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The most reliable/easiest way to EQ headphones properly to achieve the most ideal sound (for non-professionals)

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by lunatique, Jan 31, 2016.
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  1. bigshot
    I agree with you 100% Zapp Fan. Manufacturing tolerances are rarely published, but they often make a big difference, especially in high end headphones. I had a chance to correspond with the fella who designed my headphones and he said that they were aiming for a +/- 1dB sample variation. He told me that most really good headphones have +/- 3dB. I'm sure less expensive headphones have even broader tolerances. The sample variation can end up more important than the target curve if it gets to be too wide.
     
    Zapp_Fan likes this.
  2. Zapp_Fan
    Can confirm, a good but mainstream-quality headphone may have +/- 3dB specified by the factory. You have to go out of your way to do better than that. +/- 1dB is the preserve of really high end stuff.

    And unless otherwise specified, that value probably pertains to the averaged frequency response between ears, channel matching is another question altogether. (That brings up another point - don't be afraid to EQ each channel separately as pretty much all headphones have some L/R variation, the cheaper the headphone, the more imbalance...)

    Although we'd all like one DT990 to be perfectly identical to the next, the truth is some variation is allowed and expected in all manufacturing processes, and you can have a tight tolerance, or a tight budget, but not both... :wink:
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  3. tili
    is there a way to add peak filters to left and right channels separately? seems like my hearing is pretty unbalanced in some frequencies
     
  4. Lunatique
    There might be some software and hardware EQs out there that allow separate left and right channel settings. You're going to have to do some research into which brand/models (but make sure they are parametric EQs).
     
  5. tili
    I realised EQ APO (Peace) has this so I use that
     
  6. coolkwc
    I think i'm a big fans of 'neutral' for every electronics devices that i bought, be it headphone, monitor, DSLR. I'm an electronics engineer, so maybe this is my nature to pursue 'truth' and accuracy for everything.

    I bought a colorimeter to calibrate my monitor, i bought a USB dock and expensive piece of AF software to calibrate my DSLR lens at each focal point and distance, i bought the expensive sonarworks calibrated profile for my ATH-m50x, been using APO parametric EQ to tune my speaker.

    But i already gave up to 'educate' others how to appreciate neutral, because they simply won't listen. They will refer all EQ tuning = colouring = distortion. The so called 'audiophile' will pursue higher end cabling and equipment to tame the peak or dip in the frequency curve which = non sense in my eye. At the end different people different opinion, is better to save time to share useful info with those who agree and have the same mindset with you rather than wasting time to argue, and importantly save time to enjoy our own music.

    Anyway, i can listen to a properly 'balanced' or 'neutralised' headphone and speaker for prolong time without hearing fatigue.
     
    tili likes this.
  7. bigshot
    "the purity of precious bodily fluids" to quote Stanley Kubrick
     
  8. Lunatique
    It really is kind of sad and depressing, because all the efforts we make are only appreciated and understood by a small minority, which is the reason why I kind of stopped making these types of posts. Also, I figured I've already posted enough about these topics, and some of my threads have gotten enough attention that anyone wanting the knowledge can just find them.
     
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    the big issue aside from ignorance, is that there is no neutral for headphones the way we define one for speakers, or to calibrate your monitor. the cause being that headphones don't provide sound in a natural way. with speakers, the sound comes kind of like it would from an actual instrument, it interacts with the room, bounces on our body/head and reaches our ears in similar fashion to any other sound source in the room.
    for a screen calibration it's the same. we look at the screen like we would look at anything else. there is no need for magic trick to fool us, just send the same tone and we'll see the same tone.
    now for headphones, we bypass the room and the reflections on the body and head. the ears are included but with a sound source at 90° or close to that on angled headphones. so the cues we get from the sound bouncing on the ear are for that angle, not for the singer in front of us. so even if we disregard interaural cues, head movements and all those fun HRTF related stuff, and focus only on basic FR, neutral for a listener requires an extra compensation tailored to that listener's body. good will is hardly enough to achieve that for the random guy. I think products like Sonarworks are certainly a step in the right direction, because no matter how different we are, we still tend to have a head on our shoulder and heads smaller than Mars Attack aliens'. so while not exact, chance several aspects of the calibration go in the right direction for most people. but it will be real neutral only to people who fit the model they picked. for the rest, some more or less significant EQ is still necessary. hence attempts to find our own neutral like proposed in this topic.

    I don't disagree with your message, a better balanced frequency response should be the first priority to audiophiles instead of gimmicks and expensive toys to get HI-FI silence at -100dB. my point is only that I understand why most would just give up. they get overwhelmed by all there is to know and all the personal work to put into setting up an EQ properly.
     
  10. DivineCurrent
    I am a huge fan of all the stuff Sonarworks has done. They are very underrated IMO. They have also given me a baseline to create my own EQ curves with. The only limitation with this is you can't really fix a headphone with a lot of harmonic distortion very well. You can't give the 40 mm dynamic HD 600 driver the undistorted flat bass of Audeze planar magnetic drivers. However, in terms of tonality, Sonarworks does extremely well with most headphones I've tried, and on the flat curve setting, they all sound somewhat balanced and natural. Definitely a step in the right direction.
     
  11. bigshot
    I've found that when it comes to my own ears at least, if the response is balanced, I tend to be more forgiving for other small problems. (I guess unless they sit right in the middle of the sweet spot for hearing around 2kHz.) Balanced always comes first. That's the bulk of the battle.
     
    Glmoneydawg likes this.
  12. bcaulf17
    Thank you, this was very helpful. My 770 Pro 32 ohm check off just about all of these boxes :) Sub bass is good (can't really tell if it's rolled off from some of these, but the Massive Attack sample made me feel light vibrations lol), those tracks called bright don't sound too bright from these samples. The only anomaly is Rivers Of Love, I could hear sibilance around that 0:54 mark. Here's Where The Story Ends at 1:10 didn't sound very sibilant at all though. Weird...

    Anyway, thanks!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
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