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Does a graphic equaliser have a place in a hi-fi system?

George

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Nov 20, 2014
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I am thinking of getting a graphic equalizer so I can tweek the sound to my exact liking. Good or bad idea?
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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Hifi purists will probably say no, but if you want to tweak the sound without replacing all the components, I'd say give it a go
 
I think an equaliser is even more relevant today than it was back when they were available. For those who know what they're doing with an equaliser, it can only help. For those who just want their system to sound the way they want it to, I say go for it. You're the one who has spent the money on the system you want, and the room will always change that a little, so using an equaliser to tepweak things a little is no bad thing. It's just a more flexible version of a bass and treble control.

In fact, you can blame stuff like the internet, phones, games consoles etc for the decline in interest in hi-fi, and it would be true, but I say it wasn't helped when things got more serious - when manufacturers started removing tone controls from amplifiers and producing more accurate speakers. The fun was removed from the hobby, as we started dictating how buyers should listen to the systems.
 

Superaintit

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Feb 8, 2009
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To me this is very relevant as a means to adept the speakers to your listening room. No speaker sounds the same in a different room. Adjustment of particularly the bass is needed. The minidsp seems very attractive. Tone controls in the digital spectrum seems best. You could also adjust to your liking without sacrificing the quality overall.
 

lpv

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Mar 14, 2013
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bit of eq wont hurt but also wont fix bad speakers or weak amps and when overdone distortion is guaranteed
 

tonky

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Jan 2, 2008
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lpv said:
bit of eq wont hurt but also wont fix bad speakers or weak amps and when overdone distortion is guaranteed
+1 for that lpv

If one is needed the system synergy is not right to start with - move those speakers around the room.

tonky
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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Mini dsp dirac live box is a modern equaliser with no negative effects allowing you to set the sound exactly how you want it based on actual measurements.
And it helps improve the speakers as well.

No brainer.
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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ellisdj said:
Mini dsp dirac live box is a modern equaliser with no negative effects allowing you to set the sound exactly how you want it based on actual measurements.
And it helps improve the speakers as well.

No brainer.
Plus one good call
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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ellisdj said:
Mini dsp dirac live box is a modern equaliser with no negative effects allowing you to set the sound exactly how you want it based on actual measurements. And it helps improve the speakers as well.

No brainer.
No brainer if the OP can afford £995 ...

clicky

... given that one of his sources is a second-hand Rotel RT-950BX FM tuner from ebay (£25 or so IIRC) i'm thinking George is looking to ebay for a graphic equalizer too.

I could be wrong.
 

Al ears

Moderator
chebby said:
ellisdj said:
Mini dsp dirac live box is a modern equaliser with no negative effects allowing you to set the sound exactly how you want it based on actual measurements. And it helps improve the speakers as well.

No brainer.
No brainer if the OP can afford £995 ...

clicky

... given that one of his sources is a second-hand Rotel RT-950BX FM tuner from ebay (£25 or so IIRC) i'm thinking George is looking to ebay for a graphic equalizer too.

I could be wrong.
:)

I couldn't see if George had quoted a budget anywhere.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Al ears said:
:)
I couldn't see if George had quoted a budget anywhere.
I always assume low budget as a default unless I know the OP's system, or it's actually stated somewhere.

I knew of George already because of his FM tuner thread earlier this year.

Some people here can seem to find £995 down the back of their sofas* and assume the same of everyone else.

* Or down the backs of their FrontRow of electric leather recliners :)
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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It's one thing to use EQ to tailor the sound to your taste or to address pesky LF or HF room nodes, but many people seem to think by the wonders of EQ they can turn the sound from a pair of speakers they simply dont like into something they will be happy with. That never will work. If you're generally happy with your system and you're thinking 'Hmm, I wonder if some subtly-applied EQ will refine this sound I already like to even greater highs?', then answer could well be yes. But if you're saying 'I really don't like the sound of my HiFi, will an equaliser fix it?' the answer is an indisputable emphatic No.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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MajorFubar said:
It's one thing to use EQ to tailor the sound to your taste or to address pesky LF or HF room nodes, but many people seem to think by the wonders of EQ they can turn the sound from a pair of speakers they simply dont like into something they will be happy with. That never will work. If you're generally happy with your system and you're thinking 'Hmm, I wonder if some subtly-applied EQ will refine this sound I already like to even greater highs?', then answer could well be yes. But if you're saying 'I really don't like the sound of my HiFi, will an equaliser fix it?' the answer is an indisputable emphatic No.
I guess the operative word in the OP is 'tweak'.
 

lpv

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Mar 14, 2013
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Andrewjvt said:
ellisdj said:
Mini dsp dirac live box is a modern equaliser with no negative effects allowing you to set the sound exactly how you want it based on actual measurements. And it helps improve the speakers as well.

No brainer.
Plus one good call
yeah.. absolutely top advice

 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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chebby said:
I guess the operative word in the OP is 'tweak'.
Not really, it's meaningless. My idea of tweak with an audio-engineer's head on is ±2dB over a very narrow frequency range, which most people don't even notice. To someone else, 'tweak' could mean what I would class as a whacking huge cut or boost across a 1-2 octave shelf, like bass and treble controls.
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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Was a ddrc 88 for sale used on avf classifieds. So you can pick them up cheaper than rrp. I thought it was £600 rrp.

So its an investment sized purchase not a wim purchase

Either way considering the benefit, flexibility and learning curve related to understanding sound in a room again its a no brainer.

There will be no going back from dirac ever once you are using it so its going to last you a while
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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davidf said:
I think an equaliser is even more relevant today than it was back when they were available. For those who know what they're doing with an equaliser, it can only help. For those who just want their system to sound the way they want it to, I say go for it. You're the one who has spent the money on the system you want, and the room will always change that a little, so using an equaliser to tepweak things a little is no bad thing. It's just a more flexible version of a bass and treble control.

In fact, you can blame stuff like the internet, phones, games consoles etc for the decline in interest in hi-fi, and it would be true, but I say it wasn't helped when things got more serious - when manufacturers started removing tone controls from amplifiers and producing more accurate speakers. The fun was removed from the hobby, as we started dictating how buyers should listen to the systems.
Good posting!

chebby said:
ellisdj said:
Mini dsp dirac live box is a modern equaliser with no negative effects allowing you to set the sound exactly how you want it based on actual measurements. And it helps improve the speakers as well.

No brainer.
No brainer if the OP can afford £995 ...

clicky

... given that one of his sources is a second-hand Rotel RT-950BX FM tuner from ebay (£25 or so IIRC) i'm thinking George is looking to ebay for a graphic equalizer too.

I could be wrong.
Could actually be done for half that

Clicky

Or if OP uses PC as a source could be done at no cost at all (not Dirac though) if he can get a measurement mic.
 

djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
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Yes, a graphic equaliser is now a necessary part of HiFi. Linn products introduded one in there latest revalation called "space optimisation"

It is no more than a set of electronic tone controls!

"Space Optimisation allows your Linn Specialist to identify the precise frequencies affected and reduce their energy by just the right amount, removing the distorting effect of your room to reveal the true sound of the music."

Reducing energy of certain frequencies, sounds like a graphice equaliser to me? Aparentley Linn do not like the term graphic equaliser, but essentially that is exactly what the process of space optimisation is. I am not saying it is a bad idea, at the only dem i have heard it at, it appeared to work quite well.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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lpv said:
even when using pc the mic cost £100 and the dirac £400..
If you're already using PC for playback there is no need for Dirac. You can create your own FIR filters (using free software) with same results as long as you have a measurement mic whether you bought one or borrowed. Yes, it takes some knowledge and definitely takes more time but it's free.

Foobar2000 allows the use of convolution filters. Other paid players such a JRiver and Roon also allow convolution filters as well as PEQ.

As long as you have time, use a pc for playback and have someone willing to lend you a mic you can do it all for free.
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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It wont be the same using non dirac as dirac filters dont create timing errors such as bog standard fir filters.

You get away with this in the bass but above bass its not so good. That was the biggest surprise to me I expected to only use dirac for bass correction but it works perfectly full range

Plus dirac corrects impulse response no other system does this.

Its worth the money
 

paulkebab

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Dec 26, 2014
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then go for it. Someone on here pointed me to the Behringer DEQ2496, an amazing piece of kit if you use it right ie in the digital domain. It's a lot more than an equaliser and although you don't have to get a mic, it's the best way to see what's happening in your room then you can EQ relative to that response curve. As the Major said, +/- 2dB isn't much but that adds up to 4dB - definitely noticable and I wouldn't go more than 5dB difference in adjacent bands regardless. No it won't suddenly make a poor system sound wonderful, it really is just for minor tweaking. Most of the time mine runs bypassed but when it's needed it's the dogs wotsits. Set up right, it's a brilliant piece of kit for anyone knocking on a bit with substandard or just plain weird lugholes (me). I was tempted by the Anti-mode but thankfully was persuaded it would be a bit OTT for my system but investigate everything before you decide.

Good comment by david f, and never thought I'd see Linn make a CD player nevermind a.. what do they call it? Haha
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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I think linn "space" optimisation is referring to the listening space rather than outer but its a clever twist with all the referrals the hifi industry has.

If you think of it like this. Unless you have complete free reign in your room to put the speakers and listening position in exactly the right spots you will never get a good freq response.

Maybe as much as 20db variance or more. Maybe even 20db differences in your midrange

And even if you do have complete free reign you will likely have to compromise bass response for a better mid range or vise versa.

How can that ever be classified as high fidelity??

If you think of it like that its a necessity not and accessory to take action.

We are very lucky as consumers to have access to dirac on the cheap from mini dsp and arcam because until about a year ago it costs £20k to get access to it from a certain av processor cant bloody remember the name.

Access to the tech should be appreciated as it works.

I spent years messing with room measuring and eq and was never satisfied.

I ran dirac once and job done.
 

luckylion100

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Nov 6, 2011
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but I'd absolutely +1, +2, +3 etc regarding cheap DSP from options from the likes of Minidsp. Perhaps there are other alternatives available out there that equally don't cost a fortune. I've just noticed today that the company is continually adding new products to its range. They've a new portable dac with dsp included for about $300.

You can pick up a basic MInidsp setup with mic (2nd hand) for around £300 in the UK. I think Dirac is nice to have but not necessary with REW available and if I was doing it all again I'd do without it. Learn with REW instead. Dirac simply offers more of a plug and play approach. With REW on a pc all you require is the time and patience to learn and understand it. I'm still messing about with it when I have the opportunity.

Yes equalisation definitely has it place in hi-fi, just look at KEF's wireless LS50's for another example of it creeping into the mainstream.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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ellisdj said:
Plus dirac corrects impulse response no other system does this.

Its worth the money
I like Dirac but there are alternatives. I agree it's good value for money especially as it's so intuitive. But other solutions can correct impulse response. I nearly bought a Dirac licence myself until I realised it didn't match my requirements in full. Other solutions are more time consuming and require much more knowledge though.

For example you can do much, much more using FIR Designer ($100) not to mention Linn Exakt ($$$ cough...) then just correct time domain. And there are free solutions such as RePhase or DRC Designer. Granted they aren't very user friendly but can achieve very similar results.

My point is there is a huge choice in budgets higher and lower. If you want an ultimate convenience for a stereo, 2.1 or a home cinema system then Dirac is great. If you want more flexibility are willing to spend time and learn then you can do it just about any budget.
 

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