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Topic: New way to EQ stereo by ear? (Read 2858 times) previous topic - next topic
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New way to EQ stereo by ear?

I thought this up on my own, earlier today, but the concept seems pretty simple so I'm hoping someone here can provide a web link to a version of this which predates mine.

Say you have a pair of speakers, an EQ for each channel, a CD/download with test tones, and just your ears. The goal is to EQ both speakers for your positioning, room, and listening chair without any mics or other instrumentation, plus balance the two for a centered image. Here's how. Let's say it is a 10 band graphic EQ [or 20, 31, whatever] and you have a test signal of either pure tones at each band's center frequency, or perhaps better still, a narrow band of pink noise centered on each of these center frequencies. Let's start in the midrange, where the ear is most sensitive, say at 4 kHz to make the numbers even. Play the 4 kHz test at the desired level to establish the goal, master reference level you will be working with for the remainder of the procedure.

Now, while listening to this 4K signal, dial in a perfectly centered image, falling precisely between the two speakers but NOT with the balance control, but instead by raising and lowering the 4kHz control of the left (or right) EQ to place the image exactly in the center. In one fell swoop you have corrected the 4 kHz response of the two speakers, including their acoustical power response taking into account their distance and relative balance of your perception of their direct, on-axis response mixed with their off-axis reflected response, their placement/positioning and room d├ęcor alterations, the room, and even your individual hearing anomalies. [Some people don't have perfectly balanced hearing even when presented with a truly balanced signal.] You can't get a better balancing than that!

You repeat this, using the appropriate test signals, for all the remaining bands on the EQ. This will establish a precisely balanced L to R sound, for all center frequencies, however you haven't calibrated the level of these carefully matched pairs to one another, so that's the next step. Play the 4 kHz signal, keep it as your reference, and then step by step, moving away from that frequency, up to the top and then down to the bottom, you move both the EQ levels, L and R ganged together, until each adjacent band sounds to be the same loudness as the adjacent pair you just calibrated, or perhaps you should instead keep going back to the 4 kHz tone as your reference for setting all the others. I'd assume you'll end up with an appropriate equal loudness contour for your given SPL you selected and customized to *your* individual hearing,  rather than a truly dead flat response, but that's a good thing from my perspective.

Anyone have a link which more eloquently explains this "set the L and R EQ channels independently via your ears' perception of a perfectly balanced center image at each frequency" technique I just described? Thanks. [Remember, I'm not looking for other methods to EQ by ear, don't forget.]

What I like about this is that in the first step, the precise balancing per frequency by center image direction part, is there's no acoustical memory being invoked. You are using your own hearing's balance sensitivity for the calibration: the steady state signal and fiddling the controls until it is dead center, much like one does when using any run-of-the-mill balance knob. You can take all the time in the world. Then after that step, when you compare band to band, I admit echoic memory needs to be used to level match.

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