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  #1  
Old 10-28-2006, 06:32 AM
Biscuit Biscuit is offline
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Default X5, EQ, BBE, Rockbox, Shure E2c...

I also have a new X5 (I'm in the UK). I'd appreciate any recommendations for the equaliser settings? I've found that BBE makes the sound a bit splashy, so I've turned that off, otherwise I've just upped the bass a little so far. I'm using Shure E2c earplugs. Would Rockbox help with the sound?
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  #2  
Old 10-28-2006, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuit
I also have a new X5 (I'm in the UK). I'd appreciate any recommendations for the equaliser settings? I've found that BBE makes the sound a bit splashy, so I've turned that off, otherwise I've just upped the bass a little so far. I'm using Shure E2c earplugs. Would Rockbox help with the sound?
Depends entirely on your musical preferences and the headphones you use... no two pairs of ears are the same. What works for me might not work for you.

BBE is the best thing that ever happened to mobile headphone sound, IMO... but like with any other sound enhancements it can sound bad/distorted if you turn it all up to eleven.

I'm using BBE @ 2, M3B @ 8, MPE @ 0, 3D @ 0.
EQ: 6 0 0 1 1

This gives excellent bass and clarity for my UE Super.Fi 5 EB IEMs. Not all IEMs might be able to handle that amount of bass, though. YMMV. I listen to Reggae/Dancehall, Samba, Death Metal, Grindcore, Jazz, Drum'n'Bass, Funk Carioca, etc.

For line-out I use Rockbox instead of the original firmware, with a slight EQing of the bass.

Overall Rockbox sounds more "neutral" - frequency response is the same as with the original firmware, but Rockbox lacks the "fun" of the BBE enhancements - if you're a purist and don't use enhancements/EQs, you won't notice any difference between the original firmware and Rockbox.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:11 AM
Biscuit Biscuit is offline
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Thanks for your reply. I'm concerned about taking this thread off topic, but maybe sound comparisons between the OE & Rockbox are ok?

I'm a bit of a sound purist, but I believe that any sound setup should be the same whether it's playing classical, jazz, dance or pop. The idea is to represent the recorded sound but with sound adjustments to take account of any crappy equipment. My home system is Linn/Naim which has no tonal control at all - simply on/off & volume. Of course, an X5 costs a fraction of the price & I'm also dealing with digital sound & compressed Ogg 320 files (so I can fit everything). My concern is mainly with the top end sounding a bit brash, like it's enhanced in some way to appear "bright" & does not sound natural. Even with the E2c phones, I find this a bit annoying & although with only a few days of playing, I can't get the X5 to match my old Karma in SQ. This was the reason I wondered about Rockbox.

I will try to SQ settings though, thanks for the tips.
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Old 10-28-2006, 11:52 AM
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IIRC, the E2c do sound a little bright, similar to the Etymotic ER-6. You might get better results with a pair of E4c, E500, Super.Fi 5 Pro, Triple.Fi or the new V-Moda Bass Fréq.

Maybe set the EQ to something like 6 0 0 -1 -1 for starters, and try BBE at a low level, it tends to "mellow" the sound and give a nice spacious feeling to the music that most IEMs lack.

On the other hand, MPE tends to make the sound brighter - it's only useful for "restoration" of low-quality sound files.

You can read more about the enhancements here: http://www.bbesound.com/

Yes, I use the same sound settings for all my music, too - if an album is recorded well, it sounds good to my ears with the one setting I like. And I believe the sound of a portable player combined with IEMs has to be adjusted to one's liking - it cannot be compared with a high-quality home-setup that sounds the way it sounds, right out of the box (after correct positioning of the speakers of course ).
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Old 10-29-2006, 05:07 AM
Biscuit Biscuit is offline
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Thanks for your advice. I will try your suggested settings & also look at the earphones you suggested.
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Old 10-29-2006, 04:41 PM
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I can't go to -1 on the X5, just 0 is the lowest. Currently running 8 4 2 0 0 & BBE of 1. It's a bit disappointing to be honest.
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Old 10-29-2006, 04:47 PM
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Oh, sorry - forgot that the X5 EQ doesn't have negative values.

What exactly is disappointing? Certainly not the sound quality, I hope. You'll get the hang of what sounds best for you, eventually - I tweaked the hell out of the X5 for the first week or so, then settled on what's best for me...

If you want a (way) more flexible EQ, you have to try Rockbox - but of course you won't have the BBE enhancements there...

I can't believe that the Karma should sound better than the X5 - Maybe your ears/brain have to get used to the different sound. Or get some better IEMs, something with dual armatures...

Here's the frequency response curve of the original firmware and Rockbox - the highs aren't enhanced, all is perfectly flat:

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Old 10-29-2006, 05:05 PM
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I compared the frequency response curve of the E2c to other popular IEMs - it shows that the E2c doesn't respond optimal - it has a peak in the ~4 kHz region, where it should have a valley to accommodate the human ear's interpretation of "correct" sound.

Headroom also mentions that the E2c benefit a lot from amping: http://www.headphone.com/products/he.../shure-e2c.php

EDIT: Moved the posts to a new thread.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:31 AM
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Thanks for your help with this. The issue for me is that the E2cs sounded great on the Karma & although the Karma didn't have any "sound enhancements" it had a great equaliser. I think I will play with the settings for a few more days & then try Rockbox. On my current settings, I think the Karma sounded better than the X5 through the E2cs.
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Old 11-02-2006, 02:41 AM
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I now have Rockbox installed as a dual boot. I've tweaked the Rockbox equaliser & now the sound is better than the OE firmware. I'm much happier now as the music is more tuneful & easier to listen without the splashy sound enhancements from the OE.
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  #11  
Old 12-13-2006, 10:11 AM
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I hope you don't mind my jumping in here a little after-the-fact, but I am because one of the first things I did when I got my X5L was to replace the earbuds with the Shure E2c's myself.

I love 'em, but as has been noted, they are brighter than some other phones and don't carry as much bass as well.

So my point is that the X5 is NOT the problem if you believe that the sound isn't what you expect. In fact, the X5 allows you to very exactingly customize the sound in an almost limitless number of ways through use of the onboard sound management software as already discussed.

So just tweak until you like what you get, no matter what headphones you use.
As a side note, I run my X5L through my high-end stereo system a lot, and I find that if I leave the settings as they are for my headphones, it comes across really crappy through my stereo. However, I just go in and turn off ALL the sound enhancements and the stereo comes alive and I make all my sound adjustments through it.

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