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Equalizer Question (1 Viewer)

Dean Thomas

Auditioning
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Apr 29, 2002
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9
I have a high end Technics receiver powering a 5.1 system with older Advent speakers. The sound of the system isn't bad, but I would like a little more tonal control for music.
What are the pros and cons of equalizers? I know not to use them during home theater modes, but I also have an experience where an older EQ blew the driver in my sub (couldn't have been a coincidence).
Should I match brand to my receiver or skip the thing all together?
 

ColinM

Senior HTF Member
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Dec 9, 2001
Messages
2,050
I would stay away from EQ'ing anything, just tweak the tone controls 1~2db, that's it.

I should say that I do EQ my sub, but that's necessary in my case.

Good Luck!
 

RobertSchaez

Stunt Coordinator
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May 1, 2002
Messages
110
I know this is a "Hi Fi" no no, but go for it. Get a decent E.Q.(I don't think matching it with Technics brand is a must) with 7-10db of boost and have fun. I have an old Audio Source 10 band I use to help out at 30hz and 16khz on occasion. However, a different set of speakers may be a better solution, if it is in your budget.

Rob
 

Brian L

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Jul 8, 1998
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Do a search of all open forums for the word AudioControl and one for the word Bijou. You might also search for BFD (that is for the Behriunger Feedback Destroyer).

You will find some posts by me, and a bunch more by Wayne F. He is quite the authority on EQ.

There has been lots of discussion about the pros and cons. I totally disagree with those that say not to use one, although YMMV.

In particular, I think it is VERY difficult to get proper bass response without EQ. I personally use a Audio Control Bijou, which is a 6 channel EQ, with 1/6th octave bass control. Even 1/6 octave is not always fine enough, but it can help a great deal.

In my set-up, it also does a great job of matching the timbre of the center to the main L&R.

Good Luck,

BL
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Dean,
I’m glad you already know not to use a regular stereo EQ for home theater use (at least if it is connected across tape monitor loops).
I hope this doesn’t offend you, but it would be “operator error” if an EQ blew a driver. People who don’t really know how to use equalizers usually boost the highs and lows to the max, whether or not it is actually needed. This can indeed burn out drivers at high listening levels.
I’ll second Robert’s advice that you don’t need to “match brands” when buying an equalizer.
I’ll have to go “splits” with Brian, two thumbs up for AudioControl and “ix-nay” for the Behringer Feedback Destroyer. I wouldn’t use the BFD for anything but a sub; by most accounts it’s too “grainy” for use with mains, no doubt the product of its low-end A/D - D/A converters.
AudioControl is the premier brand for consumer equalizers IMO; you can’t go wrong with any of their products. But as it goes with any top-flight product, they aren’t cheap. However, for a simple 10-band EQ that is connected across a tape monitor loop, you don’t need a high-end product, especially for a modest system. A reputable-brand product in the $100-150 range will do nicely (you could safely go a little cheaper if it has less than 10 bands).
A month or two ago I posted the following on another Forum in response to a fellow who was trying to figure out how to use his 10-band EQ. Maybe you will find it useful:
Many people just set up a “smiley-face” curve with one of these equalizers. For instance, I know a guy who sets the same curve for his car stereo, his home stereo and his guitar amp. Really, what are the odds that all three of these need exactly the same EQ curve?? Of course, when you see the “smiley face” curve you know you are dealing with someone who has no idea how to use an equalizer.
You don’t really “set up” a 10-band equalizer. It doesn’t have the capabilities to correct room problems. For that you need a 1/3-octave or parametric equalizer.
However, a 10-band EQ can still be very useful as a sophisticated tone control, to adjust for program deficiencies. With response of CDs all over the map, a little specific EQ adjustment can often make improvements. Of course, you have to have a good enough ear to determine where in the frequency spectrum adjustment is needed.
Playing around with the sliders can help you become familiar with the frequency changes an equalizer can introduce. A little experiment: With music playing, move each slider, one at a time in turn, slowly up and down to its limits, noting what changes in the frequency spectrum occur when the slider is moved, what is sounds like with that area exaggerated or deficient. Becoming familiar with the frequency spectrum will help you determine if program content has say, weak or exaggerated upper bass, if there is too much “sizzle” in the sibilants, if the vocals sound “dark,” etc.
Be sure you do this test with the system set to a moderate volume. Playing high levels and then boosting 8kHz 12dB is asking for a smoking tweeter.
Another thing you might look out for on this test: When boosting, if you find a place where the slider doesn’t seem to make as much of a change as other places, this might be a area that could use a a little increase to sound better. Likewise, if a slider seems to produce more severe peaks than others when it is boosted, it might be that a little reduction there is in order.
The moral of the story is to experiment and use your ears to learn how to properly use this simple equalizer. Eventually you can learn to identify problems that are between the sliders, problems that are wider or narrower than the sliders can adjust, things like that. When you get to that point you could “graduate” to a 2/3-octave (15-band) EQ.
Best of all you can knowingly smile to yourself when you see someone set those smiley-face EQ curves. :)
Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

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