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How to boost your Sound Quality on a budget - Page 2

post #11 of 46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thuNDa View Post

Before i had the still quite cold and thin sounding AKG K712's, and after i have thick euphonic fun headphones, which are very engaging with minimum listening fatigue, which just sound right to me and my taste.
Took a pretty long time to get there tho.

My final EQ-settings are a mix out of different target curves, what i heard when using a tone generator + final adjustments for a bit more thickness and a bit less treble. redface.gif

Well it's great to know that even with a soundcard or a DAC this program can still improve sound in the long run. I always thought once I get a real DAC (eyeing a Schiit Fulla but haven't had a chance to pull the trigger) that I wouldn't need to use this program anymore. But if I end up getting the Fulla I'll probably invest in better headphones as well. But seeing how you believe your audio sounds better with Equalizer APO I will most likely continue to use it and tweak settings more in depth like you have done so even if I get a DAC + headphone upgrade.

Any reason why you have different settings for each ear?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hht92 View Post

Nice, just got my 681 Evo today so i will try it.

+Rep thumb.gif

When you get a chance report your findings especially if you have any questions or concerns. thuNDa knows how to make some pretty intricate settings so I'm sure he would be glad to help if needed and I'm sure I could help you get started as well in case you have any trouble.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post

I have a question for you, BiG StroOnZ (or anyone, really):

Even though I have the X-Fi Titanium HD and I am taking full advantage of the Console Launcher using all 3 modes when I want and I'm taking full advantage of the graphic equalizer it has, etc., would this third party graphic EQ or one like it still be a good idea to use? Or would I end up regretting it and having to reinstall things?

Well if you take a look at thuNDa's settings he uses you can see that even with a sound card he is able to fine tune the settings much better. I imagine when using a sound card or a DAC that using the program would only be an option if you believe there is room to improve your audio. As it seems even with a sound card thuNDa took the time to still use the program and make adjustments to improve his audio experience. It seems the level of settings he has used are a lot more in depth than what I have ever used before, but if you read the first quote in this post from thuNDa you can see that he was able to improve sound with this program compared to without. So more or less if you are interested in using it with a sound card, I would ask thuNDa personally as I have only used it without a sound card. I have a Sennheiser DAC that mildly amplifies sound compared to directly from on-board audio, but aside from that it doesn't have much control so that is really the only experience I have with Equalizer APO at the moment. I have been using it for almost three years though.

Side-Note:

These are some settings I've been experimenting with Headphones (really seems to balance the highs out in heavy bass situations):
Quote:
Channel: all
Preamp: 11 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 15 Hz Gain 10 dB Q 1.41
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 8 dB Q 1.41
Filter 3: ON PK Fc 45 Hz Gain 6 dB Q 1.41
Filter 4: ON PK Fc 88 Hz Gain 3 dB Q 1.41
Filter 5: ON PK Fc 166 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 1.41
Filter 6: ON PK Fc 333 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.41
Filter 7: ON PK Fc 555 Hz Gain -5 dB Q 1.64
Filter 8: ON PK Fc 1111 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.41
Filter 9: ON PK Fc 2222 Hz Gain -0.5 dB Q 1.41
Filter 10: ON PK Fc 4444 Hz Gain 4 dB Q 1.41
Filter 11: ON PK Fc 8888 Hz Gain 6 dB Q 1.41
Filter 12: ON PK Fc 16666 Hz Gain 9 dB Q 1.41
Filter 13: ON PK Fc 22222 Hz Gain 13 dB Q 2.99

Added to OP.
Edited by BiG StroOnZ - 7/26/16 at 10:48pm
post #12 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiG StroOnZ View Post

When you get a chance report your findings especially if you have any questions or concerns. thuNDa knows how to make some pretty intricate settings so I'm sure he would be glad to help if needed and I'm sure I could help you get started as well in case you have any trouble.


Well i tried all the settings you post and they work nice, you can tell that there is a big boost (i played some songs or a movie and i change the config file on the fly so i could hear and understand the boost biggrin.gif ).

I tried also with games (CS:GO). One word fantastic. thumb.gif

Great tips and to think that i never like sound cards, they cost much more than the headphones, except if you go very high end which for the moment i don't care.
Edited by hht92 - 7/27/16 at 3:23am
post #13 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiG StroOnZ View Post


Well it's great to know that even with a soundcard or a DAC this program can still improve sound in the long run. I always thought once I get a real DAC (eyeing a Schiit Fulla but haven't had a chance to pull the trigger) that I wouldn't need to use this program anymore. But if I end up getting the Fulla I'll probably invest in better headphones as well. But seeing how you believe your audio sounds better with Equalizer APO I will most likely continue to use it and tweak settings more in depth like you have done so even if I get a DAC + headphone upgrade.

 

If your headphones or speakers need help like this and if your DAC or sound card doesn't come with software that has global sound enhancements like a graphic equalizer (or if it does but you're not using it because you don't know about it or don't know how, or never tried it, etc.), then boosting certain frequencies is always going to make a huge difference. There are too many people out there who have no idea how much better their audio quality could be if they would just use graphic equalization - but you have to do it properly, and most people these days don't have enough time to feel comfortable sitting down and figuring it out until their audio's clarity and whatnot can't get any better. Then you have the people who go, "What's wrong with it? I can hear it. Isn't that all there is to it?" My answer is, "No. Far from it. Hearing it is only one small piece of the puzzle".

 

Ever since the simple Sound Blaster 16, I have always used Creative's sound cards, and I have always used their graphic equalizer, which affects all sound output. Even before I had a computer, I always made sure I had a stereo system that had its own graphic equalizer and I always used it to my advantage. So I like to think that I know what I'm talking about. lol :) I think the only time I was ever ok with NOT having graphic equalization when I was just a little boy and I hadn't experienced the difference yet. Back then, I would just increase the volume and that was good enough - just like the way too many people do it these days. "Increase the volume to compensate for the weak frequencies!" Sigh... Facepalm! Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

 

Anyway, I had these sound cards:

 

  • Sound Blaster 16
  • Sound Blaster Live! Value
  • Audigy 2 ZS
  • X-Fi XtremeGamer (the simple one that looks like a low-profile card)
  • X-Fi Titanium HD

 

I think all 5 of these sound cards came with software that had global graphic equalization. However, I also remember needing to use the Bass and Treble adjusters in Windows 95, so maybe the Sound Blaster 16 didn't have anything like that. I don't know. What I do know though is, I have never had speakers that were fine without graphic equalization. If I didn't boost 2K through 16K using an upward sloping curve that peaked at around 8K, then they would sound muffled and flat. Even with my Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 system and very nice aftermarket speaker wires for the satellite speakers, I still need graphic equalization, although the amount of graphic equalization that I need now is FAR less than ever before.

 

I don't know DACs very well, but the few that I've become aware of in the past couple of years don't come with any software at all, so that means you won't have any global graphic equalizer or any other audio enhancements, and so that means that need to find one (like you did), or make sure you buy speakers and headphones don't need any help (probably super expensive) because otherwise they'll sound dull and muffled and flat. Of course, you can still use the built-in graphic equalizer in your preferred media player, but you'd still be experiencing dull/flat/muffled audio for everything else like YouTube.

 

So when I see someone who has the Sound Blaster Z saying that something like this made a huge difference, I would say that it's probably because they weren't using Creative's global graphic equalizer. I'd be surprised if the Sound Blaster Z doesn't come with one.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BiG StroOnZ View Post

Any reason why you have different settings for each ear?

 

I'm not a hearing expert, but I would bet most people have different hearing between both of their ears. Try this: the next time you use the phone, actively switch between both of your ears a few times. Or, call an automated service where you have plenty of time to go back and forth to listen to the difference between your ears.

 

The reason why I am recommending this as a test is, we all tend to use either our left ear or or right ear for the phone and never the other ear. So when you have headphones that are giving both ears identical audio experiences, you should actually customize the output so that your left and right channels really do have an identical sound to you. With speakers, it's not as important, unless you have them set up in such a way where the left and right channels completely dominate each other just like with headphones. For me, I can only have a setup where the right and left channels are mostly blended by the time the sound reaches my ears. So, I don't want to mess with that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BiG StroOnZ View Post

When you get a chance report your findings especially if you have any questions or concerns. thuNDa knows how to make some pretty intricate settings so I'm sure he would be glad to help if needed and I'm sure I could help you get started as well in case you have any trouble.
Well if you take a look at thuNDa's settings he uses you can see that even with a sound card he is able to fine tune the settings much better. I imagine when using a sound card or a DAC that using the program would only be an option if you believe there is room to improve your audio. As it seems even with a sound card thuNDa took the time to still use the program and make adjustments to improve his audio experience. It seems the level of settings he has used are a lot more in depth than what I have ever used before, but if you read the first quote in this post from thuNDa you can see that he was able to improve sound with this program compared to without. So more or less if you are interested in using it with a sound card, I would ask thuNDa personally as I have only used it without a sound card. I have a Sennheiser DAC that mildly amplifies sound compared to directly from on-board audio, but aside from that it doesn't have much control so that is really the only experience I have with Equalizer APO at the moment. I have been using it for almost three years though.

Side-Note:

These are some settings I've been experimenting with Headphones (really seems to balance the highs out in heavy bass situations):
Added to OP.

 

Yeah, I'm gonna have to ask him what he was doing before this because it sounds to me like he wasn't using any of Creative's audio enhancements at all, not even their graphic equalizer. I'm taking full advantage of what's available to me, and the result has me 100% satisfied.

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post #14 of 46

@thuNDa

 

I see that you have the Sound Blaster Z. Were you previously using any of Creative's audio enhancements, particularly the Graphic Equalizer, before you began using what you're using now?

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post #15 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiG StroOnZ View Post

Well it's great to know that even with a soundcard or a DAC this program can still improve sound in the long run. I always thought once I get a real DAC (eyeing a Schiit Fulla but haven't had a chance to pull the trigger) that I wouldn't need to use this program anymore. But if I end up getting the Fulla I'll probably invest in better headphones as well. But seeing how you believe your audio sounds better with Equalizer APO I will most likely continue to use it and tweak settings more in depth like you have done so even if I get a DAC + headphone upgrade.

Any reason why you have different settings for each ear?

Well, it's equalizing ones headphones - the differences between EQ'ing or getting another soundcard/DAC are galaxies apart from each other, when it comes to "sound improvements".
I mean, adding only one filter with +/- 3dB is already a bigger difference, than going from onboard to a dedicated soundcard / DAC.

And i have different settings for each ear, because the drivers of my headphones(and most headphones generally) are not 100% matched.
You can test for yourself with a tone generator: http://sinegen.en.lo4d.com/

With this program you can also hear the peaks and dips throughout the frequency range.
Quote:
When you get a chance report your findings especially if you have any questions or concerns. thuNDa knows how to make some pretty intricate settings so I'm sure he would be glad to help if needed and I'm sure I could help you get started as well in case you have any trouble.

for the hd681 evo i would recommend the testversion of "sonarworks", which would then only work for "foobar".
If you wanted to take over its EQ-settings to EQ-APO, you had to rebuild the EQ curve, which is witchery in itself again(i did so for my headphones, and mixed it with my former EQ settings). rolleyes.gif

This topic can go really deep.

This is what i all read about it(in english alone that is):

http://www.head-fi.org/t/413900/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-a-tutorial
http://www.head-fi.org/t/796791/the-most-reliable-easiest-way-to-eq-headphones-properly-to-achieve-the-most-ideal-sound-for-non-professionals
http://www.head-fi.org/t/615417/how-to-equalize-your-headphones-advanced-tutorial-in-progress
http://www.head-fi.org/t/361303/ideal-headphone-frequency-reponse-graph
http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/first-test-estimated-harman-target-response-curve-various-headphones
http://www.head-fi.org/t/762969/sonarworks-headphone-calibration-software
http://www.head-fi.org/t/564465/misconception-of-neutral-accurate
http://www.head-fi.org/t/612665/how-far-can-eq-really-go-towards-truly-equalizing-headphones

HF biggrin.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post

@thuNDa


I see that you have the Sound Blaster Z. Were you previously using any of Creative's audio enhancements, particularly the Graphic Equalizer, before you began using what you're using now?

No, other than casually playing around with SB-Z's own grafic EQ for some minutes.

Then the studies above, and then thankfully found EQ-APO which let you use the EQ systemwide, without any drawbacks(from what i can hear, compared to other EQ's which work in "foobar").
Edited by thuNDa - 7/27/16 at 10:31am
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post #16 of 46
Might want to add that anyone who is using WASAPI or ASIO won't notice a change until they switch to DS.
post #17 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by thuNDa View Post

this EQ APO is very mighty - i use it to fully EQ my headphones to my liking, and it doesn't induce audio lag:




It does induce 20ms latency i think.
And you also cant use ASIO or Wasapi with this.

I also use EQ APO though so obviously i am fine with these limits but others might not be.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post

I have a question for you, BiG StroOnZ (or anyone, really):

Even though I have the X-Fi Titanium HD and I am taking full advantage of the Console Launcher using all 3 modes when I want and I'm taking full advantage of the graphic equalizer it has, etc., would this third party graphic EQ or one like it still be a good idea to use? Or would I end up regretting it and having to reinstall things?

I wouldnt use both thats for sure. (only 1 or the other)
EQ APO is more advanced and precise but if your happy now i would save myself the trouble.
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post #18 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farih View Post


It does induce 20ms latency i think.
And you also cant use ASIO or Wasapi with this.

I also use EQ APO though so obviously i am fine with these limits but others might not be.
I wouldnt use both thats for sure. (only 1 or the other)
EQ APO is more advanced and precise but if your happy now i would save myself the trouble.

 

Oh, no I wasn't saying I'd use both, but my curiosity was piqued if it would be worth the time and effort of switching to using one of these APOs.

 

However, I forgot that WASAPI wouldn't work for it and so I guess I can safely say "Nevermind". :)

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post #19 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoCables View Post

Oh, no I wasn't saying I'd use both, but my curiosity was piqued if it would be worth the time and effort of switching to using one of these APOs.

However, I forgot that WASAPI wouldn't work for it and so I guess I can safely say "Nevermind". smile.gif

I really like EQ APO and i cant hear the difference between bit perfect and windows output tbh and thats with pretty expensive audio even.
EQ APO while it does induce some latency it does so at a much lower level then say Realtek, Asus and Creative drivers.
Offcourse those drivers contain alot more then EQ APO so thats probably why.

Luckely its free so you could always give it a try.

I like to use it with frequency graphs to even out the peaks an valleys in them with EQ APO.
Easy way to get your speakers/headphone a flat curve, that is if you want flat offcourse.
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post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farih View Post

It does induce 20ms latency i think.
And you also cant use ASIO or Wasapi with this.

The "Analysis Panel" even shows the estimated latency, and that it 0.0ms here with my pretty mess of 1 million filters. tongue.gif
Don't notice latency in games either, where i wouldn't tolerate any audio latency at all.

And adding only one filter, would make all ASIO / Wasapi OCD obsolete anyways. smile.gif
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