Do You Equalize?

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

  1. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yes. Every speaker in existence can use tweaking with EQ somewhere along the spectrum, even if it's just 1/2 dB
    dalem5467 and Ron Scubadiver like this.
  2. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    I'm not a sheep and won't follow the heard. I never EQ because of the drop in sound quality.

    Although I used to, many many years ago. But it was for boosting the bass or whatever I wanted to do at the time, sort of like an exotic tone control. Young and foolish. :)
  3. beercanchicken

    beercanchicken Active Member

    I use tone controls on my integrated amp and like having them available. Until every piece of music is mastered to my specifications, will continue to do so
  4. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    London, UK
    Very likely you know this but just in case, it's very common for loudspeakers to have a deliberate dip in the midrange from around 1 kHz to 3 kHz to compensate for humans' extra sensitivity to this part of the audible spectrum. It's called midrange compensation - Google will tell all. Also known as the BBC dip.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  5. mkane

    mkane Well-Known Member

  6. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Active Member Thread Starter

    Houston TX
    Thanks for the info. Perhaps the dip was overdone here. Fortunately, this experiment costs nothing but my time. The DSP is a free download.
  7. George P

    George P Forum Pianophile

    I know how The Clash would answer:

    We don't want no gang boss
    We want to equalize
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  8. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Well-Known Member

    Of course, we listen to live music with the same ears and their 3kHz hump in sensitivity.
    Waxfreak likes this.
  9. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    London, UK

    Ha ha, very true. And yet no headphone manufacturer would ever dream of making a pair of headphones with a flat response - there's always a big dip in the mid-range. My Harbeth SHL-5 speakers have a gigantic crater from 1 kHz to 3 kHz if my REW results - and my ears - are any guide.

    I don't what the answer is. Maybe classical concert halls are tuned by ear and the acoustic engineers deliberately play down the midrange for that very reason. And I don't think live rock music has ever been accused of being acoustically soothing.
  10. DK Pete

    DK Pete Forum Resident

    yeah! Buy a new house for crying out loud!!:laugh:
  11. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Well-Known Member

    Headphones bypass HRTF.
  12. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    London, UK
    To the OP: you think you've got problems? Take a look at this!


    Source: Room EQ Wizard, testing one channel at a time

    Red = left channel
    Green = right channel

    1/3 octave smoothing

    Speakers = Harbeth SHL5 (not the SHL5 Plus)

    Room: L-shaped domestic living room

    Note the crater from 1.5 kHz to 4 kHz.

    If you're thinking, "My goodness, that must sound terrible!" you'd be right. Boomy, incoherent bass, muffled sound, non-existent midrange, nasty little nasal emphasis in the presence range - I find it virtually unlistenable compared with my Audeze LCD-4 headphones.

    A lot of it is down to room effects, obviously. But that midrange crater is always there, both channels, wherever you position the speakers, mono or stereo, both channels or one, so I think that's just the way the speakers are. Same with the overall downward slope of the EQ - a drop of around 20 dB from 50 Hz to 20 kHz!!! I mean, yes, 10 dB is supposedly a good thing but 20 dB?

    I'm probably going to try that Sonarworks Reference 3 software I mentioned on p1 of this thread before I chuck out the speakers and switch to headphones only. But I just thought I'd show you this chart to make you feel better!
  13. G E

    G E Well-Known Member


    But i do roll tubes.
  14. Rob9874

    Rob9874 Active Member

    I use tone controls to compensate for what my sub-par system lacks compared to one that costs 10X more. High end systems are expensive for a reason. They provide accurate bass and treble. When you have a lackluster receiver and speakers, as I do, you do what you can to make it sound as good as possible.
    chodad likes this.
  15. Waxfreak

    Waxfreak Forum Resident

    Indeed but no high-end system will provide for what the the recording lacks in the fist place. Try playing Ted Nugent's ¨State Of Shock¨ Lp or CD on such a system and tell me it sounds better without tone controls and/or an equalizer.
    DaleClark likes this.
  16. Rob9874

    Rob9874 Active Member

    Oh I agree. I'll always need to turn up the bass on Queensryche's Operation Mindcrime.
    Waxfreak likes this.
  17. DaleClark

    DaleClark Member

    Bexley, Ohio
    Soooo many crappy recordings and masterings.
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  18. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    Seems you had the first parametric eq dialed in well enough to accomplish what you were looking for.
    I'd like to share a few points, being s speaker hobbyist, and the pros and cons of eq adjustment for speakers or the room.

    1) Conservative is usually better, if you are successful, you'll probably find a conservative adjustment is the best sounding adjustment.
    2) Every EQ device introduces a phase angle superimposed on the signal, often audible as coloration. This effect can not be eq'd out, which leads to frustration.
    3) Every speaker produces its own time and phase anomalies. A well designed speaker system minimizes these effects. In some cases, the crossover point may have a slight dip in response which may minimize time and phase differences, and the system optimized for best sound. So, if any EQ correction is applied to fill in the dips at the crossover points, (such as at 2kHz) the speaker's weakest points are then being emphasized, more often an overall decrease in fidelity and accuracy.

    On point #3, in my earlier days of speaker building experimentation, I tended to tweak my crossovers for a slight dip in response at the crossover point, as the system sounded cleaner and more open to my ears. Phase and time differences smear detail, can cause a less open sound, and can produce annoying odd harmonics we don't like. EQ tweaking can aggravate a speaker. In almost all cases, a well designed speaker will sound its best "as is" out of the box..
    Kyhl, Ron Scubadiver and Waxfreak like this.
  19. Hipper

    Hipper Well-Known Member

    Herts., England
    I'm glad to hear that.

    However I was once satisfied with the sound until I was introduced to the bass issues you get in a small untreated room. I didn't know of this before. Once I used bass traps, the bass was smoothed considerably and that led not only to more musical bass (because I was now hearing the bass of the music and not the bass of the music coloured by the room) but also better mid range etc..

    It might be worth noting the dynamics of the bass of some music on headphones and then listen how it differs from your speakers. If it doesn't differ, excellent!

    My use of EQ is to complete the adjustment of the room, not to alter my speakers or the music.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  20. tim185

    tim185 Forum Resident

    Well said. However, make that 1/24 octave from 20-300hz and then you will see the ****e storm you are really dealing with! 1/3 octave in the low end is going to be covering up some big peaks and dips in that area.
  21. back2vinyl

    back2vinyl Forum Resident

    London, UK
    Yes, I only used that 1/3 octave smoothing to make the chart easy to digest. Even at 1/6 smoothing, my usual default, the swings in the bass are horrific. I daren't even look at 1/24!
  22. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Active Member Thread Starter

    Houston TX
    My room is a 2 car garage converted to a completely finished room of around 500 sf. Everything is bigger in Texas, LOL.
    Waxfreak likes this.
  23. Hglaser

    Hglaser Member

    Northern Virginia
    I agree with BejittoSSJ5, and Kal Rubenstein for that matter. Not familiar with the Dirac system, specifically, but I use a DSPeaker Anti-Mode 2.0 to outstanding effect in my room. Used exclusively to reduce room bass resonance problems below 150hz. I guess I'm in the minority, but I'm not sure what everyone else is doing to deal with the INEVITABLE problems of resonance. I see a lot of people talking about getting better equipment and properly placing it -- fair enough -- but precious few talking about room treatments or other methods to correct room resonance . . . .

    Cheers, Alex

  24. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Active Member Thread Starter

    Houston TX
    I am probably going in the direction of leaving things "as is". None the less, the experiment cost nothing and it has spawned one of the more interesting discussions I have seen here at SH. Some recordings sounded better, some sounded worse. When it's a tie victory goes to the designers.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  25. Ron Scubadiver

    Ron Scubadiver Active Member Thread Starter

    Houston TX
    I was trying to deal with frequencies above 2 khz. My room is large so bass problems are minimal. Perhaps I can get a calibrated mike in here and make an assessment someday. What I really need is a 5x8 or 6x9 carpet to cut down on reflections and spiff up the decor.
    The FRiNgE likes this.

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