I think my treble is two above zero, and my bass is one above zero. Sounds peachy with my Sennheiser MX500s.
The EQ thing is a bit more mandatory on Sony's newer MD recorders, IMO they sound like crud if you leave them flat. The sound kinda reminds of a bargain $20 Made in China PCDP that you can find in Wal Mart, really warm, boomy, and muddy. Now on the other hand I'm glad the Sony's do have EQ, using the EQ I can get the R and E900 to sound pretty similar to the old school Sharp 821/831s, minus 5mw on the headphone jack of course, which makes me envy Sharp owners much less. Before the adjustable EQ on Sonys I always though Sharps sounded better period, now I'd say it's a close call.