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Do we really need to EQ the room?

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I already had a discussion on this with some people but I still don't really get it. Now I am also not that deep into audio to really understand everything but this is what makes sense to me.
Lets say we have a speaker that measures perfectly flat in an anechoic chamber. This means that the speaker can produce sounds naturally, as all frequencies and therefore instruments will have an even volume output.
Now lets put this speaker in a bad room with reflections and maybe there is even a wall next to one of the speakers. Now if the measure the response of that speaker there will be all kinds of whacky things going on, especially in the bass but also possible in the treble. Lets take my speaker measurement of the iloud MTM for example.
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There are clear dips in the bass response but also treble has issues at 2khz specifically.

Now I would argue this is better than if we EQd it to a room curve. Why? Well if we take the instruments themselves and put them into my room, they should measure similarly wonky, right?
And in my mind the goal is to make the instruments sound as real as possible on a speaker, so as long as the speaker is flat in an anechoic chamber, this will result in a natural sound to my ears in any room.

If I understand anything wrong here please help me out.
The room has substantial effect on the low frequency response of any loudspeaker. Careful placement of the loudspeaker and listener, acoustic treatment and a quality room equalization solution can yield significant benefit in nearly all domestic rooms. More uniform bass and lower midrange response allows for better articulation. Room equalization can also help remedy response deviations at higher frequencies, extend bass response, allow better channel matching and provide for manipulation of the overall response or “house curve” - a very useful tool indeed.
 
The room has substantial effect on the low frequency response of any loudspeaker. Careful placement of the loudspeaker and listener, acoustic treatment and a quality room equalization solution can yield significant benefit in nearly all domestic rooms. More uniform bass and lower midrange response allows for better articulation. Room equalization can also help remedy response deviations at higher frequencies, extend bass response, allow better channel matching and provide for manipulation of the overall response or “house curve” - a very useful tool indeed.
The room has an effect on frequency response in general, but does that make it bad/wrong? A more uniform response may make it easier to discern certain frequencies from one another but this also makes the sound unnatural according to the room that the playback is happening. I am not saying that its impossible to make the sound better with EQ when the room is really bad, but that's just sort of preference at this point and not the natural response that would normally happen. I can say from my own measurement, EQing this to a room curve makes it slightly better to understand voices in a mix but it also makes them sound wrong, not how they should sound.
 
No negotioation. You EQ to taste by force and that's it. Show those frequencies who's boss.
 
This is exactly why I don't apply any 'room correction' I have EQed the 'speakers to be flat anechoically, so they reproduce everything as accurately as they're capable of.
The room is then what it is, for everyday domestic living, with all the attendant resonances, modes etc etc. EQing for the room would then make the sound from the loudspeakers sound unnatural compared with speech or other everyday noises. That's not what I want, I want a flat source in the room, just as if I was playing an instrument in that room. I wouldn't EQ the instrument as then it wouldn't sound natural, so why should I EQ a flat source?

I accept that my room is reasonably benign, having sufficient absorption and diffusion, but to me the answer to a less benign environment isn't to EQ the room, but to improve its natural acoustics.

If a room sounds good for conversations and normal domestic living, it will sound good for reproducing sound provided the sound source (i.e. loudspeakers) is flat.

S
I pretty much agree with this approach, except for bass. It is hard to tame a room at the low freqs if there is a problem. Using EQ to take out the peaks in the low end is a lot more practical than trying to fix a difficult room, and effective as well.
 
I am not saying that its impossible to make the sound better with EQ when the room is really bad, but that's just sort of preference at this point and not the natural response that would normally happen.
It’s not a question of preference, but of accuracy. If like many audiophiles you want to hear what “the artist intended”, your listening environment needs to sound as close to a studio control room or mastering suite as possible. A typical home environment without room treatment and EQ is not even in the ballpark.
 
It’s not a question of preference, but of accuracy. If like many audiophiles you want to hear what “the artist intended”, your system needs to sound as close to a studio control room or mastering suite as possible. A typical home environment without room treatment and EQ is not even in the ballpark.
The studio control room is a different room. You can not make your room ever sound like the studio control room except if it is identical. I think speakers should sound real in your room so not EQing will get you closer to that experience I would believe. You EQing your room changes the characteristics unnaturaly, you ears will hear that, since it knows what your room sounds normally.
 
So,let's remember again from someone that actually knows what he's talking about:

(according to @Floyd Toole that is)

OK. I thought about opening a rat's nest by doing this, because it is a simplification of what sometimes has to be done. Some of the points have been made earlier in this forum thread and elsewhere, but it might be useful to bring the key factors in the process to one place. The marketing of room EQ algorithms often presents the impression that all combinations of loudspeakers and rooms can be "fixed", "calibrated" or the like, by means of measurements, math and equalization. In reality, much of the "math" does not include the exceptionally complex, non-linear and occasionally capricious psychoacoustics of human listeners. A critical missing element is that humans adapt to circumstances, bringing our perceptions into acceptable territory. Loudspeakers reproduce sounds. Musicians produce sounds. Both do it in rooms. We don't feel the need to "equalize" - even if we could - the instruments and voices of live music. Two ears and a brain separate the sources from the venue, and adapt to aspects of what the environment contributes to the overall performance. The venues vary, and some are even not ideal, but we manage to appreciate the excellence of fine instruments and voices in most of them.
The special problem with sound reproducing systems is that flaws get superimposed on everything that is played through them. These monotonous colorations can sometimes be beyond the ability of humans to adapt, and they need to be identified and attenuated.
Therefore, the "right way" begins with choosing well designed, timbrally neutral, loudspeakers. If the loudspeakers exhibit audible resonances and/or frequency-dependent directivity issues, it is not likely that measurements in a room will reveal such problems and that equalization is capable of compensating for them. It is often the case that the solution is better loudspeakers. Fortunately these can be identified with good reliability from competently made anechoic measurements presented in a "spinorama" format, following the industry standard. Amir, on this site, makes such measurements and others can be found at www.spinorama.org.
This done, set them up in your room and make a steady-state frequency response measurement at the prime listening position - the stereo seat. We will be paying close attention to the frequencies below about 400-500 Hz, where adjacent boundary effects and room resonances are active. Because much of the bass in recordings is mono (all of it in LPs) drive both loudspeakers simultaneously to evaluate what is happening at low frequencies. Measure them individually to find out what is happening at frequencies above about 400 Hz. If you are using bass management and one or more subwoofers the process is the same, and of course all subs should be running simultaneously. Why? Because multiple sound sources couple energy to room resonances differently when they operate in unison.
You can repeat this at different seats to see how much seat-to-seat variation there is - often quite a lot. Averaging several of these curves is a common practice, making the curves look much smoother, but hiding some awkward realities at low frequencies. Superimposing the curves on one graph is a more useful display of what is happening in your setup. You can then choose which humps/peaks to attenuate, depending on which seats are affected. Remember, at this stage we are looking only at bass frequencies. Narrow dips, however deep, should be ignored. Broad dips can be filled in, but keep the EQ boosts below about 6 dB. Aim for a smoothish curve that is tilted slightly upward at lower frequencies.
The benefits of this exercise will apply only to the seat or seats exhibiting similar shaped curves. That is why multiple-sub methods have been developed aimed at reducing seat-to-seat variations so that one equalization can deliver improved bass to several listeners. These are discussed in detail in Chapter 8 in the 3rd edition of my book.
Above about 400-500 Hz the "early reflections" curve in the spinorama should be similar to what you have measured. If you have well designed loudspeakers the room curve might have some smallish ripples caused by acoustical interference between and among the direct and reflected sounds - these are not problems to two ears and a brain and equalization is the wrong method of addressing them if they were - that is an acoustics issue. Spatial averaging over several microphone locations tends to smooth the room curve at middle and high frequencies, thereby reducing the likelihood that an auto-EQ algorithm (or a person) might try to "fix" something that can't be fixed, or that doesn't need to be fixed. Remember, any EQ applied to a room curve modifies the direct sound, and it the the direct sound that is a key factor in determining sound quality. If you began with loudspeakers designed to have the desirable smooth and flat on-axis/listening window response, they will be degraded.
Finally, pay attention to the overall shape of the room curve. Usually, at least for conventional forward-firing loudspeakers, the room curve will tilt gently downward. If the shape deviates substantially from the early-reflections spinorama curve then one can suspect something is amiss in the acoustical treatment of the room. If listening confirms a problem, then one is free to try modifying the shape of the spectrum with broadband, low-Q, tone-control kinds of equalization. When listening to recordings we get into the circle-of confusion dilemma, where it is difficult to know where the problem lies: the playback system or the recording.
Don't worry about little ripples. When I see exceptionally smooth high-resolution room curves I strongly suspect that something wrong has been done. The measurement microphone is no substitute for two ears and a human brain. Happy landings!
 
The studio control room is a different room. You can not make your room ever sound like the studio control room except if it is identical. I think speakers should sound real in your room so not EQing will get you closer to that experience I would believe. You EQing your room changes the characteristics unnaturaly, you ears will hear that, since it knows what your room sounds normally.
Respectfully, I think you’re misunderstanding the issue. Control rooms are treated to reduce the effect of the room as much as possible, this is true in all professional studios, which makes them more alike than different. We can do this to some extent at home. If you prefer to listen to your room, which is mostly what you’re doing in a typical untreated/non-EQ’d home listening room, that’s fine. But to say that this is more “real” is a misnomer.
 
The studio control room is a different room. You can not make your room ever sound like the studio control room except if it is identical. I think speakers should sound real in your room so not EQing will get you closer to that experience I would believe. You EQing your room changes the characteristics unnaturaly, you ears will hear that, since it knows what your room sounds normally.
Clumsy EQ may do that. In my room, it just gets rid of low frequency hoots, which sound like crap otherwise. If you don't like doing that, then don't. I'm not sure why you should ask anyone else.
 
Respectfully, I think you’re misunderstanding the issue. Control rooms are treated to reduce the effect of the room as much as possible, this is true in all professional studios, which makes them more alike than different. We can do this to some extent at home. If you prefer to listen to your room, which is mostly what you’re doing in a typical untreated/non-EQ’d home listening room, that’s fine. But to say that this is more “real” is a misnomer.
It is more real. "Control rooms are treated to reduce the effect of the room as much as possible" which makes it perfect for producing correct sounding music. Playing this back in my non treatet room without EQ makes this also sound as correct as it can in my room. You can not reduce the effect of the room with EQ. This will lead to a unnatural sound. Again the instruments played in my room would not be EQd either.
 
It is more real. "Control rooms are treated to reduce the effect of the room as much as possible" which makes it perfect for producing correct sounding music. Playing this back in my non treatet room without EQ makes this also sound as correct as it can in my room. You can not reduce the effect of the room with EQ. This will lead to an unnatural sound. Again the instruments played in my room would not be EQd either.
Your thinking contradicts many decades of understanding around this question.
 
Your thinking contradicts many decades of understanding around this question.
Does it contradict nature? If I record an instrument without any room influence, just a perfect recording of a guitar for example. Now if I play this guitar in my room this will, well sound like the guitar. Now if I play this back with a flat measuring speaker in an anechoic chamber, this would sound the same as the guitar in my room. If I EQ the speaker to my room now the sound will be different to the guitar playing in that room.
 
“You are there” vs “they are here”.

I use EQ by convolution files. In reality it ends up being a compromise:

below 500Hz: get rid of big room effects
above 500Hz: solve for frequency-specific level imbalances; tailor in-room curve to taste.

The 'imbalances' part has been a godsend. I used to get irritated by the violins jumping to the other side of the room at certain frequencies.
 
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This is irreconcilable. You want to hear the sound of your room. We want to hear the original recording as faithfully as possible. No arguing can resolve that.
 
Does it contradict nature? If I record an instrument without any room influence, just a perfect recording of a guitar for example. Now if I play this guitar in my room this will, well sound like the guitar. Now if I play this back with a flat measuring speaker in an anechoic chamber, this would sound the same as the guitar in my room. If I EQ the speaker to my room now the sound will be different to the guitar playing in that room.
Yes, you’ve made that same argument multiple times now, which doesn’t change its veracity. I won’t bother you with repeating my position.

Enjoy your rumbly room! ;)
 
This is irreconcilable. You want to hear the sound of your room. We want to hear the original recording as faithfully as possible. No arguing can resolve that.
No I want that as well. The original recording will sound more real in my room without EQ.
I want the band to play in my room, which would give me the most real experience of the recording.
 
No I want that as well. The original recording will sound more real in my room without EQ.
I want the band to play in my room, which would give me the most real experience of the recording.
Then do as you please. You haven't convinced anyone here, but it's your ears in your room.
 
Nothing says you have to do EQ to compensate for room acoustics, just as nothing says you have to use great speakers. You would still be able to hear music if you play through speakers stolen from drive-in movie theaters. If that's good enough for you, do it.
 
Does that make me wrong? Isn't that the most realistic experience you can have? To have the band at your place?
No. Someone laid down that track intending it to sound like it does at his studio.
 
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