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"Beats audio" - Explained. (Deliberately sounds BAD when switched OFF?)

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by white lotus, May 24, 2013.
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  1. White Lotus

    This is a video, that I just found on Youtube, which explains "Beats Audio" a little better.

    If you can't be bothered watching, it basically explains this:

    Devices with "Beats Audio"  by default, actually have a botched EQ setting, to sound "Dull"

    When you engage the "Beats" profile, the EQ becomes a little more "V" shaped. 

    Is this already common knowledge? What do you guys think of this?

    (Sorry if I posted this to the wrong section)
  2. xnor
    So turning it "off" actually turns on an EQ profile that boosts mids only and turning it on turns on an EQ profile that boosts bass and treble instead? Is it even possible to bypass this, i.e. get flat FR?
    Imho that's extremely dishonest. I'll avoid that at all cost.
    edit: An article on engadget shows the frequency response differences. The boosts are very narrow. Bass boost is a peak (!) at 45 Hz, the treble peak is somewhere around 12 kHz.
    Also, there's a huge volume difference between the on and off setting. On of course boosts the volume (by about +5 dB).
    I'm not sure about the mids boost.
  3. White Lotus

    Neither, but if anyone here has a "beats" sound card, would love to hear your opinions.
  4. proton007
    Yes its common knowledge, I think its been tested out as well, the V shaped EQ is true.
  5. ljohnny
    I have hp laptop with beats... so, if i turn beats off, it sets windows tone settings to lowest negative values (i have it set to -12 for bass and -4 for highs when i turn beats off). It is settable back to zero though through default windows controls.
    One unmentioned thing is that beats doesnt only adjust frequency eq, it also changes dynamic range, specifically, raises volume of quiet fragments, and lowers volume of loud portions. This probably makes sense if you listen to radio with earbuds in subway, but really annoys otherwise. Also, this is _not_ turned off with "beats off" - i had to install "generic" sound drivers to get rid of this.
  6. xnor
    So it's not a simple volume boost but also dynamic range compression? The more I hear about it the worse it gets. :xf_eek:
    It would be fine if off really meant bypassing all processing, but the way it actually is... Intolerable!
  7. White Lotus
    I was more wondering if everyone knew the effects of "beats audio" when the profile is switched OFF, as described in the video.


    Was there a large notable difference between having "Beats audio profile switched off" and having disabled it all-together? 
  8. ljohnny
    So, when i just switch beats off, without doing anything else, the sound becomes dull. This happens bc when it is off, it effectively makes eq shape inverted V. After i switch off, i can mitigate that by going into windows tone settings, and returning lows/highs controls into zero position, which they lose once i touch beats on/off.
    As about difference between beats switched off vs having it disabled - given that I still can control the eq shape with beats off but not disabled - then the only remaining difference is dynamic range compression. It is very noticeable though, like it changes behavior of volume controls that are in in-browser apps like youtube - with beats not disabled, volume control effectively provides nearly the same volume within most of its range, so i can only really control volume with system control. With beats disabled, it acts "as expected", subjectively linear. Also it annoyed me with skype conversations by making background hiss louder when other party is not speaking. Though im not sure, maybe latter is a bug with my beats drivers, bc my friend also with beats laptop didnt experience this effect in skype.
    And anyway, it makes you unable to listen to things with dynamic range made for reason... just an example - Pink Floyd's Cluster One, or Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Just makes the volume same all the time right from the very beginning.
  9. White Lotus
    Have you compared it to using an external DAC (through USB)?
  10. ljohnny
    Yes, I've got soundblaster x-fi usb, and it definitely sounds much better, even though it has its own glitches.
    I made a few tests with RMAA with beats hardware, and with external usb. Problem is i could only record with my older laptop that doesnt have any "sound enhansers", i couldnt record with soundblaster since it's mic input was too sensitive, i had to reduce recording level to close-to-zero, and i was getting unrealistic numbers in terms of dynamic range after that.
    Here are results I've got. Those probably arent precise due to hardware used, but quite enough to compare.
    Spectrum graph:
    Overall RMAA results table:
    So, I did 6 measurements, all were recorded on internal soundcard of old samsung laptop with same record level and other settings on recording laptop.
    First four measurements are for my same hp laptop equipped with beats audio, same internal soundcard.
    "hp+beats, beats on": i set up beats driver, every setting is default, and "beats on" is set by default.
    "hp+beats, beats off": i unchecked "beats" checkbox, without changing anything else. You can see how it reduces the bass output.
    "hp+beats, beats off + eq zeroed": when beats driver is set up, windows sound properties has "tone settings" tab with "highs" and "lows" control. beats on/off checkbox changes the state of those. i went in, set those into zero position, and then took this measurement.
    "hp+beats, generic driver": this is response graph when i went into hardware management, and removed driver at all, and then windows generic driver was automatically installed instead. Beats control panel has gone, "tone settings" has gone too. You can see how this resulted in freq response and other metrics. Freq response is the most straight, though still worse than other old non-"super-sound" laptop.
    "selftest" refers to playback with same old samsung laptop without any enhansements.
    "soundblaster x-fi" is my external usb. In RMAA results table, it has weird results in "swept sine" test, that seems to be some bug with it, maybe just disregard that field. "Noise" results on it are probably limited with recording hardware.
    At the end, i use my hp+beats laptop with beats drivers + beats on. The reason is, it provides really good results with laptop's internal speaker. This laptop has an internal "subwoofer" which is only employed with beats drivers. And, my typical scenario for using it is watching movie in the train or at the street cafe, and it really sounds much better than other laptops i've heard. While for use with headphones, i just use my external dac. Actually, my main reason to buy external dac was to be able to use laptop sound without switching drivers all the time. So, i never plug headphones into beats output, but for internal speakers + noisy environment, it is just the best (again, compared to no-beats laptop internal speaker, not to anything better).
  11. xnor
    What if you go to the Windows control panel of the playback device and disable all enhancements? If that doesn't result in generic driver-like sound then the beats driver is doing some signal processing which cannot be disabled.
  12. ljohnny
    "Disable all enhancements" checkbox is there at all _only_ with generic drivers. With beats drivers, that tab is replaced by "tone controls".
    Just did one more check - using WASAPI output where it can be used (i tried foobar wasapi) results in generic driver-like sound no matter what set in beats panel. So i can listen to something "normally" using foobar (but of course cannot do same in youtube).
  13. xnor
    Oh I see, good to know.
  14. MrTechAgent
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  15. pchang01
    Sorry for bumping an old thread, but I just watched this video on youtube, and I was skeptical. I found this which suggests that with Beats Audio off, it's a flat EQ.
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