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Music sounds muddy without EQ on PCs. Why?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

   Just got into this audiophile business. Am wondering why is it music that is not EQed i.,e. no EQ or Flat EQ on PCs sound so muddy with all frequencies sounding like that. 

 

This happens on my laptop's onboard, but also happens with my desktop Xonar DG or Creative Soundblaster X-fi HD USB.

 

Once I set the EQ to something a little more V shapped, (something akin to the Powerful EQ setting of Realtek's Audio drivers, the sound seems to drastically improve and the muddiness is gone.

 

I use Creative T3 speakers, or Sennheiser IE 80s or HD558s and the same happens for all this equipment.

 

The IE80s on my iPhone iwth EQ set to off sounds nothing like this, there is no muddiness in the music at any frequency.

 

So when audiophiles say don't set EQ so you will be true to the source material...how can you bear with that muddy sound? or is it just me? or is it just a PC thing?

 

Some insight into this phenomenon would be great.

 

Thanks guys

post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

Hey guys,

 

   Just got into this audiophile business. Am wondering why is it music that is not EQed i.,e. no EQ or Flat EQ on PCs sound so muddy with all frequencies sounding like that. 

 

This happens on my laptop's onboard, but also happens with my desktop Xonar DG or Creative Soundblaster X-fi HD USB.

 

Once I set the EQ to something a little more V shapped, (something akin to the Powerful EQ setting of Realtek's Audio drivers, the sound seems to drastically improve and the muddiness is gone.

 

I use Creative T3 speakers, or Sennheiser IE 80s or HD558s and the same happens for all this equipment.

 

The IE80s on my iPhone iwth EQ set to off sounds nothing like this, there is no muddiness in the music at any frequency.

 

So when audiophiles say don't set EQ so you will be true to the source material...how can you bear with that muddy sound? or is it just me? or is it just a PC thing?

 

Some insight into this phenomenon would be great.

 

Thanks guys

 

Can you find an example of where/when you are experiencing this? Maybe post a youtube song and get feedback from the others based on that same track.

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

So when audiophiles say don't set EQ so you will be true to the source material...

 

Just to note that one isn't achieving any 'trueness to source' by not using EQ during playback.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Any song on mp3 sounds like that no matter what genre this same file was tested on my iPhone...320kbps, Flac you name it

post #5 of 19

That's a little weird.

 

What media player are you using, and what equalizer are you using?

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

I use windows media player. no EQ settings at all.

 

Now this is Universal. It is not solely a problem with music. Its the same for games, movies, vidoes etc.

 

I nv put any second thought into it until now after reading all over this site about having no EQ being the best way to listen to music.

post #7 of 19

It being universal is even more odd... It sounds like it's a problem at the digital end(seeing as other devices work fine) but I would suspect that a digital problem would have to do with mediaplayer or hidden EQ somewhere. Your laptop doesn't happen to have Beats audio does it?(EDIT: nevermind, saw it happens on desktop as well)

 

And those who say no EQ is the best way are crazy. We're listeners, not producers. It's not like headphones are perfectly neutral anyways.

post #8 of 19

It simply means you have a preference for a V-shaped signature. Nothing wrong with wanting a little more thump in the bottom end and a bit more zing in the top.

 

Take the Senn 558 for instance, it has decent extension on the top and bottom, but really is a mid focused headphone. Not enough bass and treble can result in music sounding a bit muffled. Conversely, if you took a typical DJ headphone which already has a V shaped response and applied a V-shaped EQ on top of that, your music will start sounding "hollow".

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post

It simply means you have a preference for a V-shaped signature. Nothing wrong with wanting a little more thump in the bottom end and a bit more zing in the top.

 

Take the Senn 558 for instance, it has decent extension on the top and bottom, but really is a mid focused headphone. Not enough bass and treble can result in music sounding a bit muffled. Conversely, if you took a typical DJ headphone which already has a V shaped response and applied a V-shaped EQ on top of that, your music will start sounding "hollow".

 

Exactly.

 

iztis, EQing is very much a personal preference, not a rule of thumb for quality. If you enjoy sound after EQing it, then that's how it works best for you. On the other hand, if you prefer unaltered sound, that's also your choice. Don't let anyone dictate what is the right way of listening, it comes down to your own preferences.

post #10 of 19

^ Problem being that listening to headphones can't possibly give you an unaltered sound.

post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post

^ Problem being that listening to headphones can't possibly give you an unaltered sound.

 

Given the context, I think anyone realizes the conversation is about any form of processing done to sound, not how x or y headphones sound by themselves.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Alright thanks guys! I finally understand. 

 

I was just wondering why I could do without EQ on my iphone and have exactly what I want but not on my various PCs...

 

I thought it was something I was not doing right. To be honest, the less I need to adjust the better, so I woulda been happy if I didn't need to tweak my PC EQ, but with the current muddy/muffled sound...no way.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Given the context, I think anyone realizes the conversation is about any form of processing done to sound, not how x or y headphones sound by themselves.

 

Would you say headphones process the sound in some way if they add more bass or take off a chunk from the treble?

 

Unaltered vs. altered is a pretty strong dichotomy when in actuality it's a question of what kind of alteration exists there (microphones, studio, listener's gear). I wouldn't want to underestimate the influence of language in this case.

post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vid View Post

 

Would you say headphones process the sound in some way if they add more bass or take off a chunk from the treble?

 

Unaltered vs. altered is a pretty strong dichotomy when in actuality it's a question of what kind of alteration exists there (microphones, studio, listener's gear). I wouldn't want to underestimate the influence of language in this case.

 

It seems I have to repeat myself again. Read the context. The discussion is about EQing and EQing alone.

 

EDIT: It's obvious that different gear, be it speakers or headphones like the LCD-2 (which has a rather linear frequency response) or high end STAX all alter sound due to the gear presentation, but following the OP's inquiry, equalization does play a big part on how audio is perceived, and it's a known fact that some people prefer to EQ sound to their preferences, be it for correcting flaws (that all gear has) or for entertainment purposes, while others prefer to run bitperfect audio. There isn't a right way since not everyone likes the same audio presentation.


Edited by Roller - 10/22/12 at 12:17pm
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

Alright thanks guys! I finally understand. 

 

I was just wondering why I could do without EQ on my iphone and have exactly what I want but not on my various PCs...

 

I thought it was something I was not doing right. To be honest, the less I need to adjust the better, so I woulda been happy if I didn't need to tweak my PC EQ, but with the current muddy/muffled sound...no way.

 

A couple things here. ..

- I wouldn't be surprised if the iphone has a built in adjustment outside of the EQ. 

- output impedance varies from device to device, which can account for a perceived change in frequency response as well; on the iphone I think the output impedance is a bit high, which can result in a louder bass and thus perceived increase in quality

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