I only know that I have come to like the way mine sounds with the music that I listen to which is primarily FLAC/ALAC jazz and R&B. No MP3 files. It is good with both the iPod Classic and the NWZ-A17. I do not diddle with equalization. I have and always will run everything flat. I hope that you make peace with this thing soon, or find something that suits you better. Nice when you can just enjoy the music.