What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

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What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby Dowlphin » 14 Jul 2013 11:43

Hi!
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I was wondering about something: For making music, it appears reasonable to me to monitor my production without any alterations of the sound. But here's the situation: On-mainboard-sound usually just has an equalizer app that's disabled by default. I used to experiment a little with those, but found no satisfactory settings. Soundblaster cards on the other hand have treble+bass sliders, and I am amazed at how well this simplicity works for tweaking music to sound more interesting. But here's the crux: If I assume that the driver's default setting (both at 50%) represents an unaltered signal, then using those settings makes almost all music sound crappy. Like listening to it from the next room. While bass can naturally vary a lot based on whether people use a subwoofer or what basic type of headphones or speaker diameter, treble seems to be less variable. At 50+50 setting I'm always missing a lot of high frequencies. The mids are really getting noisy and obtrusive. (And my hearing is fine. I'm not a disco freak and can hear up to 18kHz.)
So when listening to the wide variety of music I have accumulated in my favorites collection, I always end up with a setting that makes pretty much all songs sound nice, and that is treble at 70-75% and bass at 60-65%, and it has been like this for many many years and across various types of gear.
And I'm wondering why that is.
I've already modified my headphones to convey more clarity in high frequencies, so they shouldn't swallow too much of them.
If I produce my music with 50-50 setting, it will sound unplesant with the settings I'm using to make pretty much all other music sound pleasant.

This is really puzzling. :|
Last edited by Dowlphin on 14 Jul 2013 11:57, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby Viricide Filly » 14 Jul 2013 11:48

You could just not use an equalizer at all. They'll create some false production thingies that might sound really bad on other systems and you'd have no idea because you'd have some over 9000 1337 EQ.
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Re: What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby vladnuke » 14 Jul 2013 11:53

You're not going to be using the driver anyway because you need to hook it through ASIO.
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Re: What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby Dowlphin » 14 Jul 2013 13:36

vladnuke wrote:You're not going to be using the driver anyway because you need to hook it through ASIO.

When ASIO is used in my Ableton and I change the treble/bass setting, it affects the playback of the composition.
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Re: What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby Viricide Filly » 14 Jul 2013 13:58

Dowlphin wrote:
vladnuke wrote:You're not going to be using the driver anyway because you need to hook it through ASIO.

When ASIO is used in my Ableton and I change the treble/bass setting, it affects the playback of the composition.


Utterly ridiculous, you must have done something wrong somewhere.
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Re: What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby itroitnyah » 14 Jul 2013 15:20

Yes, regular speakers will boost the bass some and the treble a bit too, that's what researchers have found to sound the best according to a majority of listeners. However, if you're producing music, never produce with a purposely increased set of frequencies. You want the frequency response to be flat. Why? Because increasing the bass and treble will distort the song a bit, which is why you think that what you're working on sounds a lot better than when the EQ is flat. When making music you want to hear everything in a "true" sense, so that you'll better be able to mix and master and compose and stuff. Which is why I've spent over $800 on studio reference monitors, an audio interface and acoustic panels. I can hear everything that I'm doing very well, I can hear elements in songs that were before hidden when I would be listening with my $90 sennheiser headphones and the clarity of everything is superb. Of course, they don't sound incredibly-impressive-rock-the-house, but that's not the point of them.

For an example, when I load up the song Diamond Sky into FL and use a parametric eq 2 to increase the bass and treble very similarly to the way you described, I noticed a lot of changes:

1: The arp that starts at 0.27, as well as many other arps within the song, are harder to hear, although barely audible

2: I can't hear the reverb on the vocals anymore, or it's harder to hear.

3: The audience cheering and clapping that starts in at about a minute is distorted, it sounds a lot more "hollow" and "crisp", whereas before it sounded full and complete.

4: The highend of the snare in the drop is awfully distorted, the tail is very crunchy and distorted. The entire highend is distorted and has this very "crunch" feel to it

5: The hats are harder to hear, they sorta sound combined with the snare

Overall, these are very bad things to have when mixing, it'll make getting the bass to sound right a lot harder, mixing the highs and percussion a lot harder, and is definitely not ideal for music production.
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Re: What's 'neutral' sound setting in driver software?

Postby Navron » 19 Jul 2013 18:45

Even if you have a separate control panel for your sound card, you can still disable them through your sound properties.

I'm assuming you're on a PC w/ Windows 7 btw:

-Right click on your volume in the taskbar.
-Go to playback devices.
-Right click on your default output (you should see your sound card listed on it).
-Go to properties.
-Click on enhancements at the top.
-Turn the box on that says, "Disable all enhancements," or, "Disable all sound effects."

You should now have a neutral EQ and no sound effects in your playback.
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