BASSBOSS Questions
Dear David,

I’m thinking to myself that due to this system (two DJ112s and four ZV18 Subwoofers) being one that will be in many different environments, I ought to try what I can to equalize (flatten) the system to whatever spaces I am in. I will be running through a board with a small eq on it, and will have my iPad docked and capable of mic audio inputs. Would it be worth it for me to get a spectrum analyzer and signal generator for my iPad to be able to at least compensate for really bad areas that my mini eq could account for? It could be a relatively quick process using one or two mics, the analyzer and my boards eq.

I’m actually thinking of getting a graphic eq along with the spectrum analyzer and noise generator plus oscilloscope iPad software. I guess i’m just thinking that the little 7 band EQ on my board is better for sound shaping than room EQing. I’m also researching a calibrated mic for measurement. Your thoughts are welcome [smile]

Glen Allan
BASSBOSS - David Lee
Hi Glen,

In short, I don't think you'll need or want to add an EQ. The system components offer you enough controls and options to adapt to various environments without additional processing. In addition, all but the very best (read most expensive) EQs will deteriorate the signal quality and graphic EQs are an outdated design based on fixed frequency points that are never centered where your issues are or where natural harmonics occur.

You're better off knowing where to place speakers to minimize the reflections that are most often the cause of "room issues" for which EQ doesn't really help. You can't EQ out a reflection because most of the issues they cause are related to arrival time, not signal amplitude. If, after you've used the system for a few months, you decide you must have an EQ, you should get a parametric EQ. You'll do more good and far less damage with a 4-band parametric EQ than a 31 band graphic EQ. They also offer a better opportunity to learn what does what and how to get better results.

There's a guy I know who loves to take his iPad analyzer out and show it off, make pronouncements and "tune" systems based on what he sees. I know of another guy who goes into clubs with an RTA and "tunes" systems with it. What they both don't realize is that what they see, regardless of the quality of the mic in use, is only relevant in that exact location and will not tell the same story as little as 6 inches from that spot.  What they also don't know is that they are measuring the sum total of all the acoustical energy bouncing around in the space with no reference to time so there's no way to tell the difference between the primary and reflected energy. The one guy has good ears and the other one is a good salesman. Neither one is helping as much as they could if they knew how to use a transfer function FFT system. And to be frank, the guy with the good ears does more good using them than his RTA and thankfully uses it more to show off than for data acquisition.  The other guy uses the RTA and, from what I've seen, does mostly damage.

I fully support you in your desire to know and understand the process of setting up and optimizing sound systems and knowing how to measure systems properly is a valuable skill, as is knowing how to interpret the data you acquire and what to do to implement corrections. The good news is that the speaker system you've bought will need nothing in order to deliver outstanding sound quality under most conditions. The bad news is there isn't much more that can be done to improve its performance in the field. To put it another way, you've just bought a Ferrari. You won't need to be re-mapping the fuel injection. ;-)

What you can do is make changes to adapt to personal tastes and to adapt to odd setup placements etc. The changes to adapt to personal tastes can be made with an EQ of one sort or another but doesn't require measurement equipment.  If you get to a point where you're doing a lot of unusual setups, I'd recommend getting a transfer function capable FFT measurement system like Smaart and taking a class on how to use it and interpret the data so you can ensure you're moving things in the right direction.

David Lee