Equalizer APO Guides for configurations and downloadable presets

I came across EQ APO and would love to have a EQ APO thread explaining how to configure, community presets for various headphones

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I’ve got a preset for the monoprice retros with hybrid brainwavz pads here if you want. You might want to turn down the highs though if you find stuff like the 1990 too sharp.

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If anyone is interested in Equalizer APO, you definitely want to check out metal571’s channel. He posts his equalizer settings in the description of his videos.
metal571’s Equalizer Guide

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How I use Equalizer APO:

My laptop’s sound quality directly out the headphone jack (no additional external dac/amp) is dramatically improved utilizing Equalizer APO. Before I got my first dac/amp, it enabled me to get a level of sound quality that I had never experienced before. For whatever reason on my computer Equalizer APO doesn’t have any effect on my dac/amp (Topping DX7s), which is fine because I love how my DX7s sounds but worth noting because everything I say here only applies to straight out the laptop’s headphone jack audio (at least in my case). Also I have downloaded Equalizer APO on all of my friends and coworkers laptops (none of whom own separate dac/amps) so that they can have better sound quality. It makes a good option for a first step into getting people to pursue better sound quality (hopefully leading to them purchasing a dac/amp and good headphones).

Currently I have two equalizer presets for each of my headphones and speakers – one for music and movies, the other for Youtube channels that are mostly talking (such as talk shows, product reviews, how to videos). For any specific piece of audio I can dial in the settings to make the audio sound just perfect for that specific file, but doing so is really time consuming and I find I’m happy with my current two preset method. Each of my individual presets compensates for the specifics of the individual pieces of equipment, but a general description would be that my music/movie presets have boosted highs and lows (treble and bass), whereas my Youtube talk presets have reduced bass, mildly reduced mids, and boosted treble. Movies and music sound like I expect them to with boosted lows and highs (vibrant, energetic, and stimulating) as opposed to without equalization (flat, neutral, boring). With talk heavy programming on Youtube, I found that almost without exception they all have a dull mid-range hum that surrounds the voices (male and female). Whatever the reason, voices always have a low muffled quality around them that I’ve always found annoying. With my Youtube talk presets I drop the mid-range and boost the highs, which gets rid of the added muffled quality and makes voices sound crisp and clear by comparison (much more like they are in person instead of speaking through a poor quality speaker).

My basic method of creating an Equalizer APO preset:

I start by playing a given piece of audio (song, video, movie). As it plays, I start on the left hand side at the first frequency bar slider. I move the bar slider to the top and bottom to see what effect is had on that particular frequency. Once I know what the effect on sound is, I start moving the slider in a more narrow range until it sounds as good as I can get it at that particular frequency. Then I move to the next frequency over to the right and repeat the process. If moving the slider up and down all the way doesn’t change the sound, I leave that slider at 0 (no change). Continue doing this from left to right (or opposite if you prefer) until you have manually set each slider at what sounds like the perfect spot to you. Depending on what you are listening to, certain sliders (representing specific frequencies) will have more or less effect than others. Once you have set the whole range of frequency sliders, go back and fine tune your settings as necessary until you have the best possible sound profile you can create for that specific piece of audio. For short audio like songs I will need to replay the same track repeatedly a couple of times before I get the settings dialed in.

Once you have your equalizer settings dialed in for a specific piece of audio, save the settings as a preset labeled for audio and equipment type, then play a different piece of audio of a similar type (music, movie, talking). Starting at the first slider again, repeat the process, but this time remember what setting you start at so you can go back to it if you find you don’t need any additional changes. Once you have everything sounding perfect, move on to the next piece of audio and repeat the process. Before long (within a couple of pieces of audio) you will find that your audio sounds as good as you think it can and you won’t want to mess with it any more, at which point you are done. This process is how I go about creating the different presets I use. The broader the range of types of audio you listen to when making the adjustments, the more fine-tuned your settings will be. With that in mind, I separate movies/music from talk focused videos because I want different things from those two groupings of audio I consume. My point being to listen to a diverse range of audio, but within the category/genre you have chosen to make the preset for.

Doing this is very easy and very productive. At first I was nervous I was going to just mess up the sound, but very quickly found that hearing what sounded right or wrong is instinctual, easy, and gratifying. Switching the equalizer on and off makes it easy to hear the difference you are making and validate your efforts. Sorry if this approach isn’t technical enough for some people – I’m pretty new to this pursuit and still learning. Learning this much helped me get better audio then I had before, so hopefully it can help someone else do the same.

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I just run HeSuVi on top of Equalizer APO and use AutoEq presets. I’m not so creative as to tweak the settings (but the graphical EQ in HeSuVi is easy enough to use).

Link related:

In Ubuntu, PulseEffects does the job fine as a parametric EQ.

Great link. For anyone who hasn’t clicked on it, the Jaakko Pasanen article discusses a couple of different software options for equalizing headphone sound, and has some technical discussion about what it means to do so and the challenges involved. Very informative.

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My current setup has been thus:

PC (w/ HeSuVi + AutoEQ) --> SPDIF --> DAC --> Headphone AMP --> headphones
PC --> USB --> MiniDSP 2x4 HD (w/ room correction) --> amp --> speakers

I wanted to upgrade the speaker section from the MiniDSP internal DAC (which has mediocre measurements) to a better DAC (I use the Geshelli Enog 2 Pro). I ended up getting a MiniDSP NanoDIGI 2x8, which is a fully digital DSP (outputs SPDIF into a second DAC), only to learn that it only has 5 eq channels. On top of that they have no return policy. So after a little reading I realized that I could do anything the miniDSP does (at least with respect to parametric eq) in equalizer APO. Here’s my example configuration:

—start of config.txt—
Channel: all
Device: Desktop Speakers USB AUDIO
Preamp: 0 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 15221 Hz Gain -6.5 dB Q 2.4
Filter: ON PK Fc 5980 Hz Gain -6 dB Q 2.49
Filter: ON PK Fc 19268 Hz Gain -5.5 dB Q 4.24
Filter: ON PK Fc 11487 Hz Gain -4 dB Q 2.67
Filter: ON PK Fc 9985 Hz Gain -3 dB Q 1.19
Filter: ON PK Fc 4816 Hz Gain -2.5 dB Q 5.77
Filter: ON PK Fc 538 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 2.95
Filter: ON PK Fc 857 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 2.54
Filter: ON PK Fc 6886 Hz Gain -1.5 dB Q 5.2
Device: Headphones - Digital Audio (TOSLINK) High Definition Audio Device
Include: HeSuVi\hesuvi.txt

—end of config.txt—

Basically I have two digital outputs from my PC (USB and TOSLINK), each going to their own DAC, and each receiving independent equalization settings. I switch between the outputs using windows’ built in sound controls. So ok, I’m out $180 with a nanoDIGI, but at least I learned (the hard way) how powerful Equalizer APO is. If you are running your setup from a PC, I think Equalizer APO (and HeSuVi for headphones) should be the first stop in eq/room correction. I’m no longer limited to 10 parametric filters, and my DAC is as clean as I could appreciate.

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Here’s some great resources for those interested in Equalizer APO

Peace GUI for EQ APO. This is the most popular GUI add-on for EQ APO. There are others as well.

Auto EQ Project. This GitHub page contains precalculated EQ presets for a huge list of headphones.

oratory1990 EQ Presets. More EQ presets by oratory1990.

Understanding Frequency Response. and Other Graphs. An excellent reference from DIY-Audio-Heaven.

Neutrality Curve Thread. Thread about Understanding the Different Neutrality Curves.

A Nice EQ reference Chart.

Video Playlist related to Equalization (work in progress)

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It seems that this thread is actually one of our most viewed threads by outsiders. It managed to get 8.1k views with only 6 replies lol.

And 900+ people actually clicked that link I posted up top XD. I’m usually happy to just get 5

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I’ve had Equalizer APO + Peace GUI for a couple weeks and have been using it exclusively with my Vokyl Erupts. I’m not super knowledgeable with EQ’ing and just made adjustments by ear. My goal was to add some bass to them, as they’re pretty bass-light. Here is what I came up with (this is with Dekoni Fenestrated Pads btw):


If anyone has any recommended frequency changes, I’d love to see your EQ settings :slightly_smiling_face:

So I learned something interesting today. EQ APO primarily uses what’s known as RBJ Filters for its parametric EQ functionality. A characteristic these filters have is they become skewed as your center frequency, f0, approaches your Nyquist frequency (sample rate / 2). My plot below demonstrates this. Notice how they are all practically identical until you get close to 20 kHz. The implication here is the sample rate setting in Windows can affect how your EQ setup actually sounds. So my recommendation would be to just use a high sample rate of 96 kHz or more.

This plot was generated for frequencies of 20, 200, 2000, and 18000 Hz. Gain was set to 6 dB and Q was set to 2. The filters were evaluated for the 4 sample rates listed.

This behavior can also be observed using the EQ APO plot tool as well. Just load it up once with a low sample rate. And then reload it with a high rate set.

Any thoughts on Peace’s ‘Prevent Clipping’ feature? I’m trying to understand if I should check it or not.

All it does is automatically reduce the pre amp gain if it detects your are close to clipping. I stopped using it because I found it to be buggy sometimes. It’s easy enough to set the pre amp gain to an appropriate setting manually. So I’d just to that.

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I have just created an account to ask something about Peace and the AutoEQ parametric settings… is it just me or the parametriq settings take all of the warmth of the sound?? I tried with Jade Audio EA3 IEMs and they are naturally bright and have a lot of treble, using autoeq eliminates that bright but also reduces a lot sound warm.

which freq could I ignore to make it not reduce that much warm???

To have warmth, you need a relatively elevated upper bass region, roughly 100-200 Hz, with treble that’s on the relaxed side. The parametric EQ profile for the EA3 is all over the place. I recommend using the fixed band constants instead.

Delete the 125 and 250 hz bass reductions. Or delete all of them depending on preference. Reduce the 4k treble boost if you’re finding it to be too much.

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thanks! I will try it when I’m on the PC.

They sound a lot better thanks! I have a fulla 3 and a couple of headphones (akg k371, fidelio x2hr and the iem) I have noticed the same effect on all of them but… I have found that the preamp setting is what changes the sound most… I’ve settled on not adding preamp and just the EQ settings and the sound is a lot better with warmth and trebble.

Have any of you messed around the the VST plugins for APO?

I am messing around with Voxengo Tube Amp to see if I care enough about the tube sound to bother buying a tube amp. It is interesting, and in some ways I like being able to tweak it in software, instead of having to tube roll.

Privet! :raised_hand:
Can sombody add Takstar HF 580 EQ preset for Peace plugin (APO EQ) ? :pray:

Just find something with a similar FR graph and use that as a starting point.