I just found a guide from MiniDSP on how to interactively equalize headphones using their E.A.R.S. measurement rig. I tried this out with my LG V20 and USB Audio Player Pro (UAPP), and I’m frankly blown away.
The basic idea is this:
- Generate some full-spectrum pink noise with Room EQ Wizard (REW) and load it onto the player
- Set the volume to your usual listening level (ignore the 80-84 dB recommendation in the guide, you want to EQ for the level at which you listen)
- Place the headphones on the rig
- Fire up the Realtime Analyzer in REW. I’d never used this before, it’s neat!
- Play the pink noise and look at the frequency response
- Now fire up the parametric EQ in your player and start tweaking to bring down major peaks and raise major valleys to get closer to a flat line. With a touchscreen EQ like on UAPP, this is easy and kind of fun, as you can see the results in real time in REW!
That’s it! According to their desktop EQ guide their headphone correction curve
is similar in intent to the “preferred headphone target response” identified by Olive, Welti and McMullin (Ref. 1) but adapted for the EARS.
So in theory, this gets my headphones close to the Harman target* using a very intuitive and painless process.
I’ve already created EQ profiles for my LCD2C, DT 1990 and HD 600. I’m going to have to spend a lot of time with these profiles to really understand what they’re doing for me, but I have two fairly strong initial impressions:
I’ve developed fairly strong opinions on the relative merits of my LCD2C and DT 1990. After EQ’ing them both to a similar overall frequency response, I can tell that I’m going to have to seriously reevaluate those opinions. Like right now, I’m listening to Beethoven’s 5th which I didn’t used to think was really in the LCD2C’s wheelhouse, but it sounds sublime!
The HD 600 was already pretty close to the target but needed to be brought down at around 4.2 and 7.7 kHz. Even now that it has a fairly similar frequency response to the DT 1990 and LCD2C, it still sounds clearly inferior to me (grainy and congested). I guess those qualities are not a result of its frequency response–I’ll have to see how it does with a tube amp
* I emailed MiniDSP and they confirmed that
Indeed it would be close to the Harman curve with some tweaks.
So, not exactly the Harman target, but in the ballpark I guess.