A verbal rating experiment on timbre was conducted to compare the Japanese and Chinese adjectives which express auditory impression. The auditory impression of various kinds of musical sounds was measured by a semantic differential method. The subjects are Japanese and Chinese. The scales used for both groups had the same literal meanings. However, the scales are Japanese for Japanese subjects and Chinese for Chinese subjects. The obtained data were analyzed by principal components analysis. The scales were taken as variables. A four-factor solution is obtained for the Japanese scales. The factors are named sharpness, cleanness, potency, and pleasantness from the loadings of each scale on each factor. A three-factor solution is obtained for the Chinese scales. The factors are named sharpness, cleanness, and potency. The factor of sharpness has the same feature for both groups. However, the features of the factors of cleanness and potency are slightly different. A drastic difference is observed on the scale of ``unpleasant--pleasant.'' The Chinese scale of unpleasant--pleasant has high loading on the factor of sharpness. On the other hand, the Japanese scale of unpleasant--pleasant is independent of sharpness, cleanness, and potency. This scale makes the independent factor of pleasantness by itself. Furthermore, the acoustic energy in high-frequency region has different effects on timbre perception between Japanese and Chinese.