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Is EQ adjusting "cheating"?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Fairly new to this scene, but how do you guys view EQ adjusting as a legitimate means of making sound sound as it should?  Do you view excessive EQ adjustments as a sign of poor equipment, or an "untrained" ear?  Just curious.

post #2 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by hazertag View Post
 

Fairly new to this scene, but how do you guys view EQ adjusting as a legitimate means of making sound sound as it should?  Do you view excessive EQ adjustments as a sign of poor equipment, or an "untrained" ear?  Just curious.

 

We all hear a bit differently and have different preferences. Music is there for our enjoyment and anything that contributes to increasing it is a good thing. It's highly unlikely that you'll find equipment matching your sweet spot exactly, so don't let anyone take the joy away from you. There's no point listening to something that is "pure" and "as the authors intended" if that leaves you cold. You can judge yourself how much is too much.

Regarding the authors intentions: all commercial CD productions are a compromise - they have to appeal to possibly wide range of tastes and perform well on wide range of equipment. Producers and engineers tend to play it safe and master the sound to be reasonably flat, as that is the easiest to adjust to a wide range of purposes and tastes without introducing a lot of distortions. If you prefer a different sound, who's there to tell you off?

post #3 of 28
If you ever get into home audio speakers and subs for music listening and HT usage, you'll find that the best way to get good SQ is with EQ adjustments because room interactions skew speaker/sub frequency response performance, even if their native frequency response is linear.

Since most headphones are not perfectly neutral/linear in frequency response, you would likewise need to use EQ to smooth it out if that's the sound you prefer. And if you like a little bass emphasis, nothing wrong with that. Don't worry about what other people think. Use EQ if it improves the sound for you.
post #4 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by PleasantSounds View Post

. . . so don't let anyone take the joy away from you.

You beat me to it. smily_headphones1.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by PleasantSounds View Post

Regarding the authors intentions: all commercial CD productions are a compromise - they have to appeal to possibly wide range of tastes and perform well on wide range of equipment. Producers and engineers tend to play it safe and master the sound to be reasonably flat, as that is the easiest to adjust to a wide range of purposes and tastes without introducing a lot of distortions. If you prefer a different sound, who's there to tell you off?

So true.

Some audiophiles will say if you aren't listening to a perfect, transparent reproduction of the recording, you aren't listening to the artist's intentions. Anyone who has ever been to a live performance and then heard a professionally produced version of the same show knows that it never sounds exactly the same. Not to mention that if you ever listen to different remasterings of the same recordings, you'll hear subtle differences. Who's to say what is the "correct" sound, especially when it's the audio engineer--not the artist--that is fine tuning the artist's music?
post #5 of 28

Equalizing is ok, just if you intend to use it, don`t spend crazy money on audio equipment,

I don`t understand why people talk about bit perfect, then use DSP or resamplers..

post #6 of 28

Tweaking EQ would be cheating if you are a sound engineer or a sound critic but for people like us who just want to enjoy some good music, it is just a way to adjust the sound as per our preferences.

post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonci View Post
 

Equalizing is ok, just if you intend to use it, don`t spend crazy money on audio equipment,

I don`t understand why people talk about bit perfect, then use DSP or resamplers..

 

^This.

 

I personally don't use E.Q., I don't think I could make my rig sound consistently better across all of the genres and styles of music I listen to. Fair enough, for some tracks/ albums/ artists, it might be nice to tone down the highs or what not, but then you change albums and the E.Q. setting may not be suitable. Too much stuffing about for me. 

 

If I were to apply E.Q. (semi-) permanently, I would only make minor adjustments, and subtractive adjustments. From what I understand, boosting frequencies in your media player can cause clipping as you push the peaks beyond -0db. Standard E.Q included in Foobar (etc) are pretty crude also. Maybe on a DAP, I might use a preset, if I found I liked the signature better, or it just provided a pleasantly novel change that I could use to make things sound a bit different for a while.

 

But in general, I don't accept that E.Q. can truly compensate for poorly recorded/ mastered albums or sub par equipment.

post #8 of 28

At home i don't use EQ but on the go,

I normally EQ the bass down (-2db) slightly on my W4R and push the treble up (+3db)

 

I think it's EQ is fine as long as it's sensible (does not distort the sound or try to make the sound signature change completely)

post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sonci View Post

Equalizing is ok, just if you intend to use it, don`t spend crazy money on audio equipment,
I don`t understand why people talk about bit perfect, then use DSP or resamplers..

Because the goal sometimes is to achieve a different response from the headphones, not the music. Whether that be a more linear frequency response or a particular house curve sound flavor of ones own choosing. One still wants the most transparent audio reproduction of the music going into that process.

And in fact, most people are using headphones that do not achieve a linear frequency response. One is deluding themselves if they think that not using EQ is producing the most accurate reproduction of the music.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Because the goal sometimes is to achieve a different response from the headphones, not the music. Whether that be a more linear frequency response or a particular house curve sound flavor of ones own choosing. One still wants the most transparent audio reproduction of the music going into that process.

And in fact, most people are using headphones that do not achieve a linear frequency response. One is deluding themselves if they think that not using EQ is producing the most accurate reproduction of the music.

Definitely a fair call if you are seeking the most neutral sound and you know what you are doing with an EQ.

 

I know my rig is coloured, and I like it :basshead:

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by In Over My Head View Post

Definitely a fair call if you are seeking the most neutral sound and you know what you are doing with an EQ.

I know my rig is coloured, and I like it basshead.gif

That sounds cool. I'm all in favor of people listening to their setup however they like it. I don't EQ my Grados to make them more neutral smily_headphones1.gif

It's the people that insist that EQ is necessarily a bad thing that I disagree with.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


That sounds cool. I'm all in favor of people listening to their setup however they like it. I don't EQ my Grados to make them more neutral smily_headphones1.gif

It's the people that insist that EQ is necessarily a bad thing that I disagree with.

I don't know much about EQ, but I would be all for EQing LCD-2 to make them more like LCD-3, if it is possible. I wouldn't call that 'cheating', just saving $1000.

post #13 of 28

EQ is to allow you to suit the sound to your preference. It's only cheating when your cheating yourself by listening to whatever is supplied to you.

post #14 of 28

I use EQ all the time for things. When I install a new sound system or am tuning a system some place I normally have a DSP that has a ton of EQ functions built in. I get out my RTA software and microphone and then measure the signal leaving the sound board and compare that to the sound coming out of the speakers, then tune the EQ in the DSP so that what comes out of the speakers is as close as I can get it to what is coming out of the sound board. From there I sometimes make modifications here and there to adjust the sound signature a bit for different preferences and to play around a bit, see what the person prefers who owns the place. I dont consider it "cheating" at all, it is creating a more perfect sound.

 

At home I also use EQ to clean things up. I notice when my speakers are up loud that the mains have a bit too harsh 4K, so I turn that down a bit, also drop 120Hz a little which helps tighten up the bass sound on my speakers. My headphone setup has a ton of EQ on it as I like to adjust things and create what I think is a "perfect" sound from my headphones. Of course, that EQ changes based on what opamp or tube I am running and which amp I am using. Its all about preference and you can definitely create an EQ that stays permanently and sounds good with everything.

post #15 of 28

Nothing wrong with using EQ or DSP if it is perceived to improve things for the listener and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. That said, I usually do try to avoid EQ'ing when using headphones (Hardware tone controls are the one exception of course)..  unless I feel I have to with a poorly mastered recording or overly coloured gear as I find it also brings it's own impurities to the sound, a harshness or even distortion in extreme cases...  am I alone in this?  

 

DSP is a tool I may use with certain tracks to try and add a bit of soundstage to a poor recording. If more music producers spent more time setting up for recording/mastering like they do for live bands  (I concede that it's not feasible due to the very nature of pop music, sadly)  we would have much less need for either of them . One track springs to mind, a particular recording of 'downstream' by ocean colour scene. It was recorded live in a studio and the Mic pick up points were obviously very well situated as the stereo width and instrument separation offer the listener a near perfect listening experience that I've heard,  no DSP could ever get even close to replicating it. I gave my non-audiophile friend a listen to it through my TF10's, he was transfixed and listened to the whole song with his mouth open, afterwards was asking about my gear and how it could sound so incredible. I explained that my DAP, Neutron and TF10's were only a small part of it, it's just that they rarely record/master music that way these days.

 

It would be nice to hear of other other similarly well recorded tracks from fellow Headfi'ers?


Edited by Ari33 - 10/2/13 at 12:13pm
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