An equalizer alters the sound by either boosting or cutting certain frequency bands. The "normal" setting is flat all the way across, with each setting/knob/slider set at zero. Better yet would be to remove the EQ from the system entirely, as running sound through yet another component is less than ideal.
The goal of an equalizer is to compensate for the acoustics of your room/venue. They are very heavily used(misused frequently too) in pro audio, because of the very different characteristics from a concert hall to a jazz club to an outdoor concert. The idea is to get flat frequency response, so if there is a dip in the midrange for whatever reason, you would match that curve with the opposite on the EQ, by raising that band of the midrange by whatever SPL is lacking, as to flatten it out. They are a very useful tool, but too often consumers are goaded into stupid mini systems and car systems with fancy EQs, or just flashy panels with lots of buttons. They hardly have a place in such a situation. They, IMO, are a band-aid for the larger problem which is the system, and/or the room. Instead of fixing what is causing the problems, it's sort of a stop-gap solution. In HT, they are very well utilized in dealing with subwoofers, because often one can't pick that ideal spot for the sub, or there are awkward room modes that you can't get around, which can be VERY destructive to the bass performance. By using an equalizer, you can flatten out your bass response quite well. Other than that, if your speakers have such a messed-up response, it's probably much preferable to get better speakers.
So those are the biggest uses for EQ. Sadly, the most common consumer use is just as a flashy selling-point, so consumers don't know what they are for, and they just fiddle around, most often boosting the bass and the treble, in the so-called "happy-face" equalization. That's how you can always tell someone who has no clue what it's for, or how to use it correctly.
EQing Stereo sound was much in fashion (at least all the people I knew and dealt with) in the 70's and 80's. I am not sure how much it is in use today, especially in a Home Theatre environment. Bass EQing, however, is a good way to solve problems associated with the size of a room. Again, as per Chris' post we are now talking about flattening out Bass response at frequencies below 100Hz and not trying to change the sound of an entire set of speakers.
Why someone would want to EQ non-Bass frequencies to 'flatten a room' is beyond me. If you moved a piano from your den to your living room where it would sound different for a number of reasons, would you want to change the sound coming out of the piano? It still sounds like a piano, but in a different room
I see your point about the different sounds of the room, but that will be in the recording. If it was recorded in a bathroom, it'll sound like that when played back. You don't want your room to sound like that, or the other extreme, a dead anechoic champer, because then EVERYTHING you play will sound like that regardless of what the recording sounds like. You want a fairly neutral listening room, and people often don't realize how huge an impact on sound your room will have. I agree that less EQ is best, but then again, occassionally a little bit is desireable/acceptable. Treating a room is often out of the question, so you might as well make the best of things. Even RE-EQ options for movies soundtracks is a good thing to have and use (depending on the mix etc.) So equalization has it's place, unfortunately it is misunderstood, and overused by uninformed consumers, or bastardized by pop-music producers to create flashy sound that gets VERY annoying after aobut 2 minutes. That being said, I'm with you, I would never eq everything to mask the problem of a crappy room. I'd have bought equpiment that sounded good in that space, or changed the room as best i can, rather than to apply a stop-gap solution which is difficult, and expensive to apply anyway... probably cheaper to change the room/system than add in a whole array of eq for all those channels anyway...
Of course, I think we WAY overshot poor rickey's simple original question. oh well, never can learn too much
Thanks to all of you.So your advice would be to go back to the factory setting and leave it alone.I really thought it was a necessary ajustment.I do have a small room with alot of funiture but i wouldn't know how to adjust the eq anyway.
If you find you need to boost some frequencies or cut others, then go ahead an try it. It's really about how 'you' enjoy the sound from your system. Don't go overboard with the settings and you may find that some EQ'ing might work for you.
Do a google search for graphic equalizer (I assume that is the type you have) or parametric equalizer for some more information.
If it was recorded in a bathroom, it'll sound like that when played back.
But if the recording engineer wanted it to sound like it was recorded in a bathroom, then I don't want to make it sound like it was recorded in a concert hall....
Just so i would have a better understanding of how the EQ works. If i were to make the shape of say of mountain on the graph what sound would i be enhancing? IF i made a shape of a V what sound would i be enhancing. Iam having problems understanding the frequency numbers and how it is dvided into bass mid and treble meaning where one should stop and the next one take over. i hope these Qs make some kind of sense
Not knowing what you have there for an EQ I'll make an assumption it is a Graphic EQ, where you have a bunch of sliders that move up and down.
If the numbers by the sliders are something like: 20, 31.5, 50, 80, 125, 200, 315, 500, 800, 1.25k, 2k, 3.15k, 5k, 8k, 12.5k, 20k
then you could say that the numbers below 200 are for the Bass region. The numbers between say 200 and 2k (or 2000) are Midrange, and the numbers above 2000 are Treble.
If you make a smiley face, you would be accentuating the Bass and treble regions, and cutting the Mids. A mountain would be the opposite. I'll not go into other dials you might have on the EQ to set bandwidths as you should read any manual you might have to get a better idea what the capabilities of you system are.
THANKS FOR THE REPLY Iam sure it doesn't make any differance the EQ is in the receiver it has a on screen graph shows gain and bandwith for each of the six speakers sony str de-985 model the manual doesn't teach you how to use it just more less tells that you have one. i did get something out of your answer.Say if i want more bass i would raise the graph on the left more treble on the right.