Why do so many audiophiles hate equalizers? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

That may be your idea, but it's a flawed idea, and it's not mine. Some of us like to hear all of our recordings with proper spectral balance.

What!? Equalizers are meant to make a response, in room, as flat as possible not to eq a recording that you think is flawed rolleyes.gif Engineers spend hours mixing and eq'in to what they want it to sound like, for you to equalize it is just dis-respectful.

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post #32 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post



What!? Equalizers are meant to make a response, in room, as flat as possible not to eq a recording that you think is flawed rolleyes.gif Engineers spend hours mixing and eq'in to what they want it to sound like, for you to equalize it is just dis-respectful.
Did you read the link in post #17?
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post #33 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

That may be your idea, but it's a flawed idea, and it's not mine. Some of us like to hear all of our recordings with proper spectral balance.

Go right ahead. I think it is silly and think it is a more flawed concept than what I said. It's your music. Do with it whatever you like but I'm not going to play. Take care.
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post #34 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 01:58 PM
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I think it is ..... a more flawed concept than what I said.

If you believe a small effort on the part of the user to adjust EQ is "more flawed" than listening to an album with poor spectral balance, enjoy, but please don't tell those who pursue the former approach that they're doing something they shouldn't:
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The idea was to get a flat response, not to correct the errors you think the recording engineers made. They weren't intended to be changed all the time. They were intended to respond to room acoustics and then left alone.
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post #35 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RUR View Post

Did you read the link in post #17?

Yes I did. The standard is to use pink noise and a spectrum analyzer to achieve a flat response, that's been the standard for quite some time now. Every studio I've been in uses that to calibrate the room, it's not rocket science.

Honestly do whatever you want just don't go telling people that there way of eq'in is flawed because it isn't.

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post #36 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

Yes I did. The standard is to use pink noise and a spectrum analyzer to achieve a flat response, that's been the standard for quite some time now. Every studio I've been in uses that to calibrate the room, it's not rocket science.

Apparently, you missed this chart from research performed by a pair of Genelec engineers and cited by Olive in the paper:



Which shows that mastering studios, using the same model calibrated monitors, exhibit fairly wide variation in FR as measured at the listening position. As I'm sure you understand, since you read Sean's paper, this means that listeners will experience wide variance in FR when they play the mastered albums in their own rooms.

So much for standards when the study was conducted in 2001. Even if we assume that there are standards in place, now - a dubious proposition, at best - what about those thousands and thousands of albums mixed and mastered prior?

Quote:
Honestly do whatever you want just don't go telling people that there way of eq'in is flawed because it isn't.

If you expect to EQ your room once, and then to hear "correct" spectral balance on all albums, that is a flawed concept.
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post #37 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 02:43 PM
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To each their own. If I had to mess around with a EQ each time I listened to a different LP or CD, I'd just listen to a portable MP3 player.eek.gif
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post #38 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 03:09 PM
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To each their own. If I had to mess around with a EQ each time I listened to a different LP or CD, I'd just listen to a portable MP3 player.eek.gif
I really don't. Most albums I own sound perfectly fine with a single target response, or maybe a minor tweak in bass or treble which takes only a moment to do. Perhaps one in 50 needs more to sound right and even those generally require less than a minute of fiddling.

OTOH, I own a couple which only sound natural if I run the FR up 5dB from 20-20KHz.eek.gif Dunno what standard those mastering engineers were using....
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post #39 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 03:28 PM
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Same here, there are a few albums in my collection that benefits from a few db of bass boost
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post #40 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 07:54 PM
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Hi RUR,
Quote:
That may be your idea, but it's a flawed idea, and it's not mine. Some of us like to hear all of our recordings with proper spectral balance.
Out of curiosity, how do you know when you have the "proper spectral balance"?
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post #41 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 08:22 PM
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Hey Mark,

I suspect you know as well as I that that's a hugely subjective judgement. My point, insofar as it goes, is that variation in FR does exist within the spectra of recordings, and that those who claim some kind of "purity of recording" are just kidding themselves. EQ provides useful flexibility.

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/Ken
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post #42 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 08:41 PM
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Hi Ken,
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

I suspect you know as well as I that that's a hugely subjective judgement.
OK, I misunderstood then. I thought that you were correcting a bad recording, with a measurable target in mind. I guess you are, but with a subjective target instead.

You have more patients then I. If I fiddled with my equalizer to try to get what sounded best to me, the song would be over before I was done.
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Where away are you in LB? I'm a fellow citizen.
Well then, There seems to be a few of us here. I'm on Clark, half a block from City College.
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post #43 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

You have more patience then I. If I fiddled with my equalizer to try to get what sounded best to me, the song would be over before I was done.
I cheat, using a fairly fancy, very flexible bit of pro gear.
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Well then, There seems to be a few of us here. I'm on Clark, half a block from City College.
I could be knocking on your door after a five minute walk. You have a PM coming.
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post #44 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 05:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

Yes I did. The standard is to use pink noise and a spectrum analyzer to achieve a flat response, that's been the standard for quite some time now. Every studio I've been in uses that to calibrate the room, it's not rocket science.

Apparently, you missed this chart from research performed by a pair of Genelec engineers and cited by Olive in the paper:



Which shows that mastering studios, using the same model calibrated monitors, exhibit fairly wide variation in FR as measured at the listening position. As I'm sure you understand, since you read Sean's paper, this means that listeners will experience wide variance in FR when they play the mastered albums in their own rooms.

So much for standards when the study was conducted in 2001. Even if we assume that there are standards in place, now - a dubious proposition, at best - what about those thousands and thousands of albums mixed and mastered prior?

Quote:
Honestly do whatever you want just don't go telling people that there way of eq'in is flawed because it isn't.

If you expect to EQ your room once, and then to hear "correct" spectral balance on all albums, that is a flawed concept.

On top of the observed variations in studio monitor performance, there are the preferences of the guy twisting the knobs. IME it is hard to do a lot of recording without getting at least some idea about what the instruments sound like, but that is colored by the rooms they are heard in and the technician's perceptions and tastes. Uncontrollable variables like microphone selection, and their deployment and orientation are in the picture as well.

Bottom line is that if you sent in three technicians to record the identical same performance and gave them a free hand to record it in accordance with their preferences and habits, you end up with three different recordings. Recording is a hugely subjective business.

That all said I'm in the interesting position of doing the outside mixing (internet, video, recording) for a large church in the area. One of the feeds to my console is the inside or sound reinforcement mix which is done by someone else who sits about 100 feet from me inside the venue. I'm in a little side room with the video production people. I can compare the two mixes with the press of a button. They aren't that different much of the time but I'm sure they could be easily distinguished in an ABX test.
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post #45 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 05:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

You have more patience then I. If I fiddled with my equalizer to try to get what sounded best to me, the song would be over before I was done.
I cheat, using a fairly fancy, very flexible bit of pro gear.

That's an important point. The standard pro graphic equalizer has 30-ish bands, while the standard pro parametric has at least 5 bands with 3 parameters (frequency, Q or bandwidth, and gain) each. Most of the car audio so-called parametric eqs that I've seen only have one or two parameters per band. A full 30 band graphic eq is at least as rare in cars. In my travels

I've encountered pro equalizers tricked up with DC-DC power converters to run off of 12 volts. I even have one that I use with an external 12 volt wall wart.
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post #46 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 06:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Ken,
Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

I suspect you know as well as I that that's a hugely subjective judgement.
OK, I misunderstood then. I thought that you were correcting a bad recording, with a measurable target in mind. I guess you are, but with a subjective target instead.

You have more patience then I. If I fiddled with my equalizer to try to get what sounded best to me, the song would be over before I was done.

I believe that Winamp the popular MP3 player had a feature where you could save a unique set of equalizers settings for each song. When you played it, it would be automatically selected.

It would still take a lot of patience to built up a usable eq parameter file collection, but at least it was possible.

I never did. ;-)
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post #47 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

Apparently, you missed this chart from research performed by a pair of Genelec engineers and cited by Olive in the paper:



Which shows that mastering studios, using the same model calibrated monitors, exhibit fairly wide variation in FR as measured at the listening position. As I'm sure you understand, since you read Sean's paper, this means that listeners will experience wide variance in FR when they play the mastered albums in their own rooms.

So much for standards when the study was conducted in 2001. Even if we assume that there are standards in place, now - a dubious proposition, at best - what about those thousands and thousands of albums mixed and mastered prior?


If you expect to EQ your room once, and then to hear "correct" spectral balance on all albums, that is a flawed concept.

I don't know of any studios that relies on "factory calibrated speakers," that's like buying a TV and using the factory "movie" preset! If I move my stereo into a different room it will sound different, common knowledge that any decent studio is going to know.

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #48 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

I don't know of any studios that relies on "factory calibrated speakers," that's like buying a TV and using the factory "movie" preset! If I move my stereo into a different room it will sound different, common knowledge that any decent studio is going to know.
and yet, wide variance in FR between recordings does exist, as acknowledged, and lamented, by Toole and Olive.

"A random sampling of ones own music library will quickly confirm the variation in sound quality that exists among different music recordings. Apart from audible differences in dynamic range, spatial imagery, and noise and distortion, the spectral balance of recordings can vary dramatically in terms of their brightness and particularly, the quality and quantity of bass. The magnitude of these differences suggests that something other than variations in artistic judgment and good taste is at the root cause of this problem." http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/10/audios-circle-of-confusion.html

Your opinion/experience vs. the sad reality.
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post #49 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

I don't know of any studios that relies on "factory calibrated speakers"
Genelec found 164 such studios for their study. The diagram RUR posted shows low frequency variations of 25dB (!) between music recording studios.

The situation is not much better amongst movie mixing stages and commercial cinemas, which also have large variances in frequency response compared to the target (reddish-brown line in diagram below).



Anyone who believes that studios are calibrated flat has never measured a studio and is starting from a false premise about the environment that music and movies are mixed in.

Sanjay
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post #50 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 01:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

I don't know of any studios that relies on "factory calibrated speakers"
Genelec found 164 such studios for their study. The diagram RUR posted shows low frequency variations of 25dB (!) between music recording studios.

The situation is not much better amongst movie mixing stages and commercial cinemas, which also have large variances in frequency response compared to the target (reddish-brown line in diagram below).



Anyone who believes that studios are calibrated flat has never measured a studio and is starting from a false premise about the environment that music and movies are mixed in.

There's another way to look at the 25 dB variation. For example if you stay about 65 Hz, the studios are pretty much +/- 5 dB. The big variation can be characterized as a difference of opinion about bass extension.

Also, the ear is far more tolerant of variations at the frequency extremes, particularly in the bass.
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post #51 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 02:02 PM
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Equalizing a room is a fairly objective goal; you aim for a flat response or some other reasonable target curve.

Equalizing to correct mistakes in a recording studio is much harder -- how do you objectively measure improvement? What is the standard or target?
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post #52 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 02:11 PM
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Equalizing to correct mistakes in a recording studio is much harder -- how do you objectively measure improvement? What is the standard or target?

You don't, unless you have have gear to measure each and every recording you playback. If you need and can do that... there are bigger issues to address other than speakers and room acoustics (therapy?). It's supposed to be enjoyable. Kind of like when using a Fisher-Price Close and Play. biggrin.gif
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post #53 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

For example if you stay about 65 Hz, the studios are pretty much +/- 5 dB.
Only 50%. If you look at 90% then you're up to a 15dB spread (+5/-10 dB).
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Also, the ear is far more tolerant of variations at the frequency extremes, particularly in the bass.
Then why do so many room correction systems and loudness compensation technologies concentrate on the bass?

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post #54 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

and yet, wide variance in FR between recordings does exist, as acknowledged, and lamented, by Toole and Olive.

"A random sampling of ones own music library will quickly confirm the variation in sound quality that exists among different music recordings. Apart from audible differences in dynamic range, spatial imagery, and noise and distortion, the spectral balance of recordings can vary dramatically in terms of their brightness and particularly, the quality and quantity of bass. The magnitude of these differences suggests that something other than variations in artistic judgment and good taste is at the root cause of this problem." http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/10/audios-circle-of-confusion.html

Your opinion/experience vs. the sad reality.

Wide variation of sound quality? Yep if I listen to a rap album and then listen to a rock album there is going to be big differences particularly in bass, but I'm not going to add 15 dB, of bass, to my "Help" album just because I think The Beatles didn't know what they were doing rolleyes.gif Every musician will have a different way of eq'in. When I'm mixing at my church I prefer to make instruments have a warm sound and vocals have a more clear sound with no bass, that's just the way I like things to sound if I was mixing metal it would sound totally different.

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Genelec found 164 such studios for their study. The diagram RUR posted shows low frequency variations of 25dB (!) between music recording studios.

The situation is not much better amongst movie mixing stages and commercial cinemas, which also have large variances in frequency response compared to the target (reddish-brown line in diagram below).



Anyone who believes that studios are calibrated flat has never measured a studio and is starting from a false premise about the environment that music and movies are mixed in.

Bass roll off is in every studio, same thing with the treble. Human ears are pretty forgiving at the extreme low end and high end, my system only goes down to maybe 50 Hz! There's not much bass below 80 Hz anyway.

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post #55 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

Wide variation of sound quality? Yep if I listen to a rap album and then listen to a rock album there is going to be big differences particularly in bass, but I'm not going to add 15 dB, of bass, to my "Help" album just because I think The Beatles didn't know what they were doing rolleyes.gif Every musician will have a different way of eq'in. When I'm mixing at my church I prefer to make instruments have a warm sound and vocals have a more clear sound with no bass, that's just the way I like things to sound if I was mixing metal it would sound totally different.
kbeam, these are false analogies, and you apparently haven't grasped the actual problem i.e. wide variation of room response from studio to studio and its effects. Really, you need to take a deep breath, then carefully re-read the Olive blog I've linked.
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

For example if you stay about 65 Hz, the studios are pretty much +/- 5 dB.
Only 50%. If you look at 90% then you're up to a 15dB spread (+5/-10 dB).

We must be looking at different drawings. Here's the one I was talking about with the +/- 5 dB envelope plotted on it by fairly accurate means:


Quote:
Quote:
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Also, the ear is far more tolerant of variations at the frequency extremes, particularly in the bass.
Then why do so many room correction systems and loudness compensation technologies concentrate on the bass?

I don't know why people get so perfectionistic about dB tolerances in the lowest octaves. What I do know is what the tolerance of the human ear is to variations is as a function of frequency. This is from Clark's original JAES ABX paper, so it is peer-reviewed:

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post #57 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 07:03 PM
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We must be looking at different drawings.
We were (the 25dB variation in the low frequencies I was talking about was on the Genelec graph RUR posted).

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post #58 of 111 Old 01-29-2014, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

The standard is to use pink noise and a spectrum analyzer to achieve a flat response, that's been the standard for quite some time now. Every studio I've been in uses that to calibrate the room, it's not rocket science.
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Bass roll off is in every studio, same thing with the treble.
Flat response or rolled off bass & treble? Which is it that "every studio" uses "pink noise and a spectrum analyzer to achieve"?

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post #59 of 111 Old 01-30-2014, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post


Flat response or rolled off bass & treble? Which is it that "every studio" uses "pink noise and a spectrum analyzer to achieve"?

Both, very few studios go up to 20 k and down to 20, from 60 Hz to around 16 kHz the system is fairly flat.

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post #60 of 111 Old 01-30-2014, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

Both, very few studios go up to 20 k and down to 20, from 60 Hz to around 16 kHz the system is fairly flat.
The Genelec and Newell graphs show the rolloff well before 16kHz and, even worse, show differing rolloffs. The flat response and consistent standard that you believe in aren't borne out by real world measurements of actual studios.

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