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# How much is to much when EQing music?

How much does day changing 2db change is it a little or a lot (in the high or low frequency ranges, not the mids), and what do you consider to be a little vs a lot in those ranges? And how far do you normally eq up bass before hitting distortion?

I rarely if ever digitally EQ anything.  Most players give you a very limited EQ prior to distortion.  I think +/- 2dB is a great rule of thumb.  Even at 2dB I hear distortion.  I get better results using analog EQ, but to me if EQ is not done correctly it is not going to be worth your time.  If you want more bass get a more bass heavy headphone or an amp know to have an extended low end.

I usually use +/- 2dB or sometimes 4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clairyvic

How much does day changing 2db change is it a little or a lot (in the high or low frequency ranges, not the mids), and what do you consider to be a little vs a lot in those ranges? And how far do you normally eq up bass before hitting distortion?

Heya,

I don't EQ anything up, therefore, I get no distortion.

I equalize down. I take my frequencies as far as I want to. Sometimes -20db even. If you drop all frequencies by that much, except the frequency you want to bring out, it's effectively equalized to be more pronounced.

For example if I want to make my orthos into earthquake bass machines, I use an EQ like this:

No distortion at all.

Very best,

Yep, most people just push everything up.  That's not how you proper Eq...Here's mine..  Just use a little pre-amp if needed.  Most of the time just 2db if I'm running right out of my jack, amped I used none. And set to flat!!!

Edit: Notice how my EQ looks like a FR graph? Just giving my phones just a tad where they are needed..

Edited by Magicman74 - 1/28/13 at 11:06pm

I'm using this for my DT770 Pro 80's, any comments?

What do you say constitutes a little vs alot in change of sound. Like how many db= how much sound?
Quote:
Originally Posted by clairyvic

What do you say constitutes a little vs alot in change of sound. Like how many db= how much sound?

Heya,

It's a logarithmic unit, and in the case of audio, used to represent sound pressure with respect to 0 decibels as the reference point.

Information you probably don't want to know:

Quote:

### Acoustics

The decibel is commonly used in acoustics to quantify sound levels relative to a 0 dB reference which has been defined as a sound pressure level of .0002 microbar, or 20micropascals.[17] The reference level is set at the typical threshold of perception of an average human and there are common comparisons used to illustrate different levels of sound pressure. Sound pressure is a field quantity, so the formula used to calculate sound pressure level is the field version:

$L_p=20 \log_{10}\left(\frac{p_{\mathrm{rms}}}{p_{\mathrm{ref}}}\right)\mbox{ dB}$
where pref is equal to the standard reference sound pressure level of 20 micropascals.

The human ear has a large dynamic range in audio perception. The ratio of the sound intensity that causes permanent damage during short exposure to the quietest sound that the ear can hear is greater than or equal to 1 trillion.[18] Such large measurement ranges are conveniently expressed in logarithmic units: the base-10 logarithm of one trillion (1012) is 12, which is expressed as an audio level of 120 dB. Since the human ear is not equally sensitive to all sound frequencies, noise levels at maximum human sensitivity—somewhere between 2 and 4 kHz—are factored more heavily into some measurements using frequency weighting. (See also Stevens' power law.)

But to keep it simple, it gets louder exponentially with each increase in decibels.

For example 95db is so loud that you will get damage. Going up to 120db will straight up make you deaf. It's only a 15db change, but it's not like 15% louder, it's exponentially louder.

Very best,

Quote:
Originally Posted by clairyvic

How much does day changing 2db change is it a little or a lot (in the high or low frequency ranges, not the mids), and what do you consider to be a little vs a lot in those ranges? And how far do you normally eq up bass before hitting distortion?

It depends of the bandwidth where you apply the change, and the central frequency too. We are most sensitive in the 3khz - 4hz region (see equal loudness curve, google).

Otherwise, in "absolute terms", the minimal change that can some people can perceive for a particular sound is 3db, while some are able to detect a change as small as 0.1 db.

You can search some listening test on the web.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX

Heya,

I don't EQ anything up, therefore, I get no distortion.

I  think you are talking of digital clipping, which can be easily avoided by the decreasing the volume output (digitally)  before applying eq. Most professional eq comes with a volume knob for output. But in a dsp chain, you can also decrease volume before applying eq too .

Quote:

Originally Posted by NA Blur

I rarely if ever digitally EQ anything.  Most players give you a very limited EQ prior to distortion.  I think +/- 2dB is a great rule of thumb.  Even at 2dB I hear distortion.  I get better results using analog EQ, but to me if EQ is not done correctly it is not going to be worth your time.  If you want more bass get a more bass heavy headphone or an amp know to have an extended low end.

Interesting. I  thought that linear phase eq was the panacea before , until I  tried the eq spl passeq (vst version, not the hardware ) , and I  changed my mind (this eq is so good).

Which analog eq have you tried ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX

But to keep it simple, it gets louder exponentially with each increase in decibels.

But the way human perceive variations, vary exponentially with signal too, so actually the decibels are a good way to describe what we hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clairyvic

How much does day changing 2db change is it a little or a lot (in the high or low frequency ranges, not the mids), and what do you consider to be a little vs a lot in those ranges? And how far do you normally eq up bass before hitting distortion?

I'm not sure which kind of distortion you are speaking off. If you decrease volume output enough  (at digital level) before boosting any frequency , you usually hear no distortions.

Now if it sounds muddy that something else.

If you install rockbox on a player, there's a precut setting for eq, that allows to decrease the volume before applying eq.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX

Heya,

I don't EQ anything up, therefore, I get no distortion.

I equalize down. I take my frequencies as far as I want to. Sometimes -20db even. If you drop all frequencies by that much, except the frequency you want to bring out, it's effectively equalized to be more pronounced.

For example if I want to make my orthos into earthquake bass machines, I use an EQ like this:

No distortion at all.

Very best,

This is great advice!  I hoped Mal would chime in as he is an EQ master.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur

This is great advice!  I hoped Mal would chime in as he is an EQ master.

For some reason, equalizers are a big "no no" in headphone based hi-fi which I've never understood. An equalizer for a headphone amp is basically a pre-amp of sorts, but free basically and nearly unlimited. Pre-amps and equalizers are essential in speakers, yet they're looked upon with noses up from lots of headphone based hifi groups. Kind of a generalized statement, but I find it to be rather true when you start getting into summit level equipment. I equalize like crazy because it's not about what the headphone or equipment is playing, it's about what I want to hear and enjoy. Nothing produces that perfect sound in stock form for most people. A little equalization takes something that is nearly perfect for you to pretty much perfect.

I use equalizers and pre-amps together with my tube-dac and solid state speaker amp to my orthos (and other headphones). You can do all kinds of fun, very engaging and energizing things, or subtle and mellow-out things, with combinations of equalizer and/or pre-amp together, or stand-alone.

For example, I'm currently doing Foobar2000 -> Equalizer -> TubeMagic D2 (tube dac) -> Little Dot MK III (pre-amp) -> Emotiva a-100 mini-X (solid state speaker amp) -> Hifimans.

I equalize to bring out sub-bass in all my headphones as I simply prefer there to be more sub-bass than mid-bass. I do it by dropping everything of course, very simple process like above (which was crude as I didn't bother equalizing the mid-bass, lower mids, upper mids, treble, etc, but I normally tweak it all just a bit). Then I further warm it up and add that hardware induced sound that tubes grant via two transition points, in the tube pre-amp out of the tube dac I use, followed by the all tube goodness of the Little Dot MK III and finally deliver that to my speaker amp which powers my Hifimans. It gives me a lot more volume control and attenuation on the amplifier side, so I can crank her up high on the volume knob (where amps perform better), while keeping everything in check, and where I like it.

Very best,

Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX

For some reason, equalizers are a big "no no" in headphone based hi-fi which I've never understood. An equalizer for a headphone amp is basically a pre-amp of sorts, but free basically and nearly unlimited. Pre-amps and equalizers are essential in speakers, yet they're looked upon with noses up from lots of headphone based hifi groups. Kind of a generalized statement, but I find it to be rather true when you start getting into summit level equipment. I equalize like crazy because it's not about what the headphone or equipment is playing, it's about what I want to hear and enjoy. Nothing produces that perfect sound in stock form for most people. A little equalization takes something that is nearly perfect for you to pretty much perfect.

I use equalizers and pre-amps together with my tube-dac and solid state speaker amp to my orthos (and other headphones). You can do all kinds of fun, very engaging and energizing things, or subtle and mellow-out things, with combinations of equalizer and/or pre-amp together, or stand-alone.

For example, I'm currently doing Foobar2000 -> Equalizer -> TubeMagic D2 (tube dac) -> Little Dot MK III (pre-amp) -> Emotiva a-100 mini-X (solid state speaker amp) -> Hifimans.

I equalize to bring out sub-bass in all my headphones as I simply prefer there to be more sub-bass than mid-bass. I do it by dropping everything of course, very simple process like above (which was crude as I didn't bother equalizing the mid-bass, lower mids, upper mids, treble, etc, but I normally tweak it all just a bit). Then I further warm it up and add that hardware induced sound that tubes grant via two transition points, in the tube pre-amp out of the tube dac I use, followed by the all tube goodness of the Little Dot MK III and finally deliver that to my speaker amp which powers my Hifimans. It gives me a lot more volume control and attenuation on the amplifier side, so I can crank her up high on the volume knob (where amps perform better), while keeping everything in check, and where I like it.

Very best,

Would you mind posting a screen shot of what your Foobar equalizer looks like for us? I'd be interested to see what you do with the other frequencies that you mentioned.

You get distortion when you go into clipping and the digital signal rams into 0dBfs. Simple as that.

Not all EQs are created equal. Ideally you'd want a nice parametric equalizer to attack the deficiencies of a headphone precisely, though IME with foobar, they tend to be buggy, a couple of crashes here and there. No problems with xnor's 31-band EQ, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by clairyvic

What do you say constitutes a little vs alot in change of sound. Like how many db= how much sound?

The doubling of perceived sound is 10db. The actual doubling of the output is 3db.

As a note, peak volume != average volume.

Edited by briskly - 1/29/13 at 5:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mani ATH 87

Would you mind posting a screen shot of what your Foobar equalizer looks like for us? I'd be interested to see what you do with the other frequencies that you mentioned.

Try foo_dsp_bassexciter , you might like this more.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=86083&st=0

Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi

Try foo_dsp_bassexciter , you might like this more.

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=86083&st=0

This thing puts the bass on overload lol, are you using it? Settings?

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