GMG Classical Music Forum

The Back Room => The Diner => Topic started by: Holden on April 12, 2021, 06:13:07 PM

Title: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Holden on April 12, 2021, 06:13:07 PM
Most of my listening is done via my iMac using a variety of sources. If I play CDs or FLAC files I use VLC player which is quite versatile. The decoding of my music is handled by my Burson Playmate 2 Dac/Amp meaning that it bypasses Apple's internal sound card and goes straight to this device. When using VLC I can play with the frequency range to suit myself  because it has a ten band graphic equaliser. With the Audeze LCD-1s I've recently purchased I've found that a one step boost at the 60Khz and 170Khz points really adds to the sub bass that these cans can reproduce.

Now the issue for me comes when I listen to streaming music. I'm currently trialing Deezer's HQ streaming service and it sounds quite good. However, like Spotify, there is no form of equalisation available. All the Burson has is a simple volume control so equalisation isn't possible at this stage. My question is:

Is there a software EQ program that will work with the DAC? My way of thinking is if I add EQ via the VLC surely there must be a way to get it up and running. I know we have a couple of experts regarding sound from devices on this forum and I'd be interested to hear what you think.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: DavidW on April 13, 2021, 05:26:10 AM
On Windows there is an exceptional program called eqAPO/PeaceEQ that allows you to adjust q-factors, gains, cuts, and even different types of curves.  It is the go to for the oratory community on reddit (they are obsessed with equalizing all headphones to the Harman target). 

But on Mac, there are two options that are not as good but not bad either.

1. eqMac (https://eqmac.app/)
2. Foobar (https://www.foobar2000.org/mac) (which is a universal player that happens to have a 10 band eq)

Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Daverz on April 13, 2021, 01:52:45 PM
This thread on ASR lists a lot of EQ software:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/eq-software-for-windows-linux-macos-ios-ipados-and-android.18450/
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Holden on April 13, 2021, 03:05:25 PM
Hello David and Daverz

I was expecting a reply from both of you so thank you for your input. I'll try out eqMac and also read from the link that was posted.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Spotted Horses on April 13, 2021, 03:15:15 PM
On Windows there is an exceptional program called eqAPO/PeaceEQ that allows you to adjust q-factors, gains, cuts, and even different types of curves.  It is the go to for the oratory community on reddit (they are obsessed with equalizing all headphones to the Harman target). 

But on Mac, there are two options that are not as good but not bad either.

1. eqMac (https://eqmac.app/)
2. Foobar (https://www.foobar2000.org/mac) (which is a universal player that happens to have a 10 band eq)

Now I feel foolish, I have used foobar on PC but after switching to Mac I assumed I needed to find a new media player and started using XLR. Never noticed that foobar had a Mac version.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Daverz on April 13, 2021, 03:52:36 PM
Hello David and Daverz

I was expecting a reply from both of you so thank you for your input. I'll try out eqMac and also read from the link that was posted.

But as you may know by now my solution to everything involving digital playback is "get a Raspberry Pi".  8)

However, I didn't mention it because I'm not how Deezer works with the various RPi based streaming software.  But here's a thread on the slimdevices forum:

https://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?112604-Deezer-HiFi-3rd-party/page3
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Holden on April 13, 2021, 11:01:13 PM
I checked out eqMac (thanks David) but there were too many negative reviews for me to consider downloading it. The Audioscience site (thanks Daverz) had a lot of options for Mac and it took me a while to check the main ones out. I eventually settled on SoundSource

https://rogueamoeba.com/soundsource/

It's a paid for app but the sound I heard in the trial version using Deezer was very impressive so I've pulled the plug and spent the dollars. It has far more features than I would ever use but it does two things that I really like.

First, it totally bypasses Mac sound card and a lot of other things as well. (Think using WASAPI or ASIO for PC) My attached Burson Playmate2 does most of this but while it's close it's not bit perfect. SoundSource solves this issue which is why I was impressed on first hearing.

I have the ability to have separate settings for all of my music output. I can have one for Deezer and something different for my VLC player.

I wonder if I can eq for my different headphones using this app?
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: DavidW on April 14, 2021, 04:36:43 AM
That sounds great Holden!

First, it totally bypasses Mac sound card and a lot of other things as well. (Think using WASAPI or ASIO for PC)

I find that Mac and iOS devices don't do nearly as much weird or problematic processing that Windows and Android does but that is good to hear.

I turned away from using my Mac as a source simply because I didn't like hearing the fan while I'm listening to music.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 13, 2021, 07:36:52 PM
Generally I try to respect decisions by mixing engineers/producers for recording sound and therefore do not use EQ. But for old recordings (specially Naxos), I usually raise High and Low a little and lower the middle range a little. Is this good idea? Any alternatives?
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Mirror Image on June 15, 2021, 02:19:37 PM
Generally I try to respect decisions by mixing engineers/producers for recording sound and therefore do not use EQ. But for old recordings (specially Naxos), I usually raise High and Low a little and lower the middle range a little. Is this good idea? Any alternatives?

Generally speaking, since I’m a headphone listener, I like a little boast of frequencies in classical music, but not to the point to where there’s distortion. Too often I find the bass response a bit lacking on headphones, so I try my best to get these frequencies to where they’re a bit more prevalent in the overall mix. I mean I want to hear that timpani or bass drum for example or the lower strings and brass. It’s just a question of personal preference and really letting your own ears be the judge.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Daverz on June 15, 2021, 05:59:56 PM
I only use EQ for room and headphone "correction".  I've been using Amir's EQ for the Sennheiser 650s for a while now and it works well for me.

(https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?attachments/sennheiser-hd650-equalization-png.101567/)

As you can see he adds quite a lot of bass, but it doesn't sound like too much.

But there are probably a lot of different EQ settings floating around for these popular headphones.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on June 16, 2021, 04:37:46 AM
Gents, thank you for your informative responses.
I don’t use headphones, but I like bass sound.
I want an extended, not boosted, bass sound. I guess this is done by good speakers rather than EQs.
As I said, I tried to minimize the usage of EQ out of the respect to the sound engineers.
As for old recordings, however, I will keep using it.
Sometimes, reducing the midrange without enhancing High and Low sufficiently clarifies the sound.
Title: Re: EQ and External DAC/Amp
Post by: Daverz on June 16, 2021, 08:18:12 AM
Quote from: Dry Brett Kavanaugh
As I said, I tried to minimize the usage of EQ out of the respect to the sound engineers.

Really impossible in most rooms.  Under 300 Hz or so (the so-called Schroeder frequency), you're hearing your room's bass modes.  You can mitigate this somewhat with room treatments and speaker placement (not that practical for most people in domestic rooms), but EQ is an important tool for correcting room modes.