EQing a room with nearfields

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by beachhunt, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. beachhunt

    beachhunt Guest

    I've read that it is not recommended to EQ a room if you're using nearfield monitors. I've also read that it IS recommended to EQ a room if you're using nearfield monitors.

    I've been mostly doing indie mastering (and some mixing), and just wondered what people thought about EQing the room (on top of treating it, of course) to get the flattest possible response.
     
  2. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I'm not a fan of eq'ing a room. anything inserted in my monitoring chain I can hear even if it's not eq'ing. I'm more of a fan of treating the room and picking a system that works in it. placing it properly, maybe choosing different monitors and amp combinations.
     
  3. yodermr1

    yodermr1 Guest

    In searching for my next pair of near field monitors I have noticed a few notable manufactures providing calibration kits for their monitors. These in effect eq the frequency response of the monitor to accomdate the frequency response of the room.
     
  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    As Michael says, the best thing is to deal with problems with design and room treatments rather than EQ.

    EQ is the wrong way to deal with room mode issues. Room modes cause certain frequencies to be reinforced while others cancel themselves out, creating dips and peaks in frequency response. Modes may be calculated and predicted before the equipment and treatments are installed.

    When you try to remedy room modes by cutting and boosting with an EQ you only introduce phase anomalies into soup. This is a band aid approach, where you are treating the symptom (peaks and nulls) instead of cause (standing wave / room modes). Additionally you are really only trading one set of problems for another, never solving the initial problem completely ... so you end up worse off than if you did nothing at all.
     
  5. yodermr1

    yodermr1 Guest

    Is it reasonable to suggest that you can tune your room perfectly flat? Wouldn't any residual room nodes also produce phase anomalies to some extent?

    Isn't a room that exhibits any frequency anomalies in effect eqing what you hear? In effect what you percieve to be your monitors?

    Seldome talked about, it would be interesting to poll folks on how many actually have measure their room response and adjusted as opposed to haphazardly installing foam, traps, etc... and hoping for the best

    Mark
     
  6. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Eq'ing a rooms problems is like painting over rust. If you are using your room for critical listening, then you need strive for transparency, not add more to you signal chain. The amount of money you would have to spend on an eq that would be acceptable, would be better spent on treating the room or better monitors. A combination of treatments applied in the right spots will do wonders. Also just taking a little time and finding a better placement for your monitors can work in the short run. Maybe what you are hearing are the defects in the monitors.
    I don't think having a "flat" room is necessary or reasonable. every room and speaker for that matter has there own characteristic. What you try to achieve is a room without major problems. Then you can taylor your speaker choice to suit the room and your tastes.
     
  7. markwilder

    markwilder Guest

    My room is designed, tuned and re-tuned by George Ausperger (I may have mispelled his name, I blow it every time!). There is no eq on my system. I've gone on about this in another thread, but he tunes a room by ear and placement. We have measured the room without George, and it is not flat. I'm not sure you'd really want a flat room, nor do I think you could achieve it. that being said, this is an amazing sounding room.

    As far as nodes in a room, that is part of what an Acoustician looks to remove from a design (as much as possible). You can perceive these anomalies as a lot of things. But you could also say that about everything in your chain. Everything has a signature, EVERYTHING!
     
  8. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    The designers that I have talked to are pretty up front about the fact that there is no perfect room, every room sounds different, not every engineer will like the same room.

    Every room has modes and nodes. You cannot change that. If it could be falt, it can not be flat averywhere. Your head would need to rest in a neck brace contraption, locking it into the "spot."

    Most active monitors have room mode or space compensation (EQ) on them (Mackie, Genelec, JBL, etc). So in essence you have EQ in use by most near-fields already.

    The concept from my on-going design and build is that it is about the best compromise at the mix position, with the widest sweet-spot, with a +/-3 to 6dB variance. I have talked to Bob Hodas about some small room fixes, and he did tell me that small bedrooms, etc could possibly not have the space for enough trapping to handle the task and/or it may be too expensive, so EQ'ing may be the answer. Variances are usually much higher in small spaces, and will not be fixed with anything but EQ, or building a bigger space.

    Bob also would ideally not have near-fields on the meter bridge, but a bit back and up over it, to minimize reflections. You will still have some, but this way, he says, is prefered. If you can move your monitors around, use a sine wave generator and an analyzer, you can realize what the modes and nodes are for that position. Hopefully you can move the monitors so that the modes are lower, atleast out of the vocal range.

    In the 70's and 80's people EQ'd alot. I think that back then it was needed to get the large main monitors dialed in just as much as it was needed for the room. It only makes sense. If Augsberger and Westlake were using the same JBL drivers that we were using for PA work (and they were), then they would have to use EQ. Now, the speakers are dialed in, especially the active ones, right in the box. So now it is a matching the right speaker for the room, and building the room correctly.

    Back to the subject at hand, I did an experiment. I used a plug-in (Waves Q10 EQ) an analyzer and the sign wave generator plug. I then did a sweep, EQ'd it "flat" where I could, stored that setting, and then recalled it when mixing down. The EQ's monitor mix came out better balanced, and cleaner. It was easier for me to mix over-time. So, that is what I did for a long time. Ofcourse I still checked mixes on boom boxes, other studio's monitors, etc.
     
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    I agree that small rooms are problematic .. and I have long held that using these spaces is akin to dressing up a pig and putting lipstick on it. Most acousticians (those who don't sell treatments at least) will agree that you need at least 1500 cubic feet in a room for it to be useable.. Everest says 2500 cubic feet ...

    Using EQ on your speakers is also a problem IMO. As was mentioned, you are actually introducing phase anomalies and as Michael said, unless the eq is very high end, it can do more destruction to the sound quality than good. Remember that all gear never makes a signal better, it simply changes it to something different (while introducing signal degradation). The EQs that most of us here would be likely to use would not be very good ... even most digital EQs will introduce phase shifts. 1/3 octave EQs can also introduce a ripple effect at extreme settings. While this is ok for a live venue, it is not in a critical listening space. Straight wire with gain is the goal.

    Using EQ to correct a room problem is like using salt and pepper to cover the taste of rotten meat ... it may make it palatable but in the end, you will still wind up getting sick from it. Like I said before, fix the problem, don't remedy the results ...
     
  10. Ammitsboel

    Ammitsboel Member

    EQ is an absolut no no!! when it comes to correcting speaker/room response.
    Even the best room correctsion equipment that corrects EQ/fase and time is not good enough when it comes to critical listening... or joyable listening :lol:

    I adjusted my speakers to my room over a period of 6 month.
    I started out with a B&K mesuring instrument to find out where it would be best to place absorbment.
    but the more i listened in my room the more i found out that the B&K was not good for me and i had to use my ears to do it instead.
    I'm still very happy with the result today, I don't think it could have been done better.
    There is a specific reason for the number of modules and the placent in the room.

    Best Regards

    PS. Kurt do you have an email?
     
  11. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Henrik,
    Yes I do but I don't give it out. .. you can send me a PM here if you wish ..
     

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