Originally Posted by jmsaxon69
Look, nothing any of you EQ guys says is going to change my mind. I am a purist and that is it. You will keep EQ'ing and be happy, I will NEVER use EQ and be happy and the planet will still spin. I won't argue about his anymore. It's a waste of everyone's time. I asked one question about where is the EQ on the really good HiFi gear? and all I get is excuses and ridiculous reasons why it's the right thing to do. Fine. I guess there are "headphone enthusiasts" and then there are "audiophiles"
Such defensiveness. It's not an argument, unless you want to make it so. I see it as an interesting discussion.
Before you completely close your mind off to the idea of using EQ, let me offer my input. The reason why high end equipments don't have EQ function, imo, is primarily due to the fact that parametric equalizers at the digital level with a computer software is inexpensive (free, in some cases) and superior to any graphical equalizer that may come with an external DAC, which will invariable bump up the cost of the DAC unit considerably. With a parametric EQ program, much more fine tuning is available. The software I use even comes with a perfectly functional manual sine sweeper, which is a wonderful tool for fine tuning your EQ settings. As such, there is no reason for any high-end equipment to include a graphic EQ, imo.
I'm presuming that you've been using a graphic EQ, without the aid of a sine sweeper, and thus, have been having a hard time getting your equalizations just right. It also helps tremendously to have some knowledge of human spectrum of loudness sensitivity with respect to frequencies. This tells your ears how to correlate perceived loudness with actually physical intensity of each specific frequency you hear. The diagram at the bottom of this article is great for that: http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/hearing.html Finally, it helps to brush up on some knowledge of compensation curves. There are a few, and none of them are universally agreed upon, but they're mostly pretty similar to each other.
I'm glad you're enjoying your headphones without EQ. Once you have your EQing skill down to a science, I can assure you that you'll be rewarded with sound from your headphones that is much more tonally natural than ever before. I have never ever come across a headphone that I can can't* make sound considerably better with some EQing. Every time I turn off my EQ settings for my HE-400 or RE-400, I start to miss what I was hearing before. Peaks, spikes, valleys, and dips are very apparent to me; and when they're gone, sublime naturalness is all that remains.
However, certain properties of headphones cannot be improved with EQ, of course. Things like dynamics, speed, soundstage (except to a degree)*, imaging, reverberation, resolution, etc... This is why, my philosophy and approach towards choosing the ideal headphone is to pick that I can afford with as much of those desired traits as possible. Then, I will tailor its frequency response precisely to my taste.
Addendum: I would like to also assert that most (at least 95%) of the peaks and dips in a headphone's FR are not intentionally placed there by their manufacturers. Those flaws are biproducts of the headphones' design and materials implemented. In a sense, they're unavoidable. Same holds true for "ringing," AKA excessive reverberations at certain frequencies. Ringing can't be alleviated with EQ, but FR flaws certainly can be remedied utterly. If manufacturers could have it their way, almost every headphone's FR graphs would look very, very smooth.
Edited by tigon_ridge - 7/26/13 at 12:38pm