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Old 4th May 2012, 07:52 PM   #21
jim1961 is offline jim1961  United States
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You mean this?

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Fletcher–Munson curve

Last edited by jim1961; 4th May 2012 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 4th May 2012, 10:26 PM   #22
bst is offline bst  United States
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Another factor to consider is the imperfect ear. No, not just the Fletcher-Munson curves, and how an ideal human ear reacts to varying sound pressure levels. One also has to consider differences in hearing from individual to individual, sometimes subtle, and sometimes very significant.

After sixty years on this planet, my hearing is far different today than it was in my prime. When I separated from the Air Force, the final semi-annual audiologist's test revealed an overall hearing loss of about 15%, with 'islands' of significant loss in the high-frequency ranges, mainly above 12KHz. Interestingly, the loss is not linear -- I can hear very faint tones at 19Khz, but not at 16,500.

Years of exposure to the sound of jet engines, rock concerts, motorcycles, racing cars, pistol and rifle fire, as well as certain illnesses (e.g. mumps and scarlet fever) and plain old age have taken their toll. I enjoy music played through a 'purist' system, but there's plenty of times I'd enjoy the music even more if I could brighten up the treble a few dB, and boost the mid-bass just a tad.

Tone controls make perfect sense, whether for tailoring a system to a particular room, or to one individual's imperfect ears.

Last edited by bst; 4th May 2012 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 4th May 2012, 10:34 PM   #23
smbrown is offline smbrown  United States
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I've always considered "baffle step correction" in the speaker to be the rough equivelent of a loudness compensation (that can't be switched out). My point being, some forms of EQ may be lurking in components whether you like it or not. I'd rather have the ability to switch it on or off (or dial it in).
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:06 AM   #24
jim1961 is offline jim1961  United States
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I had a conversation with a well respected and admired mastering engineer once. He said he wouldn't even use EQ to compensate for room issues. His quite thoughtful answer was "Fix the Room". He went on to recommend tube traps and other room fixing ideas.

We all play in different leagues and with slightly different rules. The room we are stuck with, the money we got to throw at the situation and how fine tuned our hearing and ability to listen are all key issues. Not to mention what type of music we prefer.

What a 30 year veteran mastering engineer would do might not be best or possible for the rest of us to do. While I am sure my jaw would drop if I were to hear his system, I dont intend or expect to ever reach his level. The equipment necessary alone, much less his 30 years of experience, are far beyond me.

What I feel people should give themselves is flexibility. Most EQ's have a bypass button. Even if you are a purist, you cant object when the EQ is out of the circuit. But if by merely pressing a button, you can tailor the sound as to make the listening experience better, then why not.
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Old 5th May 2012, 03:11 AM   #25
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Hey this is good stuff, so many variables to consider.

1/ MEDIA: CD,Record,Tape, (incl' the quality of the recording and what it's recorded onto).
2/ SOURCE: The quality of CD player, Record Player (+ stylus & whatnot), Cassette Player or whatever is used.
3/ PRE-AMP: Circuitry, tone controls & filters, Components and how they react ( and react with other components).
4/ POWER AMP: The class of amp ( A,B,AB, or whatever), design, SE or
PP,components again & how they react.
5/ SPEAKERS: Lots of different choices & specs.
6/ LISTENING ROOM: What is in the room that may interfere or
reflect/absorb the sound.
7/ EARS: Another major variable as this depends on how well tuned an individuals ears are ( another source of controversy as one does not need training to have listening pleasure) and the condition of their hearing.
8/EXPECTATIONS: What do we expect from our gear ? This is probably where some of us may trip up a bit including myself ! "Enter" tinkering & modifications for those of us who for what ever reasons have gained some knowledge in this field of electronics.( I started because I didn't want to pay for repairs to over-driven guitar amps when I could have done it myself ).Good move ! Still no expert, sometimes I get a bit stumped but persistence usually pays off.
9/ SATISFACTION: Are we satisfied with what we have and how it performs. Probably the biggest trip-up of all is not being happy because we believe there is room for improvement some way or another,(AKA Diy'er/Enthusiast/Hobbyist).

Has anything been left out ?

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Old 5th May 2012, 03:44 AM   #26
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I am a bit perplexed with some of the replies that I see here. As far as I'm concerned, even very expensive loudspeakers have peaks and dips of +/-6 dB's. Sometimes more. These stem from mechanical resonances that are just impossible to kill, and they mean that some frequencies may play like 2 or four times louder than others. This is likely to result in a huge coloration.

A preamplifier with tone controls may have a distortion of 0.005 %. There is no reasonable way in which this distortion can sound any worse that the peaks and dips of the loudspeaker, unless the listener is so familiar with those peaks and dips that they just sound right to them. If you have a DIY system and have experimented with it until it sounds right to you, probably you just like the coloration that it produces, i.e. it is your favorite equalizer preset. If you add another preset on top of it it is not going to sound well because you are duplicating your frequency response adjustments. This does not mean that the equalizer preset was wrong in the first place, it is just wrong if you multiply it by two.

I see that people also are confused between nonlinearity and non-uniform frequency response. A loudspeaker may be linear (this means that a pure sine wave in the input will result in a pure sine wave in the output) and still have a very uneven frequency response. It is also possible to have a nonlinear system with high THD and a flat frequency response.

I honestly think that people are enjoying sub optimal sound quality because of the stigma that comes with equalization, and I think that in this sense digital is the way to go. Rounding errors at 64 bit precision are just negligible and adjustments can be made with enough precision so as to correct well for sharp peaks in the loudspeaker and room.

Last edited by ionomolo; 5th May 2012 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 5th May 2012, 04:02 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by ionomolo View Post
I honestly think that people are enjoying sub optimal sound quality because of the stigma that comes with equalization, and I think that in this sense digital is the way to go. Rounding errors at 64 bit precision are just negligible and adjustments can be made with enough precision so as to correct well for sharp peaks in the loudspeaker and room.
It's from the early '80s that I read the same phrase ;now with the complication that to correct the deficiencies you 'll have to modify the content of the record
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Old 5th May 2012, 04:16 AM   #28
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Sometimes and many times the listening experience can be improved with a little tweak of Bass/Treble or as Jim says, pressing a button, ie: High/Low bandpass filters, Loudness, Tone Defeat or Bypass or whatever jargon is used to describe a particular function.
Thanks also for the graphs Jim.
Lets look at it another way. Say you've got an album that is maybe something along the lines of " Top 20 Hits of 1973" (for arguments sake). These will be recordings of differents bands at different times of said year, at different recording studios and all using different equipment (right down to the brand of strings used) etc etc... and lets face it, not all mix-downs are worth writing home about.
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Old 5th May 2012, 04:50 AM   #29
dgta is offline dgta  United States
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Having just bass and treble controls is a very crude way of trying to compensate for all the various frequency response aberrations in the recording, equipment, speakers, room and listener. A relatively simple solution (but not AS simple as bass and treble) is an equalizer with a mike at the listening position. This will compensate for everything but the recording and the listener.
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Old 5th May 2012, 05:16 AM   #30
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I think it depends on whether we are talking about "consumer electronics" or "hifi", if we can actually draw a line between them.

On the former category, IMO, they evolved to EQ and the various DSP. Most (all?) HT receivers, or "mini hifi" systems from major consumer electronic manufacturers, have some sort of EQ or effects for users to select, and so does music playback software and portable media players.

On the later category, as mentioned earlier, manufacturers/consumers want as little in the signal path as possible. Although there is probably some degree of snobbishness involved. So now instead of turning knobs, we now swap tubes, or even the whole amp, to get the sound we like. I like to think it as a sign of social progress, like we now use shampoo instead of bar soap to wash our hair.
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