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Thoughts On EQing the iPod

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Based on recent conversations with friends, there appears to be a longstanding, widespread misunderstanding of the impact of EQing the iPod. Two things are essential to getting on top of the problem. Many know how this stuff works as well as I, but this is intended for those who may not.

First, forget the names of the EQ settings. They are arbitrary and serve no purpose other than differentiating between settings. They often bear absolutely no relation to the genre you're listening to.

Second, take a look at the actual slider positions in iTunes for each of the supplied presets. Many will do exactly what you don't want to do with your system such as increasing the bass or cutting the mids in the case of typical W3 users. For example, if you prefer a singer to be more forward take a look at the Pop sliders. This is probably what you want. But also take a look at the Rock sliders. This is precisely what you don't want. Many Rock enthusiasts simply select Rock and immediately decide that the iPod's EQ sucks. It doesn't necessarily, but the preset names certainly do.

Finally, keep in mind that many EQ changes require a volume adjustment to regain tonal balance. Boosting one part of the spectrum, for instance the mids, can overdrive a DAP's amp stage, particularly when using 'phones with low sensitivity. But a similar affect can be gained by cutting the other portions of the spectrum and raising the volume slightly. Conversely, selecting the Bass Booster setting may require a lowering of volume. Conventional wisdom notwithstanding, when applied judiciously some of the settings are very useful with little or no penalty to overall SQ.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spad View Post
Rock enthusiasts simply select Rock and immediately decide that the iPod's EQ sucks. It doesn't necessarily, but the preset names certainly do.

I'm one of these people, and I agree with you; the presets on the iPod are certainly lacking. Now if only there was a way to customize...

The only preset I'm interested in is one that can improve the faults in my IEMs, not one for specific genres. I skip around too much to change the EQ every time.
post #3 of 11
I have stopped using the iPod EQ entirely, because none of the EQ settings are "cut-only", they're all "cut-and-boost".

Perhaps it is simply in my head, but I can definitely hear distortion on anything the internal EQ boosts.
post #4 of 11
I use EQs with my portable phones and I do not experience any distortions at all.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post

Perhaps it is simply in my head, but I can definitely hear distortion on anything the internal EQ boosts.
Same here. Heard it right away, and thought it was my imagination at first.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancaster View Post
I'm one of these people, and I agree with you; the presets on the iPod are certainly lacking. Now if only there was a way to customize...

The only preset I'm interested in is one that can improve the faults in my IEMs, not one for specific genres. I skip around too much to change the EQ every time.
Exactly so. To do it right we'd need a response plot of our total system across the spectrum and a similar plot of our own hearing. It is the combination of these that matters. For example, a 'phone that sounds intolerably bright to a 20-something might sound ideal to a 50 year old--and both might perceive precisely the same frequency response. This is among the more important reasons why basing ones decisions entirely on the opinion of strangers--here or elsewhere--is so foolhardy, IMO.
post #7 of 11
I leave the EQ off, it's a horrible implementation of an EQ. Mind you i've found with a LOD and modest amp, I don't need it anymore
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
I have stopped using the iPod EQ entirely, because none of the EQ settings are "cut-only", they're all "cut-and-boost".

Perhaps it is simply in my head, but I can definitely hear distortion on anything the internal EQ boosts.
Actually, this isn't quite true, Sherwood. The presets that include the word "Reducer" only cut given frequencies. For proof, look at the equalizer settings in iTunes for Bass Reducer and Treble Reducer. As I'm sure you know, these setting correspond directly with those on the iPod.
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spad View Post
look at the equalizer settings in iTunes for Bass Reducer and Treble Reducer. As I'm sure you know, these setting correspond directly with those on the iPod.
Actually, this is news to me, and may make a difference in my listening habits. I can certainly see a use for bass reducer when I'm listening to good audiobooks (and treble reducer for bad ones), at a bare minimum I wrote the EQ off long ago, and I never bothered to compare the iPod settings to the iTunes settings. Thanks, Spad.
post #10 of 11
very helpful information...I like play around with EQ when my IEM doesn't offer me a sound that I am expecting. Many people talks about EQ distort the music, that's not the case, they have to play around with it, like a DJ (not exactly LOL) w3 is very sensitive to EQ as opposed to my esw9...maybe it's because of the nature of the driver..balance amature vs. Dynamic?
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feather225 View Post
very helpful information...I like play around with EQ when my IEM doesn't offer me a sound that I am expecting. Many people talks about EQ distort the music, that's not the case, they have to play around with it, like a DJ (not exactly LOL) w3 is very sensitive to EQ as opposed to my esw9...maybe it's because of the nature of the driver..balance amature vs. Dynamic?
I don't really know, but since both--armature and dynamic--are simply different approaches to moving air, and both can be equally sensitive to input power changes, I suspect it's more a matter of synergy. For example, if the EQ shelving happens to occur at or very near a crossover or response spike something unpleasant could result.

The fact that the W3 is a true three driver, three crossover design could possibly make it more sensitive I suppose. But whatever, I wouldn't change a thing in the W3's design. I'm totally smitten with mine. I swear I wouldn't be surprised to find Jane Monheit's lipstick on my ears after one of "our" more intimate soirées.
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