The most reliable/easiest way to EQ headphones properly to achieve the most ideal sound (for non-professionals)
Jan 18, 2018 at 1:27 PM Post #196 of 262

bigshot

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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.
 
Jan 18, 2018 at 1:51 PM Post #197 of 262

Zapp_Fan

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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.

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:
 
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Mar 23, 2018 at 4:39 PM Post #199 of 262

Lunatique

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is there a way to add peak filters to left and right channels separately? seems like my hearing is pretty unbalanced in some frequencies

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).
 
Mar 28, 2018 at 2:28 AM Post #201 of 262

coolkwc

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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.
 
Mar 28, 2018 at 2:46 AM Post #202 of 262

bigshot

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"the purity of precious bodily fluids" to quote Stanley Kubrick
 
Mar 29, 2018 at 12:17 AM Post #203 of 262

Lunatique

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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.

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.
 
Mar 29, 2018 at 6:00 AM Post #204 of 262

castleofargh

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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.
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.
 
Mar 29, 2018 at 4:45 PM Post #205 of 262

DivineCurrent

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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.

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.
 
Mar 29, 2018 at 5:26 PM Post #206 of 262

bigshot

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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.
 
Apr 1, 2018 at 11:21 PM Post #207 of 262

bcaulf17

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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!
 
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Apr 15, 2020 at 7:04 PM Post #208 of 262

deama

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Hey so I've been trying to create a balanced EQ for my earphones, but problem is, I don't quite know what to do. I've read the first post here, but I'm still fairly confused. How am I supposed to be able to adjust the EQ by listening to the logarithmic sweep if I have no reference point for neutral sounds or how the sweep is supposed to sound "neutral"? I've never had headphones or even tried any, that were above £100, so I'm fairly certain I won't be able to adjust by just feeling.

Is there perhaps a way I could buy some sort of device that accurately produces a logarithmic sweep, record that on my microphone, then EQ balance my microphone, then tape my earphones next to the microphone, record another sweep, then adjust the earphones? Would that work?
 
Apr 15, 2020 at 7:36 PM Post #209 of 262

Lunatique

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Hey so I've been trying to create a balanced EQ for my earphones, but problem is, I don't quite know what to do. I've read the first post here, but I'm still fairly confused. How am I supposed to be able to adjust the EQ by listening to the logarithmic sweep if I have no reference point for neutral sounds or how the sweep is supposed to sound "neutral"? I've never had headphones or even tried any, that were above £100, so I'm fairly certain I won't be able to adjust by just feeling.

Is there perhaps a way I could buy some sort of device that accurately produces a logarithmic sweep, record that on my microphone, then EQ balance my microphone, then tape my earphones next to the microphone, record another sweep, then adjust the earphones? Would that work?

The most important part is to use your ears, because even if something measures flat/neutral, your unique physiology could still be hearing a skewed frequency response. There are a number of causes--anything from hearing loss, birth defect, to wax buildup that hasn't been cleaned out in a long time (but in this case you CAN clean your ears).

When you listen to a sweep, what you're listening for is a spikes and nulls in the volume throughout the sweep. This is often the most common in the high-mids and lower-treble, as most headphones suck at producing those frequencies smoothly. Ideally, during the sweep, you should hear the same volume/energy throughout, instead of it getting louder and quieter at various spots. When you listen to the sweep, you need to be looking at a spectral analyzer so you can see what frequencies are the uneven ones, then you can use a sine wave generator or sine wave tones people have made (at regular intervals from 20 Hz to 20 KHz) so you can compared how loud/quiet they are to each other, and then use EQ to adjust until all the frequencies sound at the same volume/energy to your ears. Then you listen to some musical material to check and see how they sound. If they don't sound right, double-check your EQ and make sure the sweep is constant in volume/energy and when you click to play the sine wave tones randomly, they all sound about the same volume. Normally, if you can get all that done, whatever you listen to should sound as close to ideally neutral to your ears.
 
Apr 15, 2020 at 8:32 PM Post #210 of 262

deama

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The most important part is to use your ears, because even if something measures flat/neutral, your unique physiology could still be hearing a skewed frequency response. There are a number of causes--anything from hearing loss, birth defect, to wax buildup that hasn't been cleaned out in a long time (but in this case you CAN clean your ears).

When you listen to a sweep, what you're listening for is a spikes and nulls in the volume throughout the sweep. This is often the most common in the high-mids and lower-treble, as most headphones suck at producing those frequencies smoothly. Ideally, during the sweep, you should hear the same volume/energy throughout, instead of it getting louder and quieter at various spots. When you listen to the sweep, you need to be looking at a spectral analyzer so you can see what frequencies are the uneven ones, then you can use a sine wave generator or sine wave tones people have made (at regular intervals from 20 Hz to 20 KHz) so you can compared how loud/quiet they are to each other, and then use EQ to adjust until all the frequencies sound at the same volume/energy to your ears. Then you listen to some musical material to check and see how they sound. If they don't sound right, double-check your EQ and make sure the sweep is constant in volume/energy and when you click to play the sine wave tones randomly, they all sound about the same volume. Normally, if you can get all that done, whatever you listen to should sound as close to ideally neutral to your ears.
Oh ok, that makes more sense. Do you happen to have a logarithmic sweep sample? The link you posted in the first post is dead.
 

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