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Graphics Equalizer...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by Dom36, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. Dom36

    Dom36
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    On my dads setup downstairs he runs a graphics equlizer on his stereo system and it makes one hell off a difference.

    I was just wondering can you put grahics equalizers on a Home Cinema System?

    I mainly use it for listening to music so will it have the same effect?
     
  2. pwiles1968

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    Peopled tend not to use Equalizers anymore, it is just another link in the audio chain that will further degrade the signal, it is more popular to cut out any processing as much as possible in order to preserve the signal quality, people tend to audition equipment and buy kit they like the sound of rather than buying something that is not ideal then adjusting the sound to something near to what you like.

    If you really want to EQ your system you can always try something like this - http://www.behringer.com/02_products/prodindex.cfm?id=DSP8024&lang=eng It would beat the pants of your dads system as the EQ is done in the digital domain.

    But to be honest if you don’t like the sound of your current system, I would look at replacing it with something you do like the sound of.
     
  3. MarkE19

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    It would not work for an AV receiver as a graphic (un)equaliser is only sterio!
    If only useing for sterio music then as mentioned it is another weak link in the audio chain.
    Also a sound engineer with years of learning & experience and thousands, if not millions, of pounds of equipment has spent hours getting the recording to sound as good as possible, so the average person at home is not going to get it sounding any better with a ~£100 EQ unit. Different maybe, but is it any better?

    Mark.

    p.s. if you want to know what a graphic EQ should really be used for then try sitting behind a mixing desk at a live concert at the Royal Albert Hall (in the days before BFD's).
     
  4. Sunday Ironfoot

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    Kinda like the Chefs soup analogy, where the Chef has put all his expertise into making a bowl of soup perfect, adding the right amount of ingredients, seasoning etc. only for a paying customer at the restaurant to tip loads of salt into it, thus ruining the taste.
     
  5. NicolasB

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    To offer some semi-contrary opinions:

    1) This is true, if your equipment is as good as the equipment the sound engineer was using. But most people's equipment isn't that good. It is true that it's preferable to buy equipment that you like the sound of, but what if the only equipment that sounds that good is more expensive than you can actually afford? It is not inconceivable that applying EQ to a signal could compensate for specific deficiencies in the equipment and do a better job of it than anything else that the equipment's owner could actually afford to buy.

    2) EQ can, if done nicely, also compensate for the vagaries of room acoustics. Again, it won't be as good as professionally installed Auralex acoustic treatments, but it's likely to be a damn sight cheaper. (Look, for example, at all the people who are using Behringer Feedback Destroyers to control their subwoofer output).
     
  6. MarkE19

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    True, if the EQ being used was of a quality any better than a cheap unit in line with the other equipment they have. Cheap EQ units will add noise etc.
    EQ by joe public is rarely done 'nicely'. Even at the higher quality end a HiFi Graphic EQ unit we are only talking something like 12 band EQ per channel. This will reduce/enhance a large spectrum of sound and hence my comment about an (UN)equaliser!
    Yes, but then again I was talking specifically about a graphic EQ, not a parametric EQ unit (BFD). Gods gift to a sound engineer in the likes of the Albert Hall or even your local school hall. Been there, done that and worn out the T'shirt.

    Mark.
     
  7. avanzato

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    I had a gentle dig at the local TAG dealer the other week when he went on at length about the EQ built into the new processors.

    How at one end of the shop he had an amp with nothing but a selector and volume and then he was enthusing about massive digital manipulation of a signal and it still sounding fantastic.
    I'm sure that in 5 years all those mini systems in Currys will have self setting digital room EQ.

    There are HT EQ's I know of made by Rane and Audiocontrol and AFAIK they both cost more than my current system.
     
  8. poda

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    I must beg to differ.

    People don't use EQ because of the hangover from the old Linn/Naim days. EQ has progressed enormously in the intervening years and the old arguements as above no longer hold water, cost issues aside.

    All studios employ EQ as standard. All studios have different acoustics to your listening room. Most mastering engineers are deaf. Par/Eq's will degrade the signal far less than your room does, far less than the RFi emitted from your digital electronics, and no more than the upsampling, oversampling, decoding chips employed in your treasured processor.

    People buy equipment that they like the sound of in their domestic enviroment, then typically find a number of discs that they don't play because they sound poor. People with good EQ don't have this problem.
     
  9. WhyAyeMan

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    How much does a decent EQ set ya back then Poda?
     
  10. NicolasB

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    And what do you consider "decent"? :)
     
  11. pwiles1968

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    Come on EQ cant overcome a poorly recorded overly finalised disc that has been mixed to make the bass sound good on cheap stereo systems. Are you recommending having a different EQ for every disc you own? Are you a recording engineer?
     
  12. poda

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    How's that done then:confused:


    Ever used THX post processing:confused:

    No I'm not actually. Why are you:confused:

    But my best mate is...

    Nicolas, to be fair, any digital tone control, applied carefully, can benefit most recordings. No need to spend big bucks.
     
  13. pwiles1968

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    -Ask Your Mate.
    -No
    -No but I know people who are/were they are the ones who pointed out the Finalizing to me.
    -He is deaf is he?

    The post was never intended to dismiss the use of EQ it simply pointed out that it is not used much any more for stereo, just look at HiFi manufacturers sites.
     
  14. poda

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    To be fair, if I were a manufacturer and could still get away with omitting tone controls by preaching to the mindless masses that it interferred with the purity of the signal, I guess I would leave 'em out too. More money for me.

    Just a few manufacturers are less villainous, Lexcon, Tag, McIntosh, Meridian to name a few. Just imagine how good their kit would sound if they junked the tone controls;)

    Sadly, so long as the masses keep believing in old wives tales, spread about in another era by the flat earth brigade, unscrupulous manufactureres will continue to make huge margins by selling simple kit at obscene prices.
     
  15. NicolasB

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    I don't know that I would go that far. Especially if you're talking about adding a whole extra component to the chain, this will inevitably introduce extra noise, extra cross-talk, extra distortion, etc. The question is whether or not all that can be kept low enough that the benefits from the EQ outweigh it.
     
  16. pwiles1968

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    Just a minute we were talking about Equalisation and Graphic equalisers (of the multi band variety) now you are talking about tone controls? most manufacturers still give tone controls and then the option of a bypass, even my AV stuff does this and I personally use it, the bypass that is.
     
  17. poda

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    You see Nicolas, this is the common misunderstading that awakened be from my slumber in the first place.:)

    Now exactly why filtering the sound in the digital domain should have any impact on the criteria you mention is beyond me. When you consider just how much manipulation is performed to the digital signal with even a basic CD player these days, it is difficult to understand how using part of the processing power to compensate for tonal aberrations could possibly have anegative affect. This assumes that the neccessary digital horsepower is available, which is not asking a lot in these days.

    My unit performs all processing at 48bit/ 384khz resolution, so there is little chance of it impacting on a native 16bit/44.1khz signal. Even units designed around 24bit/96khz are perfectly transpatent when it comes to CD reproduction.

    In the 80's, with analogue controls, your arguement would hold water. But I think it's time Music and Movie lovers moved on. As do Krell, TacT, Tag, Meridian..................
     
  18. Alaric

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    Hi there,

    In my new room, which i've tried to design to give a good sound already and i will try and eliminate major problems by altering room, surfaces and positions of things, however once that is done, its still worth Eq'ing the room.

    I will be using a couple of bits of software, eft and RTA to asess the room, and will then tweak, cutting preferably than boosting, using a RANE (sse??)35 across the front three speakers, with a BFD for the bass. I'm less bothered by the rears, but may shift the 35 to the rear if i pick up a thx44 cheaply.

    Its probably more important for me to equalise than most as the plan is to use a full width acousticaly transparent screen which invariably causes some trebble problems.

    With the right attitude EQ'ing can make a hell of a difference, done badly it can make things sound initaily fun, but false and grating.

    Just think of all the Eq already applied in the mixing of the tracks and that they produce for a flat respose, if you don't have that from a room, you are effectivly biasing the sound from the origional....hence EQ is the more correct route !

    Cya,
    Lee
     
  19. MarkE19

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    That was my origional point!
    Most people will be more intersted in the 'extra gadget' than the actual effect it has on the sound. Also they are unlikely to be able to improve the overall sound with a ~12 band graphice EQ unit. The effect is just too broad accross the sound spectrum. It would take a lot of work to get a graphic EQ unit set up, only to have the 3 year old come along and play with all the sliders.
    Obviously once you go up to equipment like a BFD etc you will tend to be able to improve the sound a lot more.

    Mark.
     
  20. Alaric

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    Hi there,

    I'm not sure you can lock the BFD, but it has several presets, so you can have a few 'flavours' of Equalisation and switch between them....ie such as Flat & a so called 'House Curve'....a pandering to the less correct but more fun brigade....along the lines of we are more used to the false manufactured sound that when we hear the Flat sound it is bland and un-interesting.....I guess like TV's with brightness, we come to like the false overly bright picture even if we do loose absoulte definition and black tone.

    As for the Rane equipment, its slider based and has a lock off cover, very much an EQ and forget situation.

    Cya,
    Lee
     
  21. poda

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    Lee, very good point, we seem somehow to be conditioned to excess in certain areas. Funnily enough, with my equipment, I have gradually adjusted the curve over the past twelve months, finally ending up with a response I would have found dire when first setting up. And surprisingly, it's very nearly flat from 20hz to 20khz, with a slight 1db dip above 1khz.
     
  22. sdh500

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    I am definitely guilty of this. I have a dual 30-band Phonic EQ and to me, going back to the Flat sound, particularly when playing music, is like going from Digital radio back to long wave. There is simply no comparison; my EQ cleans up the sound no end and even if it isn't anything like the original sound engineers intended it to be, well all I can say is thank God for that - because it's much much BETTER! :devil:
     
  23. RickB

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    Anything that modifies the original signal means that what you hear isn't what was recorded. Sure you can make it sound better to your ear and customise the sound to your own environment - but you (regardless of where the processing takes place - analogue or digital domain) are modifying the original source - its not what was originally recorded. Doing the modification in the digital domain is all well and good but it will add jitter.

    If you prefer the modified sound - great !! but its not what was recorded.

    RickB
     
  24. poda

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    Sorry Rick but for most people, at least 50% of what arrives at the ears is the result of reflections from the room which colour the sound. So any idea that by keeping a straight path you are retaining more of the original signal is sadly not wholly correct.

    If you want to hear more of the original recording, try using a good set of headphones.
     
  25. RickB

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    Poda,

    That is certainly true - however using a graphic equaliser is taking the sound further away from what was recorded again. Certainly room acoustics count for a lot and in my opinion I would prefer to reduce the acoustics of the room rather than modify the audio signal to compensate. Headphones are a good way of hearing what was originally recorded however for some - the modifications to soundstage presented by the headphones means that it becomes less desireable. Certainly from my own point of view - I prefer using my speakers rather than my grado headphones to listen to music.

    RickB
     
  26. NicolasB

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    So, if the room introduces (say) a +10dB peak at 50Hz and equalisation produces a 10dB trough of the same shape at the same frequency, thereby precisely cancelling out the effect of the room, exactly how is that farther away from what was recorded?
     
  27. RickB

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    Because there are far more harmonics involved than a simple spike at 50hz - various surfaces will also introduce their own harmonics at a variety of frequencies so its not as simply as upping or lowering a few bars on a graphic equaliser.

    A graphics equaliser as used in the home will lack the resolution to cover all of the problems. Better to try and fix the source of the problems (the room) rather than put an overly large elastoplast over everything.

    There is also the fact that your lengthing the path of the signal - sure you can do the processing in the digital domain - but what about analogue sources? (please dont suggest passing the analogue signal through a A/d converter - modifying it in the digital domain and then running it through a D/A converter as that is not my definition of sound quality !! Plus with any signal processing you are running the risk of adding jitter to the digital source - in which case your still corrupting the sound.

    I have yet to hear a domestic equaliser that hasn't adversly affected the timing of the music even when processed in the digital domain.

    RickB
     
  28. MarkE19

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    I think we have started a Graphic EQ war here! :devil:

    but how many people with the average HiFi & a graphic eq unit would know what was being done to what frequencies by the room? In my experience (and of course there are exceptions) most people just play with a graphic eq until they get bored with it and then leave it badly set up and think that is the sound they like because they have got used to it.
    For those people that do know what they are doing with an EQ unit, and have a unit of good enough quality, then I see no reason not to use it if you find it does enhance the music & your listening pleasure.

    Mark.
     
  29. pwiles1968

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    This one is going to run a bit, different people like different sounds, I like the sound of my system as is which when in stereo is set to source direct, with all tone controls bypassed, if had the space and money I would have a separate stripped out stereo system with no tone controls but that’s my taste, I think a totally flat curve from 20 to 20k would sound awful :eek: , but it is obviousley to other peoples taste.

    It can be argued equalisers have their place for room resonance’s several people on the forum use them for sorting sub resonance, a friend at work uses equalisers to set up night club curves and we know how they sound (well I can just about remember:D ), and obviously quite a few people on the forum use them to tailor the sound of their system, different people have different tastes, and as such discussions like this will continue and so they should.

    Just out of curiosity the people who have posted on here that have graphic equalisers in their system what do you use for source material, source player and amplification?
     
  30. NicolasB

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    Okay, so the room introduces peaks at 50Hz, 100, 150, 200, etc. We use EQ to remove the 50Hz peak. In what sense, then, is the resulting sound farther from the original recording than it was with the 50Hz peak still in place?

    I suppose to some extent this sort of argument is more true of parametric EQ than simple graphical EQ, but even so....
     

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