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Is EQ adjusting "cheating"? - Page 2

post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 

awesome, thanks for the replies.  Kind of what I was thinking, but just wanted to see the general consensus on how much "purity" people detract from things that are EQ'd.  Enjoying my music all the same!

post #17 of 28
I tend to leave the eq settings alone on my PC using my zxr as my headphones offer a flat response. Which to me is the best for games as the dev intended.

But on my Denon receiver I have my Audyssey XT room calibration active. Its an advanced dynamic eq that scales with the sound volume and or/source. My living room is odd so it calibrates everything based on my room geometry and distance from speakers. It adds a bit more bass however it goes off of THX specs from what I've read so its similar to a movie theatre calibration.

In this regard an eq was necessary. For headphones not so much.

But like everyone has stated, your preference is the biggest judge. No such thing as "cheating" in sound.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 10/6/13 at 2:14am
post #18 of 28

EQ can make a huge difference (positive or neg.)...all personal preference. I prefer a flatter frequency response.


BTW, here's a related thread in Sound Science...(is 80% of Hi-Fi just EQ?):



post #19 of 28

Very good responses in this thread. IMO it's really down to one thing, do what pleases you the most! If you prefer the sound of your system EQ'd, by all means do it!

I used to EQ all my headphones but then I got Q40 =) So then I know I what kind of balance I prefer but it still depends on source and amp it's paired with, with some sources/amps it will not sound good to me, while others will. It's such a complicated hobby... I prefer ofc getting a system which doesn't need any EQing to sound ideal but if you have one that doesn't without the EQ, by all means do it!

post #20 of 28
Even if you have a perfectly flat and neutral output from some megabuck audio system, there is always EQ going on.... as the sound flows through your ears! smily_headphones1.gif Higher frequencies in particular. So you might as well adjust it to your liking. Just don't go crazy with it; keep the EQ curve smooth, subtle and balanced, no crazy double digit dB spikes. biggrin.gif
Edited by gevorg - 10/8/13 at 2:13am
post #21 of 28
Originally Posted by Ari33 View Post

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?

May I ask if it was the BBC recording or something else? I'm really interested.



this one 




Edited by Nachash - 10/10/13 at 3:06pm
post #22 of 28
Whether it's to achieve high fidelity or just to get the sound you want, if you use EQ with appropriate equipment and then take on an "audiophile" going for the "pure" sound and doing "component matching" to get his preferred sound, well, that's cheating, just like it's cheating to take on a swordsman with a machine gun biggrin.gif You can achieve results simply not possible without EQ, and do it for a fraction of the price. Want to smooth out all those fatiguing resonance peaks in the treble that are simply an acoustic fact of life with headphones? Sure! Just find the center frequency and peak loudness with Sinegen and dial it down with Electri-Q. Want an impossible combination of unreal subbass extension and complete lack of midbass bloat? Take a basshead can and dial down the midbass and you're set! The list goes on... biggrin.gif So yeah, EQ is cheating... and it feels ooh so good to get away with cheating wink.gif
post #23 of 28
So, any recommendations for an excellent parametric equalizer in a portable DAC/AMP I could use with my iPhone? I don't like any of the built-in EQ presets.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
post #24 of 28

Yes, I use EQ as well especially when using speakers. Room treatment here is important but it can only go so far. There is nothing wrong with adding or taking away a bit off bass if that's how you prefer the sound. As far as speakers go the function of a crossover network is similar to EQ in that sense everyone is using it all the time. I am currently using Amperiors straight out of my macbook when traveling and like to turn the bass up a little. They just sound better to me that way.

post #25 of 28
Ok in the interim, heads up! There is a fantastic parametric EQ app in the App Store, simply called, Parametric Equalizer.

You can learn a lot from playing around with this, and it is extremely flexible, with ten channels you can set at any frequency center point and the ability to EQ up/down 25db (!) from that center point.

It would great if you could adjust the width of the bands, too, that's another fundamental capability in a top-notch parametric equalizer; not present in this app at this point, though.

Equalization can potentially introduce some distortion into the sound, smearing transients and affecting phase coherency (this is why really high-quality P-EQs ain't cheap!); however, for the most part, they can really give you some excellent control over taming (preferable to boosting) frequency regions that have been overemphasized either in the recording or the design of your transducer (speaker, headphone, IEM).

Just remember that it's always a trade off, and balancing act. But more user control is good; you will learn, among other things, with a parametric EQ precisely which frequencies do what to your sense of the overall musical spectrum, and more knowledge here means more pleasure and less random and potentially expensive/wasteful guesswork.

Also remember that EQ will never fix what's broken; it can sculpt, gently, but it won't perfect what's wrong either in the recording or in the limitations of your signal path and final transducer. Everything added to that path, even in the realm of digital, adds complications that inevitably show up as some kind of distortion and signal loss.

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post #26 of 28
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post

So, any recommendations for an excellent parametric equalizer in a portable DAC/AMP I could use with my iPhone? I don't like any of the built-in EQ presets.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

I see you posted this awhile ago.  I now use the Fiio X5 without EQ, however, when I used an iPhone as my portable source I used the application "Equalizer".   Even flat this sounded better than using the iphone native app for playing music and I really liked the sonic results when I adjusted the EQ.  It also allows you to save many presets.  While not an external amp/dac, it could be a fix for a few bucks.

post #27 of 28
Hi guys
I have a pair of lcd 2 driven by a modified burson ha160d. The sound is very powerful, robust, what I call corporeal but it lacks air and space so I always use EQ on my computer on jriver mc 16.
First I use the surround field effect in the dsp studio and also use eq to boost the frequencies 6k and above I start with 0.4 @ 6k and gradually rise to 5db @ 16 khz and above. I have made 6 variations of the same pattern and saved them and use one that I deem best suits the music I'm listening.
To avoid overshoots and clipping the amp, I always use 12-18 decibel attenuation on the iplay bit perfect volume settings ( it can also be done on the the jriver preamp in the eq window but I find the iplay volume sounds better. I get some sibilance when I do it on jriver mc 16) and fine tune the level with my audiophilleo 1 volume control. It makes a total attenuation between -12 to -25 db in the digital domain depending on the musics gain and leave my amps volume pot completely open to bypass it. This way sounds much better to my ears. I find it more trsnsparent sounding. I know many would yell at me here but this is what I hear and how I like it
post #28 of 28
I must add that eq only changes the tonal balance and can't improve the sound quality, in fact quiet the opposite, it degrades the sound by introducing phase shifts so it has to be viewd as a necessary evil. I should also add that the cleaner the sound of a system the better is it possible to change the tonal balance with eq with least side effects.
And it's not that easy, it took me couple of months and endless experimenting to arrive at my desirable settings, even 0.2 decibles too much or too little can make or break a setting and every time I change something in the system, an emi/rfi harvester for example the eq also needs to be fine tuned.
But despite all of this, its much easier and cheaper than changing one's system. I personally learnt a lot in this process.
On top of all of this I must add that to me headphone listening requires some sort of dsp effect and tuning to make it more natural and I also don't see how people except one system and one tonal balance to suit all the different genres,styles and voicings of music.
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