I’m a very happy new Roon user (of almost 2 months) who hasn’t really experimented too much as yet as i wanted to keep things simple while i was evaluating whether to proceed with a subscription (i do !).
I did follow some instructions on how to EQ my headphones though (Focal Clears) by adding a convolution filter, and i felt the adjustment was worth keeping, as i preferred it to the standard non filtered sound.
However, i’m very sensitive to any harshness/brightness in recordings (overly sensitive tbh) and would like to see if i could just knock off an edge to the very top end.
I’m using a Chord Qutest into a (new) Auris Euterpe tube amp, then my Focal Clears, and despite the Euterpe being a tube amp it still doesn’t give me that smoothness to the top end that i’d prefer (in all other aspects it’s really lovely). All the components add up to a very revealing presentation, tons of clarity, wide soundstage, decent bass, excellent mids, but just that little bit at the real top end that i don’t like.
Is it possible to leave the EQ as it is up to the higher end, then just smooth that out a touch more ?? If so, can anyone guide me through how to do that !
Note: i have tried testing with a couple of different filters, and a few suggested EQ settings, as well as going back to listening to the Focals without any EQ, but i definitely enjoy the Oratory1990 convolution filter best, so i’d like to stick close to that and just adjust that top bit if possible.
Oratory provides parametric eq settings on Reddit. Instead of a convolution filter you could use those and then tweak to your liking.
My suggestion would be to use the parametric equaliser (PEQ) instead of a convolution filter.
Try this one for size. You’ll need to add in the values for each band. Further info here.
Don’t forgot to use the “Headroom management” setting as well. You need to add in the pre-amp gain here. For the Focal Clears, using these settings, it’s -4.9
Because you’re manually adding things in, you can change whatever you like to achieve the sound that you want.
If you’re currently using a convolution filter, my suspicion is that it’s an Auto-Eq one. The exact PEQ that corresponds to what you’re currently using is therfore, probably, this one. Again, just play around and find what suits.
Some very good advice here already!
I use convolution + PEQ in Roon with speakers. Works very nicely. No problems using the two together. If you are afraid of clipping (digital clipping is nasty!), just enable the indicator in Headroom.
Try this: Peak/dip, Frequency= 19000Hz, Gain= -2dB, Q= 0.1
You’ll see that this will start at around 2000Hz and gradually reduce level more towards higher frequencies.
A Peak/dip, Frequency= 3000Hz, Gain= -2dB, Q= 1.4 will work in the region where sibilance live (or the ear is most sensitive). Try 3000, 3500, 4000, 4500 to find where you like it, then adjust gain afterwards (-1, -2, -3, -4)
In the first setting increasing gain to -2.1 dB (0.1dB more) will be audible as the working range is large.
In the second setting 0.1 dB is hardly noticeable as the working range is much smaller.
Hope this helps get you started…
Remember the Qutest has 4 filters and 1, 2 and 3 volts out… Have you tried all of those combinations? Then there is tube rolling… I am guessing there are many choices for the preamp tube…
And as others have stated above, try Roon’s own PEQ with or without your own convolution filter…
Read up on EQ and House Curves… Google is your frenemy…
Looking at the Grapher that +10dB bump at 3.5kHz looks a bit much… And the rolloff from there into the highs wouldn’t be to my liking…
Thank you all for your very helpful suggestions.
It’ll take me a bit of time to get my head around EQing, as i find it a bit daunting (i’m getting old !) but to start with i did copy the parametric settings supplied by Oratory and spent a few hours listening with those last night, and i can definitely say they improved things - being a bit better than the convolution filter, but just falling short of being ideal (again it’s usually just the occasional snare drum, cymbal or perhaps piano/guitar/vocal on tracks rather than complete tracks/albums).
I will spend some time learning more and will have a go at doing my own EQ, although i just might try a pad change on my Clears as they are a little grubby anyway (!) and i did see a very good video where they’d found changing the earpads on the Clears definitely helped with that treble problem (+ made it easier to EQ the problem apparently).
Just to go back to something Digital Dude said about the voltage output - that is something i haven’t tried, i’d always just left it on whatever it was preset at (i believe it’s set on 2v as standard, but may be wrong). I must confess to not knowing that the DAC voltage output might change the sound so i will give that a go, it certainly can’t hurt to try. As for the Qutest filters, i have played with them, although not since i got the new amp. I had been favouring the white and green filters over the warmer filters ironically ! Again, it’s something i can give another try. Tube rolling wise i’ve been lent 8 input tubes to try but halfway through testing i’m yet to find one that warms things up sufficiently tbh. Great detail, soundstage etc etc pitch black background, but still that pesky brightness that i find on some recordings. More modern tracks rarely have the problem tbh, but i’m more a Qobuz than Tidal guy and definitely listen to older stuff these days.
Here is some information regarding your comments with areas of your concerns for Snare Drum
Low mids: 100Hz - 250Hz — Great for adding fatness, but too much can cause muddiness
Midrange: 400Hz - 1kHz — Usually where the fundamental ring can be found; too much can cause boxiness
High mids: 3kHz - 5kHz — Great for adding snap and attack, too much can be harsh
Highs: 10kHz — Great for adding ‘air’ and ‘buzz,’ too much can be shrill
Low mids: 200Hz - 500Hz — Great for adding “meat” to cymbals, but too much can be muddy or boxy
High mids: 3kHz - 5kHz — Great for adding presence, but too much can be harsh and fight with the vocal
Highs: 7kHz - 12kHz — Great for adding ‘air;’ too much can be shrill
You may want to cut the piano around -3dB at the 2000 Hz to 3000 Hz range.
Piano, Vocals and Guitar are a can of worms as they overlap…
Generally speaking the issues you may be seeing are about the quality of the source material… Poor recording, mixing and mastering on some of the source material… It may also be possible the format of the material may have been messed with if you use Tidal/MQA or DSD breaking small signals… Chord DACs do best with original PCM format material…
As far as the voltage is concerned, your tube amp may be sensitive to input voltage… Less voltage may sweeten things up a touch and give you more volume range… More voltage may cause glare and clipping and give you less volume range…
I really appreciate your help, Thank you, I will definitely try my hand at EQ ing the Clears myself, so those readings for my specific problem areas are great.
However, things have moved along quite quickly and i got the Dekoni replacement ear pads for my Clears yesterday, but my first impressions weren’t favourable. I applied 2 bits of EQ that had been suggested in a Youtube video review of the replacement pads (specifically for the Clears) and again, i wasn’t thrilled with the results. Basically the Clears have lost all their energy with these pads or pads+EQ - the ‘harshness’ has gone, but everyone seems to be singing with a face mask on !
It’s wasn’t ideal in my financial situation but i’ve also bought a 2nd hand pair of Audeze LCD-2C’s (delievery today) which i hope to use on the older, more rock/pop based recordings and/or generally poorer recordings- basically the stuff i struggle with using my Clears.
I will then aim to use the standard Clears, without EQ for newer stuff and/or well recorded pieces, specifically the folk/acoustic/stripped down type stuff where the Focals excel on picking out all the detail without being at all bright or harsh.
I’ll see how i get on with a bit of home EQing on the Focals as well, it’d be easy enough to sell the LCD-2C’s on again if i finally find that sweet spot with the Focals that allows me to listen to any genre of music or any quality of recording…but i think i’m asking the impossible, especially listening through a DAC like the Qutest.
Just a quick question about EQ via Roon, that someone may be able to shed some light on please.
As mentioned previous, i’m following a few Parametric EQ settings from a host on a Headphone Youtube show. I’ve entered some of his suggested settings previously and had no problem , but in one list that i’d like to try he’s left off a Q value for a High Shelf and a Low Shelf filter (the rest are peak filter settings) and as far as i can see Roon wants a Q value.
Is this correct and if so, what value would you enter if a value has been left off - all his other settings have had Q values so i assume his leaving these 2 (out of a 6 band EQ) without was deliberate.
Although I have no context regarding what the creator of the above suggested EQ settings had in mind… The common default value for Q is one octave or ~1.41… You could try that… Beyond that I would suggest you contact the person you got these EQ settings from…
I use convolution + PEQ to shape the sound how I want it.
Hi Danny, can i just clarify your comment - do you use a convolution filter and run a PEQ alongside it at the same time ?
If that is indeed what you do, i assume the idea is that the convolution filter is pretty close to what you want to listen to, and you just add a small amount of PEQ to tweak it a little bit more towards your absolute ideal sound ?
Thanks again DD, i’ve copied the settings i mentioned in previous post, that i had wanted to try (they are to tweak the Dekoni replacement pads for the Focal Clears)
EQ Profile: More critical adjustments
- Peak Filter - 8khz, -2dB (Q=4)
- Peak Filter - 11khz, -5dB (Q=5)
Optional filters: Gets it a bit closer to Harman, but not necessary.
- Low shelf filter - 75hz, +2.5dB
- Peak filter - 2khz, +2dB (Q = 1.41)
- Peak filter - 3khz, +1.4dB (Q= 1.6)
- High shelf filter - 6.5khz, +2dB
Yes. Some people use convolution to produce a “target curve” for optimal listening, say the “Harman curve” for example. (That’s a target slopping downward from flat lows to somewhat reduced highs).
I have convolution produce perfectly flat output, and then have Roon PEQ tweak the flat sound to my liking, which is slightly off flat in a couple of areas. For instance, I don’t want the highs reduced as much as with the Harman curve, as I don’t have perfect hearing in the high frequencies anymore.
I just found for me that is what works best. It was easier for me to hit my personal sound target that way, and still get the benefits of convolution. One of the nice things about Roon DSP is that you can determine the order of the DSP funtions. So I have convolution produce a flat output, and then tweak that.
Hello Richard, I would try a Q of about 0.7 for each of the Low and High Shelf filters… That gives a medium roll on/off of both… These are noted as Optional so you are more than welcome to find something thats suites your taste… Essentially this EQ brings a bit of boost to the lows, some mids, narrow cuts mid/highs and some boost to the highs… The High Shelf also pulling up the 8khz and 11khz cuts a touch if used…
Hi Richard. Its been a while since your posts but I was wondering where you ended up?
I’ve just started using Roon DSP with my Focal Clears. From a few days work, I discovered I like the Oratory site parametric filters best (Daniel linked them above), better than any of the convolutional filters I’ve found and significantly better than the un-eqed clear’s.
As some have said before, one can easily adjust the parametric filter settings. I’ve found i like to adjust the Oratory filters by setting band 5 (1800hz hi shelf) down from 6db boost to 5db boost and setting band 8 (5900hz narrow dip) down from -5.3db to -6.5 db. Reducing the hi shelf controlled the over exuberant highs in some recordings and increasing the depth of the dip removed a harshness. Some recordings have too much bass with the Oratory filter. To tame this I reduce band 2 (105hz low shelf) by several db. The clear’s seem to work well for a fairly wide range of material with these adjustments.