"Dry" sound

Hi all. I’m curious what is meant by the term “dry” when describing the sound of an amp. Anyone have the ability to put it into words?

Lacking air and dimension is what it means to me. People used to commonly describe solid state amps this way years ago.

I agree with the description from @cudfoo and would add that it generally applies to the higher frequencies, when there’s a level of graininess to the sound as opposed to a more ‘liquid’ quality which is better able to reproduce a sense of natural shimmer and harmonic decay. :joy:

I would compare with wine: dry versus fruity
Dry is a little acid

Not sure how relevant it is, or if it came from this source, but in audio production, reverbs can be dialled in from either entirely “dry” (no reverb added to the instrument/track) all the way to fully “wet” - that is the channel carrying the reverb’s output is full on - whatever the settings may be.

This can also be done acoustically with microphones further back in the venue from the primary mics, so that they pick up more of the “wet” sound - the sound of the room with much less of the instruments. Then the dry (close) and wet (far) mics are mixed together for the desired balance.

So this notion would correspond with the idea that it has to do with an amp that fails to bring out the “air”, etc, as noted above, as it is typically in the upper frequencies that we notice reverb. It could just refer to one that is balanced toward the bottom end/top end is “rolled off” - less of that high-frequency information would make it to your speakers.

My first thought as well.

Yes, reverb is what I first thought of.

Yes…I’m familiar with it as it pertains to reverb.
I need someone to come tell me if my amp is dry. LOL

Another question then…is dry or air a function more of the power amp or preamp? And if something is described as “tube like”…would that imply it’s not dry?

A dry characteristic to the sound of a system can be caused by any component or even some cables, it wouldn’t necessarily be limited to only a power or preamp. While there are no absolutes in audio I’d say in general a ‘tube like’ presentation would not be describing a dry sound.

Sorry if our responses did not meet your expectations, Secretguy. What sort of amp do you have?

And is that the amp you are asking about, or is this a philosophical question?

Analog to “dry” would be “nebulous”.

Not at all…it’s just the problem with trying to put a sound into words.
I’m using an Anthem 225 integrated with Goldenear Triton 1s. It sounds fine…I just wonder how much difference upgraded electronics would make. I think I don’t have the golden ears that some seem to. (Ironic, considering my speakers. LOL)
Also, my room is no doubt a limiting factor, but not much to do about that.

Weirdly, my two cents on the Anthem/Goldenear combo I have heard (not sure which model of each) would be that if it sounds Dry - I can’t help you ; ). Not that I would call it Wet in any way. Brittle, maybe. Way too much “detail” in the high end - which may read as completely opposite of my prior post. But without knowing or hearing the rest of the system, it is all supposition on my part.

Or think of it as the difference between the 2 inch speakers on a cheapo TV (“dry”) vs. something the size of Paul’s IRSV’s (“full”)

If you want to experience something technically perfectly designed but dry like chalk sounding, try Halcro.

If I were to describe an amplifier as dry it would be in its lack of harmonic richness - a solid state sound without the (sometimes) added tizz poorly designed solid state can suffer from.

Where an amplifier with a tube sound is rich with harmonics.

This is certainly a good way to describe amplifiers in my book and one we routinely use if something is sterile sounding, without character, and harmonics.

My editor would yell at me saying it doesn’t help anyone understand a term if you’re using more sonic terms to describe it. You have to use some better examples that relate to something else we might be familiar with but those escape me right now.

Maybe an amplifier that sounds dry is an amplifier that, when you are listening to it, you feel subconsciously compelled to wander through the internet looking for a replacement.

Thanks, Paul. I was hoping you might chime in.

Haha Ron. Indeed.