Does anyone make a small/portable headphone EQ?

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Thread: Does anyone make a small/portable headphone EQ?

  1. #1
    Tiger Shark -Anomie-'s Avatar
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    Does anyone make a small/portable headphone EQ?

    My iPod sounds like crap and could use a little EQ, or something to help the lame AAC music files sound more like music. I haven't seen anything that look like a headphone equalizer for use with an iPod anywhere, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. Is there such a thing? It doesn't even have to be that tiny, it just has to fit in a backpack.
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  2. #2
    6 years to 5,000! Idiot356's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Anomie-
    My iPod sounds like crap and could use a little EQ, or something to help the lame AAC music files sound more like music. I haven't seen anything that look like a headphone equalizer for use with an iPod anywhere, but maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. Is there such a thing? It doesn't even have to be that tiny, it just has to fit in a backpack.
    AAC encoding should sound absolutley fine unless whoevers doing the encoding is not doing something right.

    What kind of headphones are you using? The ones that come with the iPod are not very good, nice headphones will make the sound 100 percent better.

    Have you tried to use the EQ built into the iPod?

    I don't know of any portable hardware EQ, even a small one will be kind of big to haul around. A portable headphone amp will be a better purchase, but that's only if you have nice headphones.
    Last edited by Idiot356; 04-29-2007 at 04:17 PM.
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  3. #3
    Hammerhead Shark commanderkeen's Avatar
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    http://www.koss.com/koss/kossweb.nsf...Eac%5EEQ50%5EY

    That's what koss makes as a portable equalizer.

    I don't think that is your problem though.
    1) What kind of heaphones are you using?
    2) What generation IPod is it?
    3.1) What is the bitrate of the music you are using? 3.2)Does the music sound like crap if you play it off your computer?
    Answer those questions and we will be better able to help you solve the problem.

  4. #4
    Tiger Shark -Anomie-'s Avatar
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    I guess I should have given more info:

    -It's the latest Nano. Does that have an EQ? I'll look again, but I didn't find one when I first went through the settings.

    -I'm using Shure E4C's and I know how to put them in right, so the problem definitely isn't with my phones .

    -The bitrate is whatever iTunes songs download at, which I think is 128kbps?

    The songs just sound thin and overly compressed, so I'm hoping I can "fake" a better sound by boosting some of the frequencies. Maybe it's hopeless, but a little more bass would be nice (not a ton, I'm not a bass-head). I looked at the Koss EQ50, but it didn't get very good reviews. I guess it's better than nothing, but I was hoping for something that's higher quality.

    *EDIT* I went back in the settings and found the internal iPod EQ, which is better (I like the "Classical" setting best, surprisingly), but I still think it would be nice to have a seperate portable equalizer that is comparable to the better amps out there. I'm surprised that no one makes anything like that.
    Last edited by -Anomie-; 04-29-2007 at 11:34 PM.
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  5. #5
    Not Wurm Isezumi's Avatar
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    Dude...

    Youre listening to sub-cd quality music through $100 canal phones. Youre barkin up the wrong tree.

  6. #6
    6 years to 5,000! Idiot356's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isezumi
    Dude...

    Youre listening to sub-cd quality music through $100 canal phones. Youre barkin up the wrong tree.
    Actually 128bit AACs are pretty hard to tell the difference between uncompressed. http://duxlist.com:81/

    I couldn't really tell using Sennheiser HD595 phones, only if you listen to cymbals and certain frequencies can you even tell, maybe I have horrible hearing now, but the difference is not going to be noticable on a nano with IEMs, and the E4Cs cost more than 100, unless you stole them.
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  7. #7
    Hammerhead Shark commanderkeen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot356
    Actually 128bit AACs are pretty hard to tell the difference between uncompressed. http://duxlist.com:81/

    I couldn't really tell using Sennheiser HD595 phones, only if you listen to cymbals and certain frequencies can you even tell, maybe I have horrible hearing now, but the difference is not going to be noticable on a nano with IEMs, and the E4Cs cost more than 100, unless you stole them.
    Most loss occurs in the highs and the lows. That said, I-Pods are not known for their soundquality and your headphones are very good at reproducing whatever signal is sent to them, most other headphones don't have such flat response and embelish part of the lower spectrum. Maybe you should look into some other headphones to spice up the lows.

  8. #8
    Mako Shark kent1146's Avatar
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    The problem isn't with your audio files (Idiot356 is correct... 128bit AACs are pretty close to source). The problem is with the crappy amp'ing circuits that come inside the iPod nano... they are cheap and underpowered (but most ppl can't tell the difference because they use crappy iPod earbuds). Sharp, high frequencies and the "punch" of low frequencies require a lot of juice to drive, and the tiny little capacitors of the iPod nano just can't keep up.

    What you REALLY need is a portable headphone amp, and not an equalizer. Headphone amps have high quality amp'ing circuits that don't distort sound, and large capacitors to really drive the sound without distortion or clipping. It's not something that most people need, since most people don't have high quality headphones like your Shure E4C's.

    I'd recommend you check out the Portaphile v2 headphone amps over at http://www.portaphile.com. Cesar makes some great stuff. If that's not your cup of tea, you can check out www.headphone.com for more product choices, and www.head-fi.org for a forum discussing everything headphone related. Sorry about your wallet.

    And Isezumi... do a Google search for "Shure E4C"... you'll see that they are DEFINITELY not $100 buds
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  9. #9
    Mako Shark kent1146's Avatar
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    Oh, a few more things:

    For this project, you will need:
    1x Headphone amp
    1x Ministereo-to-ministereo cable
    1x iPod Line Out cable

    You can do a Google search to find the iPod line out cable... I bought mine from SiK, but many companies make them. Whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, connect your headphone amp to the headphone out jack of your Nano. It will sound like total garbage.

    For any cable needs, I'd recommend you get them from monoprice.com. Great quality cables for great prices.

    Once you get everythign all set, you'll be rockin. Sorry about the wallet.
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  10. #10
    Not Wurm Isezumi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot356
    Actually 128bit AACs are pretty hard to tell the difference between uncompressed. http://duxlist.com:81/

    I couldn't really tell using Sennheiser HD595 phones, only if you listen to cymbals and certain frequencies can you even tell, maybe I have horrible hearing now, but the difference is not going to be noticable on a nano with IEMs, and the E4Cs cost more than 100, unless you stole them.
    The difference between the two is pretty damn clear to me.

    128 AAC crapped on the vocals.

    ohh, and how much more than 100 those buds cost is completely irrelevant...but thanks to you and ken from beating it like it was some relevant point beyond the fact to accentuate...

    THEYRE NOT CHEAP, TINNY PoS EAR PUCKS.

    gj

  11. #11
    Mako Shark kent1146's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isezumi
    THEYRE NOT CHEAP, TINNY PoS EAR PUCKS.
    They're not? I missed that part.
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  12. #12
    Tiger Shark -Anomie-'s Avatar
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    Out of town for a bit, but now that I'm back...

    Thanks for the advice on the amp. I actually had already put a few decent ones on my birthday list, so hopefully the parents will come through . If that fixes (or at least helps) the sound quality I'll just leave it at that, or maybe not, since I like to micromanage my electronica .
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  13. #13
    Hammerhead Shark Candyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Anomie-
    The songs just sound thin and overly compressed, so I'm hoping I can "fake" a better sound by boosting some of the frequencies. Maybe it's hopeless, but a little more bass would be nice (not a ton, I'm not a bass-head). I looked at the Koss EQ50, but it didn't get very good reviews. I guess it's better than nothing, but I was hoping for something that's higher quality.
    If it sounds "overly compressed", my recommendation would be to compress it less. You can't EQ data back in if it's been lost.

    Try using lossless compression on your files. If that doesn't work, use the EQ on your iPod. If it still doesn't sound that good, then maybe look into a line-out for your iPod and an external amp. The E4s are not desperately in need of an amp, but the amplification section of the iPod is worthy of bypassing.

    I can almost guarantee you that any outboard portable EQ is going to sound worse than the iPod's internal EQ, if only for the fact that it would perform the equalization on an analog input signal. This would mean two more wire connections in the signal path and the accompanying increase in noise level, in addition to the problem of running the analog signal through a bunch of extra circuitry. If Apple is smart - which they typically are - then they're EQing the digital signal before it gets amplified in the iPod. That way it won't introduce any extra (undesired) distortion.
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  14. #14
    6 years to 5,000! Idiot356's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isezumi
    The difference between the two is pretty damn clear to me.

    128 AAC crapped on the vocals.

    ohh, and how much more than 100 those buds cost is completely irrelevant...but thanks to you and ken from beating it like it was some relevant point beyond the fact to accentuate...

    THEYRE NOT CHEAP, TINNY PoS EAR PUCKS.

    gj
    Actually I've used my friends E4C's, and compared them to the HD595s, they are cheap tinny pos in comparison. Sure they sound much better than the stock iPod headphones, but they don't touch a high end open headphone, not even close in fact. I own a set of E2Cs, and I love them for portable listening and monitoring studio sessions when I play drums, they are great for that as are the E4Cs.

    And maybe you could tell with certain vocals, but I don't think anyone with E4C's on an iPod will be able to tell. If I can barely tell with HD595s and an X-Fi, and sometimes I can't tell at all.

    Maybe my hearing is totally shot, but I don't think their is that big a difference between 128AACs and the original source, exsepcially in a portable listening enviroment where you just listening, not critically listening with high end equiptment.
    Last edited by Idiot356; 05-03-2007 at 06:41 PM.
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  15. #15
    Not Wurm Isezumi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idiot356
    Actually I've used my friends E4C's, and compared them to the HD595s, they are cheap tinny pos in comparison. Sure they sound much better than the stock iPod headphones, but they don't touch a high end open headphone, not even close in fact. I own a set of E2Cs, and I love them for portable listening and monitoring studio sessions when I play drums, they are great for that as are the E4Cs.

    And maybe you could tell with certain vocals, but I don't think anyone with E4C's on an iPod will be able to tell. If I can barely tell with HD595s and an X-Fi, and sometimes I can't tell at all.

    Maybe my hearing is totally shot, but I don't think their is that big a difference between 128AACs and the original source, exsepcially in a portable listening enviroment where you just listening, not critically listening with high end equiptment.
    I listened to your own test, through $40 labtec speakers and ALSA's horrendous driver support in Linux. with an open window less than 10yds from a major business road...and other music playing in the background.

    Ya might want to consider seeing an Ear/Nose/Throat Specialist

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