Home stereo equalizers

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Jagwah
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Post 06 Jun 2022

Now that I have a better understanding of this stuff I can't help but think equalizers on home stereos are and have always been a bit unnecessary.

I remember back in the day boosting the bass and volume so I could get as much bass as possible. Someone here reminded me of that a few moons ago as they did the same.

Way back I used to have a large equalizer unit that connected to my stereo, it had something like 20 bands to boost or cut, and pretty lights for each one. It looked super cool, and I used it for the above mentioned bass boosting method and nothing else, but I enjoyed it all the same.

If we consider that almost all music and sounds on common music formats and also movies and television are already professionally treated, what would the actual purpose of an EQ on a home / car stereo be for a typical user who would not understand it much beyond a basic bass or treble boost, which shouldn't be necessary anyway? Could I be correct in guessing it was / is a popular and cheap component to add, that serves very little purpose to the common user?
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selig
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Post 06 Jun 2022

It's just fluff as far as I'm concerned. Most folks just crank the bass and treble over time (I did the same as a kid), which I can only offer as evidence my rental car experience over the years where every rental I've been in has the bass and treble cranked (if it's adjusted at all). I always reset the things as a public service…
I know I've shared my experience with my older brother teaching me not to crank the bass/treble all the way up (especially since I had no idea at the time what I was doing). He had me start by turning the bass and treble all the way down and listening for a few minutes, then asked how it sounded - as expected, it sucked. Then he asked me to return the knobs to 'neutral' (no EQ) and asked me how it sounded, and of course now it sounded great. So finally he asked why, if it sounds great, should I ever need to change things?!?
I learned a few lessons that day:
- to listen first before changing things
- that I can be fooled because you can become 'adjusted' to imbalances over time
- that the EQ on home stereos/cars was pretty pointless (unless the system was utter crap to start with).
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moofi
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Post 06 Jun 2022

I feel like an EQ can be used to balance the room and speaker acoustics. Then an extra portion on the bass, why not? :-D Club PA do so aswell.

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motuscott
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Post 06 Jun 2022

I equalized my home stereo system with a graphic equalizer and this one weird trick:
Pencil under sliders. Everything all the way up.
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selig
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Post 06 Jun 2022

moofi wrote:
06 Jun 2022
I feel like an EQ can be used to balance the room and speaker acoustics. Then an extra portion on the bass, why not? :-D Club PA do so aswell.
This is more about maxing out the bass and treble, not calibrating the speakers to the room (not that EQ can do much for room acoustics…).
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fullforce
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Post 06 Jun 2022

It's also about looks, obviously. I have a really cool one (Sansui I believe) with leds on every slider.
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moofi
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Post 06 Jun 2022

Yes, could be, not experienced very much in room acoustics, was simply an idea you could adjust a 20 band equaliser to make a record sound better in a certain environment.
Then adding a bit of low end to speaker like the minipods is still welcomed here.
selig wrote:
06 Jun 2022
moofi wrote:
06 Jun 2022
I feel like an EQ can be used to balance the room and speaker acoustics. Then an extra portion on the bass, why not? :-D Club PA do so aswell.
This is more about maxing out the bass and treble, not calibrating the speakers to the room (not that EQ can do much for room acoustics…).

RobC
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Post 07 Jun 2022

I remember using the EQ on Sony MP3 Walkman ages ago. Yes, it helped with crappy 'phones sound a bit less bad (that lacked bass and treble; so unless you boosted you didn't really hear it). Then later, we still boosted, cause we felt it sounded better. I guess it's because we listened to these dancey songs, and were hooked on the bass, kick and the sharp transients. Thinking about genres like Deep House for example, what's that? It's mainly all Bass, Kick, Clap, thin shakers and hats, some vox maybe ~ so it's pretty minimal. EQ perhaps elevated our favorite elements a bit.

For rock/metal type songs, the "rock EQ" was always impressive, cause it made all the loud distorted guitar seem softer thinner, less ear-fatiguing. (Meaning on mediocre gear, and loudness war already kicking in!)

Plus I think, there's also something about that instant impression when you put on even those cheapo in-ears for example. Even if our ears "flatten out" the sound with time, maybe it's a bit fatiguing, if they have to compensate/flatten out some annoying frequencies. Especially if one's hearing is really sensitive at some points.

That said, I, too usually tell people not to ask me to equalize their car radio, because if the sound is decent enough, their ears will adjust quickly to it. It won't make much difference.

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Jagwah
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Post 09 Jun 2022

selig wrote:
06 Jun 2022
It's just fluff as far as I'm concerned. Most folks just crank the bass and treble over time (I did the same as a kid), which I can only offer as evidence my rental car experience over the years where every rental I've been in has the bass and treble cranked (if it's adjusted at all). I always reset the things as a public service…
I know I've shared my experience with my older brother teaching me not to crank the bass/treble all the way up (especially since I had no idea at the time what I was doing). He had me start by turning the bass and treble all the way down and listening for a few minutes, then asked how it sounded - as expected, it sucked. Then he asked me to return the knobs to 'neutral' (no EQ) and asked me how it sounded, and of course now it sounded great. So finally he asked why, if it sounds great, should I ever need to change things?!?
I learned a few lessons that day:
- to listen first before changing things
- that I can be fooled because you can become 'adjusted' to imbalances over time
- that the EQ on home stereos/cars was pretty pointless (unless the system was utter crap to start with).
:lol:

That was a good lesson from your brother, if only someone showed me that a long time ago!

You have confirmed my suspicions were correct, it's just fluff lol :puf_bigsmile:

motuscott wrote:
06 Jun 2022
I equalized my home stereo system with a graphic equalizer and this one weird trick:
Pencil under sliders. Everything all the way up.
Damn I never thought to try that one!! :thumbup:

fullforce wrote:
06 Jun 2022
It's also about looks, obviously. I have a really cool one (Sansui I believe) with leds on every slider.
Yeah my big one looked great! Green and red LEDS if I remember correctly :mrgreen:


RobC wrote:
07 Jun 2022
I remember using the EQ on Sony MP3 Walkman ages ago. Yes, it helped with crappy 'phones sound a bit less bad (that lacked bass and treble; so unless you boosted you didn't really hear it). Then later, we still boosted, cause we felt it sounded better. I guess it's because we listened to these dancey songs, and were hooked on the bass, kick and the sharp transients. Thinking about genres like Deep House for example, what's that? It's mainly all Bass, Kick, Clap, thin shakers and hats, some vox maybe ~ so it's pretty minimal. EQ perhaps elevated our favorite elements a bit.

For rock/metal type songs, the "rock EQ" was always impressive, cause it made all the loud distorted guitar seem softer thinner, less ear-fatiguing. (Meaning on mediocre gear, and loudness war already kicking in!)

Plus I think, there's also something about that instant impression when you put on even those cheapo in-ears for example. Even if our ears "flatten out" the sound with time, maybe it's a bit fatiguing, if they have to compensate/flatten out some annoying frequencies. Especially if one's hearing is really sensitive at some points.

That said, I, too usually tell people not to ask me to equalize their car radio, because if the sound is decent enough, their ears will adjust quickly to it. It won't make much difference.
Yes definitely useful for really crappy speakers or headphones, like cheap ones that used to come bundled with PCs or cheap bud ear phones, EQ could help a little there for sure.

Ear fatiguing could be another use, trim some highs when cranking for long periods or bass for the same reason.

Didn't think of those, and I like how you described "EQ perhaps elevated our favorite elements a bit" as that's how we rolled back in the day lol :puf_smile:
:reason: It's all about the plo, yo.

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moofi
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Post 09 Jun 2022

Not only crappy speakers or headphones. Got a pair of like I find decent AKG headphones. Thing is they are a little light on the lowend while I´m a sucker for bass, reason I tend to produce bass heavier on the AKG being too much for "neutral" headphones and often worse with crappy headphones or speakers. Saying a little EQing to bring headphone sound and the neutral sound closer together could be helpful in that regard.
Jagwah wrote:
09 Jun 2022

Yes definitely useful for really crappy speakers or headphones, like cheap ones that used to come bundled with PCs or cheap bud ear phones, EQ could help a little there for sure.



Hey DJ, where´s the BASS? :-D
Jagwah wrote:
09 Jun 2022
[...]

Didn't think of those, and I like how you described "EQ perhaps elevated our favorite elements a bit" as that's how we rolled back in the day lol :puf_smile:

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DaveyG
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Post 09 Jun 2022

selig wrote:
06 Jun 2022
moofi wrote:
06 Jun 2022
I feel like an EQ can be used to balance the room and speaker acoustics. Then an extra portion on the bass, why not? :-D Club PA do so aswell.
This is more about maxing out the bass and treble, not calibrating the speakers to the room (not that EQ can do much for room acoustics…).
That's not entirely true, Giles. It's about boosting the bass and the treble and all of the frequencies in between, thus ending up with everything louder than everything else. Oh, and it's also about about lighting the most flashy lighty flashy lights. How can it possibly not sound better? :D

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motuscott
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Post 09 Jun 2022

Occasionally I like to strap on a limiter set to Destroy All Monsters.
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selig
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Post 09 Jun 2022

DaveyG wrote:
09 Jun 2022
selig wrote:
06 Jun 2022


This is more about maxing out the bass and treble, not calibrating the speakers to the room (not that EQ can do much for room acoustics…).
That's not entirely true, Giles. It's about boosting the bass and the treble and all of the frequencies in between, thus ending up with everything louder than everything else. Oh, and it's also about about lighting the most flashy lighty flashy lights. How can it possibly not sound better? :D
I should have been more clear - that was meant to be my entire point!
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DaveyG
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Post 09 Jun 2022

selig wrote:
09 Jun 2022
DaveyG wrote:
09 Jun 2022


That's not entirely true, Giles. It's about boosting the bass and the treble and all of the frequencies in between, thus ending up with everything louder than everything else. Oh, and it's also about about lighting the most flashy lighty flashy lights. How can it possibly not sound better? :D
I should have been more clear - that was meant to be my entire point!
I know that but I couldn't resist. Anyway, surely somewhere in the world you will find one or two people who bought an equaliser and chose to cut some frequencies rather than boost them. They probably wore brown corduroy trousers and jumpers with elbow patches. Actually, they might still wear them.

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motuscott
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Post 09 Jun 2022

Brown corduroy trousers 4 eva.
I feel you're marginalizing the nerd contingent,
which, on ReasonTalk, will get you nowhere
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moofi
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Post 09 Jun 2022

From what I´ve seen bass + highs are boosted on club PA, mainly bass though.

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avasopht
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Post 09 Jun 2022

The equalizers were there to sell the stereo.

You go into the store.

They play some music.

Then turn up the bass and say, "can you hear that bass".

You can hear that bass.

SOLD!
---

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Jagwah
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Post 09 Jun 2022

Damn I must not have noticed comedy hour had started, you guys are friggen hilarious! : D

DaveyG wrote:
09 Jun 2022
selig wrote:
09 Jun 2022


I should have been more clear - that was meant to be my entire point!
I know that but I couldn't resist. Anyway, surely somewhere in the world you will find one or two people who bought an equaliser and chose to cut some frequencies rather than boost them. They probably wore brown corduroy trousers and jumpers with elbow patches. Actually, they might still wear them.
:lol: :lol: :lol:
:reason: It's all about the plo, yo.

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motuscott
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Post 09 Jun 2022

Comedy hour is my my favorite part of ReasonTalk
prove me wrong
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motuscott
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Post 09 Jun 2022

I once had a Reason Rack Extention
Whose wiles were indeed worthy of mention,
She stole my firstborn, but if the truth be torn
Them CV inputs lead straight to the Devil

Willie the Shake during bad hangover
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RobC
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Post 10 Jun 2022

Jagwah wrote:
09 Jun 2022
Yes definitely useful for really crappy speakers or headphones, like cheap ones that used to come bundled with PCs or cheap bud ear phones, EQ could help a little there for sure.

Ear fatiguing could be another use, trim some highs when cranking for long periods or bass for the same reason.

Didn't think of those, and I like how you described "EQ perhaps elevated our favorite elements a bit" as that's how we rolled back in the day lol :puf_smile:
I think the 'first impression' trickery plays a big role, too. It fools everyone. When I tested some XBass Sony headphone thingy some years ago, I couldn't help but notice that "gee, that sure has some strong bass".

Consumers will pick what sounds impressive right away.

And I remember ages ago, when Discman's were still the shit, and MP3 players were only rising up, some brain-dead classmate was looking down on another classmate for still using a Sony Walkman (cassette) with bass boost button, but pointed out, "how can those little shit earbuds have such huge bass".

So all in all, it's mostly kind of like the loudness war trickery.

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motuscott
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Post 10 Jun 2022

gim crackery, I calls it.
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fullforce
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Post 14 Jun 2022

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