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Proper way to set up equalizer??

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by SteveSpoon, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. SteveSpoon

    SteveSpoon Stunt Coordinator

    Feb 12, 2002
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    I wasn't sure where to put this, but I have always wanted to know how to set up an equalizer the way it should be set up. Here's my stuff.....I've got this "dinosaur" stuff upstairs, while the home theater stuff is downstairs.

    Yamaha M-80 amp
    Yamaha C-80 preamp
    Yamaha GE-60 equalizer
    Panny cd/dvd player (can't remember the model number....about 3 years old)
    Yamaha T-85 tuner
    Nak RX-505 cassette deck
    DBX 222 processor
    Yamaha PX-3 turntable
    JBL CF-120 3 way mongo speakers

    My cousin, who is really into music, just cringes when he sees my equalizer with the bass boosted, midrange down, and treble booosted.

    I use to have some type of microphone with the equalizer, but only God knows where it is at. Should I go purchase another one?

    Any help appreciated.

  2. Nathan Stohler

    Nathan Stohler Second Unit

    Jan 17, 2004
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    I would suggest leaving the equalizer flat, unless you know of peaks or valleys at certain frequencies. There are setup disks that have test tones at various frequencies. If you have a sound (SPL) meter, you can make sure the level is the same at each frequency and adjust with your equalizer if it is not.

    However, some people prefer not to have a flat frequency response curve, so if you like the way your system sounds the way you have adjusted it, then leave it.

    Personally, I like to have as flat a curve as possible, especially for movies.
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt


    Aug 5, 1999
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    Corpus Christi, TX
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    Nice equipment you have there! "old" doesn't mean "obsolete" when it comes to separates. [​IMG]

    Your cousin is right to cringe when he sees the way you’ve set your equalizer. As I’m fond of saying, “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 it 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 at high levels and then boosting specific frequencies by 12dB can damage drivers.

    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 sliders do, this might be a area that could use 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. [​IMG]
  4. Laurence_C

    Laurence_C Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 30, 2001
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    North Florida Panhandle
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    Steve, Wayne has given you quite a bit of good advice but if you want to research this some more, one of the few expert manufacturers of equalizers, AudioControl, has some really great information that's written in plain English. Try this link, http://www.audiocontrol.com/techpapr.htm

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