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LCD-2 Equalization -stalking the wild neutrality

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

UPDATE 9.15.11

as with many of my posts, i am not only sharing my perspectibe, but attempting to learn as well.  In that process, this post has taken on a life of its own and become much more a learning experience about true neutrality, and properly eq'ing headphones, which up until this moment it seems i have not been doing as well as i thought. 

 

thus this thread is no longer about me sharing my "perfect settings" and is really a progression of me sharing my initial settings, and a lot of learning that follows..


I will leave the OP in its original form so that ya'll can benefit from the learning process as I have, but

 

just know that this OP no longer reflects my opinion on the matter at hand.

 

thanks!

 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

I like to EQ headphones.  I like to play "sine wave generators" or "rolling frequency sweeps" through headphones over and over, listen for imbalances to the best of my ability, and then use an equalizer to "fix" the imbalances so that the volume of every frequency is as close to the same as possible.

 

I do this with every pair of headphones try/own. I often find major imbalances, and after fixing them am amazed at how imbalanced some headphones were, amazed at how anyone could say the stock sound of said headphones was any good, and most of all amazed at how much better they sound when eq'd "flat."

 

let me just say now that everything I am saying, and doing in this thread is for FUN.. I'm not here to start flame wars, and I'm certainly not going to waste time trying to convince anyone or argue with anyone. 

 

So...I bought the LCD-2's. I have owned several "high end" cans, including another pair of "high end" orthos, so i knew what i was in for.  The LCD-2's sounded great, but i was shocked at their lack of bass/sub bass, especially when SOOOOOO many people say they have excellent extension and amazing bass reproduction.

 

I then set out over the coarse of probably 2 weeks to dial in the "perfect" eq settings for these headphones that would sound good with any music based on "fixing" imbalances through the whole of the headphone spectrum, and most importantly "fixing" the bass/sub bass region.   I should be clear that i did not eq the bass/sub bass section "flat" i simply made it sound the best i could for all music types.

 

In my humble opinion i have done a pretty good job, and to my ears, when i a/b back and forth between no eq, and eq'd with my settings, the LCD-2 sound pretty anemic, and even a bit sibilant without EQ.  i definitely do not care for the flat sound at all.

 

Dont worry, you wont need golden ears to tell a difference, between my settings and flat settings.. its pretty obvious.

 

in order to really get a feel for the difference, one of the best tips i can give is to try these settings exclusively for several hours, or even better,  a few days with music you know well.  Then, after you have gotten accostomed to the eq, try switching back to the flat settings mid song at some point...  the difference will be much more impactful.  Its best if you can set it up so that all you have to do is hit a buttom to a/b flat vs. eq'd, and to make sure the volume levels are the same for the two

 

so here is my "challenge"  try my settings, which i will detail below in as many formats as possible, and tell me that you honestly think the stock sound of the LCD-2 is better.  I dare you!  To me its no contest.   again folks, this is all in good fun.

 

 

my rig - Ipod touch 4g with equalizer app - lod - RSA SR71B - balanced out -  LCD-2 rev.2

 

 

Settings for the "Equalizer" App

for the i-devices - the best eq app in my opinion

 

best LCD_2.jpg

 

frequency settings from left to right

 

+2.0 @ 23hz Q. 0.3

+5.5 @ 65hz  Q 1.0

 -1.0 @ 605hz Q 1.0

+1.0 @ 1580hz Q 0.6

 -5.0 @ 3500hz  Q 1.5

+5.0 @ 8300hz Q 8.0

+1.5 @ 20000hz Q 1.0

 

and most importantly - set the pre-amp to -7db to avoid any chance of distortion

 

 

Settings for Foobar/Electri-q

 

LCD_2_best.PNG

 

+2.0 @ 20hz BW 3.0

+5.5 @ 65hz  BW 1.0

 -1.0 @ 605hz BW 1.3

+1.0 @ 1580hz BW 1.4

 -5.0 @ 3500hz  BW 0.6

+5.0 @ 8300hz BW 0.1

+1.5 @ 20000hz high shelf setting BW 6.9

 

all peak types are type I except the high shelf.

i use the "digital" setting and do not check "eco"

 

and most importantly - create an all pass @ -7db to avoid any chance of distortion

 

 

 

If you are trying to recreate these settings with an EQ that i have not given exact settings for, even slight differences can make a big difference, so i cant guarentee that you will get the same results.

 

 


Edited by Br777 - 9/15/11 at 10:42am
post #2 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Br777 View Post

I like to EQ headphones.  I like to play "sine wave generators" or "rolling frequency sweeps" through headphones over and over, listen for imbalances to the best of my ability, and then use an equalizer to "fix" the imbalances so that the volume of every frequency is as close to the same as possible.

 

I do this with every pair of headphones try/own. I often find major imbalances, and after fixing them am amazed at how imbalanced some headphones were, amazed at how anyone could say the stock sound of said headphones was any good, and most of all amazed at how much better they sound when eq'd "flat."

 

let me just say now that everything I am saying, and doing in this thread is for FUN.. I'm not here to start flame wars, and I'm certainly not going to waste time trying to convince anyone or argue with anyone. 

 

So...I bought the LCD-2's. I have owned several "high end" cans, including another pair of "high end" orthos, so i knew what i was in for.  The LCD-2's sounded great, but i was shocked at their lack of bass/sub bass, especially when SOOOOOO many people say they have excellent extension and amazing bass reproduction.

 

I then set out over the coarse of probably 2 weeks to dial in the "perfect" eq settings for these headphones that would sound good with any music based on "fixing" imbalances through the whole of the headphone spectrum, and most importantly "fixing" the bass/sub bass region.   I should be clear that i did not eq the bass/sub bass section "flat" i simply made it sound the best i could for all music types.

 

In my humble opinion i have done a pretty good job, and to my ears, when i a/b back and forth between no eq, and eq'd with my settings, the LCD-2 sound pretty anemic, and even a bit sibilant without EQ.  i definitely do not care for the flat sound at all.

 

Dont worry, you wont need golden ears to tell a difference, between my settings and flat settings.. its pretty obvious.

 

so here is my "challenge"  try my settings, which i will detail below in as many formats as possible, and tell me that you honestly think the stock sound of the LCD-2 is better.  I dare you!  To me its no contest.   again folks, this is all in good fun.

 

my rig - Ipod touch 4g with equalizer app - lod - RSA SR71B - balanced out -  LCD-2 rev.2

 

 

Here are the settings for the "equalizer app" for the i-devices - the best eq app in my opinion

 

best LCD_2.jpg

 

frequency settings from left to right

 

+2.0 @ 23hz Q. 0.3

+5.5 @ 65hz  Q 1.0

 -1.0 @ 605hz Q 1.0

+1.0 @ 1580hz Q 0.6

 -5.0 @ 3500hz  Q 1.5

+5.0 @ 8300hz Q 8.0

+1.5 @ 20000hz Q 1.0

 

and most importantly - set the pre-amp to -12db to avoid any chance of distortion

 

 

Just a note.  If you are trying to recreate these settings with an EQ that i have not given exact settings for, even slight differences can make a big difference, so i cant guarentee that you will get the same results.

 

i will try to get settings for foobar/electri-q up soon

I'm going to try out your settings some time this week using fidelia and maybe an equalizer AU from Izotope.
 

 

post #3 of 43

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Br777 View Post


and most importantly - set the pre-amp to -12db to avoid any chance of distortion

 

 


Bad thing to do with linear phase EQ. Doing this is probably because you're adding gain on certain frequencies. Never add gain on linear phase EQs and never boost the preamp either. Learn to use the shelving types and lower frequencies. Don't do any boosting whatsoever.

 

post #4 of 43

Is there a software EQ application that will work on a Mac as an alternative to the iTunes EQ?  I am also using BitPerfect, so it would have to be compatible with that, meaning it would somehow have to be in the chain before it, I think.

 

I understand that AU and VST plugins need some sort of host application to run on a Mac; I previously used the Voxengo Marvel EQ (free) as a plug in with Pure Music, and it worked very well.  

 

I have heard also that the latest versions of iTunes (10.4, 10.4.1) have improved the built-in eq somewhat, but I haven't really tried it yet.

 

Any ideas on this from anyone?  Thanks.

post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 

no takers eh?

 

i guess finding that the LCD-2's sound better eq'd might be too much for some.... wink_face.gif wink_face.gif

post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Jacket Mike View Post

Is there a software EQ application that will work on a Mac as an alternative to the iTunes EQ?  I am also using BitPerfect, so it would have to be compatible with that, meaning it would somehow have to be in the chain before it, I think.

 

I understand that AU and VST plugins need some sort of host application to run on a Mac; I previously used the Voxengo Marvel EQ (free) as a plug in with Pure Music, and it worked very well.  

 

I have heard also that the latest versions of iTunes (10.4, 10.4.1) have improved the built-in eq somewhat, but I haven't really tried it yet.

 

Any ideas on this from anyone?  Thanks.


If you have a program that supports AU's then you can use the ones that come with Apple.  

 

Check this folder to see if you have any.  MAC HD>Library>Audio>Plugins>Component.     The AU's will be in the Component folder.

 

post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Br777 View Post

no takers eh?

 

i guess finding that the LCD-2's sound better eq'd might be too much for some.... wink_face.gif wink_face.gif



The problem with using so much EQ and at such levels is harmonic distortion and not just primary harmonics but second and third harmonics.   A lot of it.  Not sure if you are hearing it or sensitive to it or perhaps you do not mind it, but it will be there with these levels.  For me it is the first artifact I tend to be affected by. 

post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Br777 View Post

no takers eh?

 

i guess finding that the LCD-2's sound better eq'd might be too much for some.... wink_face.gif wink_face.gif


I think the obvious result is some people will prefer your settings and others will not.

 

Goading LCD-2 owners is probably not going to be your best tactic though.

 

post #9 of 43

This has been covered in detail in the past: http://www.head-fi.org/t/413900/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial

 
Also I don't think it's as simple as someone adopting your settings, they would need the same source, amp and possibly ears.
post #10 of 43

What sounds flat to you might not sound flat to someone else. The headphones fit everyone's ears differently, and our ears all have different pinna. Then there's the loudness curves, which will affect the sound more or less depending on your volume versus ours. Your EQ might work as a starting point for someone else, but it won't substitute for an EQ they make themselves in the same way.

 

Just looking at it, the boost at 65Hz seems very strange blink.gif I figured you'd want it lower for more audible sub-bass, or higher for more mid-bass impact.

post #11 of 43

Unless the headphones are massively unbalanced across the frequency spectrum, I just let my brain adjust to the sound - give it a few hours and it works wonders.

post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

 


Bad thing to do with linear phase EQ. Doing this is probably because you're adding gain on certain frequencies. Never add gain on linear phase EQs and never boost the preamp either. Learn to use the shelving types and lower frequencies. Don't do any boosting whatsoever.

 


 

Really?  He did gain on certain frequencies, but he lowered the preamp to compensate for it.  I've tried the other way around a while back, and keeping the preamp at 0 while lowering each individual band like you recommended, but the result is extremely muddy compared to just lowering the preamp.  I call shenanigans. 

 

post #13 of 43

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post




 

Really?  He did gain on certain frequencies, but he lowered the preamp to compensate for it.  I've tried the other way around a while back, and keeping the preamp at 0 while lowering each individual band like you recommended, but the result is extremely muddy compared to just lowering the preamp.  I call shenanigans. 

 


Was it linear phase? Do it your way and the sound goes all crazy especially in the low frequencies. Intense wooshing sound.

 

post #14 of 43

Actually it might not be.  I was using an eq with set bars for frequencies-- like the default ones you use on winamp or itunes.  I guess the mistake's on me.

post #15 of 43

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

Actually it might not be.  I was using an eq with set bars for frequencies-- like the default ones you use on winamp or itunes.


Yea, those equalizers react differently, but I think the OP uses at least one linear phase equalizer. I'm not sure about the "app."

 

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