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EQ yet one more time

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  • regtas43
    I know I keep saying the same thing over and over. But people do not seem to believe it! Tom in particular keeps commenting on the balance of speakers. What
    Message 1 of 28 , Jun 8, 2014

       I know I keep saying the same thing over and over. But people do not seem to believe it! Tom in particular keeps commenting on the balance of speakers. What for?: If you want a warmer bass and a rolled down treble--go fot it. Any speaker can be made to do that(assuming it has some bass to begin with).

      This is simply not the point, not what really counts unless for some weird reason you absolutely will not EQ.  This is the electronic age. EQ is nothing hard to do. WHat is hard to do is to get a speaker that is really well behaved mechanically and really coherent and free of oddball colorations not obviously attached to EQable things. Reading TM I feel as if I were back in the dark ages before EQ worked well.  Back then, balance was almost all, But no more.

      :"That was yesterday and yesterday's gone"

      REG

    • Tom Mallin
      Do the larger PSB speakers qualify as really coherent for purposes of what you are looking for in modern speakers? In your reviews and comment you have said
      Message 2 of 28 , Jun 8, 2014
        Do the larger PSB speakers qualify as "really coherent" for purposes of what you are looking for in modern speakers?  In your reviews and comment you have said that you have to sit back aways from them for the drivers to really cohere.  This militates against near-field listening, the type of listening which gets the listening room acoustics most out of the picture.

        On Jun 8, 2014, at 11:40 PM, "regtas43@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

         

         I know I keep saying the same thing over and over. But people do not seem to believe it! Tom in particular keeps commenting on the balance of speakers. What for?: If you want a warmer bass and a rolled down treble--go fot it. Any speaker can be made to do that(assuming it has some bass to begin with).

        This is simply not the point, not what really counts unless for some weird reason you absolutely will not EQ.  This is the electronic age. EQ is nothing hard to do. WHat is hard to do is to get a speaker that is really well behaved mechanically and really coherent and free of oddball colorations not obviously attached to EQable things. Reading TM I feel as if I were back in the dark ages before EQ worked well.  Back then, balance was almost all, But no more.

        :"That was yesterday and yesterday's gone"

        REG

      • regtas43
        They are coherent at reasonable distance but up really close, one (at least I) tend to hear the mid-tweeter combination as separate from the distributed bass
        Message 3 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014

          They are coherent at reasonable distance but up really close, one (at least I) tend to hear the mid-tweeter combination as separate from the distributed bass units. This is it seems the price you pay for the tact that the distributed bass units make the usual problem of interaction with the floor much much less--almost gone(cf the in room response of the PSB Synchrony 1 in Sphile ).   I think the speakers were not really intended to be listened to from very close range. Rather few speakers are, actually,  If one is looking for really close up listening, the possibilities are somewhat cut down.

          REG

        • tonycdk
          I agree that low distortion and coherence are really critical parameters in speaker selection. However, I am having difficulty in interpreting what Tom s
          Message 4 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
            I agree that low distortion and coherence are really critical parameters in speaker selection.

            However, I am having difficulty in interpreting what Tom's "warm" and "tight " bass mean, and hope that you can shed some light on this.  Does "warm" bass mean that the speaker generates a lot of distortion products (particularly second harmonic), or that it peaks above the fundamental frequency, or that it actually produces the fundamental frequency?  Does "tight" bass mean that it actually reproduces what it is fed without distortion or other inaccuracies, or merely that it can not reproduce the fundamental?

            Perhaps the terms mean something completely different.

            Tony
          • mike44402903
            Is there training by which one can learn to recognize a speaker that is really well behaved mechanically and really coherent and free of oddball colorations
            Message 5 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
              Is there training by which one can learn to recognize a speaker "that is really well behaved mechanically and really coherent and free of oddball colorations not obviously attached to EQable things"? We are not born with this talent, those who are not musicians (or professional audio critics) perhaps even less so.

              In reading Robert's advice, I have come to realize that, when I audition speakers, my main criteria have been (1) realism of timbres, and (2) lack of irritation, and (3) engaging dynamics at a range of volumes.

              Dealers never have EQ in their systems and rarely have decently treated rooms -- which complicates this a lot.

              Yes, voice + orchestra is helpful test music. I also use piano and guitar (separately) to listen for pitch-specific tonal anomalies or unevenness. I use string quartet and harpsichord, because I will be listening to a lot of them. I use a Bach cello suite, but I've come to believe that most of what one hears there is room/speaker interaction.

              This is a tiring, and probably inefficient, way of auditioning speakers. An online course of ear training would be great!
            • Ted Rook
              I don t know about training to hear online course but there is one that is based on a set of CDs here http://www.moultonlabs.com/full/product01/ I have no
              Message 6 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                I don't know about "training to hear" online course but there is one that is based on a set of
                CDs here

                http://www.moultonlabs.com/full/product01/

                I have no experience with it personally however it stuck in my mind as possibly useful.

                Ted


                On 9 Jun 2014 at 8:25, mike@... [regsaudioforum] wrote:

                >
                >
                >
                > Is there training by which one can learn to recognize a speaker
                > "that is really well behaved
                > mechanically and really coherent and free of oddball colorations not
                > obviously attached to EQable
                > things"? We are not born with this talent, those who are not
                > musicians (or professional audio
                > critics) perhaps even less so.
                >
                > In reading Robert's advice, I have come to realize that, when I
                > audition speakers, my main criteria
                > have been (1) realism of timbres, and (2) lack of irritation, and
                > (3) engaging dynamics at a range
                > of volumes.
                >
                > Dealers never have EQ in their systems and rarely have decently
                > treated rooms -- which
                > complicates this a lot.
                >
                > Yes, voice + orchestra is helpful test music. I also use piano and
                > guitar (separately) to listen for
                > pitch-specific tonal anomalies or unevenness. I use string quartet
                > and harpsichord, because I will
                > be listening to a lot of them. I use a Bach cello suite, but I've
                > come to believe that most of what
                > one hears there is room/speaker interaction.
                >
                > This is a tiring, and probably inefficient, way of auditioning
                > speakers. An online course of ear
                > training would be great!
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • mike44402903
                Thanks, Ted! When I was landscaping our large lot, reference books seemed too expensive -- until some plants, put in with great effort, died. Then, I started
                Message 7 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                  Thanks, Ted!

                  When I was landscaping our large lot, reference books seemed too expensive -- until some plants, put in with great effort, died. Then, I started building a library.

                  This course (at US$220) looks like a similar case.

                  Mike
                • Tom Mallin
                  I use the term warm bass to merely indicate that the measured bass level is a few dB higher than the measured reference level at 1 kHz. To counteract the
                  Message 8 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                    I use the term "warm" bass to merely indicate that the measured bass level is a few dB higher than the measured reference level at 1 kHz.  To counteract the bass thinness of many/most recordings, I find that the measured bass level must increase starting around 200 to 250 Hz and ramp up in level until it is 3 to 6 dB above the 1 kHz reference level from about 100 Hz on down.  This is an almost universal finding of those who have used DSP systems to construct target response curves for their systems.  For maximally natural tonality with the vast majority of commercial recordings, the target curve should roll up a bit in the bass and roll down a bit in the top two octaves. 

                    Look at the Stereophile measurements of the Stirling LS3/6, figure 4 on this page:  http://www.stereophile.com/content/stirling-broadcast-bbc-ls36-loudspeaker-measurements  That's warm enough.  Now compare that measurement with how most speakers measure via the same methods JA uses.  Most speakers measure much closer to the 1 kHz reference level in the bass, but rather than sound naturally balanced, such speakers tend to sound either "thin" in the bass or "tight," in the bass, depending on how you react to it.  Those of us familiar with the real unamplified thing in good-sounding halls will call it thin.  Those who are more enamored with bass detail from box-bass speakers and who love flat response graphs and who are less familiar with how real music sounds will call it "tight" so as to make clear that the speaker has none of the dreaded excess midbass flab/flatulence/boom etc.




                    On Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM, tcdk@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                     

                    I agree that low distortion and coherence are really critical parameters in speaker selection.


                    However, I am having difficulty in interpreting what Tom's "warm" and "tight " bass mean, and hope that you can shed some light on this.  Does "warm" bass mean that the speaker generates a lot of distortion products (particularly second harmonic), or that it peaks above the fundamental frequency, or that it actually produces the fundamental frequency?  Does "tight" bass mean that it actually reproduces what it is fed without distortion or other inaccuracies, or merely that it can not reproduce the fundamental?

                    Perhaps the terms mean something completely different.

                    Tony


                  • regtas43
                    Was this a response to my remarks? I like warm bass too and approve of it on various theoretical grounds. . My point is/was that it is easily arranged by EQ,
                    Message 9 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014

                      Was this a response to my remarks? I like warm bass too and approve of it on various theoretical grounds. . My point is/was that it is easily arranged by EQ, even if it is not there!

                      Tom has I think never really accepted in his heart of hearts the idea of EQing on a permanent basis. He still seems to be looking--as apparently he has for decades--for a speaker that is ideal in frequency response for him without EQ. "Wouldn't it be nice?" but it is not likely to happen!

                      REG

                    • Tom Mallin
                      Just so we put things into proper perspective: Even in my very-bass-problematic basement concrete bunker listening room, the Harbeth M40/40.1s (the 40s much
                      Message 10 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                        Just so we put things into proper perspective:  Even in my very-bass-problematic basement concrete bunker listening room, the Harbeth M40/40.1s (the 40s much more so) are the ONLY speakers I've ever owned which have absolutely required add-on electronic bass equalization.  With all other speakers I've had in there, there have always been positions which give a combination of acceptable bass flatness and good imaging and staging.  With the big Harbeths I never found long-term (that is, for more than a day or two, usually no longer than a few minutes) acceptable positions for listener or speakers without electronic EQ.  

                        Even corner-placed JL subs are acceptably flat without additional EQ in that basement bunker when the subs are placed in the corners adjoining the long wall and the system fires across the short dimension.  The list of "full range" speakers which have had acceptably fine bass balance and overall balance in there without additional EQ include all the vintage ARs, the AR-303a (with highs toned down a bit with tissue behind the grill cloth), all the Gradients, the Stirlings, the Carver Amazing Platinum Mk IV, the Cello Strad Premier, the Legacy Whisper, the Linkwitz Orions, the Ohm Walsh 5, the Siefert Maxim III (a bit of a peak at 12 kHz), the Sequerra Met 7 Mk II, and the Sanders 10C (but highs either too beamy, or overall sound too defocused, and the standard system electronic crossover/EQ was too noisy).

                        To my mind, acceptable overall tonal balance was achieved before 1970 with the vintage AR speakers.  Set them up near a wall behind them, and I have yet to find any room where any of them did not sound musically natural in balance, from the lowly AR-4x (listening to them in my office right now), to the AR-2ax, AR-5, AR-3, and AR-3a.  No matter where you place them, there is never any midbass boom, the midrange seems natural and the highs never glare.  The same was true for the old KLH speakers and the Advents, all of which had acoustic suspension bass.  That's the main reason I'm so fond of such speakers.  The balance is just almost automatically right is you just obey the near-the-wall-behind-them rule.

                        The Stirlings are shaping up as another such speaker which works well in many situations.  


                        On Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 12:13 PM, regtas43@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                         

                        Was this a response to my remarks? I like warm bass too and approve of it on various theoretical grounds. . My point is/was that it is easily arranged by EQ, even if it is not there!

                        Tom has I think never really accepted in his heart of hearts the idea of EQing on a permanent basis. He still seems to be looking--as apparently he has for decades--for a speaker that is ideal in frequency response for him without EQ. "Wouldn't it be nice?" but it is not likely to happen!

                        REG


                      • regtas43
                        I am not trying to give anyone a hard time and not TM in particular, But it does seem that the habit of describing the balance of speakers is so ingrained--and
                        Message 11 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014

                           I am not trying to give anyone a hard time and not TM in particular, But it does seem that the habit of describing the balance of speakers is so ingrained--and of course reviewers including me do this too--that one tends to lose sight of the fact that in its broad aspects it is truly adjustable.

                          This is not to say that it should not be right. I think it is truly regrettable that such a high percentage of modern speakers have a rising top end. This would not matter if people would EQ it back down to flat(or dropping a bit). But mostly they won't.

                          But I am supposing that people here really are moving on, are getting into the future where adjusting frequency response in broad terms is routine--as it should be.

                          Nothing else really makes any sense in this age of penalty free electronic manipulation.

                          Of course there is something fascinating about speakers that manage the trick almost perfectly without EQ correction. It was really fun to watch the SIgtech rep punching in and out the correction of the Spendor SP1/2 in my old listening room and wondering if anything was happening, if the correction had even been entered or if both settings were "bypass", so little correction was needed.

                          But realistically, I think this sort of thing is rare. Even the best speakers usually need a little help with room effects. And indeed in the bass there is an argument to be made for the corner woofer idea--which always has way too much, big peaks etc but EQs down to sounding really good.

                          We have spent so much time talking about this that it is mildly disturbing to read posts on and on about the broadband balance--and especially the bass-- of speakers in various rooms. especially atypical ones. But even typical ones are not all the same.

                          Correcting things is where audio is going--or ought to be. That is my view anyway

                          REG

                        • mike44402903
                          REG Correcting things is where audio is going--or ought to be. That is my view anyway
                          Message 12 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                            REG >>Correcting things is where audio is going--or ought to be. That is my view anyway<<

                            I wish we were going there, but I'm pessimistic. How many high-end preamps have even rudimentary tone controls? Is Sigtech still selling to the audiophile? TacT? Z-systems? How many high-end dealers sell equalizers? How many US dealers does Lyngdorf have?

                            Bad dealers still sell speakers on volume and strong bass. Good dealers sell on overall tonal balance. No dealer sells saying, I will give you a good EQ if you buy this, and I'll get it to sound perfect for you.

                            I am all for good equalization, but it's hard to see the fault in anyone's wanting a speaker to sound good as designed, without the nuisance of EQ.
                          • regtas43
                            A few points 1 I do not see EQ as a nuisance. If you do not want to change it for each recording, just set it so the speaker sounds right and forget about it.
                            Message 13 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014

                              A few points

                              1 I do not see EQ as a nuisance. If you do not want to change it for each recording, just set it so the speaker sounds right and forget about it.

                              2 It is not really a choice. The bass will never be really right without it. Unless one is wildly lucky, bass EQ is necessry. People have gotten used to hearing bad bass but it is still wrong.

                              3 Sigtech is out of business and Tact does not seem to be around much, But DSPeaker is very much in evidence. Trinnov is doing well I believe. :Lyngdorf's digital amplifiers with RoomPerfect are on the scene and at reasonable prices. And lots of people who are doing computer music have had it brought to their attention that including EQ is easy and cheap(even free). Incidentally when WIMP and things like that(a service like Spotify except one gets full CD quality) arrive--which will be soon--everyone will be doing computer music!

                              4 Z Systems bailed on the consumer market as such though one can still buy the devices. Too bad --the consumer's loss.

                               

                              But computers will bring it all home.

                               

                              I suppose on the practical level at the moment people still like something that works pretty well without EQ. But this eschewing of EQ probably won't last long on account of computers.

                              And it should not have lasted anywhere near as long as it has.

                               

                              It almost defies belief that people were willing to pay thousands for cables for goodness' sake and not to buy a Z Systems--or even just an analogue EQ.

                              Looked at logically, this makes those particular audiophiles appear something very like crazy.

                               

                              But the times are changing. Slowly but surely, DSP EQ will take over. It is already there in the surround world. Audyssey and other such systems are already there in a lot of mass market receivers.

                               

                              Maybe that was  not at first an  ideal realization of the idea--it needed more user control I thought(I do not really know how it is now,  having encountered only a very early version--I think it is much improved from what I am told). But  it is there and if it needs improvement, improvement will come along.

                               

                              High End may be ignoring all this to some extent. But that won't  stop it from happening --and soon.

                               

                              It has been a long pull but victory or what I see as victory is in sight. Audio will surely be the better for it.

                              So I believe

                               

                              REG


                               

                            • regtas43
                              I do not want people to misunderstand. Of course it is a vital matter what speaker one buys. It is by far the most important part in determining what a system
                              Message 14 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014

                                I do not want people to misunderstand. Of course it is a vital matter what speaker one buys. It is by far the most important part in determining what a system will sound like.

                                What I was trying to get across is that something like being all wound up in the AR3a because it rolls the top down is not really sensible. Any speaker can be made to roll the top down. And any speaker that has adequate bass dynamic capability can be made to have a little extra bass , too.

                                All this sort of thing is just  a solved problem. The real virtues or failings of speakers lie elsewhere.

                                This does not mean that speakers are  a solved problem!

                                 

                                To some extent this sort of thing has always been true. Not only was there external (analogue ) EQ

                                but one could fix things with filters. I changed the top end of my original BC1s  a bit with a few extra crossover bits. William Seneca built  a line level filter to fix the Quad 63s some. This was always possible. It has just gotten a lot easier!

                                 

                                Anyway it is good to buy a speaker you like--but don't expect the bass to be perfect. And if you want to roll off the top... well, good luck finding a speaker that does that. But don't worry about hunting up a pair of ARs--just roll it down with a tone control of some sort.  TM seems to have spent much of his life adjusting tonal balance in broadband terms by buying speakers. Maybe it was fun. But it is surely expensive and not very efficient as things are today. To each his own but....surely no one really thinks the big deal about Harbeth is the contoured frequency response as such. If it were, you could take a cheap speaker and make it a Harbeth with a $200 EQ device. Of course in listening, the general contour of the frequency response is important. Very important. But to the extent that it is externally controllable , surely it is clear that it is not the really big deal about good speakers versus not so good ones?

                                 

                                REG

                                 


                                 

                              • thomasmallin
                                I agree with 1. That s the way I do it. I don t currently have an EQ system easy enough to adjust for each recording. The DSPeaker Dual Core is such a
                                Message 15 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                                  I agree with 1.  That's the way I do it. 

                                  I don't currently have an EQ system easy enough to adjust for each recording.  The DSPeaker Dual Core is such a system.  But even with that one, I usually left it with the settings that "set it so the speaker sounds right and forget about it."  I abandoned the Dual Core because the A/D-D/A processing was not transparent with my sources and especially because the noise it added to the system's noise floor made even the quietest digital recordings sound like Dolby A analog--some hiss present and the hiss was constant in level so that the quieter the music the more obtrusive the hiss. 

                                  I've used analog or digital EQ in my basement room more or less constantly since 1994 and before that I had ordinary tone controls on a Van Alstine FET Valve preamp.  Other EQ devices I've used which could be adjusted on the fly for particular recordings are the TacT RCS 2.2XP and the Cello Palette Preamp. 

                                  I think all the other add-on electronic EQ devices I've used were too complicated to adjust on the fly:  Z-Systems rdp-1 (like REG's unit--wish I'd never sold it), Rives PARC, Rane DEQ-60L, Audient ASP231 (I used before and again now), Behringer DEQ 2496.  


                                  ---In regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com, <regtas43@...> wrote :

                                  A few points

                                  1 I do not see EQ as a nuisance. If you do not want to change it for each recording, just set it so the speaker sounds right and forget about it.

                                  2 It is not really a choice. The bass will never be really right without it. Unless one is wildly lucky, bass EQ is necessry. People have gotten used to hearing bad bass but it is still wrong.

                                  3 Sigtech is out of business and Tact does not seem to be around much, But DSPeaker is very much in evidence. Trinnov is doing well I believe. :Lyngdorf's digital amplifiers with RoomPerfect are on the scene and at reasonable prices. And lots of people who are doing computer music have had it brought to their attention that including EQ is easy and cheap(even free). Incidentally when WIMP and things like that(a service like Spotify except one gets full CD quality) arrive--which will be soon--everyone will be doing computer music!

                                  4 Z Systems bailed on the consumer market as such though one can still buy the devices. Too bad --the consumer's loss.

                                   

                                  But computers will bring it all home.

                                   

                                  I suppose on the practical level at the moment people still like something that works pretty well without EQ. But this eschewing of EQ probably won't last long on account of computers.

                                  And it should not have lasted anywhere near as long as it has.

                                   

                                  It almost defies belief that people were willing to pay thousands for cables for goodness' sake and not to buy a Z Systems--or even just an analogue EQ.

                                  Looked at logically, this makes those particular audiophiles appear something very like crazy.

                                   

                                  But the times are changing. Slowly but surely, DSP EQ will take over. It is already there in the surround world. Audyssey and other such systems are already there in a lot of mass market receivers.

                                   

                                  Maybe that was  not at first an  ideal realization of the idea--it needed more user control I thought(I do not really know how it is now,  having encountered only a very early version--I think it is much improved from what I am told). But  it is there and if it needs improvement, improvement will come along.

                                   

                                  High End may be ignoring all this to some extent. But that won't  stop it from happening --and soon.

                                   

                                  It has been a long pull but victory or what I see as victory is in sight. Audio will surely be the better for it.

                                  So I believe

                                   

                                  REG


                                   

                                • mike44402903
                                  Though I called EQ a nuisance, I have been using it for decades. I quite agree that computer audio is what will make EQ more accepted. In my office system,
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Jun 9, 2014
                                    Though I called EQ a nuisance, I have been using it for decades.

                                    I quite agree that computer audio is what will make EQ more accepted. In my office system, where I use J River, I implemented a crossover for an active sub in 10 minutes. EQ for the mains is easily done, too, with parametric EQ only a little more trouble. Cost of a Bryston active crossover: US$3000+. Cost of doing it in JRiver: $0.

                                    Oddly, J River has no balance control, and its EQ is not simple to set to baseline, then tweak per recording.The best setup I had for that was the TacT 2.2X, but that's sunk in the depths of a modifier's workbench. The new DEQX PreMATE looks impressive, though not cheap.

                                    http://www.deqx.com/product-premate-overview.php

                                    By a nuisance, I meant only that most high-end systems are sold without the means to measure or correct frequency response. To add that (especially if your ears lack training) can cost hundreds -- more likely thousands -- of dollars and considerable effort. Also, many of the EQ products available (as Tom noted) are not completely transparent. So, not a nuisance in everyday operation, but a nuisance to obtain, set up, and pay for.

                                    Mike
                                  • Peter
                                    ... True.  But I would argue that such a high percentage of modern listeners have a rising median age.  In the U.S., it s gone from 30.0 in 1950 to 37.1 in
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Jun 10, 2014
                                      such a high percentage of modern speakers have a rising top end

                                      True.  But I would argue that "such a high percentage of modern listeners have a rising median age."  In the U.S., it's gone from 30.0 in 1950 to 37.1 in 2010.  That suggests a drooping top end, at least for the ears.


                                      On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:13 AM, "mike@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                                       
                                      Though I called EQ a nuisance, I have been using it for decades.

                                      I quite agree that computer audio is what will make EQ more accepted. In my office system, where I use J River, I implemented a crossover for an active sub in 10 minutes. EQ for the mains is easily done, too, with parametric EQ only a little more trouble. Cost of a Bryston active crossover: US$3000+. Cost of doing it in JRiver: $0.

                                      Oddly, J River has no balance control, and its EQ is not simple to set to baseline, then tweak per recording.The best setup I had for that was the TacT 2.2X, but that's sunk in the depths of a modifier's workbench. The new DEQX PreMATE looks impressive, though not cheap.

                                      http://www.deqx.com/product-premate-overview.php

                                      By a nuisance, I meant only that most high-end systems are sold without the means to measure or correct frequency response. To add that (especially if your ears lack training) can cost hundreds -- more likely thousands -- of dollars and considerable effort. Also, many of the EQ products available (as Tom noted) are not completely transparent. So, not a nuisance in everyday operation, but a nuisance to obtain, set up, and pay for.

                                      Mike


                                    • djanszen1
                                      Since JRiver lets one save EQ profiles by name for later recall, you can save one called baseline, then use it as the starting point for per-recording
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Jun 10, 2014

                                        Since JRiver lets one save EQ profiles by name for later recall, you can save one called baseline, then use it as the starting point for per-recording profiles. There is, however, already a room compensation interface that might be used this way. A nice new feature, of course, if the mastermind behind JRiver were not indisposed by tragic accident, would be a way of tagging each file in the library to use a particular EQ profile automatically. 


                                        JRiver's EQ seems to work well enough, as do others, but a new impediment to the use of EQ has arisen. If one is a proponent of the new wave of high resolution DSD files, it's not possible to EQ the streams without converting to PCM first, which JRiver seems to do without malice, but purists might object. 

                                         

                                        If one is determined to leave the DSD stream alone, then unfortunately one has to contend with the the fact that it's practically impossible to avoid degrading the signal when redigitizing the especially pristine analog output of a high resolution DAC. One is put thus in the position of using analog EQ, which thence puts one at the mercy of claims regarding its side effects, such as on phase and S/N, claims that vary in truthfulness, and again, one is almost surely going to degrade the signal to some extent. 


                                        Assuming there's no reason not to use EQ, however, aside from the lack of popularity of EQ among high end audio aficionados and dealers mentioned earlier in this thread, and REG's optimism about its progress and inevitability in high end audio, I think speaker designers should strive to obviate the need for EQ as much as possible, with speakers that start out sounding right in the listening area and minimize the harm done to the sound by the room, including in the bass. I might assume this must be what all are aiming for as a matter of course, but clearly, the mark often differs. 


                                        Of course, there's also the matter of taste, or accumulated adjustments to colored or uncolored sound, where a group of people randomly chosen will rarely agree as to what sounds right. 


                                        And without the application of imagination, a recording always sounds like a recording, no matter how well reproduced; there is only so far one can go in creating the illusion of individual instruments in their original environment using a pair of speakers or even an array of many of them. We can only shoot for the highest fidelity to the original performance, while providing the most enjoyable, involving experience possible. 


                                        This is mainly a matter of minimizing the artifacts that force one's attention onto the sound itself, i.e., making the presence of reproduction gear as inconspicuous as possible, and the term I prefer for this is making the sound as natural as possible (assuming good recordings, of course!), although some will prefer the term neutral. Some speakers start out this way, some can be made to disappear using EQ, and some will grab attention for themselves no matter what. 


                                        As REG points out once in a while, the [rather paltry] measurements available in some reviews are sufficient to separate out speakers in the hopeless category, and to identify some but not necessarily all speakers that will need significant amounts of EQ in a given room to satisfy a given listener. This points up the value of subjective reviews and identifying reviewers with whom we tend to agree, and trusting that when the reviewer is aware of and uses EQ, published measurements are obviated by the reviewer's competency to comment on the speaker's basic neutrality/naturalness. Hopefully, more reviewers will become EQ-aware and lead the industry into an EQ renaissance, while warning readers off the hopeless cases. 



                                        On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:13 AM, "mike@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:  
                                        .
                                        .
                                        .

                                        Oddly, J River has no balance control, and its EQ is not simple to set to baseline, then tweak per recording.The best setup I had for that was the TacT 2.2X, but that's sunk in the depths of a modifier's workbench. The new DEQX PreMATE looks impressive, though not cheap.

                                        .
                                        .
                                        .

                                        Mike


                                      • Tom Mallin
                                        This is a spurious but often cited argument for having speakers with rising top ends. With music, the he goal is to have the reproduction at home sound as
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Jun 10, 2014
                                          This is a spurious but often cited argument for having speakers with rising top ends.  With music, the he goal is to have the reproduction at home sound as much as possible like what the live sound would sound like in the performing venue.  Hearing loss operates the same way at home and at the concert, at least if the concert and home playback have similar SPL.  Thus, there is no reason for your home reproduction equipment to goose the highs compared to the live event.


                                          On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 7:43 AM, Peter alcomdata@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                           

                                          such a high percentage of modern speakers have a rising top end

                                          True.  But I would argue that "such a high percentage of modern listeners have a rising median age."  In the U.S., it's gone from 30.0 in 1950 to 37.1 in 2010.  That suggests a drooping top end, at least for the ears.


                                          On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:13 AM, "mike@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:


                                           
                                          Though I called EQ a nuisance, I have been using it for decades.

                                          I quite agree that computer audio is what will make EQ more accepted. In my office system, where I use J River, I implemented a crossover for an active sub in 10 minutes. EQ for the mains is easily done, too, with parametric EQ only a little more trouble. Cost of a Bryston active crossover: US$3000+. Cost of doing it in JRiver: $0.

                                          Oddly, J River has no balance control, and its EQ is not simple to set to baseline, then tweak per recording.The best setup I had for that was the TacT 2.2X, but that's sunk in the depths of a modifier's workbench. The new DEQX PreMATE looks impressive, though not cheap.

                                          http://www.deqx.com/product-premate-overview.php

                                          By a nuisance, I meant only that most high-end systems are sold without the means to measure or correct frequency response. To add that (especially if your ears lack training) can cost hundreds -- more likely thousands -- of dollars and considerable effort. Also, many of the EQ products available (as Tom noted) are not completely transparent. So, not a nuisance in everyday operation, but a nuisance to obtain, set up, and pay for.

                                          Mike



                                        • djanszen1
                                          Yes, the aging ears argument is spurious if one s ideal is to maximize the proportionality between live and reproduced sound that we call fidelity, but that s
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Jun 10, 2014
                                            Yes, the aging ears argument is spurious if one's ideal is to maximize the proportionality between live and reproduced sound that we call fidelity, but that's not the only possible goal -- regardless of fidelity, some people just want to enjoy music at home, or pursue their unique vision of the hobby, or try to match the memory of sound from the days of their youth. 

                                            This reminds me that I once heard a German horn-directed plasma tweeter that had the top octave up so high that I recognized the way things sounded when I was a child; of course, I'd worry that listening to that for very long would destroy what's left of my top octave hearing. 

                                            I wonder what are the health effects of super tweeter add-on's that really do have high output at 10 kHz and a rising response above? Does anyone know of reliable SPL measurements in the 10 - 40 kHz range for these things? Or the relationship between frequency and rate of hearing damage vs. time? I know there's not much musical/harmonic content in this range, but with enough boosting, I can at least imagine that it could be damaging. 
                                          • Tom Mallin
                                            David said: unfortunately one has to contend with the the fact that it s practically impossible to avoid degrading the signal when redigitizing the especially
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Jun 10, 2014
                                              David said:

                                              "unfortunately one has to contend with the the fact that it's practically impossible to avoid degrading the signal when redigitizing the especially pristine analog output of a high resolution DAC. One is put thus in the position of using analog EQ, which thence puts one at the mercy of claims regarding its side effects, such as on phase and S/N, claims that vary in truthfulness, and again, one is almost surely going to degrade the signal to some extent."

                                              Bingo!  That's been my quandary for years.  Yes, EQ does good things, but it usually also sullies the purity of the signal path with its own electronic shortcomings.  Even the best analog EQ does this.

                                              I'm sure REG hears the problems various electronic EQ device introduce as well as I do.  But his subjective evaluation places 100 points in the EQ column and only 1 to 5 points in the minus column.  He places that much more importance on getting the tonality exactly right, or he can ignore the bad because of all the good better than I can, or both. 

                                              With many electronic EQ devices, I tend to judge things at more like 5 steps forward and 2 or 3 backward.  And then I A/B the EQ with the bypass several times quickly and here little positive effect at all from the EQ, whereas I usually hear greater clarity/transparency with the bypass.  And so it goes.

                                              Sometimes, I've encountered EQ devices which I could not reliably detect when they are inserted into the signal path with no EQ actually applied.  These have included the Z-Systems rdp-1, the Rives PARC, and the Audient ASP231.  However, in every case, once the EQ is set, something vaguely not right ensues and if I bypass the EQ, rightness returns.  The Audient is like that, even confined to the signal path below 200 Hz (woofers only) as I now have it configured.  The Audient actually passes the signal when it is turned off since its internal power failure relay then operates so I can both disable its EQ and turn it off for such A/Bing.  Each step adds cleanness and transparency.  And the Audient is the cleanest EQ device I've encountered.

                                              I still use the Audient and will continue to do so until I find something which has a greater overall 10 steps forward effect.  The bass IS better when made flatter, especially in my weird room.  I just wish the two steps backward were not also there.

                                              The DSPeaker Dual Core is actually the best-sounding bass correction device I've ever used.  It flattens the bass without sucking the bass power and life out of the music and allows you to add back in as much bass weight as you like. It is uniquely good at this in my experience.  It also has a Quad-like "tilt" control that is super easy to use.  The parametric filters also work nicely above 200 Hz and overall it is BY FAR the easiest EQ device to set up and use I've ever owned.  I truly wish it were not also the most untransparent EQ device I've ever used.  For all the good it does, I just cannot bear longterm the ills it introduces in terms of added hissy noise and general degradation from digital processing.  If in your system you don't hear or don't mind the hiss, and if you can use it without the AD/DA stages, it's worth a listen.  You'll have peerless bass and much more tonal control with very little effort.  But consider yourself warned about the down side.




                                              On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 9:35 AM, hmaneuver@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                               

                                              Since JRiver lets one save EQ profiles by name for later recall, you can save one called baseline, then use it as the starting point for per-recording profiles. There is, however, already a room compensation interface that might be used this way. A nice new feature, of course, if the mastermind behind JRiver were not indisposed by tragic accident, would be a way of tagging each file in the library to use a particular EQ profile automatically. 


                                              JRiver's EQ seems to work well enough, as do others, but a new impediment to the use of EQ has arisen. If one is a proponent of the new wave of high resolution DSD files, it's not possible to EQ the streams without converting to PCM first, which JRiver seems to do without malice, but purists might object. 

                                               

                                              If one is determined to leave the DSD stream alone, then unfortunately one has to contend with the the fact that it's practically impossible to avoid degrading the signal when redigitizing the especially pristine analog output of a high resolution DAC. One is put thus in the position of using analog EQ, which thence puts one at the mercy of claims regarding its side effects, such as on phase and S/N, claims that vary in truthfulness, and again, one is almost surely going to degrade the signal to some extent. 


                                              Assuming there's no reason not to use EQ, however, aside from the lack of popularity of EQ among high end audio aficionados and dealers mentioned earlier in this thread, and REG's optimism about its progress and inevitability in high end audio, I think speaker designers should strive to obviate the need for EQ as much as possible, with speakers that start out sounding right in the listening area and minimize the harm done to the sound by the room, including in the bass. I might assume this must be what all are aiming for as a matter of course, but clearly, the mark often differs. 


                                              Of course, there's also the matter of taste, or accumulated adjustments to colored or uncolored sound, where a group of people randomly chosen will rarely agree as to what sounds right. 


                                              And without the application of imagination, a recording always sounds like a recording, no matter how well reproduced; there is only so far one can go in creating the illusion of individual instruments in their original environment using a pair of speakers or even an array of many of them. We can only shoot for the highest fidelity to the original performance, while providing the most enjoyable, involving experience possible. 


                                              This is mainly a matter of minimizing the artifacts that force one's attention onto the sound itself, i.e., making the presence of reproduction gear as inconspicuous as possible, and the term I prefer for this is making the sound as natural as possible (assuming good recordings, of course!), although some will prefer the term neutral. Some speakers start out this way, some can be made to disappear using EQ, and some will grab attention for themselves no matter what. 


                                              As REG points out once in a while, the [rather paltry] measurements available in some reviews are sufficient to separate out speakers in the hopeless category, and to identify some but not necessarily all speakers that will need significant amounts of EQ in a given room to satisfy a given listener. This points up the value of subjective reviews and identifying reviewers with whom we tend to agree, and trusting that when the reviewer is aware of and uses EQ, published measurements are obviated by the reviewer's competency to comment on the speaker's basic neutrality/naturalness. Hopefully, more reviewers will become EQ-aware and lead the industry into an EQ renaissance, while warning readers off the hopeless cases. 



                                              On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 12:13 AM, "mike@... [regsaudioforum]" <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:  
                                              .
                                              .
                                              .

                                              Oddly, J River has no balance control, and its EQ is not simple to set to baseline, then tweak per recording.The best setup I had for that was the TacT 2.2X, but that's sunk in the depths of a modifier's workbench. The new DEQX PreMATE looks impressive, though not cheap.

                                              .
                                              .
                                              .

                                              Mike



                                            • mike44402903
                                              My experience agrees with Tom s. The trade-offs of using EQ have not been simple ones to my ears, purely in audio terms. (Leaving the operational nuisance
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Jun 10, 2014
                                                My experience agrees with Tom's. The trade-offs of using EQ have not been simple ones to my ears, purely in audio terms. (Leaving the operational nuisance factor aside.)

                                                Analog EQ has never seemed completely transparent (though one doesn't always notice the issues at first). That was true of the Cello Palette Preamp I used to have, and it's true of the Audient ASP231 I have now.

                                                The only digital hardware EQ I've owned was the TacT 2.2X. It seemed transparent when used with its own DACs (modified), but digital reproduction has gotten far more subtle since. I don't know how it would compare to a good high-end DAC today.

                                                Speculation: Most digital EQ and room correction operates at a fixed sampling frequency. This necessitates sample rate conversion for most sources. Converting 44.1 to 96 involves approximations, so the quality of the result will depend on the algorithm. One can minimize the error of an algorithm, but there are infinite ways to define "error," and we don't know which one(s) apply to our ears. So this noninteger SRC is not a simple problem.

                                                I am hopeful that as digital audio improves, an affordable digital EQ will emerge.
                                              • Ken Holder
                                                ... People keep saying this, but is it true? It s just math and DSP. Maybe there isn t much gear currently to do it, or the gear is very expensive, but people
                                                Message 23 of 28 , Jun 11, 2014
                                                  On 6/10/2014 7:35 AM, hmaneuver@... [regsaudioforum] wrote:

                                                   
                                                  JRiver's EQ seems to work well enough, as do others, but a new impediment to the use of EQ has arisen. If one is a proponent of the new wave of high resolution DSD files, it's not possible to EQ the streams without converting to PCM first, which JRiver seems to do without malice, but purists might object. 

                                                  People keep saying this, but is it true? It's just math and DSP. Maybe
                                                  there isn't much gear currently to do it, or the gear is very expensive,
                                                  but people seem to think it is impossible to do.

                                                  Why is that, anyway?

                                                  Ken Holder
                                                  Old Guy
                                                  "Just math" spoken by a mathematical incompetent, that's me!

                                                  Now, if we just had a mathematician around... uh ... uh ...



                                                • Alan Jordan
                                                  I ll take this opportunity to plug computer servers and Uli s Acourate. With various other forms of room correction I ve been bothered by anomalies, but I ve
                                                  Message 24 of 28 , Jun 11, 2014
                                                    I'll take this opportunity to plug computer servers and Uli's Acourate.  With various other forms of room correction I've been bothered by anomalies, but I've only heard improvements when using Acourate with a reasonable filter.  There is no added noise from poorly designed hardware.  You can still output to your ultra high-end DAC.  You can create filters at 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, and 192 kHz so no sample rate conversion is necessary.  Using JRiver, the proper sample rate filter is chosen on the fly depending on the sample rate of the source.

                                                    As HM said, one still has to convert DSD files to PCM, so if you believe there is some special magic that DSD has over PCM you are out of luck here.  The most difficult part is learning to use Acourate properly, but there are some good tutorials on the web now that greatly ease the process.

                                                    Alan


                                                    On Tue, Jun 10, 2014 at 1:16 PM, mike@... [regsaudioforum] <regsaudioforum@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                     

                                                    My experience agrees with Tom's. The trade-offs of using EQ have not been simple ones to my ears, purely in audio terms. (Leaving the operational nuisance factor aside.)

                                                    Analog EQ has never seemed completely transparent (though one doesn't always notice the issues at first). That was true of the Cello Palette Preamp I used to have, and it's true of the Audient ASP231 I have now.

                                                    The only digital hardware EQ I've owned was the TacT 2.2X. It seemed transparent when used with its own DACs (modified), but digital reproduction has gotten far more subtle since. I don't know how it would compare to a good high-end DAC today.

                                                    Speculation: Most digital EQ and room correction operates at a fixed sampling frequency. This necessitates sample rate conversion for most sources. Converting 44.1 to 96 involves approximations, so the quality of the result will depend on the algorithm. One can minimize the error of an algorithm, but there are infinite ways to define "error," and we don't know which one(s) apply to our ears. So this noninteger SRC is not a simple problem.

                                                    I am hopeful that as digital audio improves, an affordable digital EQ will emerge.


                                                  • Ted Rook
                                                    Ken, information at wikipedia may be of interest http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Stream_Digital one answer may be that the format was deliberately chosen
                                                    Message 25 of 28 , Jun 11, 2014
                                                      Ken, information at wikipedia may be of interest

                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_Stream_Digital

                                                      one answer may be that the format was deliberately chosen by Sony to be problematic in so
                                                      far as editing and compatibility is concerned, perhaps because this serves their interest as
                                                      copyright holders of a vast catalog?

                                                      Ted





                                                      On 11 Jun 2014 at 2:39, Ken Holder ken_holder@... [regsaudRe: [regsaudioforum]
                                                      Re: EQ yet one more time wrote:

                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > On 6/10/2014 7:35 AM, hmaneuver@... [regsaudioforum]
                                                      > wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > JRiver's EQ seems to work well enough, as do others, but a new
                                                      > impediment to the use of
                                                      > EQ has arisen. If one is a proponent of the new wave of high
                                                      > resolution DSD files, it's not
                                                      > possible to EQ the streams without converting to PCM first,
                                                      > which JRiver seems to do
                                                      > without malice, but purists might object.
                                                      >
                                                      > People keep saying this, but is it true? It's just math and DSP.
                                                      > Maybe
                                                      > there isn't much gear currently to do it, or the gear is very
                                                      > expensive,
                                                      > but people seem to think it is impossible to do.
                                                      >
                                                      > Why is that, anyway?
                                                      >
                                                      > Ken Holder
                                                      > Old Guy
                                                      > "Just math" spoken by a mathematical incompetent, that's me!
                                                      >
                                                      > Now, if we just had a mathematician around... uh ... uh ...
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                    • mike44402903
                                                      AJ I ll take this opportunity to plug computer servers and Uli s Acourate.
                                                      Message 26 of 28 , Jun 11, 2014
                                                        AJ >> I'll take this opportunity to plug computer servers and Uli's Acourate.<<

                                                        Alan, Acourate is interesting. I wish Uli could find a manufacturer up to his standards to make a plug-and-play box with it.

                                                        Right now. if you have multiple sources, how do you switch among them when using Acourate?
                                                      • Kim Rochat
                                                        In my case, I run AcourateConvolver ( http://www.audiovero.de/en/acourateconvolver.html ) in a dedicated PC with digital input and output sitting between my
                                                        Message 27 of 28 , Jun 11, 2014
                                                          In my case, I run AcourateConvolver ( http://www.audiovero.de/en/acourateconvolver.html  ) in a dedicated PC with digital input and output sitting between my TacT RCS 2.2X preamp and Tact S2150 power amps.The RCS does input selection.

                                                          The PC soundcard is an RME AES-32 which has multiple digital inputs. If I wanted to I could have a different AcourateConvolver configuration defined for each input and change inputs by choosing different configurations.

                                                          Kim

                                                          At 03:11 PM 6/11/2014, you wrote:
                                                          AJ >> I'll take this opportunity to plug computer servers and Uli's Acourate.<<

                                                          Alan, Acourate is interesting. I wish Uli could find a manufacturer up to his standards to make a plug-and-play box with it.

                                                          Right now. if you have multiple sources, how do you switch among them when using Acourate?


                                                          Posted by: mike@...
                                                        • tonycdk
                                                          Mike I use two techniques to switch between sources in my system For the first approach, I use Apogee Big Bens to switch between sources. These have two
                                                          Message 28 of 28 , Jun 11, 2014
                                                            Mike

                                                            I use two techniques to switch between sources in my system

                                                            For the first approach, I use Apogee Big Bens to switch between sources.  These have two AES/EBU inputs, one SPDIF input, and one optical input.  These are more than enough for my sources.  I also use input switching in my ULN-8 to process from different sources.

                                                            The second approach uses the characteristics of BruteFIR, which runs on my convolution computer (I don't intend to try JRiver because it is very limited in the number of correction coefficients - not enough low frequency resolution for me).

                                                            I use the RME HDSPe AES card to input/output from the convolution computer.  This card can accept up to 16 stereo channels of information.  I use different inputs to the RME card from each source and sum them 
                                                            ( i.e. sum all of the left channel data into a single data stream, and so on for the other channels) in BruteFIR before application of the correction filters.  I never play from more than one source at a time and BruteFIR sets any channels without data to zero so the summation only passes the active channel.

                                                            Pretty simple really.

                                                            Tony
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