Is an Equalizer really worth getting?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by MarshallSlate, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. MarshallSlate

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    they look cool, but are they even in the least useful?
     
  2. NicholasL

    NicholasL Second Unit

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    I would guess they are. I bought one for my car audio system and that was the best $200 I've ever spent.
     
  3. Brendan_Lewis

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    In home theater, they aren't very useful.
    If your speakers are that uneven in response, you should get better speakers, or work on room noise control.

    You may want to get a bass equalizer to even out your subwoofer response with the in-room modes. But that is for much later in your quest.
     
  4. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Keep in mind that a 2-channel EQ will not be very useful for your multi-channel home theater system. It will be good for stereo listening, though. If you have a large percentage of your time that is spent on 2-channel material, then it might be a good consideration. In my younger days, I had a Pioneer 17 band EQ that worked beautifully for setting the sound in a precise manner.

    Some new receivers (e.g. - Pioneer Elite) include a 5 or 7 band EQ so you can adjust the sound for each channel.
     
  5. ChadLB

    ChadLB Screenwriter

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    Most EQ's are analog and only help when watching TV, VCR movies and listening to music. I have one that I just took out of my setup now that I have a 5 channel amp...
     
  6. JamesCB

    JamesCB Second Unit

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    I think EQ's were invented to make people insane. I had a few in my younger days (the 80's) and found them to be very frustrating. I probably really didn't know how to properly use one, but, I would set it to sound good on a few albums, then different album it would sound like total crap. So I'd readjust it and the next album would sound crappy with that setting, sonn causing my inasnity. I am now a firm beleiver in direct mode (whatever you want to call it, flat, no bass or treble knobs used). I currently have a Sony ES receiver with what seems to ba a powerful parametric EQ, it will EQ each of five channels independently. I messed with it a few times, but I felt the insanity creeping up on me again and I keep everything flat now. I think room treatments make more of a diference anyway.
     
  7. Marty Neudel

    Marty Neudel Stunt Coordinator

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    In most systems, even though the manufacturer says the center speaker is timbre-matched to the l&r mains, there is usually a change in tone when a sound is panned across the stage. For this reason, an equalizer can be useful in bringing the tone of the center-channel speaker closer to that of the l&r mains (when attached to the center channel only).

    When properly adjusted, an equalizer improves the cohesiveness of the front soundstage enormously. For this reason Yamaha included one in its flagship models for many years, and many other manufacturers are now adding equalization to their receivers and processors.

    Marty
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Moderator

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    What no one seems to address on threads like this is that there are basically two types of equalizers.

    The one-octave (10-band) units so popular in the 80s (and presumably the kind most people are talking about here) were simply sophisticated tone controls. They really aren’t sophisticated or precise enough to do anything else. However, too many people couldn’t even do that right – hence the ubiquitous “smiley-face” curve. (When you see this you can rightly say to yourself, “This person has no idea what to do with an equalizer.”)

    Moving up-scale from there you have 1/3-octave (30 bands or so) graphic equalizers and parametric equalizers. These are expensive and complex audio tools used to address system/room issues, and once set are generally left alone.

    The advent of multi-channel home theater systems has made equalization a challenge. To begin with, full-range equalization all-the-way-around requires the use of not only multiple equalizers, but at least some outboard amps, so the price of admission runs up in a hurry. Then there is the daunting and complicated task of analyzing and adjusting six or more channels. Powerful and sophisticated on-board, per-channel digital equalizing is becoming more common in receivers - addressing the cost factor, but as James noted, not the complexity factor. Fortunately receivers with auto-calibration features are filtering down to well-below $1000.

    Needless to say, the nature and requirements of home theater has effectively rendered the “equalizer as tone control” highly impractical, and pretty much relegated equalization as a “set it and forget it” feature for addressing system shortcomings.

    For the music lover who likes to “have the final say” in how his music sounds, a ten-band equalizer can still be connected between the CD player and receiver.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  9. WillieM

    WillieM Stunt Coordinator

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    MarshallSlate:

    AudioControl Rialto Home Theater Equalizer; Seven channel equalizer/crossover; Left front, right front, center, left sub, right sub, left surround, right surround; Frequency response 20 Hz - 20 kHz plus or minus 1 dB; Harmonic distortion 0.008%; S/N 113 dB; Maximum output 7 Vrms; Crossover factory setting at 90 Hz, 24 dB/octave; Size 2.5"H x 17"W x 11"D; Weight 10 pounds; $579; AudioControl, 22410 70th Avenue West, Mountlake Terrace, Washington 98043; Phone (206)-775-8461, Fax (206)-778-3166

    Now, with that info out of the way...
    1)you of course would need to be using separate amps for the channels that you want to equalize.
    2) unless you just want to fuss with how things sound "by ear", you will need to use a Realtime Analyzer to check out your frequencies at the sweet spot listening position.
    3) most of the time, there will be very little required in adjustments, BUT...if you ARE getting boomy bass or lack of a bass frequency at this spot, it can make a difference.

    This will add a lot of interconnects to the back of your system, and may, or may not enhance your listening pleasure. But before you buy one and hook it up, again I say that you should analyze the room or spot that you are concerned about and then decide if the cost and complexity is needed.
     
  10. Terry Montlick

    Terry Montlick Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Wayne's excellent comments.

    No matter how good your speakers are, don't expect a flat frequency response in a home theater without equalization. Your room will significantly reshape their sound.

    Any modern commercial movie theater has a bank of equalizers to fine tune the response. The needs is certainly no less for a quality home theater. Ditto for acoustical treatment, which will make things right in the time domain as well.

    Regards,
    Terry
     
  11. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    The Rialto is a very well built piece, as is its big brother the Bijou, but do not even think about adjusting one of these by ear.

    While a proper RTA with fine enough resolution (1/6 octave below 80 Hz is needed for the Bijou) would be one approach, a more tedious but cheaper approach is to use a hand held SPL meter and some appropriate test tones.

    You can graph the results on a spread sheet, and make your EQ adjustments accordingly.

    I did that with my Bijou. Its is time consuming (you need to be able to route the test tones to each channel), but I was very pleased with the results, particularly in the bass where EQ is most often required (actually, I think EQ of the bass is always required for correct response, but there are some users that are in denial[​IMG])

    BGL
     
  12. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Sorry for the interruption people:

    Marshall, are you really interested in following this discussion? You are starting threads throughout the hardware areas with the seeming purpose of just starting threads.

    Now, everybody else, since you're enjoying yourselves the thread may continue. Pardon my intrusion. (I don't have much use for equalizers, btw.)
     

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