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Why are so many people against equalization?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

Just curious. I've always used it whether it's on my stereo system, home theater system, or headphone system.

 

What's with the hate/dislike of equalization in general. 

post #2 of 28

I don't know where you are getting that from, but I've seen many people say they use equalization when a pair of headphones are lacking in a certain area.

post #3 of 28

 to sell more HPs!,.....J/K.

 

 

  generally speaking,it's much better to own a HP or HPs that have frequencies or a sound signature you like and don't need equalization.

 

  however,i know what you mean as I've noticed the same here but I still prefer to be able to EQ if I want/need to. the reasons are multiple;using HPs and speakers through the same equipment(I generally prefer the treble/highs rather "hot"(treble junkie) on speakers,not so much through HPs as I find it painful and/or tiring if too excessive,..some recordings/tracks/movies/programs sound different and I may want to adjust(like sibilance or not enough bass),.....some HPs may be almost perfect but you want to change a frequency,...etc.,etc..

 

 

  i'm currently looking for a way to add equalization when I don't want to use my amp/receiver(which has EQ,albeit only the 3=bass/mid/high type,i'd prefer much more bands) or media player and i'm having a hard time deciding which way to go,either hardware that includes software EQ and/or actual levers or just software EQ. this is especially true when I use Netflix or youtube and not going through my receiver but even then,i sometimes just want to add to one band like say 30hz or whatever.

 

 

 

  I've been looking at the ASUS U7 but i'm not sure. I've also looked into some programs but i'm not sure on those either.

 

 

  it seems that EQing has become a fade of the past. I say PHOOEY to that,not even the best engineer in the world knows my ears through my equipment like I do.

post #4 of 28
The few reasons I know of are:

1) Back in the day, the EQ was done with hardware and putting this in the signal chain was thought to degrade sound quality. It can also be seen as a ham-fisted approach to correcting issues as most options weren't fine enough, limiting you to the "Low/Mid/High" knobs or ~8 bands, not the 30+ bands that a studio may use.

2) A lot of audiophiles want to be purists, and if you EQ, the idea is you will not be hearing what was recorded, exactly as it was recorded. Someone who uses EQ would just say "well whats more important, having it sound good to me, or being "true" to the source?", a fair arguement for sure!
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muinarc View Post

The few reasons I know of are:

1) Back in the day, the EQ was done with hardware and putting this in the signal chain was thought to degrade sound quality. It can also be seen as a ham-fisted approach to correcting issues as most options weren't fine enough, limiting you to the "Low/Mid/High" knobs or ~8 bands, not the 30+ bands that a studio may use.

2) A lot of audiophiles want to be purists, and if you EQ, the idea is you will not be hearing what was recorded, exactly as it was recorded. Someone who uses EQ would just say "well whats more important, having it sound good to me, or being "true" to the source?", a fair arguement for sure!

 

 

  I agree with everything you stated. the problem there is,even if you wanted to hear it the way it was recorded,most dynamic driver HPs tend to have bass roll-off(compounded by the fact that humans don't hear those lowest FR all that well to begin with) just like planer HPs tend to have,lets say,"interesting" highs or less than ideal highs. that's assuming the quality(recording and/or source) is there to begin with.

post #6 of 28

In a lot of peoples minds spectral "flatness" is auto-equated to being "good".  Something I have never understood.  I have always found audio systems that measure spectrally flat (RTA and pink noise) generally don't sound "good".  Every one of the components in my signal chain colors the sound in some way, including the upfront 3db boost at 32Hz I add on the iTunes EQ.  So "EQ-ing" be it with sliders, OP amps, tubes...etc., I think can be a very good thing.


Edited by kramer5150 - 1/13/14 at 5:09pm
post #7 of 28

I use EQ's a fair bit depending on the tracks mastering. Theres a lot of old rock records that I tone the treble down a tad on. I lightly EQ the T1's spike as well.

post #8 of 28

I'm against raising EQ, but I have no trouble dropping it. Usually is just to tone down treble or bass (sub bass or mid bass...sub bass tends to clutter up headphones to me, sub bass when it drowns out the mids). But I agree, is best to find a non-EQ combination of gear.

 

*glares at 6khz HD800 spike* Then there's trying to use the wrong amp with an HD800...

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

Just curious. I've always used it whether it's on my stereo system, home theater system, or headphone system.

 

What's with the hate/dislike of equalization in general. 

 

The whole idea where all this stems from is that the equipment themselves must have the flattest response, and that includes for example your room not getting in the way of music by introducing room modes (that kill or enhance bass for example, which either way is not "natural" sound). In my car for example once the installation was done right (tweeters in custom angled pods, door mounts lined with Dynamat, etc) and the processor is set to the correct time alignment* and gain** settings there is really no need for EQ unless I'm competing in EMMA or IASCA, where even tiny bumps really need to be ironed out, but of course an RTA would be necessary to detect them using a sine sweep. Prior to this I had a processor that only had basic settings for these and I relied more on the EQ, which can't fix the fact that the cabin was the problem (I sat off to one side) and the installation sucked (cancellation in the door mounts due to no isolation between the front and rear of the midwoofer cone, tweeters' sound bouncing off the windshield, etc).

 

In a home audio set-up it's a similar thing, except of course you don't need a time alignment processor unless it's an HT system in a living room where you're not smack in center of the front and center speakers vs the surrounds, but the room can present its own problems. In this instance, instead of EQ-ing a signal, one must "treat" and "tweak" the room, for example so it does not add or subtract to the bass. EQ-ing the signal only reduces adds or reduces the bass frequencies coming out of the speaker, but even if you can get it down to a level where teh room-amplified (positively or negatively) response is flat on a test tone, the reflections can still make for muddy bass, much like EQ-ing a tweeter to death in a car can't do anything about the sibilance caused by reflections on the windshield to to an improperly-installed tweeter. You can have EQ a system too lean at home and still have no definition on the bass lines, or add a lot and still not get a natural-sounding impact on the bass (as is more commonly used, "slam"); or a car system can sound like you have a cheap tube amp in there along with rolled-off tweeters and still get harsh "t's" and "s'" in the song. because you're hearing the same note several times (except the delay is in microseconds so you don't realize that simply with just your ears).

 

With headphones one would think it's not as problematic, given the room isn't a factor unless you're listening in a noisy environment, but there is one thing that factors into this in place of the room: the ear pads. Worn out and new earpads sound drastically different, and buying brand-new earpads every month just to keep the sound the same just isn't cost-effective. I get around that by rotating two sets of earpads on my HD600, but I also used EQ apps.to make older pads sound close to the newer pads - I simulate "FLAT" on Accudio using old pads, then I disable it when using new pads. The only thing that stopped me from using Accudio is that they haven't updated for iOS7 compatibility and it's buggy as heck right now, and the earpad rotation alleviates the most noticeable response changes.

 

Basically, think of this as getting to the root of the problem instead of using a patch. Think of a social issue in thee terms: instead of using subsidies and welfare, you neuter people who can't afford to have children, the same way TNR programs are applied to stray cats, except of course arguing over EQ's role isn't likely to end up with either side getting smashed up in a protest.

 

---

 

Note that in some cases it really isn't so much as a "flat response" for the whole system, but that some people want to be able to enjoy the speakers' response without the room getting in the way. That I can agree with, but personally I'm not a fan of buying one headphone for each music genre I listen to when there are preset EQ settings like "Jazz," "Rock," etc (or you can customize such) for free. If you can do this with speakers, I'll  admit I'm envious of your storage space, but even then I don't think I'd want to take speakers off their stands and put another one on it (or push the tower speakers into position) when I switch to another album.




*Unless you have a Maclaren F1, the inherent problem is that one sits closer to the driver side tweeter then midwoofer vs the passenger side tweeter, passenger side midwoofer, and finally the subwoofer that is usually in the trunk unless you have something like a Nissan with a Bose subwoofer on the dashboard; signal processors get around this problem by introducing time-delays on the transducers closer to the driver (or passenger, as they can be biased either way) so soundwaves around at the ears at the same time.
**The problem with using such a processor though is that the crossover will have to be applied as an active circuit (ie, part of the processor), and when it leaves the processor, you send a signal meant for each transducer (in terms of both time delay and frequency range), and sometimes you have for example amplifiers that are too powerful for each tweeter (it's not like they sell monobloc amps for cars) and using different amps are more cluttered than using one multi-channel amplifier. Gain settings on the amps as well as on the processor then deal with efficiency and SPL variance - in my system the processor outputs a -6db signal to the tweeter and the amp channels that receive this signal is set to minimum gain; midrange signal out of the processor is 0db gain and about 11:00 on the amp's gain knob.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 1/13/14 at 11:58pm
post #10 of 28

I don't use EQing, tone controls, DSP modes, or anything of the sort. This is mainly because I'm a late comer to headphones, whereas I've been into home audio (speakers) for years. With my home audio rig I've always had the goal of keeping the signal path as clean as possible, 

 

Seems like many people use EQing for the low end more than anything else, and I like my bass very clean and crisp. I can't tolerate a bloated, muddy low end, so I just have no interest in EQing from that standpoint either. The exception would be something like the ZO2, which I love. They manage to keep the bass clean while also increasing the level of impact and punch...something that I found really fun when using headphones/IEMs for movies and certain types of music. 

post #11 of 28
The main reason people are against it is:

1. Signal path cleanliness (As has been said)
2. "Flat" response. If the headphones suck buy new headphones, don't EQ.
3. Esoteric reasons
4. Peer pressure

I personally don't care much. If I don't EQ my ears will adjust fine. I use EQ for: (Not in the following order.)

1. Old tapes
2. Having fun
3. Crappy recordings
4. Getting closer to a flat response if there is a large peak or dip


Having worked in a studio with a really good listening room, I can say FLAT sounds pretty lifeless and boring. Give a flat headphone to a "normal" person and their response will be: "Sounds like $hit..." For people "in the know", flat can be fulfilling of course.
post #12 of 28

The K701 is one of my all time fave headphones, but only because I fixed them with a slight EQ. Otherwise they can destroy music... They are the only headphone that I've owned that really needed EQ. (Upper mids)

 

They are a very good example of flat not being best. 

post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post
 

The K701 is one of my all time fave headphones, but only because I fixed them with a slight EQ. Otherwise they can destroy music... They are the only headphone that I've owned that really needed EQ. (Upper mids)

 

They are a very good example of flat not being best. 

 

Wholeheartedly agree. The K701/2 can become really tolerable to listen to after some slight tonal adjustments.

 

Another example is the ESP-950. These cans may sound nice and intimate with some jazz-club recording and such,  but take down the broad, elevated area around 1k (the middle mids, so to speak) and they transform into a fabulous all-rounder for most genres. (very "musical" by that, hard to find another word).

 

Olaf

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by LugBug1 View Post

 

 

. Otherwise they can destroy music... 

 

lol, I dont know why, but this made me laugh

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post
 

 

lol, I dont know why, but this made me laugh

:D :beerchug:

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