· Where can I download a list of EQ presets?
(Entry last updated on January 19th, 2005)
If you want to copy someone else's equalizer settings, you're missing the whole point of what an equalizer is for.
An equalizer is supposed to tailor your audio output to compensate for the specific characteristics of your amplifiers, your speakers, and your listening environment. Also, your personal tastes are a significant part of the equation.
If you copied someone else's equalizer settings, it would sound like crap on your system, because all of the characteristics of the audio chain would be different for your case than for someone else's case. They would have different amplifiers than you do, different speakers, a different listening environment, and different personal tastes.
Some commercial car stereos have a feature that they call "EQ presets". These are preconfigured factory settings that cannot be changed. For instance, you could select presets called "Jazz", "Rock", or "Classical". This is not equalization, and it's essentially garbage. It also misses the point. All it does is turn up the bass for Rock, turn down the bass for Classical, etc. A properly equalized system should sound good regardless of the genre of music played.
The most common way to adjust the EQ for your car is to actually sit in the car, play a variety of different kinds of music, and twiddle the various bands up and down until it sounds good to your ear. If you don't have any opinion on what sounds good to your ear, then you probably aren't the sort of person who should be messing with the EQ in the first place.
Keep in mind that you'll need to "live with" any changes you make to the EQ for a while. After you've got a basic EQ curve dialed in for the first time, you'll need to let it "simmer" for a few days and listen to lots of different types of music. Then, when you're sure there's something you need to change, go in and find the band that will correct the problem and change only that one band. Then live with it for a few more days. Repeat until it's dialed in to where you like it. Most audiophiles will agree that getting the EQ "just right" is a process that takes weeks.
One short-cut would be to use RTA (realtime analysis) software with a calibrated microphone and calibrated test tracks to adjust your system's output curve. High-end professional stereo shops are often equipped for doing this, or you can purchase spectrum analyzer software with a calibrated microphone and run it on a laptop computer. Adjusting to RTA is usually a good starting point for getting the perfect EQ setting, but you still have to tweak to taste after the RTA adjustments are done. Just remember that if you're using the car player to play the test tracks, make sure they have been ripped directly from the original test CD in WAV format rather than MP3 format.
Finally, before adjusting the player's EQ, make sure to read this section for details on what the various parameters do.
New info, July 2004: Player software version 3 (in limited-release alpha testing stage at the time of this writing) includes a feature to let the player auto-EQ itself using a microphone plugged into the mic input on the player docking sled. This is essentially automating the RTA process described above.
Also have a look at The empeg Sound Page, created by Brad B. from the Unofficial empeg BBS. He gives instructions on how to set up the equalizer on your player, along with other tips on getting the best sound from the player.