equalizer for use with headphones?
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dougbrad81

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hi,
been wondering, do people here at head-fi use some sort equalizer when listening to headphones? i've been looking for ways to increase my enjoyment when listening to music, and was wondering if an equalizer would be a good buy. I usually listen through the line out of my pcdp or md with an amp and either ety 4s or senn 580. any opinions on the matter?
 
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LobsterSan

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I usually use an external graphic equalizer when I listen to music coming from my computer. I like having an equalizer because it allows me to micro-adjust the sound just to my liking. Coming straight from the source, I will just listen directly (w/o equalization).

I guess one thing to be wary about when using an equalizer is that if it is shoddily crafted, it may incur some sound degradation. I don't really know too much about the subject, but my intuition tells me this is so.

This brings up an interesting point -- with all the talk of certain headphones being slightly brighter or darker than others... isn't it possible to just use a high quality equalizer to slightly adjust the end-sound of the cans? I guess for certain aspects, the characteristics of the cans can't be changed that drastically... but for possibly minor shortcomings?
 
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Joe Bloggs

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Seems to me you've got it the wrong way around, Lobster--why would you need a hardware equalizer when listening out of a computer? Do like me and use a winamp plugin already

http://classic.winamp.com/plugins/browse.jhtml;$sessionid$PJIVGOERPMK01TN241GRCZA
 
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LobsterSan

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Well, I don't do all my listening out of Winamp. Sometimes I much prefer non-software based signal processing... I dunno, call me old fashioned. There's something about the physicality of the sliders that I just like better than dragging my clicking and dragging my mouse... (and it makes my studio setup look cooler
)

I do a little bit of music mastering/composing on my computer also, and I like to use my equalizer to "test" the things I'm making. I like to give them different boosts or cuts to see if I like a certain sound better or not.
 
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DarkWolf

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Well, for one, I gave up using winamp's EQ, it lowered the sound quality. I found that I don't need it either. Now that I'm used to not using it, if i try a preset that i used to like I don't know hat I was thinking. But if you still want an EQ, i reccomend getting a good enough hardware EQ that you can't really tell it's hooked up when it's flat. Particularly with quality cans, a little destortion goes a long way, not that I have to tell anyone here that.
 
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dougli

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I use a Behringer DSP8024 digital equalizer between a Sony NS500V and a Meier HA-1. The DSP8024 recently replaced the Behringer GEQ3102 graphic EQ which I used for several months. I greatly prefer the sound that's been balanced and shaped with the EQ to the non-EQ'd sound. I'd be happy to furnish more details if anyone's interested.
 
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Schrieks

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I'd like more detail about the EQ! How many presets does it save? Um... I don't even know what to ask. I just see that you're happy, and I want to know more.
 
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Joe Bloggs

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Quote:

Originally posted by DarkWolf
Well, for one, I gave up using winamp's EQ, it lowered the sound quality. I found that I don't need it either. Now that I'm used to not using it, if i try a preset that i used to like I don't know hat I was thinking. But if you still want an EQ, i reccomend getting a good enough hardware EQ that you can't really tell it's hooked up when it's flat. Particularly with quality cans, a little destortion goes a long way, not that I have to tell anyone here that.


Try the plugin I linked to above. It is much higher quality than the Winamp one.

Oh, and even the winamp EQ wouldn't mess up the sound too much... if you don't set any slider above the neutral position. Setting boost on a software EQ is the quick road to clipping and sound degradation
the designers of that EQ should be slowly roasted to the music of Nsync for allowing boosts to be made so easily.
 
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dougli

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Basically, I use the EQ to accomodate my hearing limitations, but I also use it to make what I perceive as sound enhancements. The DSP8024 has more features than the GEQ3102, and I've only had it for a few days, so I'm still exploring its potential. First of all, I'm deafer in one ear, so I boost the sound level on one channel about 1.5 dB, depending on the recording. This centers the sound in my head. Next, since I have tinnitus, and my ears are overly sensitive to high tones, I have a parametric equalizer function set to minimize frequencies from about 16K upward. Finally, since I like more bass than some recordings offer, I have a shelving adjustment set for 6 dB at 100 Hz. This boosts the bass from 100 on down to the EQ's floor. These are my current basic settings, no matter which headphones I'm using at the time. From here I can selectively boost or lower sound levels using the 31 graphic frequency adjustments. What I do with these is recording-specific, that is, I'll make some changes with poorer recordings, and probably place all of the 31 settings to 0 with good recordings. But as I said, the 8024 has more potential than I currently use, such as 2 more pairs of parametric equalizer functions, so I'm still tinkering with it. I've taken it out of my headphone setup for comparison, and have found that I definitely prefer its contribution to the overall sonic picture.
 
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j-curve

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I almost got the GEQ3102 but I think parametric is far superior, plus with DSP technology you get memories, so I ended up with one of these, from the same people as the 8024 but at a fraction of the cost of the mothership:-

(click for info)


It is so close to transparent that you have to check whether it's switched in (when set flat). Fantastic piece of gear but the truth is I use it more for experimenting and learning about headphone response than for listening.

 
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dougli

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Speaking of cost, the DSP8024 is currently on sale at Musician's Friend for 199.99 with free shipping.
 
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