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Headphone equalization correction (How?)

  1. fauxpossum
    I own a pair of IEMs (Westone 4R).
    I wanted to know what I could do to further augment the sound of these IEMs.
    I assume additional hardware could help,
    but I figured software is a cheap, convenient fix,
    and thus a great first stop.
    Audio Sources:
    I use the following as audio sources:
    Laptop: Macbook Pro (Early 2015)
    Phone: LG Nexus 5
    mp3 Player: iPod Shuffle (4th Generation - Late 2012)
    I don't think anything can be done with the iPod alone,
    but an equalizer could be applied to the laptop and/or phone output.
    IEM Characterization:
    These particular IEMs have been characterized on:
    Desired Response:
    Should my goal be to make corrections to the frequency response
    based on the difference between
    the measured frequency response and
    a universal desired frequency response?
    InnerFidelity and GoldenEars both offer tips on the desired frequency response:
    Either site provides a different desired response.
    What is the reason, is one preferred, or is it purely subjective?
    Corrective Method:
    In the case of InnerFidelity,
    do I simply come up with my own corrective equalization curve which
    adds 0 dB where no correction is needed and +/- dB at frequencies which
    do not enter the regions Tyrll specifies
    (such as the desired +10-12 dB at 3 [kHz])?
    In the case of GoldenEars' graphs,
    I can't tell if the modified (blue) curve on the IEM characterization page
    is the equalization to incorporate or the final result.
    (Do I set the equalizer to look like the blue or
    do I set the equalizer to the difference between the green to the blue?)
    Why doesn't it look like the desired response,
    which has boost in the bass?
    Is there anything else to consider when making the equalizer corrections?
    Step response, impulse response, impedance, phase, etcetera?
    Equalization Software:
    What should I use to perform the equalization on macOS?
    Should I use itunes' equalizer, or find software which operates at the OS level?
    What should I use to perform the equalization on Android?
    [GoldenEars offers the Accudio app, but that's iOS only.]
    I hear that I should use something at the OS level.
    (The phone is rooted so this should not be an issue.)
    I hear that parametric equalizer software at the OS level does not exist;
    but a 10 band equalizer (Equalizer Pro app) is the next best thing.
    (I have not yet tested it.)
    Digital Amplifier:
    I'm considering purchasing a digital amplifier (SMSL AD18).
    I'm going to use it to drive speakers for which measured data does not exist
    (cheaply crafted by a friend : j ).
    It has a headphone jack also though.
    Will using the amplifier affect the use of the equalizer?
    Is there anything to take into consideration for it?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
  2. poilsoup2
    Do they need to be equallized or do you want them to be equalized? Cause your goal is very vague. Yes you can try to match different frequency responses but really you should look for what sounds good to you, not what other people say will sound good. Since its rooted id recommend viper4android. The "desired response" is just a benchmark test called the harman target response. It is not the "Ideal" response curve. In fact, I very much dislike headphones that highly conform to the harman curve since they llack bass to me. As for a computer equalizer, check out Equalizer APO.
  3. buke9
    I was thinking the same thing. I would try to buy something more of the signature I was looking for than buying something and try to change it.
  4. fauxpossum
    How would I know if they need to be equalized?
    Is there something observable which would let me know?
    How do I know which signature I like?
    I bought what was described as a fairly flat set of IEMs,
    figuring that if they were mostly middle of the road,
    mild tweaks up or down wouldn't be too hard.

    I figure rather than shoot in the dark with tweaking settings,
    I'd strive to get to a known benchmark,
    and then tweak and perturb from there if I wasn't satisfied.

    For you, for instance,
    that doesn't mean that you don't like the Harmon curve,
    it could mean that you like the Harmon curve with additional bass.
    (I feel that I'll be in the same boat..)

    Plus buying something else is out of the question for a while.
    These are fairly fine, just looking to see what else I can get out of them.
    I think that I'd sooner buy a headphone amp and/or devoted DAC.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  5. fauxpossum
    Equalizer APO is Windows only ; d
    Boom 2 is the best thing I'm finding for macOS
  6. buke9
    Haven’t tried any Mac EQ’s as I usually don’t use eq that much as some don’t like too much eq and it’s fine if your bringing freq’s down but if your boosting it it will bring the volume down on everything. But give it a go and see if it makes a difference for you. I’m not one that wants everything flat as can be and as some say how it was recorded because I think that is unreal as just put on 5 songs in different genres and it’s all over the place . I tend to listen to music and if it sounds good to me then I’m happy not too worried about the 5db spike at 6khz or the dip at 1.3khz life is too short for that for me.

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