Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Why don't more people use EQ to get the desired sound?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why don't more people use EQ to get the desired sound? - Page 16

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 #226 of 299

Top Ten reasons why the "don't EQ so that you hear the recording the way it was intended" purity argument is a bit weak.

 

  1. Most recordings are mixed on special reference speakers. No headphones can sound like these special speakers, nor would you want them to sound that way. No audio engineer listens to music at home over reference speakers. They just aren't fun at all for music enjoyment. Whether you are talking near-field monitors or otherwise, reference speakers don't sound as good as good home speaker systems do. Additionally, no headphones sound like reference speakers, though some people prefer to mix with headphones so they can bring their work with them and they don't have to rely upon a treated room to work in, as the environment portion of the equation is controlled by the nature of them using headphones. If they mix with headphones, listening to the music using the mixing engineer's headphones will not matter so much because of what the mastering engineer will do after the tracks are all completed.
  2. Most recordings are mixed a second time by a mastering engineer to make the tracks more similar in sound across the entire album. This also is done using special reference speakers in most cases. I've never met a mastering engineer who used headphones for mastering purposes, but perhaps there are some out there. I'd be surprised.
  3. Most recordings are mastered to sound good across a wide variety of reproduction systems - from uber-high-end audio systems to uber-low-end portable radio speakers. Compromises are made in order to make the recording work across such a wide range of output systems.The mastering engineers will check their work with headphones, but they will check their work on many other systems as well.
  4. Your output system is not the same output system as the mastering engineer's, nor is your room the same soundproofed and treated room, nor is your humidity the same, nor are your ears the same. The mastering engineer's job is to make the end product sound uniformly good even though your equipment and environment and ears are not the same as his.
  5. All playback equipment is made to add color that enhances the listening experience to make it more lively and exciting than reference speakers can provide. A "clean" signal does not imply one without coloration - that simply means no harmonic distortions and other negative qualities are introduced into the signal chain. Every time a capacitor and resistor meet, coloration is introduced. This coloration is balanced through various means to produce a favorable "sound signature" to the equipment. Additionally, the best speakers and headphones have "sound signatures" that are considered by listeners to be well balanced and that produce good enhancements to the audio.
  6. Not all coloration is a perfect match for every person's ears or tastes, no matter how close that system's coloration may come to achieving that goal. Nor is it going to be perfect for every program source, mix, mastering and style of music. One way of fine-tuning the inherent coloration of the sound system to achieve subjective "perfection" is called "EQ".
  7. Though there can be some corrective tonal balance changes performed via EQ that favorably affect the majority of music played on a given system to a person's ears, there will always be some recordings that have mastering approaches which leave something to be desired to that listener.
  8. We are allowed to be in disagreement with a recording's mastering engineer, because they admittedly have committed sacrifices with the music's EQ in order to make the album sound uniform as a whole as well as to make it work across such a wide range of output systems and devices. This effort often detracts from individual tracks and reverses the intentions of the original mix-down engineer. We can often intuit these deficiencies that came about due to the mastering effort, and compensate for them to hear the music in a more lively manner, returning the recording to the original intention somewhat by using EQ. However, using EQ on a song-by-song basis is cumbersome. Still, it can make certain tracks come back to life.
  9. Headphones have the distinction of giving you a controlled environment in which to listen, which makes them ideal candidates for seeking idealized sound reproduction. However, that fact of being a controlled environment in itself introduces some limitations that manufacturers have to overcome by controlling the sound signature of each headphone in an effort to compensate for those limitations. Closed-headphones have entirely different characteristics from open-headphones and, likewise, from in-ear headphones. So, the natures of these inherently differing sound signatures will pose different considerations and challenges to the manufacturers. Each tries to balance their decisions to make the best sounding end result for the widest number of customers and musical styles, and so compromises are made similar to those made by mastering engineers. (The same truth applies to speaker manufacturers, but they have an even wider range of issues to take into account.)
  10. We are allowed to be in disagreement with the headphone's engineers, because they have admittedly committed sacrifices with the music's EQ in order to make their headphones sound uniform as a whole across a range of musical styles, human ear Helix, antihelix, lobule, crest of helix, external auditory meatus, eardrum, auditory ossicles, oval window, cochlea, semicircular canal, eighth nerve and eustachian tube shapes, and personal tastes. Thus, we are allowed to apply a bit of EQ to bring the sound closer to our personal tastes, as the manufacturer knows they could not have possibly achieved such a lofty aim as to be everything to everybody.

 

I rest my case.

 

Terry


Edited by tbritton - 6/28/11 at 7:40am
post #227 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbritton View Post

Top Ten reasons why the "don't EQ so that you hear the recording the way it was intended" purity argument is a bit weak.

 

1 <...> 10

 

I rest my case.

 

Terry

And such a good case too!

 

I worked with a sound engineer and he once said that he was working on a mix but the group wasn't happy because it sounded too this or that and he had to change it. "Back to the studio!"

 

In the 1980s I worked with Peter Woods from Romeo Void and he took me down to the Columbia Recording Studio in San Francisco and showed me the sound and mixing rooms. I remember Peter telling me that studio time was expensive (they rented the studio by the hour) that they would have to have the "right" sound in 20 or or so many hours. They were mixing "Girl In Trouble (Is a Temporary Thing).

 

But nobody ever said that Romeo Void's sound was "pure."
 

 

post #228 of 299

tbritton, as most people, you misunderstand something: NO ONE with over 2 posts on Head-Fi will ever say that they're hearing what the artist created out of musical instruments. No one. Or so I hope. It's ridiculous to assume it, we all know (well, imagine) that the ammount of processes of compressing, mastering, re-mastering and whatever else is done (I will admit my own ignorance in this chain of processes) will change a big deal of what was recorded to what we hear.

 

The thing is, no one listens to headphones and believes the artist is right there in front of them. From what I understand, they just assume that, with no EQ and a fairly neutral-sounding equipment, in which music sounds natural to you, EQ will just move you further away from what was recorded. The goal here isn't "natural", it's "as natural as it gets". And I agree that, if you want a truly live sensation, you either have a really good EQ and know what you're doing, or you'll probably move further away from what sounds natural to you.

 

It is possible to get a pretty live sensation, don't act like whatever was the original recording is a lost document under the sea, unreachable for mankind. I have played the saxophone a bit, I'm used to the alto's sound, and so I can tell that my RE-Zeros, for the 50€ I payed, with a flat EQ, reproduce a fairly accurate memory of what the alto sax for me sounded like. And that makes me enjoy my music, the fact that it sounds like what I'm used to hear live. When I can get a DAP with a really good equalizer, I might add just a bit and see if I can get it more natural, but for me, it kills the detail, which is a deal-breaker. On not so detailed headphones, I have no problem with adding +4db on the sub-bass and +3db on the treble L3000.gif

post #229 of 299

@Clayton SF - Thanks for the accolade. Yes, those rooms were pretty darn pricey! That they gave themselves 20 hours just to get a single cut right is a testament to how record companies used to loan front money to musicians and then help them to spend it!

 

@LizardKing1 - I see you often bring up live music in this reply. I think that producers of live recordings often do less to change the sound coming out of the board than those producers of all other musical types where the production's "sound" is a huge part of their individual sound signature and style - non-live producers often applying their own artistic overlay over the performing artist's contribution. So, one may have less to change in "live" recordings, or those that strive to sound as live as possible. Also, since individual tracks are not generally being mixed as radically in such recordings (where mics are few, especially), there is less variance from track to track, and so there is less for the mastering engineer to have to do. Once you start to introduce many mics and other inputs, along with reverb and effects chains, the entire thing gets a lot more complicated. "Live" is not even the desired outcome with such recordings - a balanced "sound" and presentation is the goal, with the producer's signature being apparent. Those types of recordings get "messed with" the most by the mastering process. Nonetheless, you have to view the headphone manufacturing process itself as a kind of "mastering process" in reverse, as the engineering challenges in making headphones to work with a large number of ears are complex. Nobody can expect them to make a perfect headphone fitting all possible heads. So this becomes another reason why permission is granted up-front to adjust the sound to suit.

 

A sculptor doesn't create his masterpiece and then tell you exactly where to sit. In a similar way, neither do the engineering artists, who produce music and headphones, expect you to simply sit still and "take it" as comes from their efforts.

 

And I assure you that there are still many people here, even with 1000 posts, who still think EQ is evil and worship the "purity" gods and drink of the waters of headphonus delirium. (I've seen 'em!) :-)

 

Terry


Edited by tbritton - 6/28/11 at 3:13pm
post #230 of 299

I didn't understand. You say that there is much less of a present of that producer's signature, then how does it get messed with the most? I thought the mastering was the signature. Well I understand your analogy, but it's not really the same IMO, because you have to move around to see the whole sculpture, and the equivalent in sound would be to cancel out the other instruments and focus only on one.

 

I once read this analogy in an equalizing debate here on this forum: Imagine the recording as a painting, and the different colors as the different frequencies (not that far from reality, actually lol). Now some people bought the painting and then used their own touch on it: some liked a deeper shade of red and more proeminent blues, so they applied new paint and made those colors like they wanted them to be. Other bought the painting, hanged it and didn't touch a thing. I have nothing against either way, and I do both depending on the painting. I wouldn't touch a single color on some, while other really need a fresh touch to look good.

post #231 of 299

I meant to convey that the live types of recordings get messed with the least by both the producer and the mastering engineer. (I see where my grammar was confusing due to overuse of pronouns, and changed it to read "non-live producers often applying their own artistic overlay over the performing artist's contribution" above.)

 

Mastering is not supposed to have a "sound" - it is more of a scientific treatment intended to retain as much of the artists' and producer's sound as possible while still allowing the recording to work across many output types. Additionally, differences between cuts on the album are reduced so that all the recordings sound like they were done at the same time and in the same place.

 

Using the painting analogy, I would say that the painting stays the same, but the light you view it under will change the way different colors become expressed. So, 2800K (warm) light will have a profoundly different look to 4800K (near-daylight) or 9000K (bluish). Two types of light hit our audio "paintings" - the mastering engineer's and the headphone engineer's! EQ allows us to change the temperature of that light. One cannot see the painting in the dark, so there has to be light of some temperature! Likewise, there has to be a reproduction device having some kind of sound signature, and we can adjust that sound signature to suit us.

 

Terry
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post

I didn't understand. You say that there is much less of a present of that producer's signature, then how does it get messed with the most? I thought the mastering was the signature. Well I understand your analogy, but it's not really the same IMO, because you have to move around to see the whole sculpture, and the equivalent in sound would be to cancel out the other instruments and focus only on one.

 

I once read this analogy in an equalizing debate here on this forum: Imagine the recording as a painting, and the different colors as the different frequencies (not that far from reality, actually lol). Now some people bought the painting and then used their own touch on it: some liked a deeper shade of red and more proeminent blues, so they applied new paint and made those colors like they wanted them to be. Other bought the painting, hanged it and didn't touch a thing. I have nothing against either way, and I do both depending on the painting. I wouldn't touch a single color on some, while other really need a fresh touch to look good.



 


Edited by tbritton - 6/28/11 at 3:14pm
post #232 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbritton View Post

And I assure you that there are still many people here, even with 1000 posts, who still think EQ is evil and worship the "purity" gods and drink of the waters of headphonus delirium. (I've seen 'em!) :-)


I suggested in the ED10 thread that people who like everything about it but a particular peak in the treble might want to EQ them and was politely told that pragmatism needs to take a back seat to "purity" and that if I think I need to EQ something I should instead spend more money on DACs and amps so their flaws "synergize" with what I don't like about that pair of headphones.

post #233 of 299

You should try liking Ultrasone Proline 750's AND suggesting cutting the EQ a tad at 3K to its detractors! beyersmile.png

 

Terry
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbritton View Post

And I assure you that there are still many people here, even with 1000 posts, who still think EQ is evil and worship the "purity" gods and drink of the waters of headphonus delirium. (I've seen 'em!) :-)

 

Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


I suggested in the ED10 thread that people who like everything about it but a particular peak in the treble might want to EQ them and was politely told that pragmatism needs to take a back seat to "purity" and that if I think I need to EQ something I should instead spend more money on DACs and amps so their flaws "synergize" with what I don't like about that pair of headphones.



 


Edited by tbritton - 6/28/11 at 3:16pm
post #234 of 299
I am always playing around with my EQ for each individual song. But half the time when I can't be bothered I just used preset itunes EQ's. Bit of treble booster when I want to hear everything really clearly, R&B when I want the additional bass for hip-hop/rap/grime etc. It really does bring the song alive when you give it the right EQ.
post #235 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbritton View Post

You should try liking Ultrasone Proline 750's AND suggesting cutting the EQ a tad at 3K to its detractors! beyersmile.png



Its like we have a death wish!  evil_smiley.gif

post #236 of 299

I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I think my analogy (copied from someone else, so not actually mine) portrays EQ better. A different light makes you see the entire painting differently. Applying fresh paint on a painting makes just those colors - frequencies - stand out. I actually think it's very relatable, even more so by the fact that both colors and sounds are waves with a certain frequency.

 

Just a question: what kind of EQ do you guys apply for jazz? I think it's a very mid-centric genre, but apparently a lot of equalizers boost the treble.

post #237 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post

I didn't understand. You say that there is much less of a present of that producer's signature, then how does it get messed with the most? I thought the mastering was the signature. Well I understand your analogy, but it's not really the same IMO, because you have to move around to see the whole sculpture, and the equivalent in sound would be to cancel out the other instruments and focus only on one.

 

I once read this analogy in an equalizing debate here on this forum: Imagine the recording as a painting, and the different colors as the different frequencies (not that far from reality, actually lol). Now some people bought the painting and then used their own touch on it: some liked a deeper shade of red and more proeminent blues, so they applied new paint and made those colors like they wanted them to be. Other bought the painting, hanged it and didn't touch a thing. I have nothing against either way, and I do both depending on the painting. I wouldn't touch a single color on some, while other really need a fresh touch to look good.

Yes, and might I add that those people that don't want to touch paintings with new colors or different shades of colors because they are masterpieces will still alter or highlight the colors in one way or another. Many famous museums with masterpieces (like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam that house Rembrandts as well as the Van Gogh Museum) illuminate their paintings with different types of lighting techniques. Some use soft lighting some use spot lighting. Some are very bright and some angle the lights in such a way as to cast subtle shadows on the canvas itself to highlight that painting's brush strokes. In this technique people are able to alter the paintings' presentation (and color) with light. Id say that lighting a painting to enhance or "bring out" its qualities (and who decides which qualities to enhance) is like an equalizer and sound--You decide which qualities to enhance for YOUR enjoyment.
 

 


Edited by Clayton SF - 6/28/11 at 4:00pm
post #238 of 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post

I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I think my analogy (copied from someone else, so not actually mine) portrays EQ better. A different light makes you see the entire painting differently. Applying fresh paint on a painting makes just those colors - frequencies - stand out. I actually think it's very relatable, even more so by the fact that both colors and sounds are waves with a certain frequency.

 

Just a question: what kind of EQ do you guys apply for jazz? I think it's a very mid-centric genre, but apparently a lot of equalizers boost the treble.



EQs can boost or reduce any part of the FR, where did you get that EQs boost treble alone?


Edited by Roller - 6/28/11 at 4:00pm
post #239 of 299

The big question is why stop to EQ ? Why not use a big chain of VST.

So far here's the VST I  found interesting for general listening.

 

- any reverb convolver (reverberate is great). If you want a more "laid back" sound.

- sheppi spatial enhancer (free), works ideally in conjunction with reverb. Widen the soundstage.

- oxford transmod (put emphasis on transients).

- bbe d82 (might help for clarity if not overdone)

 

Off course there's also many exciter, but I  found that dfx was pointless, and I don't remind the name of an other which made my system unstable.

post #240 of 299

Heh... I used to love doing that kind of thing in WinAmp! It was like remastering the whole darn thing! It is really a blast, and since this is really about YOUR fun and enjoyment from music, I say BRING IT ON! :-)

 

Lately I've been messing with the dolbyheadphone stuff that RPGWiZaRD brought to us. It is definitely another direction altogether for me. Check it out - I think you'll like it!

http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/555263/foobar2000-dolby-headphone-config-comment-discuss

 

Terry
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

The big question is why stop to EQ ? Why not use a big chain of VST.

So far here's the VST I  found interesting for general listening.

 

- any reverb convolver (reverberate is great). If you want a more "laid back" sound.

- sheppi spatial enhancer (free), works ideally in conjunction with reverb. Widen the soundstage.

- oxford transmod (put emphasis on transients).

- bbe d82 (might help for clarity if not overdone)

 

Off course there's also many exciter, but I  found that dfx was pointless, and I don't remind the name of an other which made my system unstable.



 


Edited by tbritton - 6/28/11 at 6:56pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › Why don't more people use EQ to get the desired sound?