Equalizers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Justin Brock, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. Justin Brock

    Justin Brock Auditioning

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    Hello, How important is it to have a equalizer if u have a good receiver.Does a eq really make that much of a difference in the sound.Any info would be appreciated.thanks.
     
  2. Jake K

    Jake K Stunt Coordinator

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    It depends on how you use it. I believe an EQ is a good thing if you use it to...

    -correct for room response (uneven bass, over-emphasized treble, etc.)
    -bring down the treble on very bright speakers
    -make the speaker's response more flat
    -etc...

    Apparently they are not understood by most people and end up getting used wrong, like making a "V" pattern with the sliders which might make it sound "exciting" for a bit but is really a bad thing to do if sound quality is of any importance. (I have a friend who does that and it sounds absolutely rancid!![​IMG] )

    I'm going to use an EQ with my subwoofer to correct for the bad room response, like the peak around 45hz. Lots of people do this.

    But for the main speakers they are not very important. Some receivers have parametric EQ built in, which is a nice feature and all, but it's not something I would care about.
     
  3. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    If you are talking about hand adjusted EQs, they should be used very sparingly. As Jake notes, many users in the past cranked the bass and the treble and thought things were better. The problem with that approach is that a lot of the sound we hear is in the midrange. By changing the relationship between the bass, midrange and treble, we skew the entire presentation.

    Lots of boosters of the Auto Eq features (on receivers) that are out or coming out swear by them. They are pleased with the changes the auto circuitry makes to the presentation. From what I've read, most of these EQ's seem to make things clearer, so that translates to the mids and the highs being boosted.

    Also, another issue is that some of these changes often involve very large boosts (as much as +6db) at some frequencies which can tax speakers and the receiver's amplifiers. IMO, one should be very careful when equalizing upper frequencies (IOW, above the bass.) The wavelengths of the sound are so short that if the response is not averaged over the entire listening area, the sound may be fine in one listening position and worse than where you started everywhere else. None of the currently available receivers out can average upper frequency response for more than one listening location.

    The best approach for good upper frequency balance in a listening room is buying the right speakers to begin with, along with placing them reasonably well. Of course, the room itself is a factor too. If it has too much of an echoey sound to it, it can effect clarity.

    Also as Jake notes, bass EQ is THE type of frequency response control that an EQ should be used for. Bass response peaks or nulls are something that room placement can only affect a little. And, these peaks or nulls are spread over a much wider area than the upper frequency issues. (This is because bass frequency wavelengths are so long, the opposite of the high frequency problem.) Set a sub here, you have one problem. Move it a few feet, you have another. This is where a bass parametric EQ can make a real difference. To date, none of the current receivers (although the new Yamaha flagship may be able to do some type of bass EQ) are capable of doing room/bass correction correctly (parametric style EQ with no set frequency bands.)

    Bottom line, my opinion is that in general, most EQ's are not a panacea for HTs. For bass frequencies, if they are corected properly, they can be quite helpful. Move higher in frequency and the benefits are not as clear cut.

    (Here is a link I've listed before to a good paper on EQ. While it does talk about a product, the info on EQ is enlightening. http://www.meridian-audio.com/w_pape...ection_scr.pdf )

    (FWIW, the above is my opinion. I know that many users of the auto EQ units will disagree. And they are certainly entitled to their opinion too. [​IMG] )
     
  4. Justin Brock

    Justin Brock Auditioning

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    Thanks for the information.I am fairly new to the world of HT.I have a kenwood reciever and it sounds great.I am going to get a spl meter this weekend.You had metioned that some receivers can really tax your speakers.So i am guessing that having my speakers levels at the highest setting is not a good thing.Most of my speakers say that they can handle a lot more power than my receiver is putting out.
     
  5. Jake K

    Jake K Stunt Coordinator

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    As long as you aren't pushing the receiver to it's limits all the time then it has plenty of power for you.
     
  6. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Where can one get a dedicated low-freq. equalizer for subwoofer use, aside from the ones availabel through SVS?
     
  7. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    This product is one of the more popular options:
    Behringer Feedback Destroyer - or BFD

    The BFD runs approx. $120 + shipping from most musician supply places on the Web. The MSRP is $149.99.
     
  8. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Gracias!
     
  9. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Ray,

    You might also look into this software for use in conjunction with the BFD equalizer: Software
     
  10. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. I've also been looking at other pro-sound EQ's that go down to 20Hz, especially the single-channel types. The set adjustable freq's, from low to high, seem to go 20, 25, 31.5, 50, 60, 70, and so on....which seems pretty reasonable. They only have XLR/balanced and 1/4" bal/unbal jacks, but adaptors should work fine.

    Yet.....with that reasoning, $119 for a single-channel 31-band ART unit from SVS is a good deal. So I'm back where I started.
     
  11. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Go with the BFD, Ray. The 1/3-octave EQs (the ones you mentioned with filters at 20Hz, 25Hz, 31.5Hz, etc.) are not nearly as good. With those you are limited to the pre-set frequencies, and the bandwidth is pre-set, too. With the BFD (and other parametric equalizers) you can select any frequency you need, and any bandwidth. It's infinitely more precise.
     
  12. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Also, in my research regarding the BFD, I found the following: BFD For Dummies
     
  13. Ray_C

    Ray_C Stunt Coordinator

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    yeah, looks like the way to go. I have a test CD that has reference tones at 5Hz intervals from around 150Hz down to 20Hz, and it's very clear as to where the peaks and valleys are for my room/listening position. Figure that with 12 assignable freq. points on the BFD, I should be able to nail it all. I'll probably order it from Musician's Friend. Thanks to all.
     
  14. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    I helped my nephew build a sub using a Dayton DVC 15 and a rytmik 350w amp in a 5.5cf box and in his family room it completely tanks and sounds like a Bose Bass module. I even took my 15 Quatro sub with the same amp and it fell flat on it's face there also. We fired his 12" Infinity up also with the same results. His room has many angles and no corners to place a sub. Would a FBD help solve this problem?

    Wes
     
  15. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Probably not, but it’s hard to say without seeing the room. It sounds like maybe the room is just too large for the sub. If the total of all areas open to the HT room is larger than about 5000 cubic ft., it may be more room than the sub can handle, especially if there are no corners available.

    Or it could be a polarity issue – like the two voice coils are out of phase, or if the mains are being run full-range and they are out of phase with the sub.

    Also, if the amp is stereo and has both channels driven, the inputs could be out of phase. I saw this once with a friend’s car stereo. He had tapped off the factory speaker leads to drive the sub amp, and he had the polarity backwards on one input. It was as you noted – sucked the sub down to practically nothing.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  16. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    The room is not that big, it is a great room but mine at my house is bigger and I run a 10" $100. sub and it works great. Like I stated I took my single voice coil Dayton Quatro 15"er and had the same problem. We tryed the sub in two locations with no real increase in output. The woofer is traveling big time but the sound and impact just are not there.
    I was hoping the BFD would solve this cancellation or by eqing it we could find the bass.

    Wes
     
  17. Chuck Kent

    Chuck Kent Supporting Actor

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    Well, if the issue is more boom boom related than absolute volume, then I think a bass EQ would help.

    My main HT is in a smaller room but I had a huge near 40 Hz peak that just drown out everything else. By nulling out the peak, everything was much better. But especially music...
     
  18. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    You can't equalize away a cancellation problem, Wes. Your friend will have to find and correct the cause of the problem.
     

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