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  1. #1
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    Audiophiles, lend me a hand in here

    I was thinking yesterday, while listening to a podcast, that I had no less than 3 EQ's that the podcast was filtered through...first was the podcast app, second was my phone itself, and third was my car's stereo through which the podcast was playing. Same goes for listening to Pandora or Google Play on my phone...each one has a native EQ, as well as the one built into the phone. The computer's the same way: Windows Media Player and iTunes have their own equalizers, there's a second one built into the sound card, and a third one later down the line that controls the headphone jack...when I wirelessly connect to our entertainment center, it'll actually add at least 2 more EQ's into the mix

    Given these chains of equalizer settings, is it better to have all of them set similarly, or would it be okay to maintain one for sound purposes, then set all the rest of 'em flat? If option 2 is the best option, is it better to set the EQ earlier in the chain, or later?
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  2. #2
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    Flatline all but one. Maybe not even one. Whatever you do, do not set them similarly. Each one will successively f!ck up the signal more and more. Every EQ takes what it is given and modifies it according to its parameters. My personal philosophy, if you need to roll-off a signal to any large extent to make it sound decent/realistic....you need better speakers or headphones or amps or DAC. Of course a car stereo isn't going to have great fidelity anyway.

    IMHO/IME most software EQ presets are garbage that take a professionally recorded/mixed sound and upchuck all over it.



    Depends on what you're listening to. Something like any modern rock/pop/country band are so loud you have to dynamically compress the hell out of them to even start with--and you'll never get an as-live experience out of a recording....not that you'd honestly want to anyway. The as-live experience is about 110-120dB sustained and will permanently damage your only pair of ears in no time. As-live sounds less like music and more like a 747 on take-off.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    My personal philosophy, if you need to roll-off a signal to any large extent to make it sound decent/realistic....you need better speakers or headphones or amps or DAC.
    Not amps and DACs. Those two are pretty darn good these days that they all sound transparent (high-fidelity) except for very small percentage of esoteric brands but they are hard to find.
    Of course a car stereo isn't going to have great fidelity anyway.
    Good point. In such case, just use the setting that sounds good to you.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    Flatline all but one. Maybe not even one. Whatever you do, do not set them similarly. Each one will successively f!ck up the signal more and more. Every EQ takes what it is given and modifies it according to its parameters. My personal philosophy, if you need to roll-off a signal to any large extent to make it sound decent/realistic....you need better speakers or headphones or amps or DAC. Of course a car stereo isn't going to have great fidelity anyway.

    IMHO/IME most software EQ presets are garbage that take a professionally recorded/mixed sound and upchuck all over it.



    Depends on what you're listening to. Something like any modern rock/pop/country band are so loud you have to dynamically compress the hell out of them to even start with--and you'll never get an as-live experience out of a recording....not that you'd honestly want to anyway. The as-live experience is about 110-120dB sustained and will permanently damage your only pair of ears in no time. As-live sounds less like music and more like a 747 on take-off.
    And that's the thing - I rip all my CD's to a pretty high quality, but that's not counting the thousands of other songs that were downloaded and have questionable audio quality. Plus, podcasts and spoken stuff have much different sounds than classic rock, heavy metal, or country music.

    But, that's beside the point...If all of 'em are flatlined, which one should be set nicely? Given that the endpoints are stereo systems, I could see keeping those flatlined and adding color earlier on...or, I could also see keeping everything flatlined early in the signal, and adding color or EQ at the endpoint
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    It would be nice to have one set and the others set "flat" but you listen via too many routes to make that possible.

    Adjust each source by ear until it pleases you. Assuming each source has the same predecessors in the chain each time you listen, it will sound just the way you want when you listen to each source. Does that sound like Donald Rumsfeld, or what?!

  6. #6
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    your problem is input signal. It's a pod cast, it is compressed dynamically and has shite for signal. It's a phone.
    You can spend a fortune, or a heap of time trying to clean it up but all you are doing is polishing a turd
    This isn't an audiophile discussion
    Audiophiles don't listen to crap off their phones
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    your problem is input signal. It's a pod cast, it is compressed dynamically and has shite for signal. It's a phone.
    You can spend a fortune, or a heap of time trying to clean it up but all you are doing is polishing a turd
    This isn't an audiophile discussion
    Audiophiles don't listen to crap off their phones
    out
    Given that my podcasts don't come on vinyl...and my car lacks a record player, anyway...I work with what I have. I asked where within the signal should the EQ be adjusted for the best quality, not just in my car, but on the stereo in my living room. Got anything productive to add to the question at hand, or just fecal references to the sound equipment that I own?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Given that my podcasts don't come on vinyl...and my car lacks a record player, anyway...I work with what I have. I asked where within the signal should the EQ be adjusted for the best quality, not just in my car, but on the stereo in my living room. Got anything productive to add to the question at hand, or just fecal references to the sound equipment that I own?
    it's going through 3 EQs and still sounds bad, that should be a sign. Have 2 set flat, maybe with a slight boost in signal, daisy chaining. Depending on your listening device set the last EQ in somewhat of a V pattern. Have some boost in the top and bottom ends (to taste) and have a slight dip in the middle. That way it will fake that there is actually some dynamic range.
    So to answer your question, set the EQ last after a tiny bit of flat signal boost. Then scroll through your various sound apps and listen to each, try to use the same song if possible. What you want to do is determine if any of the apps have issues in what they call 'flat'. Then you can adjust these individual EQs to make them all sound more similar.
    That's a lot of tweedling to do for probably only fractional improvement.

    it would be best if you could have master EQs for your modes of listening.
    Headphone EQ, Speaker EQ etc...
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    it's going through 3 EQs and still sounds bad, that should be a sign. Have 2 set flat, maybe with a slight boost in signal, daisy chaining. Depending on your listening device set the last EQ in somewhat of a V pattern. Have some boost in the top and bottom ends (to taste) and have a slight dip in the middle. That way it will fake that there is actually some dynamic range.
    So to answer your question, set the EQ last after a tiny bit of flat signal boost. Then scroll through your various sound apps and listen to each, try to use the same song if possible. What you want to do is determine if any of the apps have issues in what they call 'flat'. Then you can adjust these individual EQs to make them all sound more similar.
    That's a lot of tweedling to do for probably only fractional improvement.

    it would be best if you could have master EQs for your modes of listening.
    Headphone EQ, Speaker EQ etc...
    Excellent, thanks! I'll definitely give that a shot and keep this thread updated with my results ☺
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  10. #10
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    I agree that you should keep EQ completely flat until the final listening device, than tweek the EQ by ear there. And for volume - do not reduce the volume digitally anywhere if possible, until the final listening device. If possible, i.e. in the living room, use analog control to reduce the volume. Keep it 100% until then.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji View Post
    Excellent, thanks! I'll definitely give that a shot and keep this thread updated with my results ☺
    some reading for you while you work

    How Much Does MP3 Affect Dynamic Range? - Audiophile Review

    Good luck

    What Happened To Dynamic Range?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    Question for ya: where can I find a line level audio equalizer, with at least 4 adjustable frequency ranges, 15 db volume ranges, and variable curves enabling wide rolloff or narrow notching of sounds within a narrow frequency range?

    The old 35 mm movies are still the most "readable" sounds over cable TV. They sound better over TV speakers than the later full fidelity movies! The 35 mm sound tracks are compressed dynamically. Speech is rolled off around 400 HZ. The voices sound tinny, which is ok when compressed down to like a 10-20 db spread. The dialogue is prominent over the music and sound effects that add presence below 800 HZ. No loss of fidelity, it only brings up the lesser volume sounds and places them right under the louder sounds, so they're heard too off the optical track on the film, which is "flat" from 100 HZ up to 8000 HZ, if the lab processed the film right and the optical reader was in fine tune. Viewers would hear all the sounds, only compressed to a dynamic range of 20 db instead of like 60 db at the microphone. Commercial radio compresses dynamic range to hold the signal above noise levels, and master recording devices have peak limiters to avoid high end distortion, but the sound mixes are inadequate compared to those old film mixes.

    Interesting to note that audiophiles are hearing the difference between "sampled" audio and full fidelity analog amplifiers. I've always suspected the sampling process eliminates much of the harmonic overtones that give presence to the musical instruments. The listener hears all the sounds, but they seem further away.

    The old bass and treble adjustments are a thing of the past! Samsung didn't even put audio EQ in the unit I'm using, so I desperately need 5-10 db boosts above 1200 HZ to hear it as intended. My hearing range is now worse than the old 35m optical tracks, starts rolling off above 1200 HZ. The lady who adjusts EQ settings in my hearing aids has a 5 band graphic equalizer in her computer program. I'd like to get something like that to conform the TV sound to those settings so I don't have to wear headphones over the hearing aids! The only place I hear nice music is now only in the car! Can't do that in the apartment, gotta use headphones.

    Anyone know of a good analogue graphic equalizer that can be placed between the 'line level" audio output of a TV set and headphones?

    As far as where to EQ in an audio chain? You want the signal to remain undistorted as much as possible, so it would make sense to run it "flat" and EQ in the last stage.

    OTOH, at least in analogue audio circuits, the wider the dynamic range the more susceptible to distortion the amplifiers would have handling the peaks, and if audio levels are cut back too much, the softer sounds get lost in noise, or the ears don't pick them up. So a compressed signal would pass through least susceptible to picking up distortion. In any case, listen carefully to make sure the signal fed from one stage to the next doesn't overload the input and distorts. Deficiencies in EQ may not be as true today with digital signals--until it gets to the speakers.

    Film mixers all agreed: you mix for the final speakers, nothing else. If it doesn't sound natural at the speaker on the customer's TV set, it ain't right. So compress the signal down to 20 db, dip down the "echo" frequencies around 700 HZ that muddy up the intelligence. Crisp up the dialogue around 1500 HZ, and roll it off above 6000 HZ, to minimize high end distortion on peaks, a problem in analogue days, probably not an issue in MPEG schemes. On a bass reflex 12 inch speaker, dialogue EQ'd for 35 mm films sounds tinny, like its coming over the telephone. Presence would be added on a "room tone" or music and sound effects track. The latter would be compressed to stay readable under the dialogue, itself also compressed to stay distinct as an element in the sound track as a whole. On a 3 inch TV speaker, dialogue would sound natural, all the words clear and distinct.
    Last edited by Fredrico; 1 Week Ago at 01:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by atpjunkie View Post
    Those are great articles. The 2nd one especially highlights my observation of where the real music quality starts - in the recording and mastering process. Because especially today, with new recordings, great recording and mastering played on any format - CD, vinyl, even high bit rate MP3 will sound great.
    If it's compressed, and processed to death by "engineers" directed by music biz suits, it will sound that way regardless of format.
    For that reason live unaltered recordings still can sound incredible. There is a jazz internet stream that plays nothing but live music, recorded in small clubs on top flight gear. And even though it's only 128k MP3, it sounds remarkably good on my full range home system. Switch to another 128k jazz stream, same playback system, and it sounds like crap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z'mer View Post
    Those are great articles. The 2nd one especially highlights my observation of where the real music quality starts - in the recording and mastering process. Because especially today, with new recordings, great recording and mastering played on any format - CD, vinyl, even high bit rate MP3 will sound great.
    If it's compressed, and processed to death by "engineers" directed by music biz suits, it will sound that way regardless of format.
    For that reason live unaltered recordings still can sound incredible. There is a jazz internet stream that plays nothing but live music, recorded in small clubs on top flight gear. And even though it's only 128k MP3, it sounds remarkably good on my full range home system. Switch to another 128k jazz stream, same playback system, and it sounds like crap.
    I have to agree about the quality of the original recording being of paramount importance when it comes to what you hear comin' out the other end. I've got some fine-sounding mp3's and Red Book CD's. I've got more than my share of miserable sound on vinyl. As for audio cassettes, I even have a couple of those that sound pretty good. I even have a couple less-than-to-die-for SACDs (remember them?). Yeah, the very best recordings in my collection are on vinyl, but that doesn't mean the other formats cause me to break out the ole' earplugs.
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    Just for reference, at some point the ears become one of the weakest links in the chain.
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Touch0Gray View Post
    Just for reference, at some point the ears become one of the weakest links in the chain.
    Yes, but your brain and your experience do a heck of a lot to fill in the stuff the ears now miss. I gotta say, too, that though my ears are a way from what they were once, this has been ably compensated because, for the past ten years or so, I've been playing lots of music alongside fellow acoustic musicians. It's really helped me understand what live unamplified music really sounds like.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mapei View Post
    Yes, but your brain and your experience do a heck of a lot to fill in the stuff the ears now miss. I gotta say, too, that though my ears are a way from what they were once, this has been ably compensated because, for the past ten years or so, I've been playing lots of music alongside fellow acoustic musicians. It's really helped me understand what live unamplified music really sounds like.
    Ah yes, the things I've done in my mind......... (4 second fantasies)
    Of course I'm sure...that doesn't mean I'm right.....

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