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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
    I was talking about a phono preamp. I didn't notice that you changed the subject. Sorry. I don't know what we're discussing any more.

    I own over 5,000 78s of all different vintages. I've got acoustic phonographs and a variety of needles for my turntable for different groove geometries. I even used to have a company producing CD transfers of classic performances on 78 and got some very good reviews. I know a little bit about them. 78s can't hold a candle to LPs. Shellac is more stable than LPs and the groove is wider, so they are louder. But they top out at 10kHz and the noise floor is significantly higher. LPs were fine for their time. They don't hold up compared to CDs though.

    congratulations. Is this more "proof" that you can't tell us about because of secrecy clauses?

    "...the evidence would seem to suggest that distinctive amplifier sounds, if they exist at all, are so minute that they form a poor basis for choosing one amplifier over another. Certainly there are differences between amps, but we are unlikely to hear them." -Stereo Review January 1987 Pg 78 https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-HiFI-Stereo/80s/HiFi-Stereo-Review-1987-01.pdf
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  2. jagwap
    I am talking about phono amps, and their interaction with the cartridge when the input impedance is not ideal for it.

    OK, I assume you know your stuff, but Peter Craven was saying they they have wider bandwidth than CD and are better in many areas. He also knows his stuff. I would love him to answer this as I am not qualified. I only worked for a turntable manufacturer designing phono stages and motor drives while I wasn't busy with amplifiers. We didn't cater for 78s specifically.

    No. I was pointing out his opinions followed convention thinking at the time, as opposed to what the other member was suggesting. I showed in minutes, what caused him to re-think conventional thinking.

    Interesting. I'll take a look, but I have done similar with an ABX box, and the results were not the same.
  3. bigshot
    You must have misheard him. The theoretical limits of disk records are based on groove/stylus size, the size of the record and the rotation speed.

    Here's an interesting post that calculates the theoretical limits of frequency response for the various formats.

    On a disk record, optimal specs only exist at the outside groove. As the record nears the center, response, distortion and noise all degrade. Also, a record produced for the optimal range would wear into audible distortion in a couple of plays. Ultra high frequency groove modulations can't hold up to the stylus dragging through the groove, especially at the inner grooves. Heat and physical force would chew through them like a plow, creating massive distortion in the audible range. When they cut the masters for records, they employ a low pass filter to eliminate inaudible frequencies that would affect record wear.

    You'll note that the average response of 78rpm records tops out at a little higher than 10kHz, which is exactly what I found when I did a digital transfer of a Decca Full Frequency Range Recording. 78s can sound good, but they don't come anywhere close to besting CDs in any category except archival stability. If you want the best sound that disk records are capable of, a 12 inch 45rpm disk would be the best. They didn't make a lot of them (aside from Disco extended mixes). But I do have a few classical ones in my collection.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  4. Fuzzy789
    I think it would more truthful saying that people paying hard amounts for headphones that are different EQ profile's. Get a some good netural headphones watch how far you can either mimic or fix issues in coloured ones, My SRH1540 sound way more netural with a bass cut with a -5 200Hz low shelf.
  5. QueueCumber
    I use Equalizer APO on my PC to fix bad headphone and speaker monitor tunings. You can fix the frequency response of the Beats Generation hump quite easily lowering areas of the bass frequencies. However, other things can't be fixed by altering the frequency response, like soundstage width/depth, localization and separation. and scale.

    I bought a pair of Kanto YU2s for my PC as small desktop monitors. The bass was definitely amped up quite a bit too high (to the point of causing distortion). Equalizer APO fixed this right up with a curve between 40-400Hz (-8dB at the offending apex of 100Hz). However, if the bass were too lean, I would run the risk of creating distortion by raising those same ranges 8dB higher...
  6. Fuzzy789
    Yeah EQ great if want tweak the sound to taste & fix things, like how i EQ in 4dB with a 200Hz low shelf in APO/Rockbox. For my ER4SR since i like that way more than the shures.

    12db from 40 to 100Hz is way too much for what the SRH1540 gives its just muddy that drowns the treble. Anything beyond that would be get a headphones that fares better outside of frequency response, Since something like a HD6X0 they distort with a heavy bass boost. Which is why i also don't get harmans 10db avg... for there target.
  7. bigshot
    You may not be able to fix physical things about particular cans, and you really can't fix things like soundstage and scale that are baked into the music mix, but you can definitely improve separation with EQ. It just takes more precise curves. A lot of loss of detail and separation is due to auditory masking. Balancing the response can improve these things significantly.
    castleofargh and Fuzzy789 like this.
  8. 71 dB
    If some detail is "gone" due to auditory masking, maybe that's the way it should be? You can find a lot of "new" detail in the Mona Lisa painting looking at it with a microscope, but the painting hardly is supposed to be looked at that way. The microscopic detail is not supposed to be seen. Similarly, how much detail do we want in our music? Natural levels or unnatural levels using some anti-masking filtering?
  9. Fuzzy789
    I don't get your argument that the extra detail makes it un-natural or ruins a songs goal on EQ'd and detailed headphones. Its like saying that 4K and above detail ruin's the magic of a film. On my ER4's i actually enjoy more music because of the detail boost means i can understand what i missed on less resolving gear.

    Like what people do when they either switch to Opus or Flac for music instead the <192kbits MP3 collection they had.
  10. 71 dB
    I'm not talking about detail missed by inferior gear. I'm assuming the gear can reveal all the detai and THEN EQ is used to reveal EXTRA detail. It's like looking at Mona lisa 10 feet away as intented, but ALSO seeing the microscopic detail of the paint. Lower video resolutions are below the resolution of eye so that on larger screens 4K can reveal more than 2K. 4K doesn't try ro reveal more, it just CAN reveal what's there (personally I think 2K is enough but I am old-fashioned and not eager to spent money to upgrade my movie collection every 10 years. Upgrading DVDs to Blu-ray is hard enough financially, but "necessory" since DVD isn't good enough at all. 2K is I think. Those with money can of course upgrade to whatever 16K they want.
  11. bigshot
    EQing a balanced response curve isn't intended to reveal extra detail. It uncovers detail that was intended to be heard that got inadvertently masked by response imbalances. Those imbalances are different with every transducer and every room. So what is masked for you is different than what is masked for me. It's error. If the goal is to hear what the musicians and engineers heard in the studio, you can't get close to that without calibrating your own playback response to make up for deficiencies in your acoustics.

    If you don't care what the intended sound was supposed to be and you just want to make it sound "good to your own ears", that is fine too. Add as much salt and pepper as you want. But the odds that the exact sort of coloration you like is going to happen naturally with your particular speakers and listening room is pretty unlikely. Again, EQ is the best way to calibrate the precise degree and type of coloration you want. That isn't a direction I want to go, but if someone likes it that way, it's OK with me.

    There's nothing you can do for a home audio system with better odds of significantly improving sound quality that equalization. Recording studios use EQ to calibrate their playback monitors, and they use it on every channel to sculpt the sound mix. EQ is a valuable tool. But it isn't a "flip the switch and it's fixed" sort of thing. Like any really important tool, you have to learn to use it properly.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  12. bigshot
    As for video resolutions, that is an entirely different subject. Image quality is dependent on the size of the screen and the viewing distance. DVD on a smaller screen at a greater distance isn't going to look any worse than 4K. And in order to see the difference between 4K and 1080, you will need a very large screen and a very close viewing distance. At some point with bigger screens and closer viewing distances, the size of the screen becomes so big that you can't see the far ends of the screen. Having half the image in your peripheral vision and having to turn your head to see things on either end of the screen is no way to watch a movie. This site has a calculator to figure out how big and how close to sit. https://myhometheater.homestead.com/viewingdistancecalculator.html

    I have a system with a ten foot wide screen, 1080 projection and about a 15 foot viewing distance. 4K would make no difference in my situation. More resolution isn't always better. Human perception has thresholds. If you meet those thresholds you are fine. More is not better.

    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
    Steve999 likes this.
  13. castleofargh Contributor
    getting a fairly balanced and close to neutral frequency response will lead to the least masking and thus logically to perceiving the most actual details in a track. as the guy mastering an album used similar conditions when doing his job(close to neutral response), it seems relatively safe to say that setting our system for it to sound neutral to us will lead to having just the right amount of details. the "intended" amount.

    now I'm talking about a reasoning, anybody can have his own preferences and decide to do something else. as to details, I consider actually hearing the most out of the track, which is not necessarily the same as the impression of details we can have by boosting key frequencies to get ultra clear perception of those key areas, typically at the cost of others.
  14. swaffleman
    I am a novice at all of this, but I would say that EQing is not the lion's share of the difference. I've found that no amount of EQing will make two very different sets of headphones sound the same or close. There seems to be an inherent sound signature that a particular speaker/driver has that will be discernible, although you can EQ to have similar frequency responses. Some headphones cannot handle EQing very well, either, while another one will do quite well. For instance, my PX 200 II's are very good for messing around with the EQ (almost like a blank canvas to paint on since they are mostly pretty even), while an old pair of Bose on ear headphones, known bass cannons with little definition to the sound, will not sound very well balanced on the low end no matter how much you EQ it to tamp down that bass. The Bose, even if you bring the bass down a lot, will still lack definition and character, so the music will just sound flat and floppy rather than exciting/ powerful yet undefined.

    Unless I'm doing it wrong, but that is how it seems to me.

    As for my preference, I've gone from wanting more of a fun sound to actually really enjoying a very cool, dry, analytical sound with more articulation. That's why my favorite headphones are the PX 200 II's for portable use and the HD 380 Pros for sitting at the desk/relaxing at home. Great articulation and clarity and even tempered.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
  15. bigshot
    The PX-200s don't have a heck of a lot of range. They'll overdrive if you try to make a wide correction in the wrong frequency band. You can't make cheap headphones sound like expensive ones. But you can make midrange headphones sound like expensive ones.
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