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Why don't more people use EQ to get the desired sound?

Poll Results: Do you use EQ regularly?

 
  • 34% (82)
    Yes
  • 40% (95)
    No
  • 18% (44)
    Absolutlely not!
  • 5% (14)
    Of coarse!
235 Total Votes  
post #1 of 299
Thread Starter 

One thing I've noticed over my time here at head-fi is that, for the most part, no one ever says "Not enough bass? Use a little EQ." Why is this? I have been EQ-ing for a long time. k701smile.gif ( I know that it can sometimes reduce the quality a bit)

post #2 of 299

It's cheating.

post #3 of 299

to break it down extremely simply: know-how, learning curve (there is a great thread here for learning to EQ), possibility of reducing quality.  (have you seen the lengths some go to to avoid this?)

post #4 of 299

Haha, I've sometimes wondered if I should make this exact same thread. What I've philosophized on this subject is that:

 

1. Many people haven't had any experience with GOOD quality EQs. The quality of the EQs varies a lot, some ruins the sound more than it helps (distorts, colors/skews the frequencies), most software EQs are bad such as iTunes, foobar2000 etc. In best case scenario an EQ simply adjusts the loudness curve, this works well with a good hardware EQ. Cheapest option if wanting to try out what a good quality EQ can do: pick up an Audigy 2 ZS 2nd hand for around $15 => install kX Audio drivers and use the built-in hardware DSP 10-band EQ.

 

2. The site is head-fi where many people are very theoretical and simply go by theory rather than using their ears. Audiophiles have it in their head, the way an EQ works like is something "bad" as you interfere with what the manufacturer for the headphone or the producer of the music intended it to sound like. The only "clean" / proper way is to go for a headphone with that particular sound.

 

3. People are getting more and more convenient and expect more and more "plug-n-play" / Apple-like kind of motto. People are getting too lazy to fiddle around with settings, want everything served on a plate to enjoy directly.

 

4. The higher price people pay for a headphone the more they expect it to meet their prefers and don't accept the thought of "customization" to be the part of paid price.

 

5. People lack the skill/experience to EQ for a good result.

 

 

These are my major theories regarding this subject. As for me I couldn't cope without a good quality EQ. It's a matter of my headphones sounding bad or great.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/20/11 at 2:13pm
post #5 of 299

I just want to hear the music how the musicians/mixers/producers intended. That's also the reason I try to get neutral sounding equipment. Still, I'd fiddle with the EQ if I really felt like some part of the mix was hiding more than I'd like, but that rarely happens.

post #6 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

Haha, I've sometimes wondered if I should make this exact same thread. What I've philosophized on this subject is that:

 

1. Many people haven't had any experience with GOOD quality EQs. The quality of the EQs varies a lot, some ruins the sound more than it helps (distorts, colors/changes pitch of the frequencies), most software EQs are bad such as iTunes, foobar2000 etc. In best case scenario an EQ simply adjusts the loudness curve, this works well with a good hardware EQ. Cheapest option if wanting to try out what a good quality EQ can do: pick up an Audigy 2 ZS 2nd hand for around $15 => install kX Audio drivers and use the built-in hardware DSP 10-band EQ.

 

2. The site is head-fi where many people are very theoretical and simply go by theory rather than using their ears. Audiophiles have it in their head, the way an EQ works like is something "bad" as you interfere with what the manufacturer or the producer of the music intended it to sound like. The only "clean" / proper way is to go for a headphone with that particular sound.

 

3. People are getting more and more convenient and expect more and more "plug-n-play" / Apple-like kind of motto. People are getting too lazy to fiddle around with settings, want everything served on a plate to enjoy directly.

 

4. The higher price people pay for a headphone the more they expect it to meet their prefers and don't accept the thought of "customization" to be the part of paid price.

 

5. People lack the skill/experience to EQ for a good result.

 

 

These are my major theories regarding this subject.



I know you have good results with your Audigy 2 ZS, but you won't convince anyone who uses high quality DACs about switching over to a EMU10K1 based card, IMHO. Still, for people who use onboard audio chips, it is definitely the best upgrade they could ever do for the price it costs.

 

There are indeed very good quality EQs available, but if used incorrectly, they do mess up sound far more than they can improve.

 

Overall, I feel EQing serves two purposes, one is to fix any flaws that are present on the gear being used (and there are always flaws, as no piece of hardware is perfect), and the other is to change emphasis on a particular area of the spectrum for entertainment purposes.

post #7 of 299

the headphones you buy are made and "set" to a certain sound idea

 

More bass, less Bass, more Mids, less mids etc.

 

So let's say you buy Bassheavy-457, and you dull down the bass a bit and up the highs and mids

 

That causes the bass that headphones originally focused on playing, more stripped.

 

Ant it works for Treblemassive-12879470239847

 

If you up the bass, the rest of the sound signature is torn

 

 

Now there is no problem with setting you EQ to a preference, but make sure it doesn't overrule and make sure it lets it play with the music. 

 

Example:

 

I love Grado sound

So my EQ are set like a grado, but then, very simply so that anything I put to it sounds like a grado but takes on a certain "flavor"

 

So SOny MDR-V6's which are kinda bass heavy are still booming with bass, but a little held back. But they still out-bass grados.

post #8 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post


I know you have good results with your Audigy 2 ZS, but you won't convince anyone who uses high quality DACs about switching over to a EMU10K1 based card, IMHO. Still, for people who use onboard audio chips, it is definitely the best upgrade they could ever do for the price it costs.


Doesn't matter if they'd simply evaluate the EQ, see how it sounds like stock without any EQ tweaks on that Audigy 2 ZS card with a random badly balanced headphone and how large improvement balancing it out on that particular EQ provides and then try doing the same using a software EQ and compare how large the improvements were in both cases.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/20/11 at 2:23pm
post #9 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post




Doesn't matter if they'd simply evaluate the EQ, see how it sounds like stock without any EQ tweaks on that Audigy 2 ZS card with a random badly balanced headphone and how large improvement balancing it out on that particular EQ and try perhaps doing the same using a software EQ and compare how much the improvement in both cases were.



Oh, but the hardware access kX allows is very good, there's no doubt there, which can be seen through the results of its EQ. What I'm saying is that the output isn't flexible enough for higher end DACs, mainly due to the hardware resampler on that chip version.

 

Like you said on another thread some time ago, kX should have been ported to the X-Fi generation, that would be nothing short of amazing.

post #10 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post





Oh, but the hardware access kX allows is very good, there's no doubt there, which can be seen through the results of its EQ. What I'm saying is that the output isn't flexible enough for higher end DACs, mainly due to the hardware resampler on that chip version.

 

Like you said on another thread some time ago, kX should have been ported to the X-Fi generation, that would be nothing short of amazing.


You missed my point though why I gave that 10-band EQ a mention in the above post, my point was only that for $15 people could get hands-on experience on how great good quality EQs can work like. The DAC itself shouldn't taken into consideration in this point. Of course the DAC of Audigy 2 ZS is faaaaaar inferior to some modern $200 DAC or whatever but that wasn't the point, only to focus on how that particular headphone would sound on the Audigy 2 ZS before the hardware EQ tweaks and after and then try doing the same using a random 10-band software EQ such as iTunes still using that Audigy 2 ZS card and see how much the result differs. Now imagine if you had this same good quality hardware EQ on your $200 DAC? My point was simply to bring to front the importance of using a good quality EQ if intending to EQ which are rather rare as I believe many simply haven't had experience with a good quality EQ. I didn't use to use ANY EQing at all either until I experienced kX Audio drivers and the 10-band EQ in it, after that I became an EQ enthusiast! :p

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/20/11 at 2:50pm
post #11 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by mangler View Post

I just want to hear the music how the musicians/mixers/producers intended. That's also the reason I try to get neutral sounding equipment. Still, I'd fiddle with the EQ if I really felt like some part of the mix was hiding more than I'd like, but that rarely happens.



 

I just want to hear the music how the musicians/mixers/producers intended. That's the reason I use eq with nearly all my gear, to compensate for non-neutral sounding equipment.

 

my experience is that quality properly used EQ can make ok headphones sound great, and great headphones sound superb.


Edited by Br777 - 6/20/11 at 7:08pm
post #12 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post


You missed my point though why I gave that 10-band EQ a mention in the above post, my point was only that for $15 people could get hands-on experience on how great good quality EQs can work like. The DAC itself shouldn't taken into consideration in this point. Of course the DAC of Audigy 2 ZS is faaaaaar inferior to some modern $200 DAC or whatever but that wasn't the point, only to focus on how that particular headphone would sound on the Audigy 2 ZS before the hardware EQ tweaks and after and then try doing the same using a random 10-band software EQ such as iTunes still using that Audigy 2 ZS card and see how much the result differs. Now imagine if you had this same good quality hardware EQ on your $200 DAC? My point was simply to bring to front the importance of using a good quality EQ if intending to EQ which are rather rare.

 


 

Ah, you meant comparing the hardware EQ of the Audigy 2 ZS and a software EQ on the Audigy 2 ZS. That's different. And like I said before, I think people should consider the Audigy 2 ZS, not only for what kX project brings to the table, but even due to already having full OpenAL support, which with nice parallel modded drivers, allows for full hardware acceleration, but that's going off the subject at hand.

 

Out of curiosity, have you ever found out why kX didn't support X-Fi cards?

post #13 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Out of curiosity, have you ever found out why kX didn't support X-Fi cards?


Driver specs and such, for X-Fi they are still not publicly available, Creative would probably need to release something entirely different and new chip than X-Fi before it might happen and even then the author of kX Audio drivers probably doesn't have the interest or find the time to start a completely new project. Without the driver specs or whatever it's pretty much impossible to try code anything. And to manage to do it by reverse engineering which some experienced coders for different emulators might use (having a theory how it's supposed to work in code and try it out and see what happens) wouldn't quite work when we're talking about soundcards. Well it's probably as big chance of a success as winning on the lottery perhaps...

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/20/11 at 2:57pm
post #14 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by Markon101 View Post

One thing I've noticed over my time here at head-fi is that, for the most part, no one ever says "Not enough bass? Use a little EQ." Why is this? I have been EQ-ing for a long time. k701smile.gif ( I know that it can sometimes reduce the quality a bit)



Because I like my headphones just the way they are.

 

I have no problem with the EQ though. I never sensed much quality degrading except on iTunes EQ which distorted horribly.

post #15 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post




Driver specs and such, for X-Fi they are still not publicly available, Creative would probably need to release something entirely different and new chip than X-Fi before it might happen and even then the author of kX Audio drivers probably doesn't have the interest or find the time to start a completely new project. Without the driver specs or whatever it's pretty much impossible to try code anything. And to manage to do it by reverse engineering which some experienced coders for different emulators might use (having a theory how it's supposed to work in code and try it out and see what happens) wouldn't quite work when we're talking about soundcards. Well it's probably as big chance of a success as winning on the lottery perhaps...

 



Good point. Creative always made things hard for competition, just like what happened with EAX support for version 1 and 2, that took years until other manufacturers could support it, and only when Creative was at the time on version 4. And even when people were trying to create software to emulate their wave sampled synthetizer add-on board.

Still, I had quite some expectations about the X-Fi Titanium HD, as it was indeed supposed to be a significant step above what currently existed with X-Fi chips, from both first and third party, and while the card did improve the components quality, they're still using a very similar DSP chip at the core. Also, given the launch date of both the X-Fi Titanium HD and the X-Fi HD USB, I don't know how long it will take for Creative to finally release X-Fi 2 based cards.

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