing this word all over this website and in every description of our products: "Coloration." More to the point, lack of it, or the elimination of it.

So, what is coloration, and why do we want to get rid of it?

When struck or activated, every material resonates with sound. This is the concept behind musical instruments... and loudspeakers.

There is the pure sound the material or instrument makes, and then there are the over- and undertones or resonances that accompany the pure sound.

Its these resonances that "color" the pure sound, often adding extraneous information and muddying the original tone or note or sound. Unwanted resonances "color" what you hear. Color compromises fidelity and hampers imaging.

Common colorations include:
  • Shrill or Dull sound is too sharp (shrill) or too muffled (dull).
  • Harsh Resonances in the 2 kHz to 8 kHz region make high frequencies sound grating.
  • Resonance problems in the 1 kHz to 2 kHz range result in a "nasal-like" sound. Resonance problems in the 200 Hz to 600 Hz range can result in hollow or "cupping" sound.
  • A loudspeaker may sound "boxy" because of uncontrolled enclosure resonances in the 90 Hz to 200 Hz region, causing upper bass response to lack clarity and definition.
  • When a speaker sounds "boomy," it's having problems in the 60 Hz to 100 Hz range; the bass may sound bloated and poorly defined.

Coloration is a very definite performance-robbing characteristic of poorly designed loudspeakers.

Loudspeakers should be neutral, and have no identifiable sound of their own. The Holy Grail of audio is a loudspeaker that is so utterly transparent that the performance sounds "live," with nothing coming between the performer and your ears.

Paradigm loudspeakers come very close to this Holy Grail, indeed. Years of scientific research into the nature of sound reproduction and its effects on the human ear have given Paradigm engineers deep insight into the problems of audio coloration. The most advanced research & development, and most advanced program of testing and measurement, have led Paradigm engineers to innovations that fight, and often eliminate, coloration in Paradigm loudspeakers.

That's why Paradigm loudspeakers are known to be so timbrally accurate and virtually transparent, to more faithfully reproduce the distinctive character of any audio signal.

With Paradigm, it's just you and your audio.