SX-5 pioneer deck
Shure CD deck
Soundcraftsman EQ deck
BSR EQ deck
Pioneer Direct drive phono deck
2 Criterion floor speakers
I am new to this site, but not new to LP collecting, Hi-Fi equipment, and listening to music with a critical ear. Been so for 17 years now. Not to mention electronics technician, 12 years now. It is hard to find others that know how to talk “Hi-Fi audiophile.” Then there are those that claim to be, but they insist on their knowledge and experience, mostly for me that has been from used stereo salesman. I don’t know if my perspective is unique or not. I have listened and read many on what they say about the best sound and how to get it. Some say the $$ amount garantees a great system. Others say its the looks, or as long as it is loud that is good. No matter what the suggestion, I have always tried to look at the area technically, from an electronic component level. Weighing what others say is best against real world electronic component performance. In in the process, try to learn the behvoir of electronics more, for the best musical reproduction that I can obtain.
The idea of Pre-Equalizing for my system came from the problem that I was not getting the sound that I wanted from my system. This was early on in my listening and buying skills. At a certain point I felt that I had spent enough money on some better than average equipment, and that I should be able to get the sound I was looking for. Better than average is pretty much the equipment that I listed above. Better than average because my system is not the usual wallmart bought cheapy, surround sound, bright sounding system. No, I know enough to try to go for something that has a better chance of being assembled with decent components. I have already been the cheap route before and when I assembled my system I could tell the diference between the two. That was a long time ago, now that I think about it.
Anyway, getting to it, my Pre-EQ curve starts with setting all main stereo amp settings to zero. Bass, treble, loudness to zero. Now the head unit just amplifys. It does not EQ while amplifying. There is a difference. Amplifying takes voltage and makes heat. Head unit EQ adjustments can add more voltage, heat, thus adding more distortion to anything below 1K (1 Khz or THD). Plus I have never found EQ adjustments on any stereo system that ever really worked. I always found myself sliding the treble all the way down, bass all the way up, loudness on to get more bass. Plus the equipment would heat up in no time and the music was still real bright! Annoying.
2 EQ decks. Both have the same 10 settings. One feeds into the other, then feeds out to the input to the SX-5. All main gain adjustments are zero.
Frequency db + gain
These settings on two EQ decks. So on the 31 band one 12 feeds into another gain of 12 = 24 db.
With a phonograph it is important to select the correct channel for the Left channel, you might find you have to flip your phono inputs to your stereo in order to let the Riaa curve stereo inputs work in optimal fashion.
I have found that if you have to turn your stereo head unit mains too high in order to hear these settings, the stereo system is too cheap. Meaning the transistor components have poor bandwidth and sensitivity. It can’t hear these settings if it is cheap. Usually for me, a good indication of a non-cheap system is the frequency responce (20-20K) and the THD percentage. I believe the SX-5 has less than .002 % from 1Khz and down. Solid state construction is usually best, of course depends on the components. Tube amps? I haven’t found one yet that has good THD%. Usually even a good Class A tube amp has THD% of .1 @ 1Kz and down. Now the tubes have good bass responce because it sucks so much power that it can handle pushing out the amps. But heat is heat and when it is made, it doesn’t matter if it is solid state, digital or tube, it makes distortion. I believe in efficency too. Too much heat is not efficient.
You have to have good speaker responce too. New “DJ” speakers are crap. All thump and tweet but no harmony. The reason why they need so much power is because their sensitivity is so little that they need gobs of power to make them push out a very narrow range. I have seen so many “DJ” speakers that had the most massive magnets on them, huge diameter, projected the cone out so far and they still sounded like crap. No harmony at all. And the cost!
All you need are 2 nice floor standing speakers with some good specs with nice bulky crossovers. That is why I like the Criterion speakers. When I stumbled across them I was unsure of them until I looked at their crossovers. They were nice, with plenty of large gauged coils and nice fat caps. They are also heavy.
Anyway my results from this setup have been absolutley great! My collection of 800 Lp’s sound better than ever. Rich, deep, full, stereo and harmonic. Frank Sinatra sounds as if he is right at my ear. CCR really does rock! Roy Orbisons verbrato is also rich and lovely. Les Paul & Mary Ford also rock! Simon and Garfunkel really do sing harmony. Mama’s and Papas, lovely harmonic arrangments. What I am saying is that these singers sound like a real voice. They are not tinish, high pitched, lisps. The Righteous Brothers “You’ve Lost that Lovin Feelin”, the intro is sung by the bass singer. It should have bass. With these EQ settings it does. The higher ranges are still their too. But not overly bright. A riding cymbal sounds, not like paper ripping but sounds metal and dingee, singee. The singers, sing with the intruments. This is really evident with The Guess Who.
Really all music is better reproduced with these EQ settings - In my experience thus far.
Even hip-hop and dance music sound better. And my speakers perform better with this EQ setting. I can turn the thing up, no problem. No mechanical vibrations or extra wow. Just good stable sound. Mostly due to, that with these EQ settings, the woofer is made to move during the whole song. Not just for a cresendo bass note. Structurally, with the constant work of the woofer, when a big bass not does come along, the cone really doesn’t have to move much farther out to do its job. Do you understand? The woofer is not going from one “extreme in” to the most “extreme out” position. With these EQ settings the woofer is made to work in the middle, then the bass note comes along and doesn’t rip it apart.
I believe this is a balanced way to go with EQing. You can’t just put the bass up, the highs down and leave it at that. That is not music. Their is a middle area and they all have to work with each other to form balance, which is harmony.
With these EQ’s:
1.) My system does not heat up prematurely
2.) Sounds rich and full
3.) Volume can be turned up and really fill a room full of sound
4.) You feel the music and hear the harmony
5.) Speakers do not vibrate apart or creat wowing
6.) Stereo sounds like stereo and the channeling of the engineered music takes on a perspective form. It has a shape.
7.) Depth of reproduction is just great
8.) percussion note cymbals sound like ding ding, not lisps or paper ripping.
9.) LP’s, when cleaned right, crackles and pops and ride noise go away.
10.) You enjoy your music more.
Thank you for reading. It was long wasn’t it?