How to do EQ (beginner needs help)

I would like to use EQ on my Windows PC with my Focal Clear OG headphones. I have ASIO drivers installed so I can play DSF and hi-res PCM files directly (and bit-perfect) to my Marantz DAC/amp, but I’m not sure whether using a program like Equalizer APO will prevent me from using the ASIO driver.

Someone suggested I get Roon, but I would rather avoid the cost–foobar2000 does what I need for free.

Any help would be appreciated

Have you watched this yet?


If you’re using foobar, you can download a parametric equalizer plugin. This will let you use ASIO with foobar with EQ applied via the plugin. The one I’ve used is by MathAudio.


I use Music Bee for rock/pop/jazz playback. Media Monkey is my choice for my classical/opera recordings. Both have a built-in equalizer function that’s available while running the application. The equalizer function has nothing to do with either ASIO or WASAPI.

Both applications sound pretty much the same to me. The way the selections are displayed is what causes me to use two different applications.

I use WASAPI in exclusive mode with both players. ASIO is an older app for bypassing the Windows mixer. I could never get it to work correctly. IIRC WASAPI was written for Windows10 although it works on previous Windows versions.

Incidentally, Music Bee and Monkey both play dsd/dsf files. However, they may convert them to PCM for playback depending on the DAC being used,

The Topping DAC in my bedroom system supports dsd/dsf files. Consequently the application does not convert to PCM but passes native dsd/dsf files.

The current DAC in my main system does not directly support dsd/dsf files. It and the player app see dsd/dsf files as regular PCM.

FWIW: I’ve tried all the major music players. The two I use were selected after auditioning all of them. I also use FLAC files exclusively…


The following is an outline tutorial example of what is involved with the major EQ type - a parametric EQ system.

The other major type of EQ system is the standard multiple fixed frequency filter array “slider” type, in which each filter is a peaking type bell filter with preset constant frequency and Q parameters, and of course settable amplitude. This type doesn’t usually have a frequency response display and it is resultingly hard to visualize the total response. Shelf type filters are difficult to achieve with this type of EQ…

I have a system with a Samsung Galaxy S-4 tablet acting as the music source, with mostly ripped and downloaded CD music files (16/44), android operating system. This source drives a Denafrips Terminator II DAC via USB, with a Sparkos Audio Aries headphone amp and Monoprice AMT (Air Motion Transformer) headphones.

I found that the superb AMT headphones required considerable midrange EQ, so I researched different Android USB apps and selected UAPP (USB Audio Player Pro), which is specialized for Android and has a USB processing module somewhat better sounding than the Galaxy Android processor, optimizing the USB digital data processing, especially for the interfaces between Galaxy Tablet source and the driven DAC, and also furnishes a very sophisticated parametric EQ app called Toneboosters, embedded in UAPP and. requiring a small fee for enabling it. The Toneboosters parametric EQ contains 6 different filters of several selectable types, like digital bell and analog bell (peaking filters), and low shelf (for low frequency boost or cut) and high shelf (for high frequency boost or cut). Parameters of each filter (which have to be set) include frequency in Hz, amplitude in dB, and Q (damping factor).

This parametric EQ system can be enabled by selection and payment of a few bucks in the UAPP screen. Then a music selection is cued up and Toneboosters selected. It then requires setting the parameters for the 6 parametric EQ filters. My AMT headphones require, to compensate for this slump in midrange response, one filter with a considerable boost or 4-5 dB in the midrange around 2.5 kHz, and with a moderate Q damping factor of 0.83. The Q value controls the time and frequency response implemented for the filter selected. A peaking or bell filter is used to establish a peak or dip in response.

Greatly facilitating the EQ parameter setting process is the frequency response graphic display, which shows and identifies each of the 6 filters plus giving the parameter values, and most crucially, displays the summed overall frequency curve from 20 - 20kHz resulting from all the filter parameter settings. If all 6 filters aren’t needed, the amplitude parameters of the unneeded filters should to be set to 0, so that they are essentially out of the sonic picture.

Low Q values create a broad frequency response filter with values of 0.7-0.8 being about optimal damping, that is, transient response with minimal ringing. Higher Q values steepen the filter response so it can suppress narrow peaks or dips caused in the headphones, with the result of some ringing in the filter response.

According to information on the blog for these AMT headphones, the peak filter for the AMT was needed to be +5 dB at 2.5 kHz with a Q of 0.83. This Q establishes a broad or gradual frequency range coverage of the filter, at least 2 octaves, peaking at 2.5 kHz and sloping off to minimal value at 7 kHz or so.

The next step is to set the last Toneboosters EQ parameter, which is the overall gain of the entire filter. In my case I selected -3.4 dB, required to minimize peak clipping. Peak clipping response is also displayed on one of the precursor Toneboosters displays.

The last step is to listen to the music selection and decide if the tonal balance and overall reproduction are better and are satisfyingly remedying the sonic problems to your ear.

If not, then you either adjust the parameters of the enabled existing filters, or create new filters by enabling some of the formerly disabled ones.

In a tweaking process, you then work out the optimal filter EQ arrangement.

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Thanks for the replies! I will experiment…