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A newbie question about equalizing

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi, I know amplifying sound reduces it's quality... but what about reducing it?

Instead of amplying a range of frequency, would lowering all the others keep the sound quality while adjusting the sound to your ears?

 

Also, what about hardware vs software equalizing. I guess hardware will allow you to amplify w/o losing too much quality, but software won't.

Am I right?

 

Thanks

post #2 of 4

Its not so much as it reduces the quality but that it potentially can change the sound, especially when making large corrections. There are two basic kinds of EQ: IIR (Infinite Impulse Response) which would be an analog EQ or minimum latency EQ. The other basic type is FIR (Finite Impulse Response) which is a phase linear EQ. Both types introduce distortion into the sound. IIR causes phase distortion which becomes more audible the more severe the setting. FIR delays all the bands equally so it does not have a phase problem, but it does introduce a pre-ring, which can be more audible. In general it is usually more transparent to cut than to boost. The narrower the Q, or band, the more audible the change can be when boosting, but you can often cut a problem frequency without changing the sound too much.

As for the difference in quality between hardware and software, that all depends on the hardware and the software. If you are meaning is it better to use the EQ that may be included on your amp or the EQ in something like Foobar, I could not say for sure. If you mean pro audio application hardware and digital audio workstation software then both are of very high quality, and it depends on the result you are trying to achieve.

I would say mess with both and find the result you want. Try cutting areas that seem like they may be getting in the way to see if it will open up the sound. Start with a broad cut, then narrow it in until you hear the result you are looking for.

post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by atrika View Post

Hi, I know amplifying sound reduces it's quality... but what about reducing it?

Instead of amplying a range of frequency, would lowering all the others keep the sound quality while adjusting the sound to your ears?

 

Also, what about hardware vs software equalizing. I guess hardware will allow you to amplify w/o losing too much quality, but software won't.

Am I right?

 

Thanks

 

The issue is that digital audio represents sound as an imaginary membrane moving up and down in time (thus producing sound with its vibrations).  Most common implementations of digital audio has a hard ceiling as to how far "up" and "down" the membrane can move (e.g. 16 bit audio would have a range from "-32768" to "+32767") and music recordings always make as much use of this range as possible (to make the music sound louder and to increase signal to noise ratio).

 

An digital EQ boost would in most cases make the signal go past the ceiling, which can't be represented correctly.  The approximation is to leave the signal stuck at the ceiling until it comes down again, thus producing a flatline at the ceiling, called "clipping", this is audible as distortion.

 

The simple solution as you say is to cut instead of boost.  If you want to boost the bass, you cut everything except the bass.  Most digital EQs simplify this process by including a "preamp" slider you can pull down to compensate for any boosts you make.  So instead of pulling every slider if you want to boost a particular frequency, you just push the slider you want and then pull down the preamp slider by the same amount.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Oh, thanks guys for the useful info. I'll reduce the preamp slider for my SE215 and increase the highs.

On a side note, do you know where or how I can find the max sample rate and bit depth of my sound card? Windows says it supports 192000 Hz and 24 bit, but I do not think this is the truth since it's the integrated chip on the mobo of my thinkpad laptop.

 

Thanks

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