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Should I use a equalizer?

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Cherian

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Hello everyone,

I was just wondering if there is any advantage in using a graphic equalizer (2 channel music). What are peoples thoughts regarding this. If it is a good idea what are the pros? If it’s a bad idea what are the cons? If it is a good idea what is a good equalizer to get? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Cherian
 

MiTT

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I'd say no...

I used to have an equalizer many years ago and while it was kind of fun to play with and looked cool with the light's off (it had red LED's in all of the sliders), I don't think that it actually made anything sound better - only different. Some would argue of course that ANY addition to the signal chain is an opportunity for degredation, and for the most part I would agree.

That being said, I wonder if a better approach in this modern world would be to look into digital room correction with one of the devices made by TacT or others. Essentailly equalizers are multiband tone controls that attempt to correct for frequency abnormalities that are typically caused by room boundries - so why not go directly into room correction.

For that matter, why not blow off the EQ entirely and spend the money on the real root cause and get some room treatments? When I start building my full-on dedicated room this will be my approach.
 

roberto

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Cherian said:
Hello everyone,

I was just wondering if there is any advantage in using a graphic equalizer (2 channel music). What are peoples thoughts regarding this. If it is a good idea what are the pros? If it’s a bad idea what are the cons? If it is a good idea what is a good equalizer to get? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Cherian
Hola Cherian...it depends a lot of your liking and level...picks don´t match the valleys...let´s assume (never assume because it will make an ass-u-me :D ) that you have a pink noise and a real time annalizer with a super good mike placed at your listening position...you play the pink noise at a level of 80dBs and adjust every knob of the equalizer to get the best response of the room at that level...everything is O.K. here. Then you rise the volume only 5 dBs more...everything that you did before at 80dbs does not work...we have a totally new curve and also different resonace zones...with only 5 dBs! why is this? Because all materials rejects the sound and absorbs the sound different at different levels...(the unit of sound absorption is Sabin) and they are logarithmic...the mic only senses linear...the program material (music from a cd as example) has at least 80dBs of range...an equalizer has also its own hamonic distortion, and every knob that you move, will act also as a phase shift...giving certain notes of certain musical instruments at a particular frequency range, changing the timbre and the size of it too. Some people does not care this and uses the equalizer as a tone control, or fixing some bad resonance that might occur in your room. It is a matter of liking...to my ears, no thanks...happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

lugano

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yes. use it. As I already said, listen to your music, not to your gear. An equalizer might be perceived as a audiophile's Viagra by some, but in the end run it really brings you where you want to be, correcting room problems and not only. You can always try without, you can always live without - it's up to you to judge, and the cost is not even going to mortgage your garage.
 

SugarMedia

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I say NO too.

Cherian said:
Hello everyone,

I was just wondering if there is any advantage in using a graphic equalizer (2 channel music). What are peoples thoughts regarding this. If it is a good idea what are the pros? If it’s a bad idea what are the cons? If it is a good idea what is a good equalizer to get? Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Cherian
"Contrary to popular belief, a good hi-fi system is one that is simple. We want to use the fewest number of the best quality pieces we can afford to accomplish the task. The better the equipment the simpler it tends to be, with fewer controls, knobs and switches. Remember, we are trying to minimize change. (The basic problem with equalizers, expanders, etc. is that they change the sound and therefore make it worse.) Since even the best equipment alters the sound to some extent, we want to keep this to a minimum. At the same time, the simpler the equipment, the easier it is to use. And the easier it is to use, the more it gets used."

further reading
http://www.audioport.com/understanding_hifi.htm
 

lugano

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SugarMedia said:
"Remember, we are trying to minimize change. (The basic problem with equalizers, expanders, etc. is that they change the sound and therefore make it worse.)"
Is this reader's digest ? Them that change the sound make it worse ? A burmester does change the sound towards an aiwa or an akai, does it make it worse by merely changing it ? I say bs. Don't put expanders - an 80's tough smoke - in the same category with equalizers. Minimizing the sound's path is ok, I can agree, but mikeing out your ambient's deficiencies with an eq is priceless. Besides, as already stated, you can fully exclude it if you don't like it, but purity for purity's sake makes me sick. Try it, then repent, but not trying it out is a mistake - room treatment can cost you 4 times more than a used eq on ebay, and if you move your gear into another room - or even worse, another house - the eq will solve the problem in minutes. The treatment will require more, much more than that...
 
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socialxray

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80s tough smoke....that sounds strangely cool. I have to figure out a way to use that in a conversation.

Anyway, EQs really are a shot in the dark if you ask me UNLESS you have a spectrum analyzer (or an SPL meter and test CD) AND a parametric EQ. Otherwise it is all guess work. Also, EQs really are only effective when trying to smooth out room modes. Changing the midrange and/or treble is probably a waste of time. Might as well use the tone controls.

With that being said I do use a graphic EQ but it is only connected to my subwoofer and that is only to reduce a spike caused by a room mode.

Room correcton software is probably the best option. Room treatments will help too but this is a trial and error process (which is what we are trying to avoid in the first place) and they can make a room look kind of silly if taken too far.

Bottom Line: Avoid an EQ unless you have to correct a room mode.


Of course that is just my opinion. If you are a compulsive audio tweaker, an EQ will give you endless hours of tweaking joy. My wife finds this behavior maddening so I am a closet tweaker. I must admit though that after a while I found that you become obsessive and you start to forget about the music. It was kind of like being hooked on audio crack. Luckily I was saved by a family intervention and 4 weeks of rehab.
 
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Craig

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I would only use one as a last resort. If you have imbalances then you will have best results addressing whatever is causing the imbalance rather than trying to compensate with an EQ. You can try one but pay attention to any loss of sonic characteristics such as soundstage, imaging, midrange tone, depth of soundstage, detail, tightness of bass, etc. Sometimes the stereo in my car sounds pretty good but these sonic aspects don't really exist in my car.

Maybe they would if I put the same kind of money in my car audio as I do in my home audio. However, car acoustics are a completely different world and using EQ there is almost a necessity.
 

Cherian

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This is giving me a lot food for thouhgt. I would like to experment with an EQ. Any ideas an what I should get? I have a Sunfire Theater Grand II per amp and Carver amps. Any thoughts?
 

jmschnur

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I have a Phonic spectrum analyzer (PAA#) and a good low noise and low distortion 1/3 octive equalizer. Becuase my room is not ideal with some "caverans" and other odities these have really helped for my 7.1 system with Clarity's and Cinema in the frontI did this after extenisive room tuning did not get rid of some boominess and some uneven mid range between the two main speakers. The Paa3 helped me in the placemnt of the sub woofer and also helped tune the levels in the room for my 7.1 Lexicon driven system. The PAA3 has the abiity to average the spectrum from severallocations or sund levels so one can get an optimal setting for the most important listening positions. I also checked the variations from 70-90 db and fund a lot of reflecting surfaces. I handled these by various non electornic means.

In my stereo room which has B&W 801s I found only a little tweak with bass and treble was needed for almost flat resonse and excellent music.

Joel
 
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nirvanaseeker

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I think EQ is valid since the ML speakers tend to have tone shaping in the stepup primaries. You'd have to know what you were doing but EQing low level would be preferencial I'd think. The downside is you'd probably have to come up with the circuit yourself as any offtheshelf unit would likely subtract from the overall quality.
 

lugano

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Cherian said:
This is giving me a lot food for thouhgt. I would like to experment with an EQ. Any ideas an what I should get? I have a Sunfire Theater Grand II per amp and Carver amps. Any thoughts?
As others have said, make sure it has

- a pink noise generator
- a spectrum analyzer
- a microphone
- separate eq for the left and right channel
- enough intervention points - at least 12 per channel
- high S/N ratio

a nice touch is the possibility to store at least 3 settings into different presets.

check out item 9701918884 on ebay for an example - it's the same one I've got, but mine also has the original microphone.
 

Peter_Klim

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I would opt to get a "true" parametric EQ vs a graphic one.

I have a real nice one for the car: an Xtant 5 band. Each band can be dialed in from 20-20K in infinite steps. As well as infinite steps for the Q factor ( I forgot the Q range is; I believe +/- 5)

I have no desire to use my home EQ with the MLs (even though it does looks verrrry perrrrty with all the LED lights and spectrum analyzer).
 

jmschnur

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Rane has a 3 channel equalizer + sub (L,R,C) for HT systems that has a cover (so all the lights are hidden) that fits in quite well to a home 5.1 or 7.1 system.

Joel
 

amey01

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If you've got a frequency response probelm I'd try to treat the room first before you treat the precious signal.

If you must use one, be sure it is a good one. I'm not aware of too many up to ML and associated equipment standards.
 

jmschnur

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.001 THD; better than 90 SN ref to 1 volt, balanced connections etc would be reasonable.

I agree fix the room first. The phonic PAA3 spectrum analyzer can really help pin point the problems in the room in terms of frequecny and RT60 values etc. After the ML's are well broken in and you know what have in terms of freqeuncy response at various locations n the rooms-and have tweaked the room as much as you can-think about equalization.

Joel
 
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