Everyone knows that the best way to ensure that one is getting the very best quality audio is to invest in good hardware, and only listen to full CD quality (or better) music. However, not everyone can afford a professional audiophile setup. Macosxhints.com has what one […]

Everyone knows that the best way to ensure that one is getting the very best quality audio is to invest in good hardware, and only listen to full CD quality (or better) music. However, not everyone can afford a professional audiophile setup. Macosxhints.com has what one man is calling the universal “perfect” settings for the iTunes equalizer. That is to say, that he claims that these settings will make improve the sound of widest range of music types. Of course, when ever someone makes a claim like this, there will be some who refute the assertion. Delving into the comments on the post reveals a comment by a very experienced audio engineer, who presents quite a negative attitude. The engineer claims that the “perfect” preset is the opposite of what should be done, and presents a preset that reverses the “perfect” preset.

Now, I make no claim to be an expert in audio, and my PowerBook and Altec Lansing speakers are far from ideal, but, to my ears at least, the “Perfect Negative” preset does improve the sound of my shoddily encoded MP3s.

Check the post out for yourself, and see if it doesn’t make your music sound better.

  1. I tried it out. It was a little much for my set of Altec Lansing speakers (3 piece with powered sub-woofer) which are like six years old but still in great shape. I toned everything down a little bit and it does sound much better than my previous setting (the Rock preset). I basically just decreased everything by one bar from what they suggested so the various levels are in the same proportions to each other but it is less amplified.

  2. No, the engineer does most definitely NOT say that his or her alternate EQ setting is a perfect setting, or even that it will sound good. Nor is his or her alternate setting a reverse of the originally proposed setting–it uses the same EQ curve, but pushes it below unity (the zero line) instead of above unity.

    This is because negative EQ (pulling a frequency down instead of pushing it up) does indeed have less of a negative effect on the music. The engineer is quite correct in this assertion.

    But you should know that there is definitely not any EQ curve which will be correct for all users. Different speakers have different weaknesses, and different environments sound very different. If there is such a thing as a perfect EQ setting it is unique to a set of speakers and a single environment.


  3. In my opinion, a much better solution is Octiv’s plugin Volume Logic. It uses on-the-fly digital processing that is leaps and bounds better than iTunes’ equalizer or Sound Check functions.


    It makes small speakers sound good and good speakers sound great. Free trial available and only $20 to purchase.

    I wish it would be able to export processed music to my iPod, though. That’s the biggest (and only?) drawback.

  4. Even if there is no true “universal” preset, most people will get a boost in audio quality from this hint, if it’s because it inspires them to experiment with eq settings at all, or if, like me, it awakens them to the sonic benefits of using an eq properly. Starting from the settings in the hint and tweaking, I developed a much tighter sounding preset than my old favorite. If this hint did nothing else, it exposed an important misconception, at least for me, about the way to use an eq. In the spirit of the new Red Stripe commercials, “Hooray Audio Engineering!”

  5. to quote the late Frank Zappa,
    “if if sounds good to _you_, it’s bitchin’; if its sounds bad to _you_, it’s sh*t”

    Don’t mess around with plug-ins. LISTEN. If you don’t like how things sound, play with the equalizer, and/or your speakers/amp/room position/favourite shirt until you like how it sounds.

  6. I’m surprised to see so many hits on Google for the perfect iTunes EQ preset.

    I’m not an ingeneer, but I do DSP (digital signal processing) in my spare time and if I can tell you one thing about what the perfect EQ setting is, it’s that it’s the one that makes the frequency response of your sound system flat.

    In other words, it’s when every frequency plays as loud. If that sound a bit abstract, consider every note of an instrument, let’s say a flute, ranging from the bassest sound you can hear to the treblest, well with a perfect EQ setting, every note would seem to be played with the same intensity.

    That’s the perfect EQ. And it depends on every set of speaker/head phones, their disposition and the characteristics of the room their in, etc… And it takes more that iTunes’ simplistic EQ to achieve that anyways.

    So quit looking for a perfect EQ setting, because in order to find it, well, basically it involves playing sweeps out your speakers and recording them, cross-correlations, deconvolutions and Fourier transforms in the polar form.

    Oh and this being said, do I need to say that an EQ setting for someone won’t sound the same for you because of your different sound system?

  7. I’d say the only `perfect` EQ is flat. but obviously flat doesnt work out too great on computers due to translations to other file types and plus flat eventually gets booring. Thats why I started messing with the EQ a few months ago. I’ve been sticking with my latest EQ setting that I call Bass Enhanced Techno. I just found out about the EQ setting called `perfect` today and amazingly they almost sound identical. But I feal mine highlights the more interesting sounds a little better than `perfect` does. I hope you guys try it out its awsome!

    32 – 3.2
    64 – 6.2
    125 – -2
    250 – -1.5
    500 – 2.6
    1000 – 4
    2000 – 0
    4000 – 3
    8000 – 3.2
    16000 – 6
    preamp – 0 or 6 ( 6 makes this sound almost identical to `perfect`)

    Ok I know its hard to get the arrows to point at those exact points but if you have the time it makes a big difference. Oh and this setting doesnt just work on techno. Just listen to this EQ and then try going back to your old one. Have fun!

  8. ei razorfu, your setting works nicely on my set :) thanks

  9. Razorfu, I’ve been funkin around with my eq settings for quite some time. I’ve got some tall stack speakers and its always so hard to get things soundin bumpin. Your preset config rivals one of the best I’ve seen.

  10. why hasnt i-Tunes v.7.1.1 got an equaliser?! if it has sum1 plzzzzzz tell me hw 2 find it! :-s


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