Really no point in messing with the EQ is there?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by daneoni, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    So i have a very good EQ that i use to play my songs in iTunes which is great but the truth is i've found that when i set each song to use this EQ on the iPod/iPhone, it sounds crap. On the iPod/iPhone and i find its best to just turn the EQ off and trust the artist's embedded EQ especially now that i have decent headphones.

    Shame that about 60% of my songs were encoded in 128kbps AAC (earlier days when i was a newb) only now do i use 192/256kbps VBR AAC

    Then again maybe i'm just doing EQ wrong?
  2. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    I find that I like different EQs better on different songs, but some songs sound best without EQ.
  3. SparkyCanada macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2008
    Hey there.

    You've just come to appreciate the fact that all music is not created equal.
    The reason you are experiencing this difference is that some of the music may have been recorded with the best musicians, expensive equipment & highly trained recording & mixing engineers - then sent off for professional mastering. Other music may have been recorded using less than stellar equipment & with novice engineers - with good intentions. The final product will reflect all of the above. That's why 1 EQ setting will not be ideal for all music - because the music has come from different places & different recording/mixing/mastering techniques & skill levels.

    Even within a song - the EQ for a particular instrument can change.

    EQ is used in recording to enhance/soften a particular frequency or frequency range.

    I would be surprised that all your music would benefit 1 EQ treatment - being that the source of all your music is probably different. You may find that initially if you use an EQ that boosts your bass response - you like this better - but in time you will find that you are missing out in other parts of the music. Also - the bass boost EQ for example - will make songs that are mixed with bass levels too low (for your liking) sound better - but that same EQ with the bass mixed louder - will be overpowering and suck the life out of the song.

    This brings us another audio dilemma. By using any compression codecs you are going to sacrifice audio quality. An MP3 has about 1/10th of the audio data that a wave file has. With that loss of data comes loss of music dynamics. Try listening to a wave file & an MP3 of your favourite tune on your decent headphones - you should be able to notice a big difference in terms of the audio quality. Then - to really appreciate a tune - if there is a vinyl recording of the same tune - place that on a decent turntable & listen to that through your headphones - a whole new game...

    Welcome to the world of "how can I make this sound better" audio.

  4. Dragn macrumors newbie

    Sep 7, 2008
    Flat EQ is not the same as what the artist intended. Even if they mix & master it themselves, you'd have to listen to it on their original equipment to have it sound exactly the same. Many factors change the soundscape: audio compression (ex. AAC/MP3) introduces artifacts, the mixing/mastering of the source material, quality/type of the audio processing chip(s), routing within the device, the type of earphones/speakers, placement of the speakers, etc. An EQ can be useful in tuning the sound to your preference...but also to tune it to what it was originally intended to sound like. An audiophile will tell you that even if you just move your home stereo from one room to another the EQ has to be adjusted to get it sounding the same again since the sound dynamics have changed (dimensions of the room, carpet vs hardwood, window vs wall, etc). The better the equipment, the less impact, but no portable DAP is going to be perfect.

    I don't even have an iPod yet (soon!), but I think this is a good general rule - set the EQ flat and over a period of time, play with it a bit, adjusting a bit at a time to see what sounds "better" to you...and make sure you listen to whatever variety of music you're likely to listen to so you haven't sacrificed one type of music so that another is "enhanced".
  5. SparkyCanada macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2008
    In the end - EQ is really subjective...


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