EQ usage. Yes or No?
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tucker71

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Hello all.
I love reading the reviews and stuff around here.
I always see stuff about amps & mods but, not a lot about external EQ's.

My question is:
Are you guys AGAINST using some type of EQ when listening to music (or headphones for that matter) that is lacking in certain areas?
Is it the position of the audiophile that EQ's are to remain perfectly flat?

I ask because...I see a lot of posts about "these headphones are a bit shrill" Those "lack low-mids". These are "too bright". Those have no "Punch". etc etc. Surely at least SOME of these gripes could be tweaked out with just a little bump or cut here and there. Hell...some of the iPod EQ presets are even useful!

So, again, my question is...why not just EQ as necessary? (of course...within the limits that the headphones are able to reproduce)
 
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Jahn

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tucker71
Hello all.
I love reading the reviews and stuff around here.
I always see stuff about amps & mods but, not a lot about external EQ's.

My question is:
Are you guys AGAINST using some type of EQ when listening to music (or headphones for that matter) that is lacking in certain areas?
Is it the position of the audiophile that EQ's are to remain perfectly flat?

I ask because...I see a lot of posts about "these headphones are a bit shrill" Those "lack low-mids". These are "too bright". Those have no "Punch". etc etc. Surely at least SOME of these gripes could be tweaked out with just a little bump or cut here and there. Hell...some of the iPod EQ presets are even useful!

So, again, my question is...why not just EQ as necessary? (of course...within the limits that the headphones are able to reproduce)



There is no hard and fast rule about EQ. If you like it, you like it, if you don't, you don't. But when folks describe certain characteristics of a can, that's just portraying inaccurately in words what they feel makes one can sound different than another. An EQ won't necessarily make a KSC-35 sound as good as a MS-2 just because I think the KSC-35 has boomier bass than the MS-2, so I use an EQ to cut a bit of the bass.
 
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taymat

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I'm sure even digital in/out eqs add significant distortion and its not the best way of sorting out problems, but an eq can make that poorly recorded/mastered album sound better on your system. I should think engineers typically mix 30% for consistency on different systems and 70% the type of sound the musicians want. They make mistakes, have different equipment/ears and sometimes get it wrong. Also most modern pop/rock is poorly eq'd and over-compressed, it only sounds good on a car stereo or boom box. I mean the new foo fighters cd is bad, both musically (puts on flame suit) and from a quality of sound point of view. Forgiving soft paper cones mute the major problems but put it on any audiophile system and it sounds crap. So getting the balance of the frequencies right for your equipment is important and I'd invest in a digital eq if I had a high end speaker system. Especially as I could kill two birds with one stone as I could do room response correction with a mic as well.
I think eq probably gets a bad press because of the amount of nasty ones around and because some people don't realise that boosting frequencies a lot is bad.
 
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saint.panda

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I like it especially with portable headphones where the highest order of fidelity is not what's most important but the overall balance. Portable headphones or cheaper headphones in general also tend to have more distinct flaws in this regard. Plus, I like to add more bass portably.
 
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OlManRivah

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I wouldn't even consider a home stereo, DAP, DCDP, or any other quality audio setup without a good equalizer. Cans also benefit. No Headphone or speaker system can adjust for the weaknesses ( in the listeners judgement ) of a given sound track.

There are many days when I prefer one sound above another and adjust my equalizers accordingly. I think a lot of good Cans are trashed by Forum members, simply because their attributes weren't brought out using an equalizer. There is more to audio enjoyment than just the volume knob.
 
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kramer5150

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IMHO...

EQ can be good or bad depending on how its used.

It can be bad if its used to drastically alter the sonic tonal character or spectral balance of a headphone (or speaker). Usually EQ adjustments done to that extreme introduce noise, clipping, conjestion and alter the spatial image to the point of diminisheing returns. Basically I am against drastic EQ'ing done to try and compensate for sonic flaws. A perfect example of this is boosting mids on the Sony EX51/71 to try and eliminate the midrange trough. Boosting it enough to achieve spectral balance introduces even more conjestion to an already conjested can.

However... if your just fine tuning the basic character then thats OK in my book. I add a little ~3db boost from 300-900 Hz on my DT770 and it helps fill out the lower mid recession. but then again I am not trying to drastically alter their tonal character.

IMHO EQ cutting is better than boosting.

Just my 2 cents,
Garrett
 
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Bill Ward

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Didn't we just discuss this?

IMO, EQ is like subwoofing. Judiciously applied, it can enhance the listening experience in some situations. Abused, it will make a hash of the sound. YMMV.


BW
 
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Blitzula

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Quote:

Originally Posted by taymat
Also most modern pop/rock is poorly eq'd and over-compressed, it only sounds good on a car stereo or boom box.


Kind of funny you say that....my listening tastes are hard rock/metal, and I easily enjoy my car setup over any of the headphone/speaker setups I've heard. If I could make my home system sound just like my car, I'd be 100% satisfied.
 
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vibin247

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I usually keep the equalizer flat when listening on my HD 280s because I wouldn't hear the midrange as well if the higher and lower ranges are blown up. The HD 280s are known to lack some definition in the extremes, but I'm fine with that, since I prefer clearer dialogue (especially when watching movies or monitoring video footage) and vocals.
 
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Equalization is necessary in all systems. If you are very careful (and very lucky) in matching your components, speakers and headphones, you can come close to being flat... but every system requires a tweak to reproduce exactly as the artist intended it. And there are wolf tones in even the best speakers that can drastically affect their performance at loud levels.

The difference between unbalanced frequency response and balanced frequency response is a LOT more imprortant to how the music sounds to you than the slightly higher distortion levels an equalizer might add. I doubt that anyone would be able to detect the difference in sound quality a good equalizer makes if it's passing sound through flat; but even a grandma with a hearing aid will be able to hear how much better it makes your system sound if you adjust it properly. Once you hit the proper setting for your system and room, you rarely need to touch it again.

EQ is particularly useful with headphones, which often have mid bass humps and overexaggerated high mids and treble. You can smooth out a lot of that and come up with a better sounding set of cans.

See ya
Steve
 
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bigshot

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Quote:

Originally Posted by taymat
I think eq probably gets a bad press because of the amount of nasty ones around and because some people don't realise that boosting frequencies a lot is bad.


The proper way to EQ is subtractively... you pull back on the frequencies that are masking the weaker ones. This adds very little noise to the signal. So, I would say that the reason that EQ gets bad press is because most people don't know the first thing about how to use them!

See ya
Steve
 
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lol, didn't know that, I just redid my eq. Too bad i cant have profiles for each headphone on my zen touch.
 
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use eq moderately ...
it can become a drug ..
 
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JeffS

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Add another vote for using the eq sparingly.
I actually just redid my main eq settings on my Karma and love the
slightly tweaked sound.

eq is all about personal preference, so in theory, you can't go wrong unless
you don't like how it turns out... Just don't over do it and you should be
happy with it. I actually used the frequency response graphs available
for my headphones, and set the eq to basically flatten the sound, and get
it to be a bit more natural. Then readjusted, to taste.

I love the Karma eq. It's making it hard to find a new dap.

-Jeff
 
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