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Is 80% of "hi-fi" just EQ?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by dizzyorange, Sep 21, 2013.
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  1. bigshot
    Headphones have less need of equalization, especially if you can afford a set with very tight quality controls. But Iheadphones don't present commercial music in the way that it was originally created. For that, you need speakers... and if you have speakers and a room, you'll almost certainly need EQ.

    There are thousands of old 70s amps and receivers out there with phono inputs. The RIAA curve isn't rocket science. I remember when amps stopped having phono inputs, I had to get a phono preamp dongle from Radio Shack to use my turntable. I think it cost around[ $25 and did the job perfectly.

    I have a nice old Rane 1/3 octave equalizer I use to EQ 78s. It works fine. Digital parametric equalizers are even better. EQ isn't an issue except with those old 70s five band cheapo units. They would hum and crackle and distort and generally mess up sound. It isn't like that any more.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  2. jagwap
    EQ is a poor way to fix room issues. When the sound comes out of the speaker, it first arrives at your ear relatively unaffected. This is what your brain takes as the sound you are hearing. Then the reverberant sound arrives, messing things up a few milli seconds later. It is this delayed sound that needs fixing (note: fixing, not removing, otherwise you would have an anechoic chamber). Your brain is very good at fixing the reverberant sounds. It's been doing it for millions of years. If you fix with EQ, the first arrived sound is messed up and you have changed the way your speakers sound. What you need is room EQ that works in the time domain, and leaves the first arrival alone. I have seen this demonstrated many times. Take a look at Dirac, or Lyngdorf systems(based on the old the TACT system). An interesting fact is that is you walk into a time domain corrected room playing music, then you turn off the correction, the effect is huge. When you do it the other way around, the effect is moderate to nil. Because your brain has already done it for you. (this assumes a normal room without huge resonances and someone who knows you have to place the speakers on resonance nulls.)[/QUOTE]

    There are thousands of old 70s amps and receivers out there with phono inputs. The RIAA curve isn't rocket science. I remember when amps stopped having phono inputs, I had to get a phono preamp dongle from Radio Shack to use my turntable. I think it cost around[ $25 and did the job perfectly.[/QUOTE]

    Correction: It did the job well enough for you. It was not within spitting distance of perfect. Was the loading corrected for your cartridge? If not the response was not flat. Did it use 1% or better components? Not at that price, then the response was not flat. You are either just not very critical, or haven't heard a well set up turntable system.

    He's one for you: Michael Gurzon and Peter Craven, two of the most highly respected audio theoreticians in the industry said to my face at the AES, that 78 chillac is the highest quality domestic format available. That was when CDs were commonly available. I was young, new in the industry, so I assumed they were taking the piss. However they were working with a company to create an archiving turntable for the likes of the UK national music archive. So maybe 78s don't have to sound that bad if you have a decent phono amp and their equipment.
  3. old tech
    So did you accept that assertion at face value or ask them for evidence to back up such a claim? It is extremely unlikely that shellac 78 records would even come close to CD on any objective measure of fidelity. Craven, in particular, is a bit of a digiphobe and one of those 'AAA' disciples. He has made all sorts of claims which have no objective basis in either audio science or measurements.
    pstickne and Steve999 like this.
  4. bigshot
    That's true. You deal with room issues with furniture arrangement and room treatment as much as you can, and then fine tune the stuff you can't fix that way with EQ.

    I had a Thorens turntable and several brands of cartridges. The old "either you are deaf or your equipment sucks" doesn't work. Sorry. The problem with vinyl isn't the accuracy of the application of the RIAA curve. There are other things that dwarf any error in equalization to the point of making any EQ error totally irrelevant.

    They were telling you something different than you were hearing. They were saying that shellac 78s are the best *archival* format, not that it is the best *sounding* format. You can play 78s with a spring, a cactus thorn a couple of sheets of paper. You don't need electricity, or software, or specialized electronics the play them. They are future proof in that way. They can drop the big one and you can still be spinning your tunes. Shellac is also very stable. If stored properly it can last hundreds of years with no deterioration. I have records that are 100 years old that still sound exactly the same as the day they were made...

    BUT 78s aren't high fidelity. They have a narrow band of response focused on the middle of the range, they have a high noise level, and they don't have a large dynamic range. Despite all that, if properly EQed, they can sound very good. They respond well to digital noise reduction too. There are a few 78s that are FFRR, but even those don't go above 10kHz.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    Steve999 likes this.
  5. old tech
    And that will also be a challenge given most 78s were produced before the RIAA standard was adopted. Most of the labels had their own house emphasis/de-emphasis curve but even then, it was inconsistently applied.
    Steve999 likes this.
  6. bigshot
    The various brands of machines had sound boxes designed to suit the records and the records were designed to suit the specific machines. Early machines had wolf tones and very narrow response that created a naturally present. very euphonic sound. It's really hard to reproduce that unique acoustic sound using electrical transcription. I've tried and had some success, but it takes a lot of processing. The goal in the early days wasn't so much to accurately reproduce sound. That wasn't possible yet, so a standard response curve wouldn't have helped. They were just experimenting to find a way to reproduce music that sounded good to people. It wasn't until WW2 when people started to think about creating calibrated response curves.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    Steve999 likes this.
  7. Benjamin6264
    Screw the purist elitism. EQ's make a world of difference. I didn't enjoy my high-end setup a fraction of how much I do since I threw in a Schiit Loki in the mix.

    Albums are all mastered differently, and most of them aren't "Audiophile recordings". EQ's lets you bring the sound to what sounds best to your ears.

    I highly recommend an analog EQ module, simply because it's easy to fiddle with it as soon as something doesn't sound right (not enough bass, sibilance, etc.)
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  8. bigshot
    The resistance to EQ sort of made sense back in the 1970s. But digital EQ is so clean and precise, there is no reason to refuse to use it.
  9. jagwap
    I wasn't only refering to the RIAA curve. Errors there were possibly dwarfed by to the errors in loading. That and the expectation bias of someone who thinks vinyl is a poor format from the begining.

    I was there. I know what they told me. Later Peter demontrated it.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
  10. Steve999
    My current receiver is nice—separate EQ for fronts, center, surrounds and subwoofers. Agreed—the sequence should be 1) get good speakers, 2) room treatment / arrangement and speaker positioning, 3) and then EQ. I used the room correction capability of the receiver but that was just a rough guide it seemed. I used a decibel meter to level match each speaker from my listening position—there is a volume control for each speaker too and a pink noise generator so you can level match each channel one at a time. Having separate EQ for the center channel was really nice so I could tweak it just so to blend in naturally and minimize sibilance while still keeping a good treble. Also separate EQ for the subs was invaluable. I minimally tamed the treble by 2 dB on the towers, otherwise they were fine.

    I obsessed for the first few weeks but I have been very happy and relaxed with the setup for quite some time now.

    My brand of receiver is supposed to just blow up spontaneously at some indeterminate point in time according to reviews on Amazon but it was cheap enough that I can just go get another one.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    bigshot likes this.
  11. jagwap
    I was new to the industry, recently graduated, and this was the steps outside the AES lecture hall, so even I wasn't going to debate these giants. For a digiphobe he wrote a lot of defining papaers on digital audio...
  12. old tech
    No doubt Craven is a talented individual but his subjective biases are well known. His collaboration with Stuart with all the nonsense claims around MQA does him no favours either.
  13. jagwap
    Hey when I met him he believed all that crap about all good amplifiers sounding the same. I proved and convinced him it was wrong.
  14. old tech
    If they sound like something then you have to question what is meant by good. A transparent amp should not have a sound, it should only amplify the signal with nothing added or subtracted, that by definition is true hi fidelity. Good luck proving all audibly transparent amps do not sound the same.
  15. jagwap
    Thank you for you wish of luck, but I've done it many times already. The differences are not like speakers, but they are there.

    Edit: the clue is in the fact no amplifier is completely audibly transparent.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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