Audiograms and EQ'ing for both the headphone and individual thoughts

I am interested in hearing from those that may understand these things better than myself from a scientific perspective, but I recently had read a post by someone who performed an audiogram with a specific and certified headphone to test their ability to hear frequencies and the variation in dB throughout the range (say, 20Hz-20kHz). This was on an iPhone with the AirPod Pros and the app taking the audiogram then applied this to the iPhone (through the health app I believe), which I believe in turn applied an EQ setting to compensate for the difference in dB levels throughout the range to provide a personalized frequency response that would be perceived as “flat” to that very specific person with those specific headphones. The user described the outcome as “being able to hear things in the music that he never heard before!”

With all that said, and I recognize there is a lot of “theory” and no points of reference in my statement, I am wondering if this theory holds up?

My other thought/point around this is that I tried to perform a similar test. When I ran the audiogram program, it showed my ability to recognize frequencies and the variance in dB across the range. I found it extremely revealing and enlightening… and, to me, explained why I have always tended to EQ things the way I do. My sensitivity to midrange frequencies is insanely elevated compared to the lows and highs. This (in my mind anyway) is why midrange has always seemed insanely overpowering to me, and I think why I have preferred V shaped sound signatures more than anything else. My audiogram showed the inverse of a V, where lows and highs are much more difficult for me to hear. Vocal Forward headphones sound insanely shouty to me and I feel like I can’t hear anything but mids.

I realize personal tastes come into play more than anything else in “preferring” one sound signature over another, but does anyone else think there may be something to this idea that knowing what frequencies individuals hear better than others can help EQ things to sound better? This obviously also depends on the individual headphones and their delivery of frequencies, but I feel like it can give someone a head start.

Thoughts? Science?


A different perspective is this - when you’re in a room with a live piano do you break out the headphones and eq to make it sound natural?

Your brain figures it all out so whatever a live piano sounds like to you, that’s your normal.

Where it gets sticky is how sound gets maimed from a headphone transducer to your ear. When something is pressed against your ear and somewhat sealed, your’e not in Kansas anymore with flat and natural frequency response from the driver being percieved as flat and natural.

There’s no way a headphone can have the exact amount of compensation in frequency response for each indivaual person - the headphone can only have one.

It’s completely reasonable that the way you percieve sound from a headphone is not how the majority percieve it so eq can make it more suitable for you.

As for what the app is doing I can’t say, but in the end the only thing that matters is your enjoyment so set those dials to wherever they make you happy and ignore what everyone says!


There’s an awful lot of research on psychoacoustics and perceived sound versus measured absolute accuracy. The entire hearing aid industry is based on adjusting sound to match each person’s hearing too.

Sample web sources, with a lot more in academic/university journals and private/proprietary industry documents:

Have you heard of the Nuraphone? This odd looking product attempts to tune is frequency response to match each person’s hearing. It was hyped to the heavens a few years ago. I’ve seen mixed reviews, with consumers sometimes liking it while audiophiles often dismiss it.


Dude, this is a can of worms. Or, opening Pandora’s box, as it is said where I come from.

My take on this is as simple as: you’ll have find the answer yourself.

Have you ever listened to a true reference (midrange tuned) headphone? E.g.: HD600? If that is still shouty for you? With IEMs it’s even trickier. All of them are tuned to a sample average. Not for your specific ear canals.

Have you taken an audiometry test with a certified doctor/institution? Maybe knowing the FR from your test can help choosing the right headphone for you? Note that I do like V-shape stuff myself too, but that is 10 mins max, or lower than 70dB. I’m a midrange wh0re. :man_shrugging:

Looks like you have a big journey ahead. :smiley:

Good luck.


I’ve got a stupid EQ question and thought I’d post here.

So consider Loki/Lokius. It’s easy to understand subtracting sound — but where does the energy come from when you turn the knob to boost?

Does the Loki or similar cut several DB across the board and then simply restore when it goes to boost? I’m thinking no, because when knobs are at 0 it’s supposed to be just passing through. Why am I just considering this now, after 50+ years of overlooking this question? Did I once know the answer and have forgotten?

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The Loki range are all active products.

When you boost something, gain is applied. The required energy comes from the PSU.

Also, with the dials all at their center position, the result is mostly flat, but not 100%. You flip the bypass switch if you want 100% un-altered sound.


Sound quality was quite impressive from my recollection. The thing that annoyed me and many others was the ear probes. I can and do enjoy TWS buds, but I could only wear these for an hour with the ear hole pressure and being uncomfortable.