Headcoat

Graphic Equaliser Question

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Not posted here for many a year!

Toying with the idea of a graphic equaliser,  taboo subject for many but: my hearing is fading at the top and bottom frequencies, my room isn't a perfect listening chamber, I notice no difference between using tone controls and bypassing the tone controls, said tone controls don't give me enough control, I like / have a preference for a warm sound with added bass, recordings are variable etc.

My integrated amp (NAD C368) doesn't have a tape loop / out and only a pre-out / no pre-in. That means any equaliser would have to go before between the sources and amplifier.

Got a cheap equaliser here to play with and both the turntable and DAC seem to work running directly into the eq which in turn goes into the relevant line input on the amp.

Been listening and I can't seem to hear any sound degradation, though as expected the eq has an effect. Mostly better, I think...

Is there any issue I may be missing in terms of connecting the equaliser before the pre-amp, especially in terms of the cartridge loading... ???

If all is ok in terms of connecting in this way, can anyone recommend a good equaliser: ideally new though would consider second hand, upto £200, with 2 RCA inputs and 2 RCA outputs... ?

Happy to lose a tiny bit of measurable perfect sound, the gains made by tweaking eq will, for me, exceed any losses.

Side note: listening to Spotify I always set the in-app eq to lower the mids (centred on 1khz) and rise gradually back up to deep bass and the highest frequencies, the classic V shape sound signature. Almost everything sounds better to me for doing this. I seem to have a particular sensitivity to the (mostly) upper midrange (saxophone and some snare drums usually), starting at 1khz through to 4khz. Kind of makes sense as this is the range at which my hearing is best, so lifting highs and lows from this point would seem to adjust for hearing loss, from there a bit of extra bass is a personal preference.

Feel free to comment or suggest anything... cheers.

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I would love a graphic equalizer. I'm just a kid at heart: Love playing with knobs, buttons, sliders...

Didn't know they still made dedicated Equalizers for separates.

  • Haha 2

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This looks quite tasty. No idea how it sounds though.

Clickety

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1 hour ago, Headcoat said:

They used to... haven't been able to find any new hi-fi dedicated ones yet, but studio and live eq's can be used.

If you want to try one my recommendation would be the ADS soundshaper   https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ADC-SOUND-SHAPER-TWO-MK-II-GRAPHIC-EQUALISER-LOVELY-CONDITION/113772157008?hash=item1a7d595850:g:hcsAAOSwde1c9tq4  or how about this one https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Yamaha-Q2031B-Rack-Mount-Dual-31-Band-Graphic-Equalizer/192933355317?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649  but be quick if you want it - about 15 mins to go 

Have a browse https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2047675.m570.l2632.R2.TR12.TRC2.A0.H0.Xgraphic+equaliser+.TRS0&_nkw=graphic+equaliser&_sacat=14969

I would go for as many bands as you can but if you only want to tweek the bass then a 10 or 15 band may well be sufficient.

Good luck in your search

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I should add - the hifi ones can also be used on an integrated amp by using the Tape out socket and in sockets on the amp.  The equalisers generally have tap inputs on the back for hooking up a tape machine to make up for the loss of the input sockets on the amp.

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8 hours ago, Headcoat said:

Not posted here for many a year!

Toying with the idea of a graphic equaliser,  taboo subject for many but: my hearing is fading at the top and bottom frequencies, my room isn't a perfect listening chamber, I notice no difference between using tone controls and bypassing the tone controls, said tone controls don't give me enough control, I like / have a preference for a warm sound with added bass, recordings are variable etc.

My integrated amp (NAD C368) doesn't have a tape loop / out and only a pre-out / no pre-in. That means any equaliser would have to go before between the sources and amplifier.

Got a cheap equaliser here to play with and both the turntable and DAC seem to work running directly into the eq which in turn goes into the relevant line input on the amp.

Been listening and I can't seem to hear any sound degradation, though as expected the eq has an effect. Mostly better, I think...

Is there any issue I may be missing in terms of connecting the equaliser before the pre-amp, especially in terms of the cartridge loading... ???

If all is ok in terms of connecting in this way, can anyone recommend a good equaliser: ideally new though would consider second hand, upto £200, with 2 RCA inputs and 2 RCA outputs... ?

Happy to lose a tiny bit of measurable perfect sound, the gains made by tweaking eq will, for me, exceed any losses.

Side note: listening to Spotify I always set the in-app eq to lower the mids (centred on 1khz) and rise gradually back up to deep bass and the highest frequencies, the classic V shape sound signature. Almost everything sounds better to me for doing this. I seem to have a particular sensitivity to the (mostly) upper midrange (saxophone and some snare drums usually), starting at 1khz through to 4khz. Kind of makes sense as this is the range at which my hearing is best, so lifting highs and lows from this point would seem to adjust for hearing loss, from there a bit of extra bass is a personal preference.

Feel free to comment or suggest anything... cheers.

What speakers are you using? In that range it could be cone break up resonances...

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8 hours ago, Headcoat said:

My integrated amp (NAD C368) doesn't have a tape loop / out and only a pre-out / no pre-in. That means any equaliser would have to go before between the sources and amplifier.

If it isn't cone break up (which may not be the case unless the bass driver is faulty or you are listening at extremely high volume levels) then you do have, I think, have a loop as such - you take connections from the pre out  socket through the equaliser and back in through one of the line inputs (that should work unless using pre out disconnects the onboard power amplifier..

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10 hours ago, uzzy said:

If it isn't cone break up (which may not be the case unless the bass driver is faulty or you are listening at extremely high volume levels) then you do have, I think, have a loop as such - you take connections from the pre out  socket through the equaliser and back in through one of the line inputs (that should work unless using pre out disconnects the onboard power amplifier..

Could be cone break without faulty drivers but with bad crossover design. Try  listening to violin on a pair of 6xx series BnWs for a taster, some old MA Studios or original AEs.

I had a pair of 802 S3s that would make my ears bleed...

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There's nothing wrong with graphic eq's. And as you say they can make something sound a lot more palatable, and if its the difference between you using and enjoying your hi-fi or not, just have one.

I've had a few over the years and I have used them to great effect where I've needed to. These days with the equipment I've got I've basically graphic equalized mechanically, by actually changing equipment to work the best tonally (for me how I hear real tone anyway), basically what people call box swapping. It may become a habit but there's an end goal, this is to get things working as synergistically best as possible with each other. And overall I'm satisfied with what I use now. I occasionally throw things in perhaps for change and to see what it does and just for the interest of trying new gear as well.

I would still use an eq sometimes though if I had to, this degrading sound idea doesn't bother me. I even use them at the source sometimes these days (especially with headphones as those all sound very different again). So doing it there eliminates the need to have an extra box in the chain even.

Or the other thing you could always try is a DSP, these are basically digital graphic equalisers that you can tweak and set till your heart's content. They have a huge range as well that can be modified. They do need to be set with a computer though but once it's done you can just leave them to do their thing passively.

I only tried the very cheapest mini DSP, and for me personally I thought it did take a slight edge off the sound, degraded it slightly, and there was a slight attenuation but there's better ones and these may not have this issue. They could be a better option than trying to find a decent separate equalizer these days, they've fallen from fashion a bit.

Photo of an eq in my software and one from the DSP I had as well

47942811346_b9f04e2bbf_c.jpg

graphic-eq-setting.png

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Posted (edited)

I use digital EQ (customised REW filters on HQ Player) to attenuate the peaks at 47Hz, 73Hz and 87Hz on the left speaker (right speaker only produces two peaks) and their perceived resonance sustain duration is now more in line with those of the remaining frequencies:

lLuzoKQ.png

Edited by tuga
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Posted (edited)

Thanks for all the replies people. Good to see this place as friendly as it ever was.

First thing to clear up : Tuga, it's not cone break up. Speakers are Revolver Music 1's in living room and Revolver R16's in dining room. But more importantly it's an issue I've had with all other speakers I've tried (many of them!), all my headphones (Senn HD6xx, Senn HD599, Marshall Monitors, Senn HD480). I do most of my listening these days via headphones and always tweak the eq in Spotify or on the amp (via the tone controls) as mentioned prior: a v shape rising from upper midrage to both the highs and lows.

I honestly find the greater range of eq in Spotify gives me better listening than the limited bass and high tone control on the NAD amp when listening to Cd's and vinyl.

Not an amp issue either as I listen a lot out in the garden (and aroudn the house) via various headphone amps: Arcam rHead, Bravo Audio tube hybrid job and a cheap old B-tech. Weirdly the cheap old B-Tech without eq is a pleasant listen (it has an incredibly warm and undetailed sound signature), though once eq'd (via Spotify) the other heapdhone amps are much better.

It's a mixture of things: an innate acute sensitivity to that frequency range, hearing loss either side of that range causing said range to be over emphasised to my ears, a bad experience with B & W 601 and 602s (!) where yes those freqiencies are particularly over emphasised, and personal prefence for a warm sound with some twinkling highs.

Curiously, yesterday I read a sound engineer discussing sax frequencies and apparently a bit of extra eq around 500hz rounds of / warms the tonality and a bit of cutting around 2-4khz (approx) can tame the shrillness somewhat. Tried boosting the 500hz region some extra yesterday and initial results were really impressive - listening via speakers.

eddie-baby: given I'm really looking at eq'ing the turntable and cd player how would I go about introducing a dsp into the hi-fi chain. Of course, I could set it originally on my computer, but the computer is not part of my listening chain in any form. Additionally, I would assume this would mean the turntable goes through an A/D conversion in the DSP for eq'ing and then back to analogue via a DAC in the DSP, not sure that would be good for the analogue sound?

uzzy: If I took the pre-out into one of the line ins, wouldn't I end up preamplifying the signal twice, once before going to eq and again when returned via the line in? Would that cause an issue?

uzzy: that ADC one looks very tasty. Thank you, considering it.

plasticpenguin: likewise, that Devine one looks really nice!

Thanks again all, appreciate all the comments.

Edit: Forgot, did anyone have any thoughts around any issues with placing the eq between sources and amplification, might this cause an issue with cartridge loading or at line input... ???

Edited by Headcoat

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1 hour ago, Headcoat said:

uzzy: If I took the pre-out into one of the line ins, wouldn't I end up preamplifying the signal twice, once before going to eq and again when returned via the line in? Would that cause an issue?

The preamp out will be at line level to feed the  Equaliser.  The Equaliser will feed back in at line level so there will be no "amplification" as such.   There is another one on ebay which also has a spectrum analyser display - but the ADC is a "professional" brick sh.. house in my experience (we used to sell those in the late 70s).  ADC did two versions (one had less bands than the other) I think.  A good equaliser will also have line in sockets to stop you losing an input for a bit of kit.  So for example if you are using a separate phono stage for the turntable then plug that directly into the line input on the Equaliser and select it using the switch on the front of the equaliser when playing the turntable.  

We used to use a pink noise generator and a special mike with a spectrum analyser to use it to see if we could make speakers sound better (setting them to as nearly a flat an output as you could achieve in the dem room) and then compare the "EQd" speaker with our favourites (Yamaha NS1000s and Gales and others) and found that when you did this the cheaper speakers got a lot closer in quality of output to the favourites we had.  To me it confirmed the flatter the response you can get from a speaker in your lounge the better it sounds (well to my ears anyways).  Here is the back panel of one to show the inputs 

Good luck in your quest.ADC  Sound Shaper Three

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18 minutes ago, uzzy said:

The preamp out will be at line level to feed the  Equaliser.  The Equaliser will feed back in at line level so there will be no "amplification" as such.   There is another one on ebay which also has a spectrum analyser display - but the ADC is a "professional" brick sh.. house in my experience (we used to sell those in the late 70s).  ADC did two versions (one had less bands than the other) I think.  A good equaliser will also have line in sockets to stop you losing an input for a bit of kit.  So for example if you are using a separate phono stage for the turntable then plug that directly into the line input on the Equaliser and select it using the switch on the front of the equaliser when playing the turntable.  

We used to use a pink noise generator and a special mike with a spectrum analyser to use it to see if we could make speakers sound better (setting them to as nearly a flat an output as you could achieve in the dem room) and then compare the "EQd" speaker with our favourites (Yamaha NS1000s and Gales and others) and found that when you did this the cheaper speakers got a lot closer in quality of output to the favourites we had.  To me it confirmed the flatter the response you can get from a speaker in your lounge the better it sounds (well to my ears anyways).  Here is the back panel of one to show the inputs 

Good luck in your quest.ADC  Sound Shaper Three

Thanks Uzzy, you're a gem. So it seems I can connect the pre-amp out to the input on the eq, then run this back to a spare line in on the amplifier. For info: I'm using the phono stage built into the NAD and not an external phono stage.

Forgive me if I'm being stupid, but how would I select the channel to play back to speakers from the amp?

In the scenario of running the eq output back to Line 1 in on the NAD; if using the turntable, I would have phono selected on the NAD amp to send this signal to the eq, then on sending music from the power amp to the speakers I'd get the non eq'd signal from the phono input playing and not the eq'd input from Line 1... if I switched the NAD amp to Line 1 to receive the eq'd signal then no signal would be sent to the speakers (given no signal wold be sent from the NAD's pre-amp to eq)?

Cheers

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4 minutes ago, Headcoat said:

In the scenario of running the eq output back to Line 1 in on the NAD; if using the turntable, I would have phono selected on the NAD amp to send this signal to the eq, then on sending music from the power amp to the speakers I'd get the non eq'd signal from the phono input playing and not the eq'd input from Line 1... if I switched the NAD amp to Line 1 to receive the eq'd signal then no signal would be sent to the speakers (given no signal wold be sent from the NAD's pre-amp to eq)?

Cheers

bugger - the difference of couse is a tape loop is fed by whatever is selected on the preamp .. yes I see I have failed in that you would have to select the line input to play back from the EQ and that would have no signal - so you would need to get a separate phono stage and plug it into the back of the ADC .. I have failed ... again 

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