Technology Audio DIY DSP Headphones

Digital Signal Processing – Improve your headphones for free

Is frequency response all that matters with headphones? It could be so and digital signal processing can fix it!

Using a computer as your signal source gives you immense DSP possibilities. It does not cost a thing and reverting back is easy in case you do not like it. There is really no reason not to give it a try. A good place to start is here:
There you will find EQ presets for most headphones and links to applying equalization in your operating system using Equalizer APO. Some users may like the Peace add-on which can be found together with Equalizer APO. If you have issues with system-wide equalization, you may want to try a plug-in for your music player. We can recommend Foobar2000 (oldie but goldie) and Math Audio Headphone EQ.

Math Audio preset files for Porta Pro and HD800S headphones

Here’s the preset file to be used in the Math Audio plug-in when listening to Koss Porta Pro headphones. It’s based on Oratory1990’s EQ profile.

Equalizing curve for Koss Porta Pro headphones
EQ for Koss Porta Pro based on Oratory1990’s measurements

We found the equalizing curve for Sennheiser HD800S to be too harsh, brightening up the sound too much. Therefore, the gains of the peaking EQ were halved and entered into the Math Audio plug-in. You can download it here:

Equalizing curve for Sennheiser HD800S headphones
Modified Sennheiser HD800S EQ

We have got to remember that the EQ files found online are obtained using a measurement head and aiming at a flat frequency response. However, each individual has physically different ears 
and a flat frequency response may not be what we actually want. The recordings that we listen to vary and the type of music varies. The presets are a good starting point, but they should be tweaked to make sure the sound is to your liking. Are there any downsides to processing the signal? There could be some artifacts from filtering such as pre-echo and you could get added distortion from excessive bass boost, but as long as it sounds better to you then that’s all that matters. Give it a try!


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