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Whatever happened to Graphic Equalisers in Hi Fi?

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
Whatever happened to Graphic Equalisers in Hi Fi?

In the 70's and 80's Hi Fi amps had rows of them, sometimes 16 frequency bands for for each channel. Currently they have a very low profile, a lot of stuff doesn't even have a bass or treble control!

Why? They are good enough for concerts and PA systems!

If you share the view that rooms and speaker resonances have possibly the biggest impacts on listening quality they are an ideal means of mitigating this.

So where are they? Is it a fashion thing?

Sure they degrade the signal path, but by how much in the real world, I mean would you even notice it in a typical system (with resonant frequencies booming around your front room)? The pros seem to outweigh the cons to me.

Why spend thousands on room accoustics, just buy an equaliser!
post #2 of 61

My EQ's alive and well

Good question - I have wondered that myself. For me they are alive and well.

I have used them on my main systems for years, mainly to tweak the response of the speakers I was using, and now I am using one on my HP setup. Mine has a spectrum analyser/pink noise gen. and mic, and I recently EQ'd my D2000s (a bit crude but it worked nicely). With a little adjustment they have gone from sounding really good to great. My EQ is pretty quiet and I cant discern any added noise, so for me it is all good.
post #3 of 61
EAR still makes a nice one. It's all about build quality.
post #4 of 61
You'll find a lot of them available in the pro field.

I don't use one because my view is that if you need equalization, then you have a problem somewhere along the line. I'd rather address that problem directly than twiddle a knob only to cause a problem somewhere else.
post #5 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
You'll find a lot of them available in the pro field.

I don't use one because my view is that if you need equalization, then you have a problem somewhere along the line. I'd rather address that problem directly than twiddle a knob only to cause a problem somewhere else.
X 2!

However, it is sometimes cheaper to use a cheap graphic EQ for room correction than to actually treat the room.
post #6 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFF View Post
However, it is sometimes cheaper to use a cheap graphic EQ for room correction than to actually treat the room.
Definitely true . . . but usually you'll need a combination of both to get really close anyway

EDIT:

Err, actually I should have mentioned parametric for that purpose . . .
post #7 of 61
Honestly, once you get a decent headphone-based set up, you really don't need one. They're nice to have if the recording you're listening to has too much bass or something, though.
post #8 of 61
I was under the impression most audiophiles with speakers used active crossovers, or active room compensation. No point in dealing with analog EQ issues if you don't have to.
post #9 of 61
Room correction will fix things EQ can't -- EQ adjust freq resp only. In wierd rooms you need to do it all for those rare times when you won't have headphones on:

1. Gross speaker placement, toe-in (tricky with e.g. maggies), and sub-woofer adjustment (amazingly involved, need SPL meter).
2. Put the room treatments up (see GIK Acoustics. Acoustic Panels and Bass Traps. for example).
3. Pick your DAC algorithm, if you have a choice, by ear.
4. Add a touch of sound processing, like Aphex, if you listen to a lot of modern CDs that have been over-compressed. Dial it in with a bunch of fave CDs and never touch it again (except to bypass it).
5. Now fine-tune speaker placement and sub adjustment by ear. (I did this with Aphex on).
6. Add real-time DSP, and take several readings with the supplied mike (e.g. Lyngdorf Room Perfect). Save one setting with Aphex on, another with it bypassed.
7. Add a graphic equalizer (mine is by dbx -- essentially zero noise) and leave it off except for certain situations where you need a treble cut or a subtle bass boost (if Aphex is off) or cut (if Aphex is on). Write the settings on a yellow sticky that you put inside the jewel case, or add text to a comment field (overload "genre" if there is no comment field) if a computer track.

This is the only way to get organ music, massive choral works, violin and piano works, small jazz combos, quiet folk, studio rock albums, live stadium albums, female vocal solos, club/electronic music, today's junky, sugary, hook-y pop, rap, and the re-mastered Beatles to all sound right, in a small room with long walls, and totally strange non-rectangular, asymmetric corners.
post #10 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
You'll find a lot of them available in the pro field.

I don't use one because my view is that if you need equalization, then you have a problem somewhere along the line. I'd rather address that problem directly than twiddle a knob only to cause a problem somewhere else.
I thinking EQ could control my room and speaker resonances so what I actually hear at my ears is flattened out across the frequency spectrum.

From what I understand this is a fairly common problem that is one of the largest impacts on what you actually hear.

Don't understand, what problem would it cause somewhere else?
post #11 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by b0dhi View Post
I was under the impression most audiophiles with speakers used active crossovers, or active room compensation. No point in dealing with analog EQ issues if you don't have to.
Don't know much about Active Room compensation. Is this only for high end?

It makes a lot of sense, in theory anyway, any links?
post #12 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbtruitt View Post
Good question - I have wondered that myself. For me they are alive and well.

I have used them on my main systems for years, mainly to tweak the response of the speakers I was using, and now I am using one on my HP setup. Mine has a spectrum analyser/pink noise gen. and mic, and I recently EQ'd my D2000s (a bit crude but it worked nicely). With a little adjustment they have gone from sounding really good to great. My EQ is pretty quiet and I cant discern any added noise, so for me it is all good.
What does your EQ curve look like for the D2000?
I've been using a software based 31 band graphic EQ to mod my D2000. I've just been focusing on the 1K to 4K region trying to balance out the recessed frequency range that the D2000 has there.

I've also tried some various parametric EQs. But I find the graphic EQ easier to deal with as long as it has enough bands.
post #13 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_Jump View Post
So where are they? Is it a fashion thing?
The integrated EQs on receivers from the 70s and 80s moved on to separate components. The integrated EQs generally weren't very good compared to what you can get in a dedicated EQ. EQs take up a lot of front panel space. And it was likely a style thing. The style of the 70s and 80s was what I call "the lights of Tokyo". It was the style of the time to have lots of lighted gadgets and dials and meters on receivers. Fortunately that style has gone away.

I have a 15 band graphic EQ for my monitor speakers. Most of the time it is in bypass mode, but it nice to have when I want to twiddle and experiment. The low cut filter is nice for cutting out low bass that my monitor speakers can't do.

I'm also not against using a software EQ with headphones.
post #14 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_Jump View Post
Don't know much about Active Room compensation. Is this only for high end?

It makes a lot of sense, in theory anyway, any links?
Sorry, I don't own speakers so I never looked too deeply into it. I've come across it a lot though.

In the case of active room compensation, I believe the process is that an impulse response of your speaker/room is taken at your listening position. Then, a convolution filter is generated to compensate for your system/room's non-linearities. This convolution filter is applied in real-time, either using some VST software if you're using a PC or using dedicated room-correction hardware if not.

I would assume that since you need an amplifier channel for each band, it would be expensive.
post #15 of 61
Thread Starter 
They make a lot of sense. Its time for a revival, these things go in cycles.







When I was a kid I always used to love those shiny 80s Akai system with all the lights and buttons.

What do those lights on top of each eq. slider indicate, I can't remember.

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