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beeteem 00
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What happened to equalizers?

This is clearly an entry level question.

So I have found a fairly major hole in my Rotel RX-1052 multi-zone receiver. It has treble and bass tuning for the main output, but not for the zones (is this a major oversight by Rotel?). I have an auxillary zone running through an RMB 1066 amp, pushing 4 speakers in my living room. Everything sounds great when my TV is the source, but when I switch to Phono, it gets dull and bass heavy. I know the speakers can sound better b/c I've run them through the primary output with tuning capabilities. So I need an EQ, right?

A cursory search is not yeilding much info on this matter. In fact Rotel does not even make one (so much for component matching). What am I missing here? I remember in the 80's my dad and his ilk always had independent EQ?

Suggestions?

Kal Rubinson
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Re: What happened to equalizers?


Quote:
This is clearly an entry level question.

So I have found a fairly major hole in my Rotel RX-1052 multi-zone receiver. It has treble and bass tuning for the main output, but not for the zones (is this a major oversight by Rotel?). I have an auxillary zone running through an RMB 1066 amp, pushing 4 speakers in my living room. Everything sounds great when my TV is the source, but when I switch to Phono, it gets dull and bass heavy. I know the speakers can sound better b/c I've run them through the primary output with tuning capabilities. So I need an EQ, right?[/QUOTE]Mebbe. Perhaps you might see if the phono stage input is compatible with your cartridge.

[QUOTE]A cursory search is not yeilding much info on this matter. In fact Rotel does not even make one (so much for component matching). What am I missing here? I remember in the 80's my dad and his ilk always had independent EQ?

old times. Graphic EQs are sometimes incorporated into AVRs these days but, imho, their usefulness is limited to fixing up poor recordings as problems with the system and room are better addressed in other ways.

Kal

beeteem 00
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Thanks for the reply.

The phono sounds great on these speakers (and my B&W 683s)when run through the main output where I can tune down the bass a bit or the treble up. Its only when run through the other zones.

Any EQ suggestions?

What might the other options be?

jackfish
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Samson makes a small 7-band EQ for $50 but I don't know how it would integrate with your zones. It sounds like there is independent source selection with that receiver so you might be able to put it through a tape loop.

mrlowry
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

EQ's are really more of a band aid for covering up problems than an actual solution. What kind of turntable and cartridge are you using? The problem with adding an EQ is that you'll have to turn it on an off depending on what the source is.

beeteem 00
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

I'm using a Music Hall MMF 2.2 with the Music Hall Tracker cartidge. (Any upgrade suggestions for this set-up?) It really does sound great running through my B&W speakers.

I'm only using the amp for the living room speakers, so I wouldnt have to deal with the EQ except for that channel.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Graphic equalizers were a fad that finally died out for home audio.

linden518
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

I'm going to play the contrarian here not because I'm some expert on the matter, but just from reading here & there & personal experience with playing records, esp. 78s. I've been reading Japan's Stereo Sound, and they've had this fantastically obsessive, year-long roundtable re-examining the benefits of EQ. Most of their senior staff, including Sugano and other seasoned audio critics, use EQ in their home systems and at their pro studios. Seems that most take almost a year-plus to get their settings right. First they work for the 'flat' response, then tailor to different genres of recordings to input into memory.

I guess in Japan, where most listening rooms are smaller (but where audiophiles seem to love cramming in Tannoys & JBLs, regardless!) EQ can seem a more attractive option than here in the US. But the general tenor of the EQ specials on Stereo Sound is the same as that of in the US: it's one of caution, that to use it to over-compensate will destroy the natural balance of a system, but that there is a kind of misconception about EQ that has become an unreasonable bias in the mainstream audiophile community.

Anyways, the articles have been very enlightening, and I hope to get a chance to experiment one day, although it's not a priority. There are several audiophile-grade options, especially the one from Accuphase (DG-48) which gets used almost unilaterally by the Stereo Sound staff. Very pricy, but sweet features. There's also some mega-buck EQ from FM Acoustics, but the more interesting options seem to be pro EQ gear that these critics are using at home, from SPL and Behringer, etc...

Personally speaking, I've become aware of the EQ issue by dealing with RIAA curves. When you get into playing 78s, especially, you need to be able to customize your EQ curves, as it was pre-RIAA. I think I've at least become open-minded enough to give EQ a fair shake, and won't see it as some quick-fix patch, if implemented properly. I mean, crazier things have been done by audiophiles to "make" or "tune" their systems anyway, spending nearly 6 figures on cables & power, or patching up their rooms with bass traps and what not... if certain EQ options are available which are not intrusive on the sound, I don't see how that can't benefit one's system.

Buddha
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Equalizers were replaced by interconnects in 1985.

j_j
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Re: What happened to equalizers?


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Equalizers were replaced by interconnects in 1985.

Oh yeah.

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Re: What happened to equalizers?


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First they work for the 'flat' response, then tailor to different genres of recordings to input into memory.

I think we all need to stop right there, and ask what "flat" means.

Do you mean first arrival (that's what gives you nearly all stereo imaging) flat?

Do you mean integrated, long-term time response is flat?

Something in the middle?

Seriously, this is a trivially obvious problem with many setups, many speakers, and many room correction systems, and in fact one can not define "flat' without some qualifiers.

Some clear points:

If you want imaging, you want first arrival flat.

If you EQ a set of speakers that beam at high frequencies to flat, the first arrival will be so, so heavily weighted to high frequencies that the result will be painful.

If the reverberation in the room is too colored compared to the direct signal, you may find yourself hearing "interesting" effects from the room reverberation.

The question is not actually simple. "Flat" is not well defined, we need to know flat in what sense.

tom collins
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

i can post again, oh boy. a friend of mine uses eq. to integrate his subwoofers into his horn system. i suppose that even a simple volume control to subwoofers is a form of eq. i suppose it can have its uses.

linden518
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Good point, JJ. I didn't mean for the definition of 'flat' to turn into Clinton's definition of 'is'

I'll perhaps jot down Stereo Sound's basic methodology for implementing EQ later if someone's interested, but as for the issue of 'flat', they recommend getting the in-room frequency response (either from the built in microphone of EQs like Accuphase DG48 or separate mike/equipment) and then just drawing the curve on the EQ to flat. Then the real hard work begins after that because as JJ mentions, no system will rarely sound satisfying and musical with a flat curve. As I wrote before, most of these EQ users of Stereo Sound take one year or more in carefully dialing in their ideal EQ curves.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: What happened to equalizers?


Quote:
I'll perhaps jot down Stereo Sound's basic methodology for implementing EQ later if someone's interested, but as for the issue of 'flat', they recommend getting the in-room frequency response (either from the built in microphone of EQs like Accuphase DG48 or separate mike/equipment) and then just drawing the curve on the EQ to flat. Then the real hard work begins after that because as JJ mentions, no system will rarely sound satisfying and musical with a flat curve. As I wrote before, most of these EQ users of Stereo Sound take one year or more in carefully dialing in their ideal EQ curves.

Perhaps it takes so long because they are groping in the dark. Just flattening the on-axis frequency response is to ignore issues such as the early reflections (influenced by the spectral radiation characteristics of the speaker[s], the path lengths and the reflecting surfaces) and the room-imposed time effects (which secondarily affect FR). I guess, with good ears, one might come up with an "EQ curve" that ameliorates these but it would be better and quicker to measure and deal with these directly. See RoomEQ Wizard, for example.

BTW, McIntosh just announced a 2 channel EQ of this sort, MEN220, which is also an electronic crossover. See? Even for stereo.

Kal

linden518
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Hi, Kal. The series of Stereo Sound articles on the exploration of EQ is everything BUT 'groping in the dark.' They do take long in fine-tuning, however, but in general, it seems that the Asian audio guys are a bit more fanatical and deliberately fastidious in their approach to set-up than American counterparts. I hear you on all the factors you mention, but the critics and the EQ users surveyed are very much pros and legends of audio and recording whose demands require something more fine-tunable than RoomEQ Wizard, etc. I'll do more justice to the articles by translating the exact methodology some time.

j_j
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Re: What happened to equalizers?


Quote:
Just flattening the on-axis frequency response is to ignore issues such as the early reflections (influenced by the spectral radiation characteristics of the speaker[s], the path lengths and the reflecting surfaces) and the room-imposed time effects (which secondarily affect FR).

Well, the key in my opinion is to avoid trying to care what you're fixing. Measure in a time/frequency bandwidth (which varies per frequency) that is appropriate for human hearing. Then you'll capture the necessary information in order to get started fast.

This means mostly "speaker correction" at very high frequencies, and "room correction" at low frequencies, and something in the middle.

The paper referred to on my site by myself and Smirnov addresses this, and the implimentation lies in a previous employer's operating system, but only if you use cheap sound cards that use the class driver.

Using it, we could get 2-channel imaging from a computer speaker and a large full-range.

linden518
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Sorry for being a lazy ass, jj, but can you link me to your paper? Thanks.

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Re: What happened to equalizers?


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Sorry for being a lazy ass, jj, but can you link me to your paper? Thanks.

I can give you the citation, but as far as I know there is no way to get it off the web, sorry. I don't have control of it.

Johnston, James D and Smirnov, Serge;

Kal Rubinson
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Re: What happened to equalizers?


Quote:
Hi, Kal. The series of Stereo Sound articles on the exploration of EQ is everything BUT 'groping in the dark.' They do take long in fine-tuning, however, but in general, it seems that the Asian audio guys are a bit more fanatical and deliberately fastidious in their approach to set-up than American counterparts. I hear you on all the factors you mention, but the critics and the EQ users surveyed are very much pros and legends of audio and recording whose demands require something more fine-tunable than RoomEQ Wizard, etc. I'll do more justice to the articles by translating the exact methodology some time.

Thanks. I look forward to reading about it. However, I only offered that example because it is accessible and free but there are much better tools. OTOH, there was no indication in the prior posts (second hand info, I know) to suggest that anything other than FR flattening was involved.

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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Kal, it's been almost ten years since you have reviewed the TacT equipment. Have you any interest in their new offerings?

Kal Rubinson
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Re: What happened to equalizers?


Quote:
Kal, it's been almost ten years since you have reviewed the TacT equipment. Have you any interest in their new offerings?

It is certainly interesting but I think it is almost a niche unto itself. Not sure how much general interest there is.

cyclebrain
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

Electronic room equalization is far from dead. Tact, Beringer, Rives, many sub woofers and very big right now Audyssey products. Yes, reflection times and reverberation times are important, and minimizing room resonances by proper positioning of speakers and listening position and room treatment is the best way to go, an equalizer is still a useful tool when used correctly.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: What happened to equalizers?

I did not mean to imply that EQ or room treatments or acoustical considerations are dead but that TacT seems to have become a niche group of products about which I hear very little.

Kal

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Re: What happened to equalizers?

I notice the higher end McIntosh integrateds come with tone controls (my smaller one does not) and top models have 5 bands of control.

I know people fixate on "flat" but as I get older I prefer "natural to my ears". Lots of lean, bright or thin recordings could use a little help here.

I have not had tone controls on my recent integrateds as they sound pretty good on 95% of my recordings, but if they are well designed why not?

Anyone remember the Cello products?

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Re: What happened to equalizers?

With 2 12" TL sub-woofers getting flat bass has become important to me. I use the parametric equalizer functions of a Behringer Feedback Destroyer to smooth out the bass response. It's only used for my subs. It took a little tweaking and measuring. But, -2 db at 18Hz and smooth (+or-2db) response to 85Hz is very satisfying. The bass in most rooms is chock full of peaks, dips and nulls. The BFD has done away with them.

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