Equalizer

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Overview

DFX 12 includes a 10 band multiband Equalizer called DFX EQ.

DFX EQ is the first equalizer available to PC users that provides truly professional quality. It utilizes equalization technology that won awards from Mix magazine, EQ magazine and Recording magazine and its has been used by Grammy winning producers and engineers.

DFX EQ has a substantial advantage over other equalizers as it includes proprietary technology that allows substantial EQ boosts without causing the distortion that typically occurs with competing equalizers.

DFX EQ Usage

Background

Multiband equalizers allow you to selectively boost or cut the audio energy present in multiple frequency ranges of your music and these frequency ranges are referred to as “bands”.

Making adjustments to the sound energy in these bands compensates for imperfections in the frequency response of your playback system and environment. These imperfections cause some bands of your music to have their energy levels attenuated while other bands will be accentuated.

The speakers in your audio playback system are the most likely component to introduce frequency related problems as it is very difficult and costly to build speaker systems with a totally flat frequency response.

The characteristics of your listening environment also often introduce problems. Most rooms have parallel walls and a ceiling that is parallel to the floor. The sound waves reflected from those parallel surfaces cause resonances which will accentuate some frequency ranges and attenuate others.

Another common problem in a listening environment is a large glass window, as reflections from that hard surface also cause dips and peaks in the frequency response.

A third and equally important factor though is personal listening tastes. Each set of ears is a little different and a frequency curve that sounded best to the engineer that mastered a recording may not be the frequency response that sounds best to you.

A good quality multiband EQ thus allows you to both compensate for limitations of your playback environment and also create the frequency response shape that best suits your personal listening tastes.

Limitations of previously available EQ systems

A significant problem with previously available EQ systems is they often introduce audible distortion when boosting a particular frequency range. These systems will often employ a bandaid solution for this problem in that when the EQ is active the overall output level of the audio is reduced, causing the sound energy in all the bands to be diminished to allow some boost in specific bands.

The DFX EQ avoids these distortion problems and overall sound level reductions problems by using proprietary technology that allows significant frequency band boosting without causing distortion or a reduction of the overall signal level.

Description and Usage of the DFX EQ

Note the DFX EQ displays the center frequency of each band underneath each control and these frequencies start at low values on the left end and move to high values on the right end.

Each control will either increase or reduce the music energy in its band with the center setting of zero meaning no change. The boost or cut values are in dB (decibels) and a boost of 6dB approximately doubles the sound level in a particular band while a cut of - 6dB approximately cuts the sound level in half.

Deep Bass and Upper Bass Adjustments

The very lowest controls will boost or cut bass frequencies, typically including bass guitars and the bass drum from drum sets, including both acoustic drums and electronic drum machines.

Note that the first control is labeled Hyperbass, which matches the Hyperbass control in the DFX control panel. Hyperbass controls the very lowest bass frequencies and it is “synced” with the DFX Hyperbass control so moving either of them automatically updates the other control.

The Hyberbass control is the best way to adjust the overall bass level of your music, particularly on modern recordings. Increasing the Hyperbass value will increase the deep bass level of your music. For some songs if you have bass heavy headphones you may find you need to reduce the Hyperbass level to avoid too much bass energy.

The next control labeled 110Hz adjusts the upper bass levels.

Many older recordings don’t have much deep bass energy levels and the 110Hz control is useful to boost or cut the bass level on these kind of recordings.

Also with some lower cost speaker systems you will find the bass to be too “boomy”, giving a loud but not deep bass sound that can distract from the music. In this case decreasing the 110Hz control will decrease the boominess of the bass sound.

Lower Midrange Adjustments

The 220Hz and 400Hz controls allow you to adjust the music energy levels in what is commonly referred to as the “lower midrange”. Increasing these controls, in particular the 400Hz control, can result in what in a warmer sound to the music. However you may have some recordings with what is often described as a “muddy” sound, in this case reducing these controls will eliminate that muddy sound.

Midrange Adjustments

The 750Hz and 1.5kHz controls allow you to adjust the music energy levels in what is commonly referred to as the midrange. The audio energy in the midrange will primarily be filled with vocals, guitars, piano tones and similar instrumentation. For that reason adjustments of these controls generally need to be made in small amounts as they heavily impact the overall sound of the music. These adjustments can be effectively used to help accentuate or attenuate the impact of vocals and instruments in the music.

Upper Midrange Adjustments

The 2.5kHz and 4.5kHz controls allow you to adjust the music energy levels in what is commonly referred to as the “upper midrange”. Adjustments in the upper midrange nicely complement adjustments of the midrange described above as the audio energy in the upper midrange will primarily be filled with the higher frequency components of vocals, guitars, piano tones and similar instrumentation. This range also heavily affects the level and attack of drums and other percussive instruments.

Increasing the controls in this range will increase the impact of both vocals and drums.

In some cases if vocals have too much of nasal quality or the drums sounds are too dominant in a song then decreasing these controls will help.

High Frequency Adjustments

The 8.5kHz and 16kHz controls allow you to adjust the music energy levels in the high frequency range. These controls tend to adjust the overall high frequency presence of the sound rather than directly impacting specific instruments. The 8.5kHz control covers the majority of the high frequency range that is highly apparent to your ears while the 16kHz control has an audible but much less impactful effect. The 8.5kHz control can generally be described as impacting the brightness of the sound while the 16kHz is often described as controlling an “airiness” quality of the sound.

Music that sounds too dull and lifeless can be improved by increasing these controls while music that sounds too hard and brittle can be improved by reducing these controls.

Personalizing your audio playback system

The DFX EQ is a substantial additional tool to help personalize your audio playback system to best suit your playback environment and personal tastes.

As a first step we recommend selecting the DFX Preset that sounds best with your music. It may be that you find different presets that you like with different types of music, which is common.

The DFX EQ then allows you to further tune your sound system to your personal tastes.

With your favorite DFX preset selected, using the descriptions above, experiment with the settings in each band to learn how they affect the music and to find the settings that sound best to you.

A good way to compare settings is to use the On/Off button on the DFX EQ panel to switch the EQ on and off, allowing you to hear the impact of your chosen control settings.

When you have found settings you like, save those DFX and DFX EQ settings as a preset, using the following command on the DFX Control panel.

Preset->Save

You will then be able to name that preset, which will store both the DFX controls settings and the DFX EQ band values settings. You can create as many presets as you like if you find different settings you prefer for different types of music.

To recall a preset just execute the command below:

Preset->Select

Presets you have created will be at the bottom of the list of available presets, starting at the number 100.

To study some DFX presets that make use of the DFX EQ, use the Preset->Select command to load and listen to the (6) Sweet Room and (7) Warm Room presets.

Those presets are good examples of using the DFX EQ to fine tune your listening experience.

DFX EQ Reset Control

This control at the lower right of the bottom of the DFX EQ panel allows you to either set all the band control values to a zero value (Reset->Flat) or to set them to the original values from the last selected DFX preset (Reset->Standard).

The Reset->Flat command is useful when you want to use a totally flat frequency response in the DFX EQ.

The Reset->Standard command is useful when you want to restore the band values to the exact settings from the DFX preset you loaded.