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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting Apps
This hint is really only for iTunes, and I found it in MacFormat's September 2004 Issue. It was submitted by an anonymous user.

Are you somewhat disappointed with the output from iTunes? If so, you might try using the equalizer (Command-2, or the third button from right at the bottom of the main window) to modify the output levels at various frequencies. There are a number of pre-defined settings, but the MacFormat tip contained a different set of suggested levels.

Open the equalizer, and from the pop-up menu, select "Make Preset." Call it "Perfect," because it is, and set the following levels, from left to right (skip the Preamp section):

db +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8 db

The image to the left (full-size image) shows about what it should look like when you're done. Make sure you check the "On" box to activate the equalizer, too. These settings produce absolutely the best balance I've ever heard. My home computer speakers are ablaze with sound now.

[robg adds: I realize that there's no such thing as a 'perfect' equalizer setting, hence the use of quotes in the title. I further realize that the use of any equalizer setting other than "flat" means that you're no longer listening to the music as recorded on the master.

However, due to the varying quality of computer speakers, signal loss due to MP3/AAC encoding, and non-ideal speaker setups, you might find that your music does sound better to you using a non-flat equalizer setting. I've been using the above settings for a week or so now, and I must say that my music now sounds better -- it may be less "true" to the original, but it sounds better to my admittedly untrained ear ... and that's what counts.

Let the flaming begin :)...]

November 2004 update:
If you're interested in the operation of the iTunes equalizer in general, methodshop.com has a great article, written by Rich Tozzoli, Senior Editor of Surround Professional Magazine, that explains each of the sliders in detail. It also offers some good general advice on the use of the equalizer. This article is linked on our links pages, but I thought it worth a mention here, too.]

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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: pmreiz on Sep 02, '04 11:31:06AM

If you're really serious about improving the sound quality of your iTunes playback through less-than-ideal laptop or monitor speakers, invest in the VolumeLogic plugin from Octiv. The sound quality improvements are astounding, especially during soft passages, on my Titanium Powerbook. I disable the plugin when I connect my laptop to my stereo (sorry, no Airport Express yet) so I can hear the music as the artist intended.

I have no connection to Octiv whatsoever, aside from being a very satisfied user. Here's a link:

http://www.octiv.com/index.asp?content=iTunes



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: dj_feare on Sep 02, '04 11:37:07AM

Volume Logic is great! I can't believe I lived without it for so long. I wish Apple would license it for iPods because SoundCheck is almost worse than nothing at all.

However, for those who don't want to spend the money, this EQ preset is probably pretty good. The name should be changed from "Perfect" to "Loudness", though, because it's pretty much the same EQ curve as that button on my parents' home stereo receiver.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: BenBurner on Sep 02, '04 05:12:43PM

I never thought such piece of a software could really enhance my audio experience, but it does (I'm using the Harman/Kardon SoundSticks). Incredible.
Awsome tip, thank you very much!



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Octiv
Authored by: dkulp on Sep 03, '04 12:28:14AM

Hmm. I just tried this out on my PowerBook. First, it doesn't work with AirTunes like the builtin equalizer does. Second, after I moved the default volume to around 8 and toggled the plugin I didn't hear any improvement. I tried different music (rock, acoustic, and latin) with various presets. Usually I preferred the original.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Octiv
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Feb 03, '06 07:00:26PM

it takes something like 20 seconds for an equalizer change to take affect with Airtunes. Could that be the issue?



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: siMac on Sep 03, '06 01:51:35AM

Whilst this EQ curve gives a pretty good loudness boost I still have to put in my vote for VolumeLogic, an amazing piece of software and well worth the money.

I had to switch it off to test this EQ setting and everything just sounds so flat without it. I personally listen to most music with VolumeLogic's 'Reggae' setting because I like my highs and lows, but they have similar presets to iTunes for different kinds of music plus a 'General' preset for everything.

I also use iVolume instead of Sound Check, it uses a better algorithm for level checking and lets you transfer results to the iPod too. It is quite a bit slower than Sound Check though.



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What type of music?
Authored by: zacht on Sep 02, '04 11:32:59AM

Out of curiosity, is there a particular type of music that you guys listen to a lot, blackxacto and robg?

zach



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: gourls on Sep 02, '04 07:12:55PM
Wow, blackxacto, you have done it. A hint I can finally understand and do! I love playing around with the equalizers on my music. I'll have to try that 'perfect' thing. I wrote all the numbers on my hand. And I thought I had bottled the perfect equalizer already! Well, that's me. And to answer zach's question myself, my favorite type of music is alternative rock.

---
Figuring it out

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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: gourls on Oct 22, '04 03:50:17PM
I used this equalizer setting on all the songs in my library for awhile because I really liked it, but then after awhile, I decided to mess with the settings again. I came up with the idea to make personal settings for songs. I listened to one song and moved the equalizer knobs around until I thought the song's sound quality was at its best. I did this with almost every song, but a lot of songs in my library are similar in style, so I just used one setting on those. Oh, and name all the presets you make with the name of the song you are playing. I tried to post this as a hint last week, but in my failed submission, I mentioned this parent hint and robg told me to post my failed submission as a comment. :) Cheers, rob!

---
-brita

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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: JoelFarris on Feb 18, '06 08:16:46AM
"I did this with almost every song, but a lot of songs in my library are similar in style, so I just used one setting on those."

I'm a sound engineer by trade, and I just wanted to point out that you might have used more time than necessary by naming a preset for each of your songs.

Albums are mastered with a very expensive set of speakers and given an EQ 'preset' before they are pressed to CD for shipping. Your goal should be to make the whole album sound as good on your own speakers as you can.

There is no reason to try and adjust the iTunes EQ for each song on the same album. Instead, try and pick your favorite song (which is almost certainly the one you've listened to the most, and are the most aurally familiar with) and make a preset for that one. Apply that 'album' preset to each song on the record, and you'll find that presto!, you've re-created the hyper-expensive mastering environment that your artist used to finalize their music before shipping it to you.

Now you can sit back and listen to the entire album just as the artist and mastering engineer intended it to be heard. Using this EQ approach, you will begin to pick out slight variations between the songs that indicate the taste of the producer and the artist which you may not have realized before.

Happy listening!

---
Joel Farris
"and that's the way it oughta be!"

[ Reply to This | # ]

What type of music?
Authored by: robg on Sep 03, '04 09:04:44AM

My tastes run the gamut from rock to classical to alternative. Pretty much everything other than country gets some airplay from my library :).

-rob.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: sophistry on Sep 02, '04 11:33:28AM

i'd say this deserves a 1/2 candle and not a full flame... of course, an overall db boost is going to make your speakers sound "fuller". If you compare the total db boost you get from this setting to any of the the apple presets which use EQ judiciously, you'll see that it really just boosts the volume.

This preset is very close to R&B. Just use R&B and amp up the db slider and you'll have virtually the same settings.

soph



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: jeffehobbs on Sep 02, '04 11:50:59AM

as a side note to this, in the 1990's rap group Public Enemy mastered all their albums several decibels louder than what was considered normal for the recording industry. It gave the impression that the music was more "present" especially when played back to back with other songs or albums.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Darukaru on Sep 02, '04 11:45:59AM

"This is a top to a, you know, what we use on stage, but it's very, very special because if you can see, the numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board."
"And most of these amps go up to ten. Does that mean it's... louder? Is it any louder?"
"Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here... all the way up... all the way up... all the way up. You're on ten on your guitar...where can you go from there? Where?"
"I don't know."
"Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is if we need that extra...push over the cliff...you know what we do?"
"Put it up to eleven."
"Eleven. Exactly. One louder."
"Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number, and make that a little louder?"
"[long silence] ...These go to eleven!"



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: readparse on Sep 02, '04 08:27:16PM
"May I start by saying how thrilled we are to have you here. "

Thank you very much for the flashback. I have GOT to see that movie again.

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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Mato on Sep 03, '04 07:50:57AM

ROFL, one of the best part of this "Rockumentary", because I work in music, and I assure you things like this are happening all the time :)

---
You dont have to swim faster than sharks, just faster than the guy next to you



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: verdon on Sep 02, '04 11:52:19AM

This sort of stuff really depends on the speakers (or in a hall situation, the room). I used to use the built-in small speakers settings when just using the speakers in my Powerbook. Last week I bought some Bose powered speakers and my sound is now definately most natural and best (by a long shot) when the EQ is shut off all together. In the end, sound is like colour, no two people experience it exactly the same.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: cheezmo on Sep 02, '04 12:07:54PM

This is totally dependent on speaker frequency response, listening room characteristics, etc. While one can't fault someone for finding a setting that they like (that one really should be normalized so that the average boost is 0 by subtracting a few from each gain) there is no "one size fits all" setting that makes your sound "perfect"



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: alani on Sep 02, '04 12:23:28PM

Sound is like colour; no two people experience it the same way?
That has to be the most esoteric analogy I've ever read.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Gfx on Sep 02, '04 06:08:24PM

Actually... to compare sounds and colors has nothing esoteric. Both values are represented in values of wavelenght and are interpreted by our organs (eyes an ears) that can be damaged in some degree and relay the information to our brain for a final processing. Both, color and sound, can be altered by the environment they are in or "surrounding" them. That doesn't even cover the more subjective things like the differences that exist in everyone tastes.

Just my humble opinion tho...



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: DougAdams on Sep 02, '04 12:28:05PM
Here's an AppleScript that will set the EQ to the prescribed settings:
tell application "iTunes"
	tell EQ preset 1
		set band 1 to 3
		set band 2 to 6
		set band 3 to 9
		set band 4 to 7
		set band 5 to 6
		set band 6 to 5
		set band 7 to 7
		set band 8 to 9
		set band 9 to 11
		set band 10 to 8
		set preamp to 0
		save
	end tell
end tell
Just for laughs.

[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: DougAdams on Sep 02, '04 12:31:25PM
Ooop. Sorry, the save statement causes an error. Just remove it.

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Same without so much gain
Authored by: djoslin on Sep 02, '04 01:47:34PM

This lowers everything by 6db so you can more easily compare without the huge volume difference.

tell application "iTunes"
tell EQ preset 1
set band 1 to -3
set band 2 to 0
set band 3 to 3
set band 4 to 1
set band 5 to 0
set band 6 to -1
set band 7 to 1
set band 8 to 3
set band 9 to 6
set band 10 to 5
set preamp to 0
end tell
end tell



[ Reply to This | # ]
Much better
Authored by: nevyn on Sep 04, '04 09:51:28AM

Aah, thanks. That's much better. My music aren't all in 256kbps, and can't really take all that software amplication...

And trust the MOSXH commenters to post an AppleScript solution to any imaginable problem ;)

---
?



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Much better
Authored by: gourls on Oct 22, '04 03:59:37PM
You mentioned that your library isn't all 256 kbps or whatever the letters are. What other kbps settings do you have? I recommend using 128 kbps because 1) it takes up less space on the hard drive and 2) easier to put on your iPod! Very valuable tip to all iPod owners!

---
-brita

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Same without so much gain
Authored by: Anonymous on Sep 04, '04 02:30:40PM

OK, I'm a script newb. I can't get this to run... any hints?



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Same without so much gain
Authored by: agentyella on Sep 04, '04 08:33:44PM

I couldn't get it to run at first. I found out that if I set my iTunes Graphic Equalizer to "Manual" mode instead of a preset, the script properly sets the settings.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Same without so much gain
Authored by: Anonymous on Sep 04, '04 10:08:36PM

Bingo! Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: drhmoss on Sep 08, '04 08:58:43PM

The "save" did not work. So, I removed it and it ran pretty well. I am not a AppleScript user. But, I gave this a try and I felt pretty good about myself now.

As for the sound - I am running a Logitec 2.1 that never really sounded that good for me. Now, it sounds pretty good. I can hear the music and I am not blown away by all of the noise of the mix.

THANKS!!!!



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: mhagen on Oct 08, '05 07:48:45AM
I realize it's not very Mac OS X, but here is the windows equivalent:

var iTunesApp = WScript.CreateObject("iTunes.Application");

iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band1  = -3;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band2  = 0;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band3  = 3;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band4  = 1;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band5  = 0;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band6  = -1;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band7  = 1;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band8  = 3;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band9  = 6;
iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.band10 = 5;

iTunesApp.CurrentEQPreset.Preamp = 0;


[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: rgovostes on Sep 02, '04 01:15:25PM

I always found that, strangely enough, "Piano" made my songs sound better, despite the fact that few of them have a piano in them at all.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Me too!
Authored by: lampiaio on Sep 02, '04 01:51:06PM

Same here... my music sounds so much nicer using the 'Piano' preset

and I thought I was the only one with that feeling! :)



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: marmoset on Sep 02, '04 01:25:41PM
If you're willing to spend a few bucks, I'd recommend this thing. I've had mine for 3 or 4 years, and I love it. It does some signal sweetening in hardware, and noticeably improves (IMO) the sound of plain old computer speakers. I have no connection to SRS, I just love the little box.

[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: alajuela on Sep 02, '04 02:03:13PM

I have also had the WOW thing for 3-4 years. Combined with some cheap Belkin speakers at the office, my PB sounds boogie.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: readparse on Sep 02, '04 08:29:00PM

Yeah, I've heard that thing is awesome. I keep meaning to get it. Thanks for yet another recommendation (two, actually, counting the reply).



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: lognoid on Sep 02, '04 11:43:20PM

I also use the Wow Thing from SRS with my Monsoon speakers..amazing. I've had this for 4 years now too. Nice they still selling it.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: tonydavidcray on Sep 02, '04 01:38:42PM

:-) hehe, oh i wish it was this simple!

After years of listening to what something actually sounded like, it would be great if it was this simple.

My experience has been that enabling the iPod or iTunes EQ modules seriously degrades the audio chain. Regardless of the settings.

tdc
admin - www.osxaudio.com

---
tdc



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Anonymous on Sep 02, '04 02:52:39PM
My experience has been that enabling the iPod or iTunes EQ modules seriously degrades the audio chain. Regardless of the settings.
I have noticed the same.

Try this: set all the equalizer settings to 0 (but leave the equalizer turned on). Listen to some stuff. Now turn the equalizer off. Sounds better doesn't it?

[ Reply to This | # ]

A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: ammon on Sep 02, '04 11:59:58PM

In addition, turning the eq off also makes iTunes use less cpu. Those reasons are why I keep it off.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: bakalite on Sep 02, '04 01:51:04PM

As someone who used to own a recording studio, I'd like to make a couple of comments.

First off, the poster who mentioned that this setting makes everythign louder is right. The downside is that this may put some stuff over the top and you'll get distortion. If you do use a settine that makes everything louder, use the preamp slider to bring the overall volume back down.

Second, on the subject of some bands recording their songs "at a higher volume", you really can't. All forms of digital audio have a maximum number that any sound can be, and you can't go above that. What you can do, is compress the sound so more of it will be up there. Unfortunately overusing this makes everything sound terrible, and produces "ear fatigue". It's like instead of eating a nice meal followed by a nice dessert, you have a gallon of chocolate ice cream every time.

Finally, our ears get used to different EQ settings. This is why some guys have the bass all the way up and the loudness engaged on their stereo. To someone with a set of ears, this sounds terrible, but they are used to it.

If you want better sound, I recommend encoding the signal at a higher bit rate and using superior encoders. After that, I'd just adjust the hardware EQ slightly on the stereo if needed.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: spegis on Sep 02, '04 02:54:06PM

When Public enemy came out They were most likely recording in analog as apposed to tday's almost all digital world of music recording. And if I'm correct, with analog recording at a higher level of volume leads to a distortion effect often used by bands and now simulated by digital filters for effect on songs. THough I could very well be wrong.



[ Reply to This | # ]
A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Shawn Parr on Jun 05, '05 07:22:52PM

This is an old thread, and probably won't be seen, but:

On analog tape and most mixers, pushing the levels hard not only brings in distortion, but by the very nature of distortion, compression/limiting as well.

Plus in the early 90's the Waves L1 was available to quite a lot of studios to do digital mastering and squash the heck out of things.

Most likely when you hear people saying that they recorded it louder, the are confused and mean it was made louder in mastering - which as bakalite mentioned is done via compression/limiting.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: tc_nyc on Sep 02, '04 02:40:55PM

As an audio engineer and producer with 18 years of experience in the field working in some of the 'finest studios in the world', I'm confident in saying that this approach is backwards.

Equalizers in both the analog and digital realm do subtractive filtering far better than additive filtering. When pulling the EQ down you are not creating the additive comb-filtering necessary to boost frequencies that do not already exist, so using this kind of approach is leaves more of the original audio intact and does not add as many artifacts to the signal.

Of course an FFT digital EQ can overcome this (which is why the Weiss products are so expensive but popular), but iTunes most certainly does not hog the processor by using FFT algorithms for it's EQ.

What would be more appropriate, and also avoid unnecessary distortion, is to do all of those adjustments subtractively, then making up the gain difference with the slider at the left. This is why the slider on the left exists, in case you were wondering.

Like this (-8, -5, -2, -4, -5, -6, -4, -2, 0, -3), if my math is correct. Then just boost the overall gain at the left to make up the difference.

I'm not suggesting this will sound "better" to you, but it will certainly be a cleaner way to use the EQ.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: phlavor on Sep 02, '04 03:07:55PM

I knew someone would beat me to subtractive equalization. Yes, this is the proper way to use an EQ. Amplifiers are for amplification.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: gylgamesh5 on Sep 02, '04 09:12:06PM

Excellent! I love the way it sounds. I named this "negative" preset, "Perfect Negative". Thanks!

---
------------------------
"To die among friends. Can a man ask for more? Can the world offer less? Who wants to live till the last bottle's empty? It's all for



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: talksense101 on Sep 06, '04 02:18:37AM

I registered to this website just to say thanks. Good advice on the usage of negative settings and adjusting the preamp.

Thanks.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Email update...
Authored by: tc_nyc on Sep 08, '04 09:16:43AM

Unless my eyes deceive me at this 'early' hour, I actually got the math right the first time and my "negative" setting is true to the original.

I'm glad it sounds good to your ear, but perhaps I missed the opportunity to make a larger more philosophical point about audio filtering in my original post. And that is, if it sounds right to you then it is right. If the bass seems a bit low on your system, boost it! Everyone's system is going to sound different because of the kind of computer you have (audio circuitry), how old it is (speaker wear and tear), placement of the computer (acoustics and angle of speaker to ear), use of external speakers (dramatically different bass/treble response), kind of OS and Audio App (they inject their own EQ curve usually), and of course the EQ curve of your ears (young ears are usually much flatter than old ears).

There are so many things going on that keep the 'flat' output from being 'flat' that you're already starting at a disadvantage. I just wanted to point out that there is a 'right' and 'wrong' way to use EQ from an audiophile standpoint.

Keep in mind that when I mix a track that you listen to on the radio, the radio station is destroying the original EQ curve by using multiband processing in order for their station to appear the 'loudest' in their market. Because as we all know louder is better :)

So there is no absolute or golden rule to EQ curves. It is right when it sounds right!

Best,
TC

--- Rick wrote:

> Hello,
>
> My name is Rick and I saw your post. What a great EQ setting. But I'm
> just wondering about the math... you listed...
>
> EQ setting : -8, -5, -2, -4, -5, -6, -4, -2, 0, -3
>
> The original EQ setting give was...
>
> +3, +6, +9, +7, +6, +5, +7, +9, +11, +8
>
> Didn't you reverse the order as well as subtract from it?
>
> I'm confused... because your mistake, if in fact it was a mistake,
> sounds great. The bass is pretty low, which kinda disappoints me, but
> other than that it sounds clean like you said.
>
> So now my question is... how did this work out?
>
> Thanks,
>
> Rick
>



[ Reply to This | # ]
Scripted: Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: pecosbill on Nov 16, '04 03:55:55PM
Since I didn't want to pay the dual price of volume logic, I am using the iTunes EQ with the subtractive settings. For convenience, I've modified the above script and guessed with the preamp setting though it seemed better at 6 than 12 and using the above logic, it should be greater than zero. HTH.

Copy and paste the following into a Script Editor window and press Run:


tell application "iTunes"
	tell EQ preset 1 -- the Manual setting which you can then save
		set band 1 to -8
		set band 2 to -5
		set band 3 to -3
		set band 4 to -4
		set band 5 to -5
		set band 6 to -6
		set band 7 to -4
		set band 8 to -2
		set band 9 to 0
		set band 10 to -3
		set preamp to 6 -- A guess on my part
	end tell
end tell

---
Pecos Bill

[ Reply to This | # ]

Scripted: Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: s3pt1k on Feb 21, '06 09:27:25PM

FYI, so far as I can see, you need to have the EQ in "manual" mode.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: elfurbe on Sep 06, '05 12:23:01PM

I've been doing this wrong for quite some time, apparently. After a few tweaks, I find that this method produces what I can only describe as tighter sound. My old mecca preset sounds messy and distorted compared to this, which was a bit of a rude awakening.

As an aside, I also found +6 on the preamp to be ideal for this tuning. Thanks again! I didn't just learn something new today, I learned something useful!

---
Get Firefox!



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: frosts0 on Jul 13, '07 06:45:19AM

I currently have +8,+2,0,+2, +2, -2, -7, -6, -1, +2 for classical. This seems to make the sound tighter than the "flat" preset. I came up with these numbers after I had the idea of isolating each band by putting two bands to the left and two bands to the right at -12, with all others at 0. Then I would adjust the isolated band until the sound was a little below an unnatural sound. Then I took the average of all settings (+4.4) and lowered everything by 4 to get an average around 0. What is a good method for adjusting each band? Looking at my settings, I certainly wonder if I may have "misheard" 2K and 4K, since they're set so low.



[ Reply to This | # ]
Wrong approach for audiophiles
Authored by: frosts0 on Jul 13, '07 06:50:27AM

I currently have +8,+2,0,+2, +2, -2, -7, -6, -1, +2 for classical. This seems to make the sound tighter than the "flat" preset. I created these settings on MacBook Pro and they seem to sound pretty good on Nano (gen 2) with Shure E3c (which are "flat"). I came up with these numbers after I had the idea of isolating each band by putting two bands to the left and two bands to the right at -12, with all others at 0. Then I would adjust the isolated band until the sound was a little below an unnatural sound. Then I took the average of all settings (+4.4) and lowered everything by 4 to get an average around 0. What is a good method for adjusting each band? Looking at my settings, I certainly wonder if I may have "misheard" 2K and 4K, since they're set so low.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: falkaholic on Sep 02, '04 02:55:01PM

If you're listening to Drum n' Bass, watch out. Put your volume low and ease it up.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Eukaryote on Sep 04, '04 08:56:46PM
As a fellow Junglist, I just wanted to say thanks for the warning...

I don't want to blow out the speakers the first time I hear this "perfect" EQ.

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Volume Logic...
Authored by: Pedro Estarque on Sep 02, '04 03:52:32PM

...is amazing !! Thanks for the tip !
Now it takes 3x more processing power! I don't know if my mac will handle that while photoshoping.



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Volume Logic...
Authored by: pmreiz on Sep 02, '04 04:23:08PM

Make sure you deselect "Meters" as they really hog cpu cycles. Also, keep the VolumeLogic window closed whenever possible.

On my Titanium Powerbook, I use the "General" genre preset (I have a very ecclectic iTunes library of nearly 15,000 songs), with "Drive" set all the way to the right and "Bass Boost" set all the way to the left.

A couple other important things to remember:
1) Keep the iTunes volume all the way up, and control the actual listening level either with the VolumeLogic "Volume" slider or with the sound output system preference (as I do via the keyboard's volume keys).
2) Turn the iTunes equalizer off.
3) Turn iTunes "Sound Enhancer" off.
4) Turn iTunes "Sound Check" off.

Again, I disable VolumeLogic altogether when I connect my computer to my stereo, but these settings work great either with my laptop's built-in speakers, or the cheap ones built into an external monitor.

I'm pretty sure that VolumeLogic is accomplishing much the same thing as the SRS WOW Thing mentioned in another post.

There's some good technical information about VolumeLogic's signal processing at the Octiv website.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: WaltFrench on Sep 02, '04 03:59:55PM
... you're no longer listening to the music as recorded on the master...

Maybe it's closer. Even fairly expensive speakers may not reproduce different pitches equally loudly. Typical "computer" speakers costing less than $200 certainly don't. Smaller speakers simply cannot reproduce very low frequencies well. However, it's likely a waste of effort to try to boost the bass volume, since the speakers will just wuff. Speakers also have trouble with the higher frequencies that you especially boost; here you have some hope to recover the original sound.

Bear in mind that a lot of the limitations of low-bitrate tunes -- ie, the distortion of 128kb/s or lower MP3's -- show up in the frequencies that you're boosting. Your settings COULD make these worse.

Another post mentions overall loudness as "impossible to boost." Unfortunately, some engineers boost the average sound level by allowing the occasional peaks to go over the maximum that can be encoded; these are "clipped" to the maximum value that the (CD, or whatever) format allows. In the process, you get substantial distortion. Some listeners who like a "loud" sound will prefer this sound, even though it is less true to the sound that was actually on the "master" before the disk was cut with this stunt. Most non-rock musicians will cringe, but yes, some CD's are intentionally distributed this way.

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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: avarame on Sep 02, '04 07:06:30PM

"wuff" is one of the best words ever. Completely accurate, too.

It's ironic that people whose equipment is of high enough quality (price) to properly reproduce the frequencies most wished to be boosted, tend to be those people who have the least desire for SRS WOW or bowled EQ obstructing the clarity of the music they want to listen to.

But, hey, the whole point is to get something that sounds good. If you like the sound of the EQ setting described here, that's a good thing. If you don't like it, you can make your own setting, or even do without EQ. If it sounds good, go with it. That's what counts.

(Disclaimer: I say all of this as a budding audiophile who dropped $300 on headphones and an amplifier last month. :)



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: logo on Sep 02, '04 05:46:25PM

I'd say this improves my listening experience 100%



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Sep 02, '04 07:50:58PM

The proper way to set EQ curves is keeping everything balanced around 0. You should never boost any bands as high as this. So the 500 Hz slider would be at zero, with the others the same ratio higher and lower.

Really all you are doing is making it louder, and for most people louder sounds better.

I've been using several of my own EQ curves for years. It's a shame that they don't copy over to the iPod though. On my iPod I usually use R&B or Jazz. R&B can get too boomy and make my ear pods clip. A somewhat little known fact is that by setting your iPod's EQ to flat, it will honor the EQ setting from iTunes... so how ever you set a song's EQ (from the preset list) that's what you will get. My big gripe with the built in EQ curves are they are too exaggerated! They are very gimmicky. Good EQ curves are far more subtle.

Another point is don't get hung up on if you use EQ you are not hearing the song the way it was mastered. If you don't use EQ you might not be hearing it the right way either! The correct way is to use a noise generator and a hand held spectrum analyzer to EQ your system for flat response in your listening environment. Speakers do not have perfectly flat response and neither does the amp or playback device. After you do that, you are hearing things as they were mastered... and you might still not like it! Everyone hears differently. Being a musician for the past 36 years has left my hearing slightly worse then when I started! So I need more high end. EQ is our friend! :)

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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.5



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: sjmills on Sep 02, '04 11:48:36PM
Everyone hears differently. Being a musician for the past 36 years has left my hearing slightly worse then when I started! So I need more high end. EQ is our friend! :)

Exactly. After 23 years of playing drums, and a lot of that time having the bass player's amp to my left, I can't stand listening to music unless I can also feel the low end. My EQs usually have a steep low end, depending on the system. And all those cymbals took a small toll on my high end, so the other end of the EQ is steep too. The rest of it gets tuned to the system/room.

While this hint probably got a bunch of people to actually mess with the iTunes EQ, and there were good explanations of how boost causes distortion, I wouldn't really call it an OS X Hint.

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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: MostlyHarmless on Sep 03, '04 12:45:23AM

Re: noise generator and spectrum analyzer

I made an effort at doing that a couple of years ago... with a pink noise .wav file, the built-in mic on my PowerBook, and the spectrum analyzer in Amadeus. It turned out pretty well, actually.

On my desktop Mac I looped the pink noise in iTunes. On my PowerBook I watched the real-time spectrum analyzer and adjusted the iTunes EQ until all the frequency bands were about the same (ignoring the extreme upper and lower frequencies where the built-in mic was obviously not registering).

Once the pink noise looked good in the analyzer I did some listening tests to fine-tune the EQ settings -- since holding a PowerBook in front of my speakers wasn't quite the same as using a genuine calibrated mic. At that point I had a good EQ preset that made the system sound _much_ better.

The next step would be to combine my baseline preset with the official Apple EQ presets. I thought I'd just dig into com.apple.iTunes.eq.plist and add & subtract from each band as necessary to create calibrated "Rock/Pop/Loudness/etc." presets. The EQ property list is kinda scary lookin' though, and I never got around to trying anything with AppleScript -- but after it was calibrated I didn't really use the other presets anyway.

It seems like the easiest way to incorporate a baseline speaker calibration into the other presets, short of an actual hardware EQ, would be to loop through all the standard presets with AppleScript and create new, calibrated versions. If I could work out the proper syntax for "make new EQ preset" I'd be good to go...



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Sep 03, '04 09:09:57AM
I thought I'd just dig into com.apple.iTunes.eq.plist and add & subtract from each band as necessary to create calibrated "Rock/Pop/Loudness/etc." presets. The EQ property list is kinda scary lookin' though, and I never got around to trying anything with AppleScript -- but after it was calibrated I didn't really use the other presets anyway

After I noticed that there is an eq settings plist on the iPod, I thought this would be a great application for some adventurous programer/developer out there. Write an app that would allow modifying the iPod's EQ presets, with some type of GUI, like an EQ.

I haven't really made any tests to see if the iPod can actually copy custom EQ curves from iTunes, but I haven't found any documentation that says it can.

I haven't done any of this in a while, but I always thought you were supposed to use white noise for calibration. White noise has an equal distribution of frequencies, while pink noise has a low pass curve and therefore has less high frequencies. It's warmer, so it's pink. :)

Regarding iPod battery life. Yes, this is true. using the EQ shortens your battery life. But I can't listen to my iPod without EQ! Gotta hear that bass! (I'm a bass player) :)


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G4/466, 1 GB, Mac OS X 10.3.5

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Equalizer and iPod battery life
Authored by: ole-olo on Sep 03, '04 03:22:47AM

IIRC, using the equalizer can reduce the iPods battery life. It puts an additional strain on the iPods processor.

Also, the 'Use equalizer' setting may be inherited from iTunes if set for individual songs.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: BarracksSi on Sep 03, '04 10:08:22AM

If all you want to do is equalize away the inherent problem resonances in your speakers, you can do it by hand.

Make a sound file in Audacity with about a second's worth of sine wave for each iTunes EQ band. Save it as an AIFF file, import it into iTunes (still as AIFF, not mp3 or AAC), set playback to repeat, and hit Play.

Open up the EQ window, and reduce the sliders where you hear peaks in the sound. Don't boost anything -- you'll greatly increase the risk of distortion. If you're setting this up for your laptop, cut the bass as well, because those tiny speakers can't afford to be overworked trying to play frequencies that sound best through subs 8" or larger.

You can set up different EQ curves for the speakers you have on your desktop, your headphones & earphones, and anything else. Unfortunately, I haven't found a way to export the settings to my iPod (I've read EVERYTHING posted so far, and nothing works).

My iBook-specific EQ has these cuts: 32 Hz -9dB; 64 Hz -3; 500 Hz -9; 4 KHz -5; 8 KHz -3; 16 KHz -1. Another curve, for my Apple earbuds, came out like this: 2 KHz -2; 4 KHz -6; 8 KHz -4.

VolumeLogic does work extremely well, but with music containing a wide dynamic range (large-scale symphonic stuff, for example), the softs are louder than they should be. But, for general listening, [i]especially[/i] on tiny underpowered speakers like those on your laptop, it's very, very good.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: subscriber3 on Oct 30, '04 08:27:45PM

easier than creating a sound file in Audacity is to use the free program PerfectTone:

http://los.dtcurrie.net/

type in a starting frequency, then "shft <" or "shft >" to sweep the audio spectrum .



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: Elektron on Sep 08, '04 03:52:04PM

There's no such thing as "perfect". Each song will have (probably) been processed by an EQ. Some bands seem to increase the bass for the crap-speaker market, so it actually sounds bad on good speakers. And if your speakers are tinny, then you're probably using a laptop, and tiny speakers are impossible to get good sound out of (even eMac speakers leave a lot to be desired).

I have spent billions of hours tweaking my EQ, and have around 25 right now (for headphones, eMac speakers, and my two pairs through a 160-watt amp). I blast the room at night (the walls seem to be reasonably soundproof) to tweak my EQ. I use a few reference songs, which hopefully are mixed properly (i.e. made for "perfect" speakers).

Why it seems to sound better is you're pushing up the treble. Let's use my eMac speakers as a reference. It doesn't really have enough "deep bass" (Gravity of Love). It should dip more around 250-500 Hz (eMac resonance ish, Torn). 8K is too high, so esses sound loud (Torn). 16K is a little too low. It doesn't quite compensate enough for bad midtones. It drops the bass sweep, too (Atomic Dance Explosion), though only big speakers can reproduce it properly.

For the most part, you can compensate for bad speakers by turning everything down, and basically listening to one band at a time. 32 is really low bass. 64 is decent bass. 125 is cheap bass (the kind you get with "bass boost", the volume turned up, and crap speakers). 200 and 500 are midtones, 1K and 2K are "tinny", 4K is treble-ish, 8K is esses, and most of the high hat, and 16K is the rest of the high hat.

Then, you just turn down the bands which sound like your crappy laptop speakers (or crappy "multimedia" speakers).



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: drhmoss on Sep 08, '04 09:08:11PM

in college (abck in the late '70s) I bought a radio shack eq for about $100 (thats about $300 today). We played some good and bad music at a friends place that had some very good speakers. When we got to the album - 'Live Bootleg" by Aeorsmith, I was amazed. The album, for me, was junk. REAL JUNK.

But, with an equalizer we could find sounds and items in the background we had nedver heard before. On a live track we could hear the people walking on stage. It was fun to listen to - for a change.

Can a equalizer make an album good - NO. But add one to a decent/OK system and it can "compensate" for many defects in the system and room.

It is about he room more than the system. Set your equalizer for what you want to hear/can hear and not what someone thinks is right.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: figz on Feb 16, '05 11:48:47AM
Here is the Applescript to create the "Negative" setting as described above.
tell application "iTunes"
	set the current EQ preset to EQ preset "Manual"
	tell EQ preset "Manual"
		set band 1 to -8
		set band 2 to -5
		set band 3 to -2
		set band 4 to -4
		set band 5 to -5
		set band 6 to -6
		set band 7 to -4
		set band 8 to -2
		set band 9 to 0
		set band 10 to -3
		set preamp to 6
	end tell
end tell


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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: gavshak on Jul 14, '05 03:20:16PM

hi guys

to be honest pc speakers are so ridiculously expencive, just get a lovely sound card, wire up ya computer to an amp, then atach the amp to PROPER SPEAKERS hehe.

as for exualizer, i like the preset settings actually.



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Rehearsing...
Authored by: DrLex on Dec 17, '05 02:17:24PM

As someone who has been playing with sound equipment since he was 12, I must say this article looks like something I would have written when I was 11. There is no such thing a a 'perfect' equalizer setting, as everybody has said before me but it can't just be stated enough.

The only, single, unique purpose of an equalizer should be to compensate for the imperfect response curve of the sound installation. A perfect speaker produces the perfect sound with all sliders of the equalizer set to 0dB. If your actual speaker plays a 125Hz tone 3dB more silent, you should set the 125Hz slider to +3dB, or set all other sliders to -3dB and leave the 125Hz at 0dB. And so on.

The problem is that you need professional equipment to measure the deviations of your actual speakers from the ideal speaker. Plus, many speakers deviate so badly from the ideal speaker that even at the most extreme settings the equalizer can't correct them, or distortion kicks in. Plus, the equalizer is only approximative. A parametric equalizer would be required for a much more accurate correction.
So the only thing you can do with the equalizer, is try to make your music sound as good as possible within all these limitations. If you consistently hear some frequencies louder than others on all songs, try to find that frequency and tune its slider down.

The use for a loudness compensator as found on many amplifiers, is to compensate for the fact that the frequency response curve of the human ear changes with amplitude. Roughly spoken, the sensitivity for bass and trebles decreases with decreasing amplitude. Therefore a loudness control will boost bass & treble at low volumes. Unfortunately this involves is so much approximation and guess-work that the end result is probably not what it should be. To hear the music as it should sound -- assuming you're using perfect speakers -- you should play it at the same volume as was used during the recording, without any loudness compensation. But on most crappy consumer products, turning on loudness will indeed improve the sound quality, if only because the loudness compensation often corresponds pretty well with the deficiencies of the crappy speakers. In general, though, equalization and loudness are completely different things.

For my iBook speakers, after many, many attempts, I found the following setting to improve the sound without distorting it too much. Of course the extreme boost at 125Hz causes distortion with some songs, but I had to do this to avoid losing too much of the already scarce volume. The speakers are crappy anyway, so a little extra distortion is no big deal.

Preamp: -3.5dB (you can decrease this to reduce the distortion, or boost it if you don't mind the distortion).
32Hz: -12dB (those speakers can't reach this frequency anyway)
64Hz: +6dB (idem, but this is just to keep the curve a little smooth)
125Hz:+12dB
250Hz: +1dB
500Hz: -5dB
1kHz: -3dB
2kHz: 0dB
4kHz: -1dB
8kHz: +1dB
16kHz: +3dB



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: macmvn on Sep 02, '06 02:58:11PM

I have been in the high end audio business for 27 years and what you have done is a common misconception people have about volume and eq settings. Remember this amp goes to 11. It doesn't.

The EQ settings are all at least +3db. This is increasing volume as well as eq. Everything sounds better louder and that is what you have done. What you need to do is keep the levels as much above as below 0Db. When you switch between eq'd and not eq'd the volume should be the same. If your speakers have 20watt amps that is as loud it will ever be, regardless of your eq settings.



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It's called the 'California Smile'
Authored by: Macabre on Sep 02, '06 07:04:09PM

I've been using it for over twenty years - only with all frequencies dropped about three notches and the pre-amp boosted almost one. It's a general setting that works for all music if you don't have a spectrum analyzer to check room acoustics. An EQ's purpose is to add or remove frequency to attempt to get a flat response from the environment, not from the speakers.

I have always wondered why EQ manufacturers don't include a California Smile pre-set when DJ's and sound engineers for bands have relied on it for years.



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ummm....
Authored by: cheeesemonger on Sep 03, '06 10:30:29AM

It's the same as the Hip-Hop setting, but much buzzier because it's additive. I don't like it.



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: jonothon77 on Sep 03, '06 01:12:38PM

Maybe this sounds "better" but likely only because it's automatically quite a bit louder due to boosting most of the frequency content by many decibels. To most humans, louder sounds "better." If you compare this setting to a comparable volume set at "flat," it's unlikely that you will find that it sounds better.

And really, don't use this setting if you have your headphone output attached to powered speakers. NASTY!!



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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: declanmoir on Sep 04, '08 11:02:47AM

I Was Messing Around With My EQ And Found This Setting To Be Very Effective From A Range Of Low Bass, Bass Kicks, And The Voice Is Crystal Clear.


PreAmp. 0


32-9

64-5

125-7

250-5

500-5

1k-4

2k-4.5

4k-7

8k-6.5

16-5.9





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A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting
Authored by: halo_bone on May 15, '09 08:48:05PM

This preset causing peaking in a lot of my music. It cranks these frequencies too much.. just listen to a part in your music when there is already a lot going on--with the preset, it crackles. Without it, it hits like it's supposed to and doesn't peak. It sounds "better", only because it's just making things louder, while leaving the bass down enough to not totally overdue it. Try starting out at flat and compensating just enough to make up for how crappy your speakers are, you'll have much better results.

The mastering of music has enough limiting going on already, you shouldn't need to crank up the frequencies like this.

Also, every set of speakers and every single song (at the least every album) is going to need a different EQ to sound great. Just blowing everything out is not the way to make all of your music sound great.



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