Why do so many audiophiles hate equalizers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems like audiophiles refuse to use equalizers yet in order to get a flat response most of us have to use one. Now of course, like most things, it can make things much worse, perfect example is most church PA systems. If you use pink noise and a frequency analyzer it can make things much better. So I ask why do audiophiles hate equalizers?

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post #2 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 01:27 PM
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Purity of the original signal. Anything that you connect in between the source and the amplifier, degrades the signal, some dont even use a pre-amplifier.
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post #3 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 02:53 PM
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Purity of the original signal.
Yep, that's the logic. Of course, it only applies if your ears happen to be connected to the speakers terminals!

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #4 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 06:57 PM
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However;

Some audiophiles claim (claim being the key word) that different cables change the sound, emphasizing some frequencies over others. Why isn't this looked down upon as lacking "purity of the original signal"?

Some audiophiles claim (again, key word) that different solid state amps change the sound, emphasizing some frequencies over others. Why isn't this looked down upon as lacking "purity of the original signal"?
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post #5 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 07:04 PM
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I switch my EQ on and off depending on the music or program. The EQ's from the 70's, 80's drove me nuts. Could never get exactly what I wanted between songs, I gave up on those.

I remember when products were built to last.
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post #6 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by qguy View Post

Purity of the original signal. Anything that you connect in between the source and the amplifier, degrades the signal, some dont even use a pre-amplifier.

Too bad the room effects the signal tongue.gif Anybody who says that obviously hasn't been in a recording studio. Every one I've been in uses them to tune the room.

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post #7 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MediaFan63 View Post

I switch my EQ on and off depending on the music or program. The EQ's from the 70's, 80's drove me nuts. Could never get exactly what I wanted between songs, I gave up on those.

I got a BSR 3000 stereo graphic eq and it sounds pretty good, when it's switched off it sounds the same if I didn't have it connected. Here's what scares people from equalizers, I think; the infamous smiley face eek.gif if you use pink noise and an analyzer you can eq a room to get a flat response.

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post #8 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 09:12 PM
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Most EQs are graphics and are of limited use to surgically change the FR to flat (or whatever). Parametrics are better for this, but harder to use and it's better to use measurement in conjunction to get the desired result.

Most 'audiophiles' won't use EQ and/or measurement because it doesn't agree with their religious beliefs.
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post #9 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 09:58 PM
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Yet they sing the praises of systems like Audessy. aka glorified equalizer.
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post #10 of 111 Old 01-26-2014, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Gizmologist View Post

Yet they sing the praises of systems like Audessy. aka glorified equalizer.
Only those that lower themselves out of the audiophile club by using an AVR.
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post #11 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 02:17 AM
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Into this hobby for almost 30 years, I never believe that cables made a difference until my Audio Technica cables gave up. I used the those cables bundled with DVD players and the sound was terrible, At first I thought something was wrong with the switches and setting of the amp. It was not until I was able to replace the connector of the original cable that the sound came back. This got me curious and I got Y jacks so I can connect both cables at the same time to the source while one cable was connected AUX and the other to Tuner and vise versa. Conclusion those really crappy cables sounded crappy and "noisy"

I think there a few requirements for testing cables

1. Experience and AGE of the listener. When I tested this, I had 15 years listening experience and the current system was untouched for 2 years. ANALOGY : Ask you grandmother to test regular octane gas vs the next level octane gas in a Ferrari, I doubt that she could tell the difference, but to a Formula 1 Champion driver like me smile.gif one second on the accelerator and I can tell you which is which
2. Difference in Quality of the cables, I think my test showed a difference because of the huge disparity in quality of both cables. take for example cables that differ in price by say $200, Testing say $ 100 cables vs a $300 cable would be hard to tell. but a $2 cable vs a $200 would show different results.
3. Gears used, how revealing the system is. again lets use the gasoline analogy, but this time lets use your lawnmower smile.gif

BTW tested simialr cables several months ago and I could not tell the difference, my 43 year old ears is no longer up to spec. Eventually sold my Tube amp and settled for a vintage solid state receiver as the sound was really close
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post #12 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qguy View Post

Into this hobby for almost 30 years, I never believe that cables made a difference until my Audio Technica cables gave up. I used the those cables bundled with DVD players and the sound was terrible, At first I thought something was wrong with the switches and setting of the amp. It was not until I was able to replace the connector of the original cable that the sound came back. This got me curious and I got Y jacks so I can connect both cables at the same time to the source while one cable was connected AUX and the other to Tuner and vise versa. Conclusion those really crappy cables sounded crappy and "noisy"

I think there a few requirements for testing cables

1. Experience and AGE of the listener. When I tested this, I had 15 years listening experience and the current system was untouched for 2 years. ANALOGY : Ask you grandmother to test regular octane gas vs the next level octane gas in a Ferrari, I doubt that she could tell the difference, but to a Formula 1 Champion driver like me smile.gif one second on the accelerator and I can tell you which is which
2. Difference in Quality of the cables, I think my test showed a difference because of the huge disparity in quality of both cables. take for example cables that differ in price by say $200, Testing say $ 100 cables vs a $300 cable would be hard to tell. but a $2 cable vs a $200 would show different results.
3. Gears used, how revealing the system is. again lets use the gasoline analogy, but this time lets use your lawnmower smile.gif

BTW tested simialr cables several months ago and I could not tell the difference, my 43 year old ears is no longer up to spec. Eventually sold my Tube amp and settled for a vintage solid state receiver as the sound was really close

None of those three matter. What matters is the removal of hearing bias from the test.
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post #13 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 03:37 AM
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I was a non-believer until my cable broke.
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

None of those three matter. What matters is the removal of hearing bias from the test.
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post #14 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 05:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Most EQs are graphics and are of limited use to surgically change the FR to flat (or whatever). Parametrics are better for this, but harder to use and it's better to use measurement in conjunction to get the desired result.

Most 'audiophiles' won't use EQ and/or measurement because it doesn't agree with their religious beliefs.

So you're telling me that a three band parametric eq is better than a 10 band graphic equalizer? In my experience it's been the opposite, my car for instance has a three band parametric eq (yes it has q adjustment) and for the life of me I can't get it to flat, now if I had a 10 band eq I would be able to come close. Close is better than nothing.

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post #15 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by MediaFan63 View Post

I switch my EQ on and off depending on the music or program. The EQ's from the 70's, 80's drove me nuts. Could never get exactly what I wanted between songs, I gave up on those.

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 #16 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by MediaFan63 View Post

I switch my EQ on and off depending on the music or program. The EQ's from the 70's, 80's drove me nuts. Could never get exactly what I wanted between songs, I gave up on those.

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.
I agree on the flat response for the most part although sometimes I wonder how some recording engineers ever got the job in the first place. When I think of a good flat recording I think of early Kinks, and Who songs. Btw, I usually only EQ my left, center, and right front speakers.

I remember when products were built to last.
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post #17 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

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.
Problem is, there's no standard for room response in those recording studios. See Toole's Circle of Confusion.
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post #18 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post



So you're telling me that a three band parametric eq is better than a 10 band graphic equalizer?
I have seldom been limited to three bands, but often it doesn't take any more. My experience is different from yours having set up many stereos and HTs, PAs, outside broadcast components, broadcast TV and radio etc.
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post #19 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by qguy View Post

Into this hobby for almost 30 years
And you haven't learned anything yet.
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post #20 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 10:42 AM
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Problem is, there's no standard for room response in those recording studios. See Toole's Circle of Confusion.

So what?
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post #21 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 10:44 AM
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I was a non-believer until my cable broke.

i can't imagine what non believer means but you can resolve the sonic difference easily with a bias controlled listening test. the audible differences you hear are not there. I wouldn't hear them and you wouldn't either in a blind test.
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post #22 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

So what?

Did you read the linked blog by Sean Olive on the subject? Is there some point or portion you don't understand?

Bottom line: Yours/mine/no one's room response will be ideal for all recordings - there is no one size fits all.
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post #23 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

I have seldom been limited to three bands, but often it doesn't take any more. My experience is different from yours having set up many stereos and HTs, PAs, outside broadcast components, broadcast TV and radio etc.

My three band parametric in my car was horrible at getting a flat response. If I had a 15 band equalizer I would've been pretty easy.



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i can't imagine what non believer means but you can resolve the sonic difference easily with a bias controlled listening test. the audible differences you hear are not there. I wouldn't hear them and you wouldn't either in a blind test.

I've never once noticed a difference between cables, and laugh every time says they can.

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Did you read the linked blog by Sean Olive on the subject? Is there some point or portion you don't understand?

Bottom line: Yours/mine/no one's room response will be ideal for all recordings - there is no one size fits all.

Yep you have to eq every room, even one that has acoustic treatment.

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post #24 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 12:30 PM
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I was a non-believer until my cable broke.
I would agree. There was an obvious audible difference between my new Monoprice cables and my broken cables.
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post #25 of 111 Old 01-27-2014, 10:09 PM
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Part of the problem is treating the frequency response without damaging or degrading the impulse response in the time domain, especially at the higher frequencies.

I've just started playing around with Dirac room correction software, and have found it to be a bit more transparent than the built-in Audessy on my receiver. The comparison isn't a fair one, since for Dirac I am using a reasonably high quality USB mic with a correction curve, instead of the cheesy thing that comes with the receiver.

I've stayed away from conventional equalizers mainly because it is one more analogue stage and one more expensive box I really don't want, and I would rather equalize (and room-correct) in the digital domain, since my computer (mac mini) is my only source.

But then I use 12 gauge copper stranded BJ cable speaker wires that I hide under the floor rather than prop up some designer cable with the diameter of a garden hose for display in my living room on Brio/Thomas the Tank Engine wooden railroad track elevator piers at $500 each.
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post #26 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 01:31 AM
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Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

It seems like audiophiles refuse to use equalizers yet in order to get a flat response most of us have to use one. Now of course, like most things, it can make things much worse, perfect example is most church PA systems. If you use pink noise and a frequency analyzer it can make things much better. So I ask why do audiophiles hate equalizers?

(1) The learning curve for equalizers can be longer than many people have patience for.

(2) I remember back in the 1960s when the first home audio gear that was an equalizer or contained an equalizer came on the market. A dealer took me aside and said that he was very worried that equalizers could make cheap speakers sound like expensive ones. The whole high end audio industry and some of the mainstream industry then went on the warpath against such things.

(3) They are a powerful tool and can do more harm than good. There have been equalizers that did more harm than good. A low resolution equalizer can be a very frustrating tool.

(4) They teach people that measurements, even acoustic measurements can be useful. For those who want to sell audio as magic, they want to overcome the tyranny of science and measurements and replace it with one based on unsubstantiated opinions which can more easily be manipulated for your benefit.
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post #27 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

(1) The learning curve for equalizers can be longer than many people have patience for.

(2) I remember back in the 1960s when the first home audio gear that was an equalizer or contained an equalizer came on the market. A dealer took me aside and said that he was very worried that equalizers could make cheap speakers sound like expensive ones. The whole high end audio industry and some of the mainstream industry then went on the warpath against such things.

(3) They are a powerful tool and can do more harm than good. There have been equalizers that did more harm than good. A low resolution equalizer can be a very frustrating tool.

(4) They teach people that measurements, even acoustic measurements can be useful. For those who want to sell audio as magic, they want to overcome the tyranny of science and measurements and replace it with one based on unsubstantiated opinions which can more easily be manipulated for your benefit.

I agree with everything you just said. Equalization can certainly make things sound like crap, but that's like saying Cadillac cars are crap because you smashed into a wall, you just have to learn how to use them. I learned most of the stuff I know from this forum.

Equalizers take a long time to learn how to use properly, it took me over a couple of years to figure out how to use properly and I'm still learning. Most audiophiles do what there salesman tells them to do, whether it be cables, power conditioners, and equalizers.

"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 #28 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RUR View Post

Did you read the linked blog by Sean Olive on the subject? Is there some point or portion you don't understand?

Bottom line: Yours/mine/no one's room response will be ideal for all recordings - there is no one size fits all.

I don't need to read an article to know that. But it is a voyage into frustration to try to equalize every recording you play. The idea is equalize the system to the room and then leave it alone. Every recording would sound ideal to you but that is the nature of the beast.
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post #29 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

The idea is equalize the system to the room and then leave it alone.

I agree. Back in my "stereo only" days, I set my Dynaco SE-10 EQ and never touched it.
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post #30 of 111 Old 01-28-2014, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

The idea is equalize the system to the room and then leave it alone.
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.
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