Do You Equalize?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Ron Scubadiver, Jan 30, 2017.

  1. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston TX
    The system has since been moved to a nearly square 500 sf converted garage with an 8' ceiling. It's a much better room with no furniture near the speakers or in front of the listening position. The new room sounds lots better and I am still using EQ. There is definitely an anti EQ mindset around here along with several other mindsets I find to be lacking support. Ultimately, it's my choice and I am not one to follow the herd.
     
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  2. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Active Member

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Good you have your own mind and are no sheep Ron!

    I don't get the attitude either, is silly.

    I don't use an equalizer anymore but can't say I don't ever eq. I will use simple tone controls at times to adjust for a recording that is lacking, but mostly listen flat. You cannot fix bad input with a balanced system, you can only play it back. I can safely recommend room treatment as a first step though, can help a lot.

    Moral of the story for me - Do as much as you can to avoid eq upfront, then apply as necessary for your tunes enjoyment!
     
  3. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    used to equalize but my system is now fully passive, no dsp, not even digital volume control is allowed in my system.

    hardware EQ, the good ones, start at about 3k. bit too pricey for me but if I had a hardware EQ, id likely use it!
     
  4. AmericanHIFI

    AmericanHIFI Active Member

    Location:
    California
    I concur. I call that loosing overall resolution due to the passive filtering (EQ) that the signal has to pass through, in addition to the usual passage through gain stages of amplification chain (preamp, amps, integrateds).
    Always trust what out ears tell us.
     
  5. AmericanHIFI

    AmericanHIFI Active Member

    Location:
    California
    Wholeheartedly agree!
     
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  6. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston TX
    The only problem with tone controls is they seem to be disappearing from audio equipment these days.

    I am using a DSP, not a separate equalizer. There probably is a trade off in resolution, but I like the end result. Note that Kal R. a professional reviewer appeared to say this was a good idea.
     
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  7. River Rat

    River Rat Active Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    My Denon AVR has Audyssey XT 32. It does a pretty good job taming my Klipsch speakers.

    For casual, background, lower volume listening I run in "stereo" mode which is 2.1 and use the Dynamic EQ set to "flat."

    Sometimes if I crank it up I put it in direct mode to bypass all that stuff and let the Klipsch's snarl and hiss at me.

    But honestly, it sounds a little better (smoother) with Dynamic EQ on most all of the time. Probably as much or more from the room correction than just taming the Klipsch's.
     
  8. AmericanHIFI

    AmericanHIFI Active Member

    Location:
    California
    Not as much with DSP. Conventional old passive style controls are more lossy, not to mention phase shift inducing. I used to have a Z-systems preamp/DSP correcting unit and loved it.

    Kal Rubinson is a good reviewer and understands his stuff.
     
  9. All Rights

    All Rights Forum Resident

    Only on my iPhone (EQ app) because the Sony MDR-7506 headphones I use need help in the bass department that the iPhone can't supply.
    I know there are better sounding and more efficient phones I could use but I like the Sonys because I can fold them up and put them in my jacket pockets.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Active Member

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    DSP is more processing though. Just for the DSP portion: Analog > digital > processing> analog, unless you feed it with digital, then you can bypass the first AD conversion. For the vinyl I just can't bring myself to do that to the innocent analog signal......

    I have a digital equalizer and I prefer the sound of well done analog tone controls over the DSP processing of the digital equalizer, even with digital input to it. My digital equalizer I use for it's pink noise/mic/rta capability only.

    My ears prefer less processing in this case, the analog way.
     
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  11. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Same. Feeding a TT output into a A/D D/A converter for any reason is insane to me. Why even bother at all? Makes zero sense.
     
  12. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston TX
    I know in hindsight it doesn't make sense but years ago every one copied their LP's to cassette tape and tried to keep the LP pristine, mainly playing the cassette. Nakamichi made some hideously expensive cassette decks back then. Today's version is digitizing LP's. It doesn't seem logical, unless you subscribe to the idea that vinyl playback adds some good sounding distortions or somehow sounds more live.

    All I am doing is two adjustments, and not a lot of db at that. It really surprised me what the reaction to this was.
     
  13. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Australia
    Fair enough. Fair point on modern LPs too. Me, I just treasure AAA of my records that are that.
     
  14. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Active Member

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    The adjustments is not what I am trying to avoid. I make them as needed if the recording is deficient to my ears. It is the additional processing of the incoming signal that I am trying to avoid. If you are getting good results with what your are doing that is all that matters!
     
  15. Waxfreak

    Waxfreak Forum Resident

    I agree. Not related I guess but I sold a locally released heavy metal Lp from a defunct local band because I was offered insane money back then. The CD said it was remastered and it did sound good as oppossed to the Lp not delivering in that dept.

    Years later it leaked that the CD had been culled from....the vinyl Lp because the original masters were MIA !!!
     
  16. colby2415

    colby2415 Active Member

    Location:
    Canada
    Nowadays I really don't do it as much as I used to. I found I needed it for when i had crappier speakers, but now that I have decent speakers I find I really don't need to use EQ anymore to get enjoyable sound. The only times I use bass and treble tone controls is for when I am playing certain records that lack high's (my copy of selling england by the pound is one example, it sounds muddy with most phono cartridges i've had). When it comes to digital though, I almost never use it anymore.
     
  17. River Rat

    River Rat Active Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    Off topic, but I would almost swear that my very early CD copy of Eat a Peach is copied from vinyl. You can hear pops from scratches and some static on Little Martha.
     
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  18. dividebytube

    dividebytube Forum Resident

    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI
    My B&W Matrix 805 speakers came with an electronic bass equalizer that can be plugged in between the preamp and amp. It does make a difference in the lower bass output, making the little woofer sound a lot larger than it is. Very good for rock music. The EQ does, however, harden the midrange a little and there is also some minor detail loss. So no free lunch.

    As a general rule though, I don't use tone controls or EQ for playback.

    I've owned preamps with tone controls but leave the controls flat or hit the bypass button. On some preamps - like the Dynaco PAS or PAT - I've modified the units to completely remove the tone controls from circuit. I've always noticed an improvement in sound quality.
     
  19. Hipper

    Hipper Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Herts., England
    Firstly, Ron, you did ask for people's thoughts - and you got them!

    If I've understood you correctly, when you adjusted the frequency response (FR), it seems you were just adding what is missing according to the speaker manufacturer's FR chart? Is the speaker FR a compromise because of crossovers etc., or is it designed that way to be used in a typical listening room?

    You are therefore trying to get a flat response as the sound leaves the speakers. Of course that sound will then be interfered with by the room and it's contents before it arrives at your ears, so the sound will no longer be flat at your ears. Although most people say a flat FR at your ears is not a good sound I disagree and have yet to see a good case against a flat response.

    What that means you have done is changed the FR at your ears but probably not to a flat response.

    My view is that you should try to adjust to flat at your ears. You can do this by just listening to music (difficult), using test tones and an SPL meter (easier, cheap, moderately effective), or microphone (plus cable and stand) and software like Room EQ Wizard (REW) as mentioned by others (difficult to learn but pretty accurate).

    Ideally the procedure is in order, position speakers and listening chair, employ room treatment (especially bass traps), and finally, finish off final adjustments with EQ. If you can't do positioning or treatment properly, that is where DSP (like Dirac Live) can help.
     
  20. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston TX
    I certainly got a lot of thoughts, but was surprised by so many who reject the idea out of hand.

    In my opinion the frequency response dip at 2 khz is the product of a compromise. Kal R. considered this to be the speaker's only defect in his review. Initially, I tried to flatten the frequency response curve, but dropped that in favor of a "does it sound better" approach. Dips and peaks in the measured frequency response were a starting point. If there was not a cut at 3.5 khz (1.5 db) the boost at 2.1 khz (2 db) made things sound hard. Boosting the dip at 6 khz also made things sound hard. So, I have two adjustments which have been tuned by ear. The room, no doubt, needs some work. It has a tiled floor and no carpet, so I am looking around for a suitable 5'x8' carpet for both acoustic benefit and comfort. I am not hearing anything bothersome in the bass.
     
  21. Waxfreak

    Waxfreak Forum Resident

    Ooops !o_O Guess once you treat the room, your problems will disappear.
     
  22. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Houston TX
    The objective of this EQ was to deal with a dip in the frequency response mentioned by Kal R. in his review at Stereophile. There is no overall problem or overall dissatisfaction with the system. It was just a tweak although some around here are acting like something is seriously wrong and EQ is audio equivalent of chemotherapy. If I get a carpet early reflections off the floor will be reduced. The sound is not overly bright now, but it might be a little less bright with a carpet. Furniture in the room now is probably breaking up standing wave.
     
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  23. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I hope I'm not the only one who has the earworm of "The Equaliser" from The Clash's "Sandinista" going through their head every time I see this thread title.

    We don't need no gang boss... We need to equalize.
     
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  24. Waxfreak

    Waxfreak Forum Resident

    Certainly not me, but optimizing things so you have to make less use of it is desirable.
     
  25. oxenholme

    oxenholme High Quality Posts™ a speciality

    I never touch anything. I am more than happy with the sound from the system.
     
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