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Old 02-22-2011, 04:00 PM
moleface moleface is offline
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Default Bizarre EQ problem w/ Rockbox on Fuze 2.0

Like the title says, I'm running Rockbox on a 2.0 Sansa Fuze. I'm overall extremely happy with it, but I've encountered a weird EQ problem.

I have the rockbox equalizer set to 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0. Replaygain and preamp are turned off. No other advanced settings are currently used.

I didn't notice any issue with these settings until I switched from electronic stuff to abrasive guitar music. The music sounds like it's fluctuating in volume the entire time, particularly during more intense parts. On most albums I've tried, it sounds like the treble is FAR higher in volume than the mids - guitar riffs start quiet and then get way louder when their tone starts approaching the higher frequencies.

At first I thought the wheel on my Fuze was moving in my pocket - that's how noticeable the volume fluctuation is. It sounds like there's a line where the mids end and the treble begins, and anything over that line sounds way louder than the rest of the music. I've never had this effect on any other equalizer.

It's definitely a Rockbox equalizer issue - the problem is eliminated if i turn the Rockbox eq to flat or de-emphasize treble, but my original firmware has the same EQ settings and it doesn't do this to the sound. This isn't a placebo, because I can tell blind which firmware I'm listening to. It's VERY noticeable.

I haven't learned how to use the more advanced settings on Rockbox(yet). Could this be an issue related to the other settings on the equalizer? I haven't changed them, but I'm wondering if I could eliminate the issue by tweaking them. I've messed around a bit so far, but it's not making a difference so far.

I've also tried multiple builds of Rockbox - they all seem to have the same issue for me.

On edit : I just realized that I didn't put this in the Rockbox-specific forum. Sorry about that.

Last edited by moleface; 02-22-2011 at 04:06 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-26-2011, 02:36 PM
moleface moleface is offline
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Update (as if anyone cares )-

By tweaking the "cutoff" settings for the mid and higher frequencies, I can EQ out this sound quirk. I think the Rockbox equalizer's default "cutoff" values must be set differently than whatever settings are used by the Sansa firmware's gain-only equalizer.

I think the source material had a lot to do with this also - I guess those EQ settings just so happened to accentuate the flaws and poor mixing inherent to raw DIY production jobs.
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Old 02-26-2011, 03:06 PM
saratoga saratoga is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moleface View Post
I have the rockbox equalizer set to 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0. Replaygain and preamp are turned off. No other advanced settings are currently used.
Did you set the precut? If not, you may get distortion with settings like that. Remember, digitally increasing volume will nearly always distort with load music given how modern tracks are mastered.
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Old 02-26-2011, 05:59 PM
moleface moleface is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
Did you set the precut? If not, you may get distortion with settings like that. Remember, digitally increasing volume will nearly always distort with load music given how modern tracks are mastered.
No, I actually haven't tried applying precut yet. I use decent headphones (Sennheiser HD555 and Nuforce Ne-6) and I'm picky about sound, but I only recently started using real equalizers - the receiver I used for years sounded great but only had a bass and treble knob.

Are my current equalizer settings unusually boosted? I admit that I'm biased toward a more "high impact" sound that might be subtly degrading the quality of music in ways that I haven't yet noticed. I'm not adamant about keeping the EQ this way, but I seriously don't hear any distortion.

My usual technique is to increase the gain of each frequency band to the point where it starts to sound noticeably overloaded and wrong to me, and then I set it a couple notches below that point. The bass hits with impact and the highs are well defined with my current EQ settings. At least I think so - I know that the brain has ways of adapting to even hideously skewed sound after awhile.

I'm sure that I've barely scratched the surface of Rockbox's EQ capabilities. Once I get a chance, I'm going to learn how to fine tune the sound as much as possible.
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Old 02-26-2011, 06:25 PM
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Satellite_6 Satellite_6 is offline
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You should turn down frequencies you don't want to be loud rather than boosting ones you do want to be loud. Replaygain can't hurt either. . . no clipping this way.

EDIT: btw I think the NE-6's sound great flat or with the bass turned down a bit, but that's just me.

You do realize that 1, .5,0, .5, 1 would have the same effect as 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 right?
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Last edited by Satellite_6; 02-26-2011 at 06:33 PM.
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Old 02-26-2011, 07:08 PM
moleface moleface is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
You should turn down frequencies you don't want to be loud rather than boosting ones you do want to be loud. Replaygain can't hurt either. . . no clipping this way.

EDIT: btw I think the NE-6's sound great flat or with the bass turned down a bit, but that's just me.

You do realize that 1, .5,0, .5, 1 would have the same effect as 2.0, 1.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 right?
I actually realized this earlier after I gave it some thought, but thanks for clarifying. Amateur mistake - until I started reading about equalizers and how they actually work, I hadn't realized exactly how they shape sound. It's kind of embarrassing that I got to age THIRTY before I figured this out.

I usually turn down bass for guitar music with the nuforces - my current settings were from the dubstep kick I've been on lately.

I've always cared deeply about sound quality but I don't consider myself to be an "audiophile". I'm aware that what currently sounds good to me may sound hideously skewed to someone else with more discriminating tastes. I'm sure that teaching myself all the ins and outs of the Rockbox equalizer will help take my listening experience to the next level though.

Thanks for the responses.
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  #7  
Old 02-26-2011, 08:46 PM
moleface moleface is offline
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I think my previous equalizer settings actually WERE subtly distorting my music. The slight fatiguing quality to music that I'd attributed to my new headphones or the source material is now gone after some minor adjustments.

The Nuforce's already sound great, but I can tell that some subtle tweaking to the right areas will make them sound perfect for me. It's going to be fun to learn how to effectively use the equalizer. I feel like I'm working toward unlocking the true potential of my headphones - definitely worth the time and effort.

On edit : I just noticed that I used the phrase "hideously skewed" TWICE in this thread. Just when I think I can't come off any more douchey...

Last edited by moleface; 02-26-2011 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 02-26-2011, 10:29 PM
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Satellite_6 Satellite_6 is offline
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I couldn't live without an Equalizer.
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