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Equalizing Vs. Natural Sound

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I hope this thread has not been asked before. I am new here and no expert at all with headphones, and one of my biggest questions I have is this. What is the difference between, say, some cans with more quiet bass that have been equalized to turn the bass up, and some cans that naturally have that loud bass? How is equalizing and adjusting the sound of a headphone different than one that sounds like that naturally, I guess software vs hardware? I hope this makes sense.
post #2 of 12
As long as the bass eq boost isn't overdriving the cans into distortion, there is no difference at all.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Is the bass booster setting on iTunes / iPod distorting? Probably not as good as an amp.
post #4 of 12
As long as nothing is clipping there is no difference between a headphone EQed to a certain curve and a headphone that just happens to have that particular curve.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the answer!
post #6 of 12

The reason why we strive for un-equalized sound is because the highest quality equipment - headphones/amp/dac/etc should accurately produce the output according to the source, without the need to artificially boost any part of the frequency range according to the deficiency of any component.  

 

Of course, if you don't mind pumping the bass up because it suits your preference, that's your preference.  

post #7 of 12
High quality amps and players don't require equalizing. They are already stone flat. Headphones may require it, even very good ones, because of compromises made in the design of a mechanical device. Speaker systems always require equalization because of the interaction between the speakers and the room.

But you're right. If you buy headphones with a relatively flat response, the need for equalization may be minimal.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
 ~~ Of course, if you don't mind pumping the bass up because it suits your preference, that's your preference.

or it could have been the preference of the mix engineer, or producers demand to punch up the sound for "the market", or a major difference between the studio monitor/room response and your headphones or speakers and room...

post #9 of 12
That is true and highlights another often overlooked part of the equation. The material is just as important as the gear that conveys it. Badly recorded or engineered music is a weak component just as much as a pair of headphones with an extreme v-curve response is.

For me at least, hi-fi is about finding a balance between likeable music and music that allows you to appreciate sound reproduction.
post #10 of 12

Ambiverse,

 

For iTunes, make sure the preamp slider on the left of the equalizer window is lowered enough to prevent distortion. For example, if you raise the "32" slider by +6dB, then the preamp needs to be set at -6dB. If multiple bands close to each other are boosted, the preamp will have to be lowered even more because there is some overlap between bands. I know when using the graphic EQ in GarageBand that when boosting/cutting a particular frequency band, the adjacent bands will be boosted/cut at half the level of the band being adjusted. So if 32 Hz is boosted by 3 dB, then 64 Hz will be boosted by 1.5 dB. Therefore, if 64 Hz is boosted by 3, then the gain at 64 Hz will be 4.5 dB, requiring a 4.5 dB cut in the master volume to prevent distortion.

 

As for the iPod EQ, what iPod are you using? iPods made in the last few years automatically reduce the overall volume when an EQ setting that boosts frequencies is selected.

post #11 of 12
I haven't been able to do anything with the iTunes equalizer. It's really lousy.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythm is life View Post
 

Ambiverse,

 

For iTunes, make sure the preamp slider on the left of the equalizer window is lowered enough to prevent distortion. For example, if you raise the "32" slider by +6dB, then the preamp needs to be set at -6dB. If multiple bands close to each other are boosted, the preamp will have to be lowered even more because there is some overlap between bands. I know when using the graphic EQ in GarageBand that when boosting/cutting a particular frequency band, the adjacent bands will be boosted/cut at half the level of the band being adjusted. So if 32 Hz is boosted by 3 dB, then 64 Hz will be boosted by 1.5 dB. Therefore, if 64 Hz is boosted by 3, then the gain at 64 Hz will be 4.5 dB, requiring a 4.5 dB cut in the master volume to prevent distortion.

 

As for the iPod EQ, what iPod are you using? iPods made in the last few years automatically reduce the overall volume when an EQ setting that boosts frequencies is selected.

The latest iPod Touch, the 5th generation. It gets quiter when I turn on the EQ so you are correct.

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