The equalizer you don't know you have


Audiophiles are amazing at finding ways to not use an equalizer or tone control of any sort. Shame because in the bass regions EQ are magic. We can talk all day long about being able to hear the felt on the seat of the third violinist, but when you have a bass mode that is 20dB louder than anything else it can ruin your experience, and no power cable in the world is going to fix it.

But while our desire for audio purity is commendable for its tenacity, you may not be aware that EQ circuits are built right into a lot of speakers. A lot of very expensive speakers.

What do I mean? Well, very few very good sounding drivers are ideal, or integrate well with the other drivers. Speaker designers compensate for this within the crossover. Those caps, and coils which you think are just there to prevent a driver from going ballistic may also be coloring your sound, in a good way. Hopefully no one starts throwing their speakers out after this. :)


Best,

Erik
erik_squires
OMG! Speakers have crossovers! Hold on, just a quick call to Lowther....
OMG! Speakers have crossovers! Hold on, just a quick call to Lowther....


That's what I like about you, ebm, you are always able to contribute and use your experiences to help everyone enjoy their music listening in a positive and friendly manner.

Best,

Erik

Well, very few very good sounding drivers are ideal, or integrate well with the other drivers. Speaker designers compensate for this within the crossover.

Which is why so many audiophiles are never happy with their speakers. The EQ that is built in, has been tuned to the designers ears rather than your ears. 

If you want a pair of trousers that fits you, who should try it on to see if it fits? The person in the store, or you?

Erik, do you see now why built in EQ doesnt work?

In his great Tech Talk Tuesday videos (viewable on You Tube), GR Research's Danny Richie describes and explains how he uses discrete parts in the x/o of loudspeakers to provide compensation filters for addressing driver ills. Part of that explanation is why an outboard electronic crossover, while very useful for some applications, can provide only "textbook" filters, NOT compensation filters for drivers needing help.

Great stuff, everyone should watch them all. 

I am lucky because I like my speakers, not ideally located in my room, neither in good shape (one of them is more weak than the other) ...


Bad situation is not it?

Then why do I love them so much? ( except for the price that are peanuts)


God news, you can compensate et improve your speakers and their imaging and rendering of timbre beyond your wildest imagination....


Most people had never listen to the right potential of their speakers....

And it is not the cabling that will upgrade them on another level... I know cables makes a difference tough, but it is not the change in one flavor spice that transform a bad soup in a good one...

Vibrations-resonance controls
Acoustical room treatment.
Cleaning the house electrical grid.
Tweaking the acoustic with Schumann generator modified, and Helmholtz resonators, and some other simple homemade reflective resonators and using my "golden" plate idea on the back of the speakers and on the breaker central panels... In a few words...

Erik, do you see now why built in EQ doesnt work?


Kenjit,
I’m not going to attempt a fact based conversation with a poster who calls science and filter design "hocus-pocus" whenever the conversation goes over their head.

You've also posted that you have no idea what components in a crossover do, so your condescension is hugely amusing.


Best,

E
I am lucky because I like my speakers,



Happy is the man who wants nothing he does not already have!


Erik
whenever the conversation goes over their head.

So why dont you enlighten us if you think you are more knowledgeable than me? 

kenjit: "Which is why so many audiophiles are never happy with their speakers. The EQ that is built in, has been tuned to the designers ears rather than your ears.
If you want a pair of trousers that fits you, who should try it on to see if it fits? The person in the store, or you?"

     Good point, kenjit! I was having the salesperson try out the fit on my prospective trousers for years before I figured that one out.
     I believe you’re also right about this approach applying well to our main speaker choices because speaker selection is so subjective and personal. It’s sort of a "I’ll know the right pair of speakers for me when I hear them" kind of deal when searching for the ones to actually purchase and live with for awhile. It’s likely a confluence of speaker design and sound quality characteristics that determine our choices, including the overall sonic attributes of the EQ settings chosen by the speaker designers via their crossover networks.
     Ultimately however, we all know we make our decisions on which pair of main speakers to purchase based on the total package and total sound; how closely does our subjective perception of how they sound compare to our subjective perception of how we’d like them to sound? Let’s throw out that pesky subjective variable factor of price at the moment for clarity and simplicity’s sake.
     While I agree with Erik that the crossover networks on any speakers function as hidden critical EQs on the resultant sound, I suggest we put them in perspective by considering them only one of the several ingredients that determine the overall sound of a speaker. They are an important ingredient in the overall sonic taste or flavor of a speaker but, I believe many of us would agree, there are also several other important ingredient worthy of discussion
     I wanted to add that I appreciate Erik’s efforts in playing the role of an informal facilitator on this forum by consistently being the original poster of many threads that are creative, concern a wide variety of interesting as well as relevant audio topics which are typically thought provoking and that usually elicit many equally interesting, entertaining and informative responses.

Thank you, Erik,
Tim
Loudspeaker designer's don't "tune speakers to their ears." Geez, will ya just watch the Tech Talk Tuesday videos? And then read the writings of Siegfried Linkwitz. You might learn how speakers are REALLY designed, and then shut the Hell up.
I'm a big believer in measurements and tools in speaker design. Of course I believe in science and engineering and that there are giants of both who have lots to say about what makes a great speaker.


It's also true though that the recording engineers are making judgement calls as to what we want to hear, and what gear we use to listen to it. This has always been true. There is no commonly accepted baseline of how a neutral speaker should behave. I mean, I use the B&K curve as a reference, but truth be told not many others do.


In this sense, the motion picture industry had a much better standard in the work of THX. Not only did they specify frequency response curves, reference volume levels but even crossovers and auditorium acoustics!


That's light years more standardized than we have in the music industry.

So what should we do? In my opinion, buy the speakers we like the most and use tone controls when needed.  Sit back and enjoy what makes you happy.
Have my awesome EQ, the Onkyo EQ-540 integra, she is a great EQ!
 It gets some use on specifics CDs and albums.

i just like the green lights. :)
I just want to point out that EQ (and other signal processing) takes place in many places along the recording process as well as in playback systems.

As Erik pointed out most speakers systems have some sort of EQ by necessity. All speaker drivers and speaker systems have compromises. When a speaker designer is tasked to design a pair of speakers that will be sold through retail stores that will retail for $2K they must cost no more than $500~$600 to manufacture including overhead, packaging and labor for the company to stay in business. Not all speaker manufacturers have the same resources. Five different speaker manufacturers will each have their own way to meet that price point as well as having their own preferences. So each company will build a $2K speaker that sound different from their competitor's $2K speaker. Also, it is very difficult to accurately predict what people want in a speaker so designer do what they think is best.

Stated in a previous post:
" Part of that explanation is why an outboard electronic crossover, while very useful for some applications, can provide only "textbook" filters, NOT compensation filters for drivers needing help."

With all due respect that statement is not accurate. Frequency contouring or EQ can and often is designed into analog electronic crossovers. They are usually designed for a specific speaker. For example we designed an analog electronic crossover for one of our two way OB speaker systems. Along with performing the crossover functions the unit is used for contouring the upper mid-range and also adds bass boost required for OB woofers. More than "textbook" filters are possible.

"Outboard electronic crossover" is a broad term. I believe the poster was describing analog electronic crossovers. DSP crossovers fit the description too.

There is truth in saying that just substituting off-the-shelf analog electronic crossovers for the factory passive crossovers that have driver and cabinet compensating circuits and other EQ could have very negative sonic consequences.


speakers are there to be heard and enjoyed not measured. Therefore it is crucial that they are custom tuned to your ears only. 

Unfortunately many speaker designers rely on measurements and the result is speakers that sound horrible. 
the prime example of a hidden equalizer is within a phono preamp that has to adjust for the RIAA curve.   The circuitry has to boost and cut the signal by 40 db! from 20 to 20K Hz.  
Kenjit wrote-
"speakers are there to be heard and enjoyed not measured. Therefore it is crucial that they are custom tuned to your ears only.

Unfortunately many speaker designers rely on measurements and the result is speakers that sound horrible."

This is is the exact equivalent of your custom tuned to your ears speakers sounding horrible to the rest of the world.  They were flavored to your liking in your environment via measurements whether by ear or by testing equipment.  

Why is it so difficult to comprehend that there are speakers manufactured at every price point for a multitude of listeners that do exactly what they are supposed to do, bring listening pleasure to that buyer.  The vast array is there for choice of sound and esthetics.  Sure, you can spend a fortune on custom tuned to your ears but those ears will not hear the same five to ten years down the road.  What then?  Pay a small fortune to retune again and again?  

What are your guidelines for custom tuning to your ears?  Please describe the process that you are a huge proponent of.  

Maybe someday these guys will figure out that even in the Audiophile community 90% simply don't care. People who are outliers on the spectrum of normalcy can't figure out why everyone else is not jazzed about minutia. Completely myopic. Totally out of touch with reality. 
@bryhifi 

Custom tuning a speaker is far less profitable for the speaker industry. That is why instead they do mass production. The same with trousers. Its far cheaper and easier to mass produce sizes that go up in 1 inch increments than to custom tune a pair of trousers down to a millimetre. But thats what audiophilia is about. Its about the fine details. 

The industry has tried to deceive audiophiles into believing that there is a one size fits all approach. Unfortunately most audiophiles never buy a single speaker. Its an endless cycle of buying and upgrading all because the speakers havent been custom tuned. As a result the response overshoots or undershoots the target response and is never perfectly right. 

Bryhifi you are obviously unhappy with your speakers so you will need your crossovers redone. 

What then?  Pay a small fortune to retune again and again?
 
It wouldnt cost a fortune to retune a crossover. It might just be a case of changing a single resistor. 

Custom tuning means that every aspect of the speaker is customised to your requirements. It can involve the crossover, the choice of drivers, the cabinet the whole nine yards. 
Completely myopic. Totally out of touch with reality.



I’m getting the impression you don’t like a lot of people, @douglas_schroeder

I wanted to add that I appreciate Erik’s efforts in playing the role of an informal facilitator on this forum by consistently being the original poster of many threads that are creative, concern a wide variety of interesting as well as relevant audio topics which are typically thought provoking and that usually elicit many equally interesting, entertaining and informative responses.



Thank you for the kind words, @arion 
I constantly worry that if we don't bring in more of our own experiences into the forums Audiogon will turn into nothing better than a shopping suggestion forum.

@kenjit

I’m obvious unhappy with my speakers so I need my crossovers redone???

How on earth did you come to that conclusion?

Still waiting for your detailed description of the custom tuning process. That last response was nondescript and vague.
I hold a blank check with your name on it - how will you build me my custom tuned to my ears pair of speakers? You act like you have the answers so Tell me what exactly you are doing that I am paying for.
Hi @bryhifi

You aren't wrong, but Kenjit is notorous for making statements he can't back up or contradicting himself within the same sentence.

I for one would be personally grateful to those who let factless claims go ignored.

Thank you,

Erik

@erik_squires 

duly noted.  Sorry, it is your thread and having been here since 1999 I’ve seen enough of this that I should know better and bite my tongue.  
Peace out
EQ , hidden EQ starts with microphone choice.....
then microphone preamp, then the board, etc...

quiz time: how does an astute designer fix baffle step in the filter ?
Also many  of the more sloppy phono stages and cutting head amps have inaccurate inverse RIAA ( and other standards ) applied....

quiz time - anybody remember the Cello Palette?
Crossover is a misnomer, s/b filter and compensation network
Also a “ full range “ driver is an unequalizer 
quiz time: how does an astute designer fix baffle step in the filter ?


I know of at least three answers

  1. A BSC filter
  2. Judicious selection of parts the low pass filter if you can, which for me is often using a coil with slightly higher DCR than you would otherwise. Also see Gravesen's writing on this.
  3. Don't fix it and make your speakers true-bookshelf speakers. See the Crystal Cable Minissimo Diamond for a commercial example.


Best,

E

quiz time - anybody remember the Cello Palette?


Mark Levinson's (the man) post ML (the company) equalizer, right?  I never saw one in real life, or any other Cello component.

I had an old pair of Decware speakers that allowed one to tailor the sound with different resistors. The Tonian Labs TL-D1s I had were provided with three different sized slats on the backside to tailor the lower mids and base to suit ones tastes and room. My current JBL 4319 monitors have high and mid frequency tone controls to do the same. 
A very slight twist of those controls are easily heard, and at times, appreciated. 

I see nothing wrong and everything to gain from having some control over these aspects of speakers.

All the best,
Nonoise
I had an old pair of Decware speakers that allowed one to tailor the sound with different resistors.


Wilson lets you do this too. In fact, this is the only part of the crossover you will ever see, as they encase the rest of it in black resin.

duly noted.  Sorry, it is your thread and having been here since 1999 I’ve seen enough of this that I should know better and bite my tongue.  


No worries at all @bryhifi - I understand the temptation to use reason and
facts to resolve misguided declarations.

Best,
E

OK, but...

I do not use crossovers in my main system (EQ is achieved by the speaker enclosure and its placement in the room).

I previously used 2-Way speakers with a crossover and they sounded incredible (Reynaud Twins MKII mated with an Audion Silver Night 300B SET amp).

I auditioned the speakers prior to purchase @ a dealer with a killer room and they sounded even better than the audition in my living/listening room.

Sorry if I lost track of what your your OP was intended to gather/attract.

DeKay


Post removed 
     Crossovers, smoshovers! 

      I just have a hankerin for listening to some good music reproduced through a pair of speakers I like the sound of.  Okay, maybe 1 or 2 pairs of properly positioned and configured subs added would sound and feel even better.

What's that flying over my head?
  Tim
I'm going to stay out of 'active' involvement in this forum....

Why?

Because I'm an 'active Xover' And eq. 'abuser'.

'Nuff said....

@cap...Agreed....anything 'downstream' is doing Something other than just 'that'....whatever 'that' is said to be up to.... ;)

Have fun, y'all.  I come by later, to do the 'body count'....*L*
Better, much better Mr Squires.... btw a large baffle can just be thought of as a constructive/ destructive averaging machine
Is there a way to simply block a member on this forum so  I don't have to see their posts? Asking for a friend. 
My eyes automatically skip this member(s) post, try it as an exercise very effective

Good post Erik BTW, you've been saying this forever, finally you decided to make it a formal post. Comments from Tim, tomic and others are always instructive. I have learned a lot from