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Hello and thanks for any advice anyone can give me on this. I've enjoyed gaming for a while now and I find myself usually adjusting my Equalizer to filter out the lower frequencies and enjoy the high quality samples of the higher trebles (i.e. 6K-12K). The problem is what usually happens is I end up inevitably hearing cracks and static.

I currently have a very good Mainboard on my PC so the sound coming from there is supposedly already high quality. Since I frequently game and the sound quality is a big part of this I am looking for a way to upgrade my experience so I can continue to increase the higher frequencies and decrease the lower frequencies and eliminate any cracks and static. I am not sure what I would need for this (i.e. better headphones, or a better soundcard etc) and honestly I am a bit concerned that whatever I pick up is not going to be what I need or give me any improvement over what I already have. I have purchased cheap ear buds that sound great and expensive ones that sound terrible, so I am somewhat at a loss as to where to go or how to improve.

A good example of what I like is in a certain game they really took the time to create detailed sound effects of clashing steel etc, in the game you can have up to 128 bit sound. I enjoy experiencing the high detail of the higher frequencies on these while lowering the lower bass responses. Again, inevitably I end up hearing cracks and statics so what I am trying to figure out is what I would need to upgrade to not get those, even when increasing the high frequencies even more.

Thanks for any help you can offer! I am in the US and looking to spend as little as possible but would consider spending more if this problem were to be thoroughly and permanently solved.
I am looking to use at my desktop computer (prefer external soundcard if possible) and already have some nice headphone amps that do offer some overall amplification but do not solve the issue of having crackling and static. I am worried about spending a lot on a pair of ear buds (I need light ear buds, not heavy sweaty ear cans) and having the sound be worse than the exisiting pair I have. Also concerned about spending $100+ on a soundcard and it also not solving my problem and giving me the same performance I have on my $300 Mainboard (PC Motherboard).
I have an EQ software that I use so I believe I am just looking for a good pair of ear buds that won't crackle when I turn up the treble and lower the bass, but again, any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you!
 

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9 Cans of Ravioli
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uh

if we're supposed to suggest upgrades it'd be useful to know what you have now. all you told us is you're using EQ and you have a $300 motherboard, lol.

any headphones whether they're $10 or $700 will sound like ass if you're just cranking the EQ willy nilly. you're better off lowering the frequencies you care less about rather than boosting the ones you do want: if you want to boost the high frequencies, lower the low frequencies.

if your onboard is bad (doubtful on a "$300 motherboard" and chances are your EQ is just bad) then you can grab something like a FiiO E10K for ~$60 and it'd be enough to drive most headphones out there without any sound quality issues. I ran one for a bit but it offered zero improvement on my "less than $300" motherboard :D

can't help you with an IEM suggestion, they're not my cup of tea.
 

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Hello and thanks for any advice anyone can give me on this. I've enjoyed gaming for a while now and I find myself usually adjusting my Equalizer to filter out the lower frequencies and enjoy the high quality samples of the higher trebles (i.e. 6K-12K). The problem is what usually happens is I end up inevitably hearing cracks and static.

I currently have a very good Mainboard on my PC so the sound coming from there is supposedly already high quality. Since I frequently game and the sound quality is a big part of this I am looking for a way to upgrade my experience so I can continue to increase the higher frequencies and decrease the lower frequencies and eliminate any cracks and static. I am not sure what I would need for this (i.e. better headphones, or a better soundcard etc) and honestly I am a bit concerned that whatever I pick up is not going to be what I need or give me any improvement over what I already have. I have purchased cheap ear buds that sound great and expensive ones that sound terrible, so I am somewhat at a loss as to where to go or how to improve.

A good example of what I like is in a certain game they really took the time to create detailed sound effects of clashing steel etc, in the game you can have up to 128 bit sound. I enjoy experiencing the high detail of the higher frequencies on these while lowering the lower bass responses. Again, inevitably I end up hearing cracks and statics so what I am trying to figure out is what I would need to upgrade to not get those, even when increasing the high frequencies even more.

Thanks for any help you can offer! I am in the US and looking to spend as little as possible but would consider spending more if this problem were to be thoroughly and permanently solved.
I am looking to use at my desktop computer (prefer external soundcard if possible) and already have some nice headphone amps that do offer some overall amplification but do not solve the issue of having crackling and static. I am worried about spending a lot on a pair of ear buds (I need light ear buds, not heavy sweaty ear cans) and having the sound be worse than the exisiting pair I have. Also concerned about spending $100+ on a soundcard and it also not solving my problem and giving me the same performance I have on my $300 Mainboard (PC Motherboard).
I have an EQ software that I use so I believe I am just looking for a good pair of ear buds that won't crackle when I turn up the treble and lower the bass, but again, any suggestions are welcome.

Thank you!
If you're headphone gaming, and don't care about desktop speaker setups, Super X-fi Amp.
Then enjoy 7.1 surround sound over your headphones. 5.1 is also working now with latest firmware, even less reverb, sounds like a more precise version of a GSX-1000's HRTF with even better positioning.
The device is that good.

The Soundblaster X3 amp when I last looked, had problems that the Super X-fi amp does not have, and I do not know if they have been fixed by now.
 

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If you up some ranges in EQ make sure to lower gain on the pre-amp.
You might be clipping because you upped ranges far to high.
Try to never hit or go over 0DB output.

like The Pook said: "you're better off lowering the frequencies you care less about rather than boosting the ones you do want: if you want to boost the high frequencies, lower the low frequencies."
 

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There are a lot of factors that can contribute to sound quality issues beyond your stereo Amp and sound card. Ultimately the best audio you can get is digital via hdmi, and even more specifically HDCP 2.2/4k hdmi. You need a 4k stereo Amp and then you will eliminate all electrical interference issues and have the best possible sound quality.
 

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There are a lot of factors that can contribute to sound quality issues beyond your stereo Amp and sound card. Ultimately the best audio you can get is digital via hdmi, and even more specifically HDCP 2.2/4k hdmi. You need a 4k stereo Amp and then you will eliminate all electrical interference issues and have the best possible sound quality.
The best possible sound quality doesn't stand or fall with its connection.
You can have a 4K stereo receiver/amp with badly/cheap designed internals, crap build quality or you could have a crappy source.... just the connection says nothing.

Like i wouldn't want anything like this in my house (or near!)
https://www.amazon.com/5-2-Channel-Hi-Fi-Bluetooth-Stereo-Amplifier/dp/B07V9YKCRN/ref=sr_1_67?dchild=1&keywords=4k+receiver&qid=1596240539&sr=8-67

And i could have picked 100$ models or so to.

The connection says nothing about sound quality.
 
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The best possible sound quality doesn't stand or fall with its connection.
You can have a 4K stereo receiver/amp with badly/cheap designed internals, crap build quality or a you could have crappy source.... just the connection says nothing.

Like i wouldn't want anything like this in my house (or near!)
https://www.amazon.com/5-2-Channel-Hi-Fi-Bluetooth-Stereo-Amplifier/dp/B07V9YKCRN/ref=sr_1_67?dchild=1&keywords=4k+receiver&qid=1596240539&sr=8-67

And i could have picked 100$ models or so to.

The connection says nothing about sound quality.

but muh digital

and it's 1000W

how can it not be good :D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
FIrst of all thank you all for taking the time to respond. Some specific things:
1) regarding the "$300 Mainboard"... decent working mainboards are under $100... so *supposedly* when you have these high end mainboards they are supposed to include high quality integrated sound. Of course I have no way of knowing and the software that came with my mainboard is disappointing.. they discontinued the EQ with a software upgrade and now has a supposedly upgraded application that is aimed at gamers that has 3 sliders... for increasing "voices" (mid), "explosions" (low) and background (high). Needless to say it is a complete failure.

I am using Equalizer APO which has been around a while and I believe is giving me excellent and complete control over the EQ. What I have been doing is lowering all the lower frequencies and then increasing the high ones (carefully... obviously not 'cranking them all up willy nilly).. but I do find that once I go past a certain threshold of difference between the lows and highs, I of course get the clipping.. which leads me to believe that there is a certain amount of real estate on the headphones... so I am wondering if there are certain ear buds that can handle those higher frequencies at higher gains without the clipping. All the ear buds I see say they have 20hz to 20K hz range. Again any advice anyone can give me on this would be very much appreciated!!

I am going to check out the "Super X Fi Amp" and research "4K stereo amps" now..

Again thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond!
 

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FIrst of all thank you all for taking the time to respond. Some specific things:
1) regarding the "$300 Mainboard"... decent working mainboards are under $100... so *supposedly* when you have these high end mainboards they are supposed to include high quality integrated sound. Of course I have no way of knowing and the software that came with my mainboard is disappointing.. they discontinued the EQ with a software upgrade and now has a supposedly upgraded application that is aimed at gamers that has 3 sliders... for increasing "voices" (mid), "explosions" (low) and background (high). Needless to say it is a complete failure.

I am using Equalizer APO which has been around a while and I believe is giving me excellent and complete control over the EQ. What I have been doing is lowering all the lower frequencies and then increasing the high ones (carefully... obviously not 'cranking them all up willy nilly).. but I do find that once I go past a certain threshold of difference between the lows and highs, I of course get the clipping.. which leads me to believe that there is a certain amount of real estate on the headphones... so I am wondering if there are certain ear buds that can handle those higher frequencies at higher gains without the clipping. All the ear buds I see say they have 20hz to 20K hz range. Again any advice anyone can give me on this would be very much appreciated!!

I am going to check out the "Super X Fi Amp" and research "4K stereo amps" now..

Again thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond!
Clipping happens when you output over 0DB (one some gear you don't notice/hear it over +3DB)
It depends on the output voltage and how much the equipment receiving that output voltage can handle.

You could be at 0DB with 1.85V output (line level) this is fine, you can also have 0DB outputting 2.35V, this can cause problems for some hardware (not all)
Your source might be outputting a high line level at 0DB, that's why its important to stay underneath it.

In the graph of EQ APO you can select "Add pre amplifying"
Do that and make sure everything stays under 0DB.

See example screenshot of 2 of my headphones.

If you set EQ up like that and you still have the same problem it might just be that your headphone or the Dac/amp on your motherboard cant handle the volume.
Does it also crackle etc on low volume?

If it still does it at low volume and you are not outputting over 0DB then it could be that your earbuds paired with your onboard chip have an impedance miss match (output impedance of motherboard to high for low impedance earbuds) and/or one of your parts is just broken.
 

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The best possible sound quality doesn't stand or fall with its connection.
You can have a 4K stereo receiver/amp with badly/cheap designed internals, crap build quality or you could have a crappy source.... just the connection says nothing.

Like i wouldn't want anything like this in my house (or near!)
https://www.amazon.com/5-2-Channel-Hi-Fi-Bluetooth-Stereo-Amplifier/dp/B07V9YKCRN/ref=sr_1_67?dchild=1&keywords=4k+receiver&qid=1596240539&sr=8-67

And i could have picked 100$ models or so to.

The connection says nothing about sound quality.
Actually it does. Your comment has almost no logic to it. Anyone can point out that a crappy receiver will be crappy even if it's using the best possible audio connection. Did you really need to bother to say that? Just wanted to state the obvious as if it somehow discredits my point? That's some dumb behavior.

HDMI with HDCP 2.2 is currently the best possible connection you can use for the best possible audio quality. Using HDMI via analog will also eliminate the electrical interference issues the OP described.

But sure let's add your contribution into the mix. OP, if you decide to go with HDMI, don't get a crappy receiver.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Basically this is about how I am really enjoying it... at a loud but not too loud volume (computer volume at maximum) and this is exactly where I am starting to hear some occasional clipping. At this point I just put up with the clipping because I don't like those lower frequencies and aside from the occasional clips it sounds really good to me. If I lower the Pre Amp I am not getting enough volume. If I lower the high end frequencies it is not sounding as good or how I like it, it sounds much lower quality to me. If I increase the lower end frequencies to gain more overall volume, again its not how I like it (it sounds muddy to me). And no I am not getting any of it at the low volume. It is only when I turn it up to my preferred volume (loud but not deafening, that I then start to have the occasional clipping.

I am pretty sure after Farish's explanation that what is happening is the too much voltage to the headphones. So if I were to look for a new better pair of earbuds what would I be looking for that might be able to handle this type /level of sound without that occasional clipping, even if its only a minor improvement, i.e. being able to listen to the sound model that I like, with a little more volume with less clipping?

Again thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond!
 

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why is your gain so high? :eek:

I'm at -3 and @Farih 's screenshot shows him at -5, you're at +22.

if you can't get volume out of your headphones without having gain set so high then that's the situation where a headphone amplifier definitely would help. it's likely why you're getting the sound quality issues.
 

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I am using Equalizer APO which has been around a while and I believe is giving me excellent and complete control over the EQ. What I have been doing is lowering all the lower frequencies and then increasing the high ones (carefully... obviously not 'cranking them all up willy nilly).. but I do find that once I go past a certain threshold of difference between the lows and highs, I of course get the clipping.. which leads me to believe that there is a certain amount of real estate on the headphones... so I am wondering if there are certain ear buds that can handle those higher frequencies at higher gains without the clipping. All the ear buds I see say they have 20hz to 20K hz range. Again any advice anyone can give me on this would be very much appreciated!!
Sound doesn't move linear nor 2D line it is made up to be
You get clipping as you OC , eeeh EQ wrong :p
Lowering the amount of a specific frequency which does work by compression doesn't lower it's strengh
If you need to boost some specific frequency be it for Error Correction
You do this by lowering the pre-amplified signal (not post !)

Frequency and water are quite well comparable, both reflect from surface, both press itself into a room and both have a laminar flow with own resistance to it. Also both implode and explode upon movement in all directions ~ it's no 2D wave that goes a single straight line
By EQing down some frequencies, while pushing up the others - you aren't removing energy from it
You aren't taking away water, just by pushing it through some new shaped flow road
What you actually do is increase resistance and compress it on some of their paths ~ imagine a street or a maze with many rooms

By compressing the signal on this specific frequency, you aren't losing energy, it remains there
And so if you overdo it ~ you will get harmonic distortion or shimmering.
The same ruleset goes to any AMP or overall amp stacking
0db unison isn't measurable that easy, but compressing a signal doesn't make it quiter , a tiny bit but only in VU scale not in reality

Soo if you want to actually error correct and finetune your headphones ~ i mean else why would you EQ in the first place
You have to lower the gain
Logically, if you compress some specific frequency down and muddy it, you do increase it's strengh if you go over the 0db range
Unlogically, if you pass 0db the signal is louder, but if you EQ it down (that's why we have hundreds of differnet sounding EQs) you aren't losing energy
In short again, Pre-Amp down if you want to EQ , simple and logical :)
Exmpl:

My first 5 filters are misaligned as they are changable, the remain >5 are measured and have to keep their exact proportion and position to freq correct them
In reality this is what you end up with:

Barely peaking 0db , changing nothing in the endresult except retuning or we could say "recolouring" what came in and came out
It's perceived loudness will change, if you work what way, but that's where you just turn your loudness knob up
Turning it up, will increase the voltage, and overall the loudness ~ but not make the signal clip

EQing, like marked has also filters
These filters Q 1.41 two octaces, and 0.705 1 octave, are strenghness or steepness filters
EQing overal is a big topic and i can link you later some lectures if you want to invest time into it
But even when the graph looks awkward, the difference is subtle ~ although decided by an algorithm and not by human ear, as perception varies by current mood and body design
Which i want to say as
"Specs & Accuracy of gear matter more than personal opinion - as personal opinion changes up to mood"
If you want to tune stuff to taste, you do it later on
 

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Actually it does. Your comment has almost no logic to it. Anyone can point out that a crappy receiver will be crappy even if it's using the best possible audio connection. Did you really need to bother to say that? Just wanted to state the obvious as if it somehow discredits my point? That's some dumb behavior.

HDMI with HDCP 2.2 is currently the best possible connection you can use for the best possible audio quality. Using HDMI via analog will also eliminate the electrical interference issues the OP described.

But sure let's add your contribution into the mix. OP, if you decide to go with HDMI, don't get a crappy receiver.
It has logic, your comment just says.. "Get HDMI, its the best"
Its not, well it doesn't have to be.

Ever wonder why the best (and often most expensive) DAC's (or Amps with build it DAC's etc) have USB and/or EAS/EBU (AES3)?
USB, optical and AES3 all are galvanic isolated connections, HDMI isn't the only one.
You can even galvanicly isolate analog connections with something like a galvanic isolated 1:1 transformer
Not saying HDMI isn't a good connection but there are more good connections and audio quality isn't defined by its connection either, far from it even.

You stated:
"Ultimately the best audio you can get is digital via hdmi, and even more specifically HDCP 2.2/4k hdmi. You need a 4k stereo Amp and then you will eliminate all electrical interference issues and have the best possible sound quality."
Which is simply not true.

You do not not HDCP2.2/4K HDMI for the best possible audio quality.
You do not need a 4K stereo amp to eliminate electrical interference and you do not need a 4K stereo amp to have the best possible sound quality.

Call me dumb as much and often as you like but atleast my posts are informed unlike yours.
 
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It has logic, your comment just says.. "Get HDMI, its the best"
Its not, well it doesn't have to be.

Ever wonder why the best (and often most expensive) DAC's (or Amps with build it DAC's etc) have USB and/or EAS/EBU (AES3)?
USB, optical and AES3 all are galvanic isolated connections, HDMI isn't the only one.
You can even galvanicly isolate analog connections with something like a galvanic isolated 1:1 transformer
Not saying HDMI isn't a good connection but there are more good connections and audio quality isn't defined by its connection either, far from it even.

You stated:
"Ultimately the best audio you can get is digital via hdmi, and even more specifically HDCP 2.2/4k hdmi. You need a 4k stereo Amp and then you will eliminate all electrical interference issues and have the best possible sound quality."
Which is simply not true.

You do not not HDCP2.2/4K HDMI for the best possible audio quality.
You do not need a 4K stereo amp to eliminate electrical interference and you do not need a 4K stereo amp to have the best possible sound quality.

Call me dumb as much and often as you like but atleast my posts are informed unlike yours.
There may be other ways to achieve the same goal but it is a fact that HDCP 2.2 is currently the highest quality option available. You deny that, and that is factually wrong plain and simple. I didn't say it's the only way to get clean audio but it is, in fact, the highest possible quality option available. Your point is nothing more than stating the obvious as if it's a debate when it's not.

People who think a high quality DAC is superior to HDCP 2.2 are wrong. I don't care enough about this to explain it to you, you have Google. Figure it out yourself. There is a lot of subjective ground when it comes to this topic but in 2020 digital audio has clearly surpassed the capabilities of analog and if you don't get that then you haven't experienced a good HDCP 2.2 setup.
 

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There's a reasonable amount of misinformation present. Really quite a lot, frequency isn't like water imploding, for a sine wave frequency is number of cycles per unit of time, or what you perceive as the pitch of a musical note :)

What you want to do is to reduce the low/mid frequencies, which will leave you with a reduced overall volume, and then increase the volume of what's left.

What you're actually doing is severely increase the initial volume of all frequencies (+22 pre-amp), then severely reduce the low/mid frequencies.

It appears the same but it isn't. Your pre-amp/equaliser is in the digital stage. In the digital stage there is a maximum volume (0db) and exceeding it causes clipping/distortion. The problem is everything you listen to (music, video, browser, whatever) is already normalised. Normalised means it's loudest part is already at or very close to 0db. If you add some positive pre-amp it will attempt to go above 0db and start to clip/distort.

You're removing more than half of the sound (all of the low/mid frequencies in the -50db range is extreme), but still want the perceived or "overall" volume to be as loud. It won't be.

My suggestion would be turn that pre-amp on your equaliser back down to zero, having it above zero will add clipping/distortion. There is some protection against clipping in the Windows mixer but you're exceeding it.

To recover the perceived volume you're removing probably add a more powerful analogue headphone amp (as The Pook suggested) and also more sensitive headphones. The "sensitivity" of a headphone is a measure of it's efficiency, at the same volume on the same amp a headphone with higher sensitivity will be louder.

What you're doing though isn't supposed to be done in the Windows sound mixer, I don't think it'll work perfectly.
 

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There may be other ways to achieve the same goal but it is a fact that HDCP 2.2 is currently the highest quality option available. You deny that, and that is factually wrong plain and simple. I didn't say it's the only way to get clean audio but it is, in fact, the highest possible quality option available. Your point is nothing more than stating the obvious as if it's a debate when it's not.

People who think a high quality DAC is superior to HDCP 2.2 are wrong. I don't care enough about this to explain it to you, you have Google. Figure it out yourself. There is a lot of subjective ground when it comes to this topic but in 2020 digital audio has clearly surpassed the capabilities of analog and if you don't get that then you haven't experienced a good HDCP 2.2 setup.
First i didnt deny it.
Second, its all based of the implementation of said audio connections, the type of connection says nothing if its not implemented properly (Poorly build, designed, made of cheap components or uses a very crappy cable)

"People who think a high quality DAC is superior to HDCP 2.2 are wrong"
Do you even know what a DAC is? its not a connection lol and its not a "protocol" like HDCP 2.2 is.
A DAC is hardware that turns Digital sound to Analog. (Digital Analog Converter)
HDCP is a protocol that can be used through HDMI/DisplayPort.

Its just that, a protocol for high quality digital formats.
The protocol doesn't make a high quality sound, the DAC, the amp.... the hardware all together does.
HDCP 2.2 (or any protocol) don't convert audio that you can hear, the DAC/amp (basicly) do that.

"digital audio has clearly surpassed the capabilities of analog"
How does that matter?
Analog has surpassed capabilities of human hearing long time ago to, and it didn't matter back then either.

Btw,
Digital connection running of HDCP 2.2 protocol supports 48khz sampling rate per channel, 32 channels.
My according to you subpar DAC can convert 784khz per channel (2 channels) through USB PCM
It does 22.5792 DSD512, also through USB.
Clearly if you just want to run 2.0 stereo my USB connection far exceeds HDMI2.0 with HDCP2.2
And you know what, it still doesn't matter! (both can potentially be way above human hearing capabilities)

Digital connections and there protocols bein used don't say anything about sound quality.

"and if you don't get that then you haven't experienced a good HDCP 2.2 setup"
Look at my audio setup for just this PC, do i look like someone that cheaps out on audio?

"I don't care enough about this to explain it to you, you have Google. Figure it out yourself"
No please don't explain and go look up some stuff on google yourself since you don't even know the difference between a DAC, a connection and a protocol.

There's a reasonable amount of misinformation present. Really quite a lot, frequency isn't like water imploding, for a sine wave frequency is number of cycles per unit of time, or what you perceive as the pitch of a musical note :)

What you want to do is to reduce the low/mid frequencies, which will leave you with a reduced overall volume, and then increase the volume of what's left.

What you're actually doing is severely increase the initial volume of all frequencies (+22 pre-amp), then severely reduce the low/mid frequencies.

It appears the same but it isn't. Your pre-amp/equaliser is in the digital stage. In the digital stage there is a maximum volume (0db) and exceeding it causes clipping/distortion. The problem is everything you listen to (music, video, browser, whatever) is already normalised. Normalised means it's loudest part is already at or very close to 0db. If you add some positive pre-amp it will attempt to go above 0db and start to clip/distort.

You're removing more than half of the sound (all of the low/mid frequencies in the -50db range is extreme), but still want the perceived or "overall" volume to be as loud. It won't be.

My suggestion would be turn that pre-amp on your equaliser back down to zero, having it above zero will add clipping/distortion. There is some protection against clipping in the Windows mixer but you're exceeding it.

To recover the perceived volume you're removing probably add a more powerful analogue headphone amp (as The Pook suggested) and also more sensitive headphones. The "sensitivity" of a headphone is a measure of it's efficiency, at the same volume on the same amp a headphone with higher sensitivity will be louder.

What you're doing though isn't supposed to be done in the Windows sound mixer, I don't think it'll work perfectly.
That's what i (we) basicly kept saying.
Keep output/pre-gain at are below 0DB

In the EQ graph he showed he should just set pre-gain to 0 (i would prolly set it to -1 to -3 myself though).

Also if you need to EQ a headphone up to almost 60DB you prolly should be looking for another headphone. (and maybe a headphone amp)
 

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Basically this is about how I am really enjoying it... at a loud but not too loud volume (computer volume at maximum) and this is exactly where I am starting to hear some occasional clipping. At this point I just put up with the clipping because I don't like those lower frequencies and aside from the occasional clips it sounds really good to me. If I lower the Pre Amp I am not getting enough volume. If I lower the high end frequencies it is not sounding as good or how I like it, it sounds much lower quality to me. If I increase the lower end frequencies to gain more overall volume, again its not how I like it (it sounds muddy to me). And no I am not getting any of it at the low volume. It is only when I turn it up to my preferred volume (loud but not deafening, that I then start to have the occasional clipping.

I am pretty sure after Farish's explanation that what is happening is the too much voltage to the headphones. So if I were to look for a new better pair of earbuds what would I be looking for that might be able to handle this type /level of sound without that occasional clipping, even if its only a minor improvement, i.e. being able to listen to the sound model that I like, with a little more volume with less clipping?

Again thank you to everyone for taking the time to respond!
Max volume + 22dB gain? That sounds like a really bad combination for your hearing. But if you don't have a problem with hearing ordinary things like a phone conversation in a moving car, or a tv in a public place then your headphones or motherboard audio is the problem. Could be some software issue. I find the Realtek EQ's to be messed up when I want such a lopsided eq.

If you want some real eq action it seems from what I am hearing here, you have to go with Creative. Generally speaking you don't have to reduce your gain when you raise levels if you pick up one of their pcie products with a +-24dB eq software package. This includes the pcie Recon 3d through AE-5 (have Sound Core3d chip).
You will have to reduce the gain a bit with the usb ones because they are lower powered. The usb Recon3d has a more robust sound than the G1 or Play!3 (these are the only 3 that have the 48dB eq range afaik), but it doesn't work as well with lower powered headphones as the newer cheaper Play!3 or G1 ones in my experience.

The G1 and Play!3 have a hissing issue with usb ports that provide dirty power and/or very low impedance headphones (like 4 ohms). They also have a quiet but noticeable pop when audio cuts on which may or may not be a problem. The usb Recon3d pops when I power up my pc, this could due to the usb port it is plugged into though. The pcie cards don't have these problems.

I generally like to have an opposite eq with civic ratting bass, but I tried as close as I could to your eq with a 48dB incline to treble and it was far more piercing and painful with the AE-5 and Play!3 and G1 than with my messed up Realtek onboard eqs. I feel like I have a toothache. But only one of the 3 headphones I tried showed sibilance - Monolith M1060. The Xioami MI pro (with balanced armatures) and Fidelio X2 held it together with the X2 being slightly more painful. I just chose these 3 because I thought they were good candidates from my collection for loads of treble. There are likely better headphones for lots of treble. My daughter has a slightly modified pair of Sharkk electrostat hybrids with very nice treble and imbalanced mids with muddy bass that I would have to pry out of her cold dead hands that might also be outstanding for nothing but treble.

The Play!3 is less than $20 on Amazon and could be a good appetizer to see if you want something better like pcie. The G1 was noticeably louder for apparently software reasons and that one is $29 on Amazon. Both can damage your hearing though.

I'm not a fan of your eq choice but I do like people getting what they like out of pcs.
I go to the Creative models I mentioned for my bass fix and they seem like they would work for your treble fix. You could buy a cheap usb one, or maybe you know somebody with one of those cards you could try out.
Also, I used to have a EVGA z97 Classified mobo with a Sound Core3d chip and it was nowhere as good as the add ins I've mentioned, it wasn't even as good as Realtek.
 

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Max volume + 22dB gain? That sounds like a really bad combination for your hearing. But if you don't have a problem with hearing ordinary things like a phone conversation in a moving car, or a tv in a public place then your headphones or motherboard audio is the problem. Could be some software issue. I find the Realtek EQ's to be messed up when I want such a lopsided eq.

If you want some real eq action it seems from what I am hearing here, you have to go with Creative. Generally speaking you don't have to reduce your gain when you raise levels if you pick up one of their pcie products with a +-24dB eq software package. This includes the pcie Recon 3d through AE-5 (have Sound Core3d chip).
You will have to reduce the gain a bit with the usb ones because they are lower powered. The usb Recon3d has a more robust sound than the G1 or Play!3 (these are the only 3 that have the 48dB eq range afaik), but it doesn't work as well with lower powered headphones as the newer cheaper Play!3 or G1 ones in my experience.

The G1 and Play!3 have a hissing issue with usb ports that provide dirty power and/or very low impedance headphones (like 4 ohms). They also have a quiet but noticeable pop when audio cuts on which may or may not be a problem. The usb Recon3d pops when I power up my pc, this could due to the usb port it is plugged into though. The pcie cards don't have these problems.

I generally like to have an opposite eq with civic ratting bass, but I tried as close as I could to your eq with a 48dB incline to treble and it was far more piercing and painful with the AE-5 and Play!3 and G1 than with my messed up Realtek onboard eqs. I feel like I have a toothache. But only one of the 3 headphones I tried showed sibilance - Monolith M1060. The Xioami MI pro (with balanced armatures) and Fidelio X2 held it together with the X2 being slightly more painful. I just chose these 3 because I thought they were good candidates from my collection for loads of treble. There are likely better headphones for lots of treble. My daughter has a slightly modified pair of Sharkk electrostat hybrids with very nice treble and imbalanced mids with muddy bass that I would have to pry out of her cold dead hands that might also be outstanding for nothing but treble.

The Play!3 is less than $20 on Amazon and could be a good appetizer to see if you want something better like pcie. The G1 was noticeably louder for apparently software reasons and that one is $29 on Amazon. Both can damage your hearing though.

I'm not a fan of your eq choice but I do like people getting what they like out of pcs.
I go to the Creative models I mentioned for my bass fix and they seem like they would work for your treble fix. You could buy a cheap usb one, or maybe you know somebody with one of those cards you could try out.
Also, I used to have a EVGA z97 Classified mobo with a Sound Core3d chip and it was nowhere as good as the add ins I've mentioned, it wasn't even as good as Realtek.
He uses EQ APO wich is basicly one of the best EQ software on Windows. (IMO)
There might be better payed professional ones though Creative's will probably not be one of them.

Also if you EQ above 0DB in creative's EQ (or any digital EQ) you should still lower pre-gain to stay at or under 0DB output total.

Like Darren9 said, music/video is often already normalised at 0DB.
Going above it in EQ can/will create clipping/distortion (whether you hear it or not)

EQ'ing is not far adding volume, its just to change the shape of the sound (and not distort it).
You can easely shape the sound to your liking by staying at or under 0DB.
If after EQ you miss volume then just get a bigger/better amp.
 

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He uses EQ APO wich is basicly one of the best EQ software on Windows. (IMO)
There might be better payed professional ones though Creative's will probably not be one of them.

Also if you EQ above 0DB in creative's EQ (or any digital EQ) you should still lower pre-gain to stay at or under 0DB output total.

Like Darren9 said, music/video is often already normalised at 0DB.
Going above it in EQ can/will create clipping/distortion (whether you hear it or not)

EQ'ing is not far adding volume, its just to change the shape of the sound (and not distort it).
You can easely shape the sound to your liking by staying at or under 0DB.
If after EQ you miss volume then just get a bigger/better amp.
Sounds like you should try one of those Creative devices with the 48dB eq range. They aren't tops in fidelity, but EQ apo can't even make my old 1970s 3" driver headphones sound normal with any settings. Creative can turn them into bass cannons that put any headphones to shame under apo + mobo audio. Maybe Apo with some external equipment can do better. I've tried it with a cheap tube amp and a G6 and it really couldn't, but there is better stuff out there that I admit I haven't tried. There isn't a lot of information on hardware that works very well with drastic eq adjustments with Apo so if you have information on good combos that would be good to know.

Can Apo give a fanless tablet the power to do this?
I think not. I made those headphones after discovering my other ones were bass limited by how far their drivers could travel.
 
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