Do your speakers bite??

There's a curious phrase audiophiles use for speakers with well defined leading transients, or extra string or reed sounds: bite

Sometimes this is also extra resonance from inside a string instrument.  I say it's extra because I don't hear the same in real life, but for some speakers these are marked selling points.

So, do your speakers bite?  Do you like your speakers to bite you?  What is your threshold?


I had a recording studio in my house for 10 years and I recorded a fair bit of acoustic music including guitar, accordion, violin, brass, drums, taiko drums, and various percussion instruments. I can tell you from personal experience that acoustic instruments, especially when close-mic'd, have far more aggressive transients, or "bite" in person than they have on recordings. Virtually every recording engineer uses compression to tame these transients because they would be unpleasant if if not compressed.

If you are in a live music venue then, indeed, the transients are tame because you are so far away from the instruments. It's similar with recording - as you move the mic away from the instruments the transients decline.

I have never called it "bite" but my speakers and amp (Thiel CS6, Krell KSA 300S) produce transients very well and when I play a recording that has hot transients I sometimes jump in my seat. I wouldn't have it any other way. Apparently I've gotten used to it because this summer at the Pacific Audio Fest I heard several megabuck systems that didn't sound as dynamic as mine. I came home, fired up my system and went, "Yeaaah.."

      One primary reason I left Maggies behind, for Clayton Shaw's wares: they never reproduced the, "bite" (and attendant goosebumps), I knew existed and missed in many electric guitar solos.

I love the jump factor !

Bass plucking on higher pitch notes is when I get it.

I know it's the current pushed by my krell ksa amp.

So what i'm hearing for the "pro-biting" camp is you like the zing, even though it doesn't occur in real music listening?

For instance, close mic recording is bringing information about instruments we'd never hear in listening to un-amplified music.

Good point on the use of close mic recording bringing about sounds not normally heard from a distance when not mic'd and amplified.

I like the speed of quick transients and a sealed ribbon tweeter and two 4.5" mid/woofers yield superb PRAT to me, as well as digging deep due to cabinet design and port loading. 

When listening becomes painful I wonder what purpose it serves. Bite perhaps is best expressed with brassy instruments in my mind. A little might be realistic.   I don't need zing. I want speed and great tonality.