Confused at correcting headphones/speakers using EQ
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Gil80

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Hi all,

I'm fairly new to sound correction (familiar with the terminology) but lack the experience to apply read theories or practices to correct for headphones and speakers.

I read this post and really got lost in how things are set up for him and how he applied his corrections. I wasn't able to install the plugins he used, but mostly I don't know if what I was trying to do was correct to begin with.

The gear I own on my PC is:
Headphones: AudioTechnica ATH-A900X
Speakers: AudioEngine 5+
Hardware: SoundBlaster Z series - EQ and sound effects are disabled.

I also own Nura headphones and I'm very happy with the sound I get from them, but I was hoping to dive deeper into applying corrections to my headphones and speaker.

I mainly use them for music of all sorts.
The headphones are used for gaming as well.
--

As a side note, I use an Android phone and I own Philips TX1 earphones, by no means a high standard. I use the audio modification called Viper4Android with a DDC profile correction made for the TX1 and the profile makes a huge difference.
That is the thing I'm trying to achieve manually with my headphones and speakers.

What I'm after is for someone who can really guide me step by step on what to install, what to listen to and how to apply correction and measure for it.

Using the sound samples and JRiver Media Center from this post, I'm off to some start. But I kindly ask for a guided approach please (if possible).
When I read his amazing post, I thought that he superimposed the Harman Target Response Curve over his headphones response curve and started a targeted EQ correction. That's how I visualised his explanation, but I failed at applying what I read.

Hope someone in here can assist.

Thanks!
 
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gimmeheadroom

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EQ is abused more than it is used. If you are not happy with the sound reaching your ears and you can identify the defects, you can try applying some EQ.

It would help to understand where musical instruments and voices fall in the spectrum. Then you can boost or cut to your preference.

You could live all your life without ever adding EQ (I say adding because EQ is used in the production of most music) and never notice the lack. Many high end systems have no tone controls.
 
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EQ is the cheapest and most effective way to improve the sound quality of your system. I'm afraid I can't walk you through installing, because I am Mac based. But I'd suggest just focusing on setting up a good equalizer on your system first, whether a parametric or graphic equalizer. The number of bands equate with flexibility. The more the better. Read reviews and choose one and install it and then come back and we can help you further. You might have to pay a little bit for a good one. The free ones sometimes suck.
 
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Gil80

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EQ is abused more than it is used. If you are not happy with the sound reaching your ears and you can identify the defects, you can try applying some EQ.

It would help to understand where musical instruments and voices fall in the spectrum. Then you can boost or cut to your preference.

You could live all your life without ever adding EQ (I say adding because EQ is used in the production of most music) and never notice the lack. Many high end systems have no tone controls.
I understand what you're saying. The EQ that I want to implement is to balance the headphones and speakers. It's like drinking a crap coffee all your life, thinking it's the only way to make a great coffee until someone shows (and teaches you) it can be better. Your life changes for the better and you start to appreciate better coffee and the effort that is going into making it.
Same with music and how to consume it.
I know it can be better, but I don't know how.

I tried to use sine wave generator to find problems, but I'm not 100% sure I get it right. Leave that aside. I really want someone to help me with the tools to get the job done and understand how to read the Harman Target Response Curve and how to apply that to my headphones and my speakers.
How to read the ATH-A900X curve and make sense of that.

I read a lot and watched youtube, but I feel I'm lost and probably took too much learning.
I ask for slow-paced guidance.
 
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bigshot

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It’s a learning curve. Take it one step at a time. It’s better to learn to use a tool well than it is to avoid it because you haven’t learned to use it properly yet.

start by finding an EQ app and installing it.
 
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Gil80

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EQ is the cheapest and most effective way to improve the sound quality of your system. I'm afraid I can't walk you through installing, because I am Mac based. But I'd suggest just focusing on setting up a good equalizer on your system first, whether a parametric or graphic equalizer. The number of bands equate with flexibility. The more the better. Read reviews and choose one and install it and then come back and we can help you further. You might have to pay a little bit for a good one. The free ones sometimes suck.
I have installed Equalizer APO, which seems to be the most comprehensive system-wide EQ (ugly UI though).
It can control the gain values with 0.1db increments.
It has 13 bands. Pre-amp. Filter type (Peak, LPF, HPF, shelf filters, etc.) and Q filter.
 
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I have installed Equalizer APO, which seems to be the most comprehensive system-wide EQ (ugly UI though).
It can control the gain values with 0.1db increments.
It has 13 bands. Pre-amp. Filter type (Peak, LPF, HPF, shelf filters, etc.) and Q filter.
To make life easier, install Peace for Equalizer APO. You'll find that Equalizer APO actually has a lot more features than it lets on to the newcomer.
 
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Gil80

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To make life easier, install Peace for Equalizer APO. You'll find that Equalizer APO actually has a lot more features than it lets on to the newcomer.
Installed Peace as well. Got it working.
Now I'm stuck at how to correctly assess the sound from my speakers/headphones and tune them :)
 
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Low shelf filters are better than using peak filters if your adding or cutting, If want like stuff under 150Hz all boosted. With BA, Planar, Estat based headphones this is a must since the mid/upper bass isn't bloated/peaky like on most dynamic drivers.
 
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I understand what you're saying. The EQ that I want to implement is to balance the headphones and speakers. It's like drinking a crap coffee all your life, thinking it's the only way to make a great coffee until someone shows (and teaches you) it can be better. Your life changes for the better and you start to appreciate better coffee and the effort that is going into making it.
Same with music and how to consume it.
I know it can be better, but I don't know how.

I tried to use sine wave generator to find problems, but I'm not 100% sure I get it right. Leave that aside. I really want someone to help me with the tools to get the job done and understand how to read the Harman Target Response Curve and how to apply that to my headphones and my speakers.
How to read the ATH-A900X curve and make sense of that.

I read a lot and watched youtube, but I feel I'm lost and probably took too much learning.
I ask for slow-paced guidance.
I'm not saying that at all. I think EQ does more harm than good and is a bad idea the vast majority of the time. If you buy good equipment and listen to it a lot you can identify what you do or don't like and compare it more effectively to the way other gear (mostly headphones or speakers) sound. You might like the house sound of some brands and not others; you might like sound signatures of specific speakers, etc. At the end of the day it will not make crap equipment sound great although it can fix specific and minor annoyances to make great equipment the best it can be. But the first step is to be thoroughly familiar with what your gear sounds like and then be able to articulate exactly what you don't like about it. At that point you will have a better idea if it something that EQ can fix or not.

The Harman curve is just one idea about what people are expected to like. It might be useful to you or it might not be useful at all.
 
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I'm not saying that at all. I think EQ does more harm than good and is a bad idea the vast majority of the time. If you buy good equipment and listen to it a lot you can identify what you do or don't like and compare it more effectively to the way other gear (mostly headphones or speakers) sound. You might like the house sound of some brands and not others; you might like sound signatures of specific speakers, etc. At the end of the day it will not make crap equipment sound great although it can fix specific and minor annoyances to make great equipment the best it can be. But the first step is to be thoroughly familiar with what your gear sounds like and then be able to articulate exactly what you don't like about it. At that point you will have a better idea if it something that EQ can fix or not.

The Harman curve is just one idea about what people are expected to like. It might be useful to you or it might not be useful at all.
I hear you and I don't disagree with you at all. But I do want to learn how to achieve a certain goal.
For this purpose using the Harman response curve would be a practice target, learning the tools and the process and the end result. Then get back to square one and apply the learnings based on trying different curves or my taste.

the point is that I seek guidence on tools and processes to achieve what I will ultimately like.
 
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I think it's going to be difficult. If you want to measure headphones you'll need a head form and some pretty good mics, a soundproof cabinet and some other gear. You could look up headphone measuring fixtures. When you have good measurements of your headphones then you can apply EQ to make them closer to your target curve.
 
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You don't have to measure your cans yourself. Use published response curves and calibrate to Harman as best as you can. That is a good starting place. Listen to it like that with a variety of music and take note of what you like and don't like. Make a small correction- just one at a time, not a bunch all at once. Listen to it like that for a while and take note again. Rinse and repeat until you are happy. Odds are, your preference isn't much more than a few dB off of Harman. And the areas that you will probably be tweaking are between 2kHz and 5kHz and the bass range. As you get experience EQing, you learn what sounds the Hz and kHz numbers refer to. That makes it easier to make adjustments.

There are two Harman curves. I'd suggest using the newer one with more bass.

EQ only does more harm than good if you don't know how to use it. I think it's a very good idea to experiment and try to puzzle it out. That is how to learn. You don't get anywhere if you make excuses like "EQ can't fix everything." and "You can't test your cans yourself." Just get a good equalizer and try to learn how to use it well. It is the best way to improve the sound of just about any system. Response is the lion's share of fidelity nowadays.
 
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