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Equalise to get a flat frequency (WHY NOT?) - Page 2

post #16 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSquirt View Post

I'm not a sound science guy so don't tear me apart.

 

The truth probably lies somewhere in between. It's like when objectivists try to say all DACs some the same (or even all properly implemented DACs sound the same). If someone can sit down with two properly implemented DACs in the same system and get 10/10 on a blind ABX test, some objectivists would still say there's no difference because there's numbers to prove it. At that point, no matter what the numbers say, it seems that at least the TESTEE can hear the difference.
 

The same can be applied to EQing, I'm personally don't EQ because I'm lazy, I don't know without messing up the sound, I think it colors the sound, blah blah all that BS excuse. Is that the same as saying I would never enjoy an equalized sound? No. Put me in a sterile system (which I have now) and a few hip-hop songs and I'd be begging for some EQing...

 

But there's a limit to it, a common-sensicle (not a real word, but a cool word non the less) limit. You can put up all the numbers you want but shove a SR60i driver into a HD800 shell and compare it with a real HD800. EQ your behind off and I'd bet $1000 that half a dead and blindfolded rabbit can tell the difference.

 

Another thing is, lack of bass/mids/highs are not the only problems that exist in the headphone would, there sound stage to consider, comfort, reasonance in closed cans, all kinds of things that can affect the sound of a headphone or speakers.

 

EQ does get you places, it'll save a lot of people a TON of money, but it is not the be all and end all of all your problems and even if someone can throw the numbers at you and yet you can HEAR the difference (not see, hear) - forget the damn numbers.


I don't think anyone's trying to suggest you can turn an SR60i into an HD800. Equalization won't improve a headphone's transient response or change the cup's design and resonance. It will change the volume of different frequencies. It's a method that should be employed once you get a headphone with everything but a nice sound signature.

 

Has someone actually been able to tell two "perfect" DACs apart in a blind test?

post #17 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


It's a method that should be employed once you get a headphone with everything but a nice sound signature.

 


Frankly, I think even that is being generous. It can be used to tweak minor deficiencies in a sound signature, but I don't think you can change a fundamentally bad signature into a good one via eq. 

 

post #18 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post


I don't think anyone's trying to suggest you can turn an SR60i into an HD800. Equalization won't improve a headphone's transient response or change the cup's design and resonance. It will change the volume of different frequencies. It's a method that should be employed once you get a headphone with everything but a nice sound signature.

 

Has someone actually been able to tell two "perfect" DACs apart in a blind test?

I don't know what a perfect DAC is but I've seen a guy who works in the local audio store do very well (like 9/10) on my Benchmark DAC-1 vs. a Rega DAC on a blind test. Both are fairly expensive (I know it doesn't indicate quality) AND quality built DACs. Perfect? I got no idea. Not a scientist. To be fair, the two signatures are about as far as apart as you can get. And this was done on Martin Logan electrostats which are extremely revealing. I wasn't blind testing but the different (for me at least) was fairly substantial (Benchmark DAC-1 with electrostats is salt-less bread...) so IDK if I was being placeboed or not.

 

post #19 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post


Frankly, I think even that is being generous. It can be used to tweak minor deficiencies in a sound signature, but I don't think you can change a fundamentally bad signature into a good one via eq. 

 



With personal experience my answer to that is you can.

post #20 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSquirt View Post

I don't know what a perfect DAC is but I've seen a guy who works in the local audio store do very well (like 9/10) on my Benchmark DAC-1 vs. a Rega DAC on a blind test. Both are fairly expensive (I know it doesn't indicate quality) AND quality built DACs. Perfect? I got no idea. Not a scientist. To be fair, the two signatures are about as far as apart as you can get. And this was done on Martin Logan electrostats which are extremely revealing. I wasn't blind testing but the different (for me at least) was fairly substantial (Benchmark DAC-1 with electrostats is salt-less bread...) so IDK if I was being placeboed or not.


What was his methodology? Did he do these blind tests before you tried?

 

The Rega DAC has a series of filter options that could potentially affect the sound. What filter setting were you using?

post #21 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSquirt View Post

I don't know what a perfect DAC is but I've seen a guy who works in the local audio store do very well (like 9/10) on my Benchmark DAC-1 vs. a Rega DAC on a blind test. Both are fairly expensive (I know it doesn't indicate quality) AND quality built DACs. Perfect? I got no idea. Not a scientist. To be fair, the two signatures are about as far as apart as you can get. And this was done on Martin Logan electrostats which are extremely revealing. I wasn't blind testing but the different (for me at least) was fairly substantial (Benchmark DAC-1 with electrostats is salt-less bread...) so IDK if I was being placeboed or not.


What was his methodology? Did he do these blind tests before you tried?

 

The Rega DAC has a series of filter options that could potentially affect the sound. What filter setting were you using?


The most important thing for any blind test is equal volumes within 0.1 dB.

 

 

post #22 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

The most important thing for any blind test is equal volumes within 0.1 dB.


A good point, thanks. The Rega DAC has a rated output voltage of 2.175 Vrms. The DAC1 is 2 Vrms. Was the amp volume changed between tests to account for this? That would explain his ability to choose between them, as well as the perceived ""salt-less bread" sound of the quieter DAC1 in sighted tests.

post #23 of 119
Thread Starter 

Anyone able to explain to me in 'layman's terms' why equalising headphones/speakers is not enough to make them perfect? (physical properties or what?)

post #24 of 119

eq only adjust the relative volume of differing frequencies. 

 

It does not address how well a headphone reproduces details, quality of tone reproduction, or the soundstage (among other things). Those things are determined by the physical characteristics of the voice coil and driver, as well as the design of the housing for it (damping, porting, orientation and distance to ear, the effect of the pad on the sound, etc.)

 

Frequency response is only part of the sound quality. 

post #25 of 119

 

First let me say that I love equalization and I think it is one of the most underrated aspects of the Head-Fi world. There are things which can't be changed by equalization, though.

 

EQ can't change some of the fundamental characteristics of the headphone. They can't change the damping to make overdamped bass impactful like slightly underdamped, they can't change the speed at which it decays at certain frequencies, it can't improve clarity or remove distortion as a driver struggles to push out high volumes at a given frequency (most dynamic drivers have difficulties in the very low frequencies), among other things. This is why these are some of the main aspects I focus on when I'm buying a headphone -- I feel like the rest can be beaten with equalization. 

 

There are a few other minor issues. For example, if you equalize down at the source (to avoid clipping) you're also reducing the amount of volume, which can be a problem if you are already close to capping out your gain on the amp. 

 

post #26 of 119
I think the idea of equalizing is awesome, however in my experience it just doesn't work.
I have tried it multiple times with my HD 650, but I failed to actually improve sound signature.

First of all, I can't detect any peaks in the frequency response. No matter how hard I try, I just can't find them. I've tried pink noise, regular music and a sinewave generator, but none seem to reveal any peaks.
Additionally it seems that whatever I do with an equalizer it always feels like it's making the sound signature worse, instead of better.


Does this mean that the HD 650 have a perfect sound signature to me?

Maybe so. I have gotten used to it, and perhaps it has become a kind of reference standard. Also subjectively speaking I can't find anything wrong with the sound signature. I.e. I don't think it has 'too much bass' for example. It seems pretty flat to my ears, while I know others will disagree with me.
As for the failure to detect peaks: maybe there is some physical deviation that changes my ear canal resonance, like excessive earwax?

I think this shows that sound signature is indeed a subjective thing, but also that certain psychological factors such as getting used to a particular sound sigature has an effect on a person's 'ideal' sound signature.
post #27 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tilpo View Post

First of all, I can't detect any peaks in the frequency response. No matter how hard I try, I just can't find them. I've tried pink noise, regular music and a sinewave generator, but none seem to reveal any peaks.
 


The HD650 were designed with notches in the frequency response at higher frequencies so that the peaks were less pronounced. Its an outstanding idea, and saves the end user the trouble of setting up the EQ as described in the picalo-namek thread BUT it is not "the same" as everything else pawned off on the headphone community so peoples' opinions of the sound were very polarized. 

 

Senn seems to have given up the fight for this with the HD800, which sound more like the HD580/600 - measures flat sounds all spikey! With just a gentle touch of EQ the HD800 absolutely pwn, but if you like how the picalo-namek thread makes headphones sound, the HD650 are really close. 


Edited by nikongod - 12/14/11 at 11:42am
post #28 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post


The HD650 were designed with notches in the frequency response at higher frequencies so that the peaks were less pronounced. Its an outstanding idea, and saves the end user the trouble of setting up the EQ as described in the picalo-namek thread BUT it is not "the same" as everything else pawned off on the headphone community so peoples' opinions of the sound were very polarized. 

 

Senn seems to have given up the fight for this with the HD800, which sound more like the HD580/600 - measures flat sounds all spikey! With just a gentle touch of EQ the HD800 absolutely pwn, but if you like how the picalo-namek thread makes headphones sound, the HD650 are really close. 

 

Damn, a year ago I was debating between 600/650 and went with 600 because people had said they were more neutral. And like your post says to my ears they have lots of frequency spikes... maybe I should've gone with the 650. (I've since sold the HD600 to my father!)
 

 

post #29 of 119

If its any consolation I prefer the HD580/600 with the DIY EQ to the HD650 :) There is something to be said for custom-tuning what is ultimately a very personal thing. 

post #30 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

If its any consolation I prefer the HD580/600 with the DIY EQ to the HD650 :) There is something to be said for custom-tuning what is ultimately a very personal thing. 



True. And then again, I've made personal EQ for both the HD 600 and the DT-880 which I'm using now, and the DT880 always sounds better to me so I've stuck with that

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