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Itunes Equalizer

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by nimbleturtle, Aug 8, 2012.
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  1. TMRaven
    Turning iTunes's sound enhancer on is one of the wrst things you can do for your music.
     
  2. vertical
    A former co-worker of mine is a home audiophile (speaker focused vs. headphones). He is more of a purist and his ears are more "golden" than mine.
     
    His philosophy is to find speakers that match his taste and avoid using EQ to make up for speaker attributes one doesn't want.  His view is that each layer of signal processing (such as EQ) is very difficult to do well, and that he can usually hear a difference. 
     
    Paraphrasing from a past conversation with him...to perform EQ the stereo signal must be separated into the multiple bands to be adjusted, then adjusted (plus/minus), and then re-integrated into a full spectrum stereo signal. He believes that this is very difficult (read expensive) to do well.
     
  3. xnor
    Standard IIR filters (low/high shelf, low/high/all/band pass, notch, peak) contain only 2 poles and zeros and are trivial to implement. They are also very cheap in a computational sense. A modern computer can process thousands of such fully parametric filters in real time with extremely high precision (64-bit floating point or higher..)
     
    In this day and age any kind of digital processing can easily surpass mechanical/electrical equalization.
     
    If we look at such filters as a whole there is no separation into multiple bands and no re-integration either. The fact that we can process a signal with a +15 dB peaking filter and again with a -15 dB peaking filter (with all else being equal) and the result equals to the input down to below 0,0000000001 dB shows how "perfect" DSP can be.
     
  4. vertical
    Quote:
     
    Hey xnor,
     
    Catching up…I’ve been away for a bit.
     
    So, my take away is that current digital equalization is less expensive ($ & CPU) and results in near-zero artifacts relative to legacy electronic/circuit based approaches used in older home equipment, which is what my colleague was referring to. Sounds like this is true for simple (band-pass) as well as more involved (e.g., multi-band) processing.
     
    OK, understood, and thx for that.
     
    Given that, I would still be more comfortable with buying the speakers/headphones closest to the listener’s tastes so as to require little/no ‘fixing’ via signal processing.
     
    If you don’t mind, I have a follow-up query. What is the generally accepted (or your) view regarding the impact of DSP equalization on qualitative audio dimensions such as imaging and soundstage presentation? I suppose that imaging is probably more relevant for speaker-based music reproduction vs. headphone-based, but interested just the same.
     
    Thx again
     
  5. xnor
    Headphones do not really provide a soundstage due to the channel separation, unless you have binaural recordings or some kind of DSP.
     
    Anyway, there are many variables involved.. channel (im)balance is one of them and can be equalized with EQs that support different filters for each channel. Some also offer processing modes that allow you to equalize mid and side signals separately, which is more useful at production however.
    The overall frequency response that arrives at your listening position is also important, but is largely dictated by the room. No amount of equalization can fix a room that is really bad. Likewise, no amount of money can buy you speakers that will fix your room.
    In case of headphones, depending on the type and construction of the headphone the outer ear more or less influences frequency response so again there's a reason to at least try equalization.
     
    Another thing is distortion which EQ cannot fix. Most headphones have reasonably low distortion. With speakers you have to do some research (some cheap speakers have low distortion, some really expensive ones have high distortion) and ideally test them in your room.
     
  6. BillsonChang007
    There is a lot of things that I do not like about iTunes as a "I" user. It is very SLUGGISH, why would I have to wait for all my musics to be added into this iTunes? It takes me awhile after I click the button "play" for the music to start. Syncing is omong the worst! But that's all because mine is crowded with music.. Like...a lot XD

    Anywhere, this is not where I am supposed to complain about how bad is iTunes but the EQ! I like the manual EQ but not the built into ones. The built into ones is sooooo next to bad! For example, "Bass boost" I feel more mid-bass only. The manual EQ brighten up everything! Usually, what I do is boost the vocals, and FR in between 1KHz -> 5KHz xD Not to mention around 1-2dB boost at 16KHz for more detailed sound.

    There is also one setting where you can adjust the quality of music. If it is too high, my speakers will start vibrating in a bad way. If it is too low, the music sound so weak!

    Billson :D
     
  7. xnor
    I cannot recommend iTunes either. The above posts were general EQ talk.
     
  8. TMRaven
    I get zero lag when I press the play button.
     
  9. BillsonChang007

    Then I must be one of the less fortunate one then XD
     
  10. t-moth
    Quote:
    You can probably hate iTunes because it doesn't support FLAC format or higher resolutions, but when you say that it is sluggish, I really don't know what are you talking about. I get pretty much immediate reaction. However, when I play music through another player "piggy-backed" on top of iTunes (like AudirvanaPlus or PureMusic), then, of course, there is a delay due to music being loaded into memory before it starts playing.
     
  11. BillsonChang007

    I am not so dissapointed about the file it support as I can get FLAC then convert it into ALAC using XLD...

    My sluggish mean really "laggy" how many musics do you have in it? XD lol

    Billson :)
     
  12. t-moth
    Quote:
    Hi, Billson. As of now, I got 201 GB of AIFF files (4073 songs) in my iTunes library. My library is stored (together with music files) on an external RAID system connected by USB-2 to my MacMini. Never experience any lag or sluggishness.
     
  13. BillsonChang007

    That...is impossible! Mine is sluggish... I save them all in the built-into memory (500GB HDD)...

    Thanks for sharing!
    Billson :)
     
  14. TMRaven
    What about processor and ram?
     
    My iTunes has 14,300 songs, my hard drive is roughly 600gb/1tb used, and I have i7 860cpu, 20gb ram.
     
  15. noahbickart
    Under osx I use Fidelia for 2 reasons:
     
    1. Automatic Sample Rate switching. This sends bit-identical data directly to the DAC without any SRC, ever.
     
    2. The ability to use AU plugins.
     
    I tend to use EQ on a source by source basis. Sometimes this is to lower some hiss on old recordings, sometimes to change the overall sound. One thing headphone lovers should play around with is a stereo EQ which allows for M/S operation. I love adding ~6db to everything below 600HZ in the S channel only. It really can improve the sense of space on live recordings.
     
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