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post #211 of 498
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post


Is a frequency sweep a good way to tell if an iem has bass roll off?

Only if you factor in equal loudness curves and perhaps distortion.

 

Quote:
Or are there better methods short of performing full on measurements? I'm looking to test out flatness using just my computer and my ears (and the iems of course).

Other than what I posted before? I don't think so. frown.gif

post #212 of 498
Thread Starter 

I just got a new Klipsch center channel speaker from eBay. Now everything has to be rebalanced. I hope I can do it by just rolling off below 70Hz and adjusting the volume level of the center, but it's looking a little more complicated. I use the 7:1 stereo DSP setting for normal music playback, so this affects everything, not just movies. In general though, it seems that this new speaker lets me get a lot louder than the old one did.

post #213 of 498
Thread Starter 
I've got my system tuned now and I had a shock. One of my main theories has a big gaping exception in it. Having dinner now. I'll explain later.
post #214 of 498
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I've got my system tuned now and I had a shock. One of my main theories has a big gaping exception in it. Having dinner now. I'll explain later.

 

popcorn.gif

post #215 of 498
Thread Starter 

OK... I've been working on my speaker rig for the past six months or so. I just got an absolutely perfect combination of custom 1970s cabinet speakers, JBL towers, piezo electric supertweeters, top of the line Sunfire sub and Kilpsch center channel for the front end. (I still plan to upgrade the rears, but that's another story.) The sound is loud, full, detailed and clear, and the frequency response extends well beyond the range of human hearing in both directions. Most importantly, I've spent six months perfecting the EQ.

 

I've gotten to the point fine tuning using classical CDs where everything sounds perfect. It doesn't matter if it's Decca, DGG, Columbia or Naxos, it sounds perfectly balanced and natural. I also listen to a lot of historical music going all the way back to the early acoustic era and all kinds of classic jazz. When I put my music library on random play, every single thing... from big band records from the 40s to modern digital symphonic recordings... sounds *perfect*.

 

I've always subscribed to the theory that calibrating your sound to a flat response makes everything sound natural. That's why I've spend so much time and money on this speaker rig.

 

Yesterday, after I integrated my center channel and balanced it properly, I listened to my classical reference recordings carefully, and for the first time in a very long time, I didn't feel like I needed to make any corrections. I went through about ten recordings... chamber, orchestral, solo piano, opera... the best of the best and everything worked.

 

So I decided to go pull my old rock reference recordings. It's been a while since I listened to rock music seriously. When I was a kid, I had enough of it and wanted something different. I moved on and never looked back. But I wanted to check the CDs I used to set my tone controls back in the day. I pulled Donald Fagan's The Goodbye Look, Pink Floyd Welcome to the Machine, Led Zeppelin's Black Dog, David Bowie's China Girl, Frank Zappa's City of Tiny Lights, Beatles Norwegian Wood, etc.

 

When I started playing them, I had a shock. Not only were they imbalanced on my carefully EQed system, each one of them was off in a different direction. The exceptions were The Beatles Rubber Soul and Zappa's Sheik Yerbouti. Those two were spot on perfect. Donald Fagan's The Nightfly was pretty close. But Pink Floyd had grossly overpowering bass, David Bowie had no high end and a thick midbass, and Led Zep sounded like it had been recorded through a pillow.

 

I bounced through a bunch of other stuff and found a few more rock albums that were perfectly EQed at flat, but in general, it appeared that with most stuff the EQ curve had been goosed to sound better on small speakers. There was very little sub bass, a huge bump up in the mid bass, a great big sagging dip in the midrange and attenuated high end. Drum hits were flat sounding, vocals recessed, and the bass leaped forward, but only in the mid region. Below 80Hz and above 12kHz, there was next to nothing. It all sat in the middle.

 

Now I can see why people use headphones with shrill highs and loud midrange are used by people who like rock music. I used to have a set of cheap Sony cans that would be perfect with this stuff. But on full range balanced systems, this stuff really sounds like dog poop.

 

Another thing I found was that there was so much out of phase material in the mix, my DSP 7:1 stereo turned the rear channels to a bunch of mush. What sounded realistic and ambient with classical music sounded like oatmeal with rock.

 

I think in addition to the loudness wars, there is another back and forth war going on over frequency response. Engineers are thinking less and less about calibration and sounding good on good systems, and more about jerry rigging the response to compensate for the deficiencies of those lousy little satellite speaker systems, ear buds and cheap headphones. They don't want sub bass that will clip, or high end that will turn to a distorted mess... just the stuff in the middle that cheap transducers can handle. They compensate for the limited range by boosting the mid bass into a honky woof sound. With an equalizer, I could spend five minutes and make this stuff sound presentable, but since every single album is off in a different direction, I'd have to EQ for every album I play... perhaps every song. What a mess!

 

This appears to primarily be a problem with music post-Beatles. A good reason to go back to classical and jazz.


Edited by bigshot - 10/31/12 at 11:48am
post #216 of 498
Thread Starter 

One other thing...

 

My system doubles as a 5:1 sound system for my hidef video projection system. I adjusted for 2:1 stereo playback of music, and I just let the 5:1 video sound fall where it falls. When I use the standard plain vanilla Dolby Digital 5:1 decoder DSP, every bluray I play, whether concert music or movies, sounds absolutely perfect. Spectacular sound. Much better than 2:1 alone. If I use any of the newer fancier decoder DSPs, the sub bass doubles and the walls start rattling.

 

I suspect that the standard Dolby is what is used in theaters where they have calibrated sound systems, and the other ones are designed for home theaters with inferior satellite speakers.

 

FYI: My EQ curves vary slightly from channel to channel but in general, it's at zero through the midrange with a gradual dip at the top and bottom about 6dB. there is an additional 3dB sharp dip at the crossover (80dB) to correct for a little overlap between my main cabinet speakers and my sub. It's a pretty simple response curve... nothing extreme. When I play music using the 7:1 stereo DSP setting, I cut the center and rear channels to 50% so the effect is subtle and the focus of the soundstage is in the front.

post #217 of 498

What are your eq settings, and what is your reference? Are you tuning by ear to match the live sound of classical music? 

post #218 of 498

As someone who listens to a good amount of rock...yeah. It really sucks. There are a lot of seriously awful recordings out there, and they can be very different from each other. It also seems to me that there is certainly conscious effort to try and make sure things will sound "good" on laptop speakers, earbuds, etc.

post #219 of 498
Thread Starter 
I started with an auto EQ system built into my Yamaha amp. That got me in the ballpark and corrected the crossover between my mains and sub. Then I fine tuned hy ear using classical music from different eras and labels.

The thing that really surprised me was how some rock was absolutely perfect. Abbey Road and Zappa's home studio were clearly calibrated. Other stuff appeared to have been mixed on bookshelf speakers.
Edited by bigshot - 10/31/12 at 2:42pm
post #220 of 498

The more neutral and transparent a system is the better it should reveal the differences between different sources, mixes, and recordings. Crappy recordings should sound...crappy. 

post #221 of 498
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post

Thanks. I think I should have been more specific. Is a frequency sweep a good way to tell if an iem has bass roll off? Or are there better methods short of performing full on measurements? I'm looking to test out flatness using just my computer and my ears (and the iems of course).

You can try this
http://www.head-fi.org/t/615417/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-advanced-tutorial-in-progress

It's a way to listen to frequency sweeps for phones with equal loudness curves compensated so what you hear should roughly correspond to the actual FR of the phones. The thread is messier than my room after a tornado though so if there's anything you don't understand, give me a yell on that thread, here or on pm, whichever you prefer smily_headphones1.gif
post #222 of 498
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post

The more neutral and transparent a system is the better it should reveal the differences between different sources, mixes, and recordings. Crappy recordings should sound...crappy. 

 

The interesting thing is that with 99.9% of my classical, jazz and historical recordings, there is no need to touch the tone controls. But most rock music needs adjustment of some sort, big and small.

post #223 of 498

Sadly, the classical and jazz recordings probably never expected to be "popular" and weren't mixed for mass consumption. I'm not surprised that the Zappa sounded good. I remember there was info on the back of the "ship arriving too late to save a drowning witch" LP saying it was mastered with JBL monitors and that tone controls should be set flat. 


Edited by JadeEast - 10/31/12 at 7:58pm
post #224 of 498
It would be interesting if you had some R&B or soul from the 60s to check out too. My guess is that since so much was designed to be heard on radio, much of it would be unbalanced, but maybe not.
post #225 of 498
Thread Starter 
I have a bunch of Motown and Stevie Wonder. That all sounds fine. I think it's stuff that is remixed and remastered from multitrack masters that's the problem. The recordings that are made without a lot of overdubbing sound fine.
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