My sacrilegeous question to audiophiles out there regarding parametric equalizer.


I recently upgraded my stylus to a 2m bronze and am enjoying it thoroughly. My question to the community is how many audiophiles use equalizers or tone controls to enhance the bass and detail? Thinking about getting a parametric equalizer. Any thoughts?
tubelvr1
My EL34 powered amplifier has no tone controls. I would not personally use an equalizer......I consider it analogous to altering the colors of an original painting. But that’s just me. By the way, I currently use a 2M Bronze.
Edit......if you don't already have them, get some vintage Dutch or British EL34 tubes (I use Holland made; some of my output tubes are almost as old as I am) as well as some vintage German or Dutch small signal tubes; you won't need an equalizer.
I have several line stages and a few preamps. The ones that sound the best in my system have no tone controls. I am not against EQ's I just think a lot of the ones made were just not that well implemented. I think one of these would work well.http://www.celloseattle.com/ctdocs/prodserve/peripherals/audiopalette.html
equalizers are basically just segmented volume controls; very effective for burning out tweeters.
Its a bit disingenuous to state that because you don’t own an eq you are not using tone controls. Every part of a system is exactly that including vintage Dutch and British tubes. 








it will only stray away from good sound....additional interconnects and distortion.
Its a bit disingenuous to state that because you don’t own an eq you are not using tone controls. Every part of a system is exactly that including vintage Dutch and British tubes.

It's a bit disingenuous to assert that all components involved in reproducing a signal are, in effect, an equalizer. The amplifier, tubes, etc are just reproducing the sound that has already been "equalized" so I actually don't even know what you're talking about. An equalizer alters the tone of a signal AFTER it has gone through the reproduction process. Let me see if I can make it simpler for you......having an equalizer is like cooking your food some more after its already done. 
Nothing wrong with it at all. Only the purists here think of it as sacrilegious.
I’m afraid you misunderstood my post, maybe you should re-read it. I never said nor did I assert that components are equalizers. I said “tone controls” which was in response to your pretentious statement “my el34 amplifier has no tone controls”

You have heard about tube rolling no? Do you not think  tubes are altering the tone professor? Or do you think all tubes sound the same? Of course not that’s why you prefer vintage Dutch and British tubes, you like the way they sound.

You then go on to say “The amplifier, tubes etc are just reproducing the sound that has already been equalized”. Are you trying to say amps and tubes have no effect on the sound?

I especially like your blanket recommendation to just get some vintage small signal tubes and you wont need tone controls (thats exactly what they are). How do you know this? How do you know what sound the OP is looking for? What do you know about his room? Is it treated? How are his speakers are set up? Where Is his listening position in the room? Poor first reflections or standing bass modes (if this is the case) will not be solved by your magic tubes.

If the op cannot afford room treatments or change the way he has his system configured than perhaps some dsp could help solve some of his issues. But you were being to pompous and condescending to ask any questions.















@tubelvr1
To get back to your original question, it seems unlikely that an external analogue equalizer will enhance detail—if anything, it might actually reduce it, which is what happened to me when I tried it years ago.This is because you are introducing an additional circuit — and some distortion — into the reproduction chain; also, you know that you cannot enhance what is not there, you can only reduce the remaining elements to forge a new sonic balance if you will. There are extreme analogue equalisers out there, of course (FM acoustics comes to mind), but these come at equally extreme prices!
All of this differs from what other posters above are discussing, i.e. the merits of changing components in a specific circuit, like tube rolling, for example—that you could try, if you’re using tubes that is.

Or, you could just different speaker placement - closer to the front wall could enhance bass while further apart and away from the wall may enhance detail & soundstage because bass notes will be less pronounced, bringing the mids & highs into the forefront...
Normally in High-End home system we don't need an EQs, because everything is just great. The shortest signal path is the way to go. However, we change cartridges, tonearms, cables, amps, preamps to find what's the best. 

But for professional application EQ can help to quickly adjust the sound in a certain room such as a bar, club or whatever place where people playing records in public. In such places you need to quickly adjust everything, this is a compromise. Some public places are terrible in terms of room acoustics and the EQing sometimes can help. So in my opinion EQ is for professionals, not for Audiophiles. 

However, i rebember all those Hi-Fi home systems from the 80's with EQ and it was fun to play with it, i've been using EQs when i listeted to cassette tapes as a teenager. 

EQ in Audiophile's home is like too much spices in the good food. 

We all use EQs, it's a matter of where we use them and if they are adjustable.

Michael Green

One of the basic elements of music is tonality.  Why audiophiles are so reluctant to directly alter tone is a mystery to me.  I imagine if someone had a perfect room and their loudspeakers perfectly interacted with that perfect room, then perfectly recorded music would never need tonal adjustments in that situation.
@onhwy61 Bingo! 

However it’s not that they are reluctant to alter the tone, it’s that they are reluctant to admit that by constantly box swapping thats exactly what they are doing. Afraid of getting their audiophile card revoked I suppose.  


like almost all things, it is a trade-off. The extra bits in the circuit , gain stages, caps, power supply additional input and output cables, possible impedence mismatch and potential to overload preamp AND altering of phase ( above 100-120 HZ the ear is quite sensitive to phase, below not and the wave is big )... all that is traded to shape frequency response....which depending on the recording may need a tweak EVERY song......so yes many any Audiophile has disdain, even for the high end models ( of which there are not many )

I tell people IF you want a nice starter EQ get a McIntosh Labs preamp with that functionality, it is also defeatable and out of circuit in purist mode. You might find a few of the bands effective with a tweak of just 1-3 db

as for the recording chain, not just at live events, very very very few recordings made w zero EQ......even so called audiophile mixing boards have EQ, but it is well executed and phase shift minimized...

have fun

enjoy the music

argue less

listen more

peace

If anyone wants to try simple, limited EQ, try the Schitt Loki. $150. You might even be able to return it if not satisfied. I'm tempted to get one for my FM tuner. Not because it sounds bad, it's just that I have such crappy sounding FM stations in my area.
By nature, definition, and design equalizers introduce distortion and also include distortion artifacts that are not intended but which are inescapable, unavoidable, and inherent in they're function and of course there are some who prefer such distortion in they're components, systems, and installations and for those specific people equalizers are an exceptional value in fact the less expensive they are the more they distort! I personally prefer sound as undistorted and genuine as possible and practical so of course there are none of them in my Music Reproduction System except of course RIAA which is essential to the proper function of vinyl and by nature of its inverse function limits the introduction of otherwise inherent and unwanted artifacts.
My McIntosh preamp has an 8 band equalizer. I use it sparingly for particular recordings when I decide they need subtle adjustment for me to enjoy. I return the settings to neutral when that recording is over. I would be very frustrated if I didn't have this option yet I would not add another device if my preamp did not include this functionality.
Dear @tubelvr1 :  "  enhance the bass and detail.."

tube can't honor MUSIC especially at both frequency extremes. What you need is not a parametric eq. but to avoid/disappear tubes from the cartridge signal and instead of that technology buy SS electronics devices/items.

Esay to achieve what you have on mind because the road you are accustom too is the wrong one, no matters what or whom. Try to stay far far away from that " road " you choosed.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
I would not personally use an equalizer......I consider it analogous to altering the colors of an original painting.
I think this analogy is misleading. An 'original painting' is a work of art. A musical performance is a work of art, but a recording of it is a reproduction, which may be excellent or poor, but never the same, or as real. The more apt analogy would be "altering the colors [and dynamics et al] of an art reproduction."

I had a parametric eq, a pretty good one, didn't seem to alter the sound except as I intended (through Quad 63s, fairly revealing of such things). Parametrics are more 'audiophile approved' than graphic eq's, largely because of all the cheap ones that came with rack-systems, usually tuned in a 'smiley face' with absurd boost to bass and treble. Even the good ones were 'octave' equalizers (10-band) which could only alter large swaths of the music.

I had a DBX 20/20 graphic which also 'reads' the output (your speakers + room-effects) compares it to the input signal, and adjusts so what you hear is identical to the original signal. It was good, but gave me little control: I couldn't adjust to what I wanted to hear.

I found my parametric to be similarly limiting: only three frequency 'bands' I could affect.

The best I had were pro 1/3 octave graphic eq's (31-band): two of them, one for each channel. Adjustments had more selectivity, subtlety and finesse.

I haven't tried the newer DSPs. The early ones were awful.

I see no point in being "faithful to the recording"; I prefer "faithful to the music" and yes, I'll be the 'decider'. But that's just my opinion. 


I’m afraid you misunderstood my post, maybe you should re-read it. I never said nor did I assert that components are equalizers. I said “tone controls” which was in response to your pretentious statement “my el34 amplifier has no tone controls”

My amplifier not having tone controls is not a "pretentious statement"....it’s a fact. And of course I realize that vintage tubes sound better than the Russian and Chinese junk made now. My conception of an equalizer is a separate component; that’s what the OP was asking about,"professor." Your statement that "every part of a system" is a tone control I do not consider worth addressing. Every part (component) of a system affects sound quality down to the type of resistors and capacitors used in the units. All of those are fixed qualities, unless you go to trouble of changing them. I don’t define any of that as an "equalizer" but if you do, go for it. I addressed the OP query in a manner I considered appropriate. You apparently don’t see it that way. I’m not gonna cry about it but I’m not going to play your game of semantics either. Cheers.
P.S. An "equalizer" is a "tone control," professor.

I especially like your blanket recommendation to just get some vintage small signal tubes and you wont need tone controls (thats exactly what they are). How do you know this? How do you know what sound the OP is looking for? What do you know about his room? Is it treated? How are his speakers are set up? Where Is his listening position in the room? Poor first reflections or standing bass modes (if this is the case) will not be solved by your magic tubes.

YOU need to go back and read; what I said was if you get good tubes you won't need an equalizer, not tone controls. All your other manic questions are irrelevant to what the OP asked about. I have no idea what his room is or what sound he's looking for. Do you always micro analyze what someone says? Do you like bananas? Do you always obey the speed limit? Do you understand? What did you have for breakfast yesterday? Did it sound good? Hilarious 

Only someone who is not an audiophile would ask such a question. Do you want to hear the band, or do you want to be in the band? Maybe the bass drums not loud enough; "Think I'll just turn it up a bit". "I do not like the tone and timbre of that clarinet, let me tweak it a bit; now that sounds just right".

Oh, the marvelous things one can do with an equalizer.
I have a 5 Band PEQ in my RME ADI-2 DAC. Very useful in fine tuning my sound.
@orpheus10 .. so does using an equalizer automatically make some not an audiophile? At the end isn’t it all about enjoyment?
@tubelvr1

I see you received the typical assortment of comments, mostly from the "real audiophiles" out there. I’d say, you are the one that wants some changes and so I’d do just that. Don’t listen to all the naysayers, you are not playing music for them, you are playing it for yourself. Be happy however you do it.

Full disclosure: I’ve had a number of graphic EQs over the years. But haven’t had one for 12-13 years. I recently bought a new system and it has no tone controls but the system it replaced did have them and I used them often. And to tell you the truth, occasionally I wish I had them now. Playing music is supposed to make you happy so play it however and with whatever gear you want. Cheers

Musicians spend their entire lives learning how to play their respective instruments, and then they get with other musicians who are compatible to make music; when all are satisfied they lay down tracks of recordings.

You buy this music, and screw it up with an equalizer; like Pokey says "It's your show, run it any way you want to"