Treble: maximum or no?

I may not be an expert on sound and it’s properties, but I do agree with pretty much everyone I’ve ever asked that the music sounds better with the treble on high, or nearly so. Anything less usually sounds muffled under a pillow.

Now the only argument I can think of against my preference would be that the “tweet” you can get from too much treble can damage your ears, possibly. But I doubt it.

Educate me please. Am I the antipode of a bass junkie?

(I hope I didn’t dupli-post…)

I’ll assume that your hearing is okay since you don’t say that you wish you could turn up the treble in real life; that is, people talking and other sounds don’t sound muffled to you.

My guess would be that you are listening to a less than good sound system. Most systems are less than good, usually because the speakers are crap. Also, you have been trained to think that music should sound “treble-y” because your friends turn up the treble too high.

If you really enojy listening to music, go to a real stereo shop (not Best Buy or Circuit City). Take a few of your favorite CDs. Park yourself in the listening room until the CDs start to sound good to you. Then buy the system you were listening to. Now your friends’ systems will sound “bright” (overly treble-y). You will forever be telling them to turn down the awful noise and they will hate you but you will be happy.

Actually I have nice, $300 headphones (Sennheiser) that are typically “too” sharp, and increasing the treble to full with these suckers is like cleaning the wax out of your ear with an icicle. But I DO have the treble at about 70-80%, which sounds better to me than anything lower.

For my home stereo, I use my PC with 4 Klipsch sattelites, so there’s no low quality there. Treble still high.

Treble is like clarity, to a certain degree. Too much will result in, like I said, a “tweet” that pangs your eardrums, but a lot of treble is desireable.

Since you are using good equipment, I guess you just like bright, edgy sound. There’s nothing wrong with that if it makes you happy. I, on the other hand, would run screaming from your house.

I would recommend that you try removing all equalization for awhile to see if you can train your ears to enjoy it. It’s sort of like “breaking in” new speakers - it’s not the speakers that change, it’s your ears (your perception of sound, actually) that become accustomed to the new sound. (Now we wait for an audiophile to tell me I’m a tinned-eared idiot.)

Equalization controls are supposed to be used to “equalize” to room conditions or equipment differences. Unfortunately, most people just think they should turn them up as high as they go. It is especially funny when you see a slide-type multiband equalizer with the sliders arranged in some attractive pattern. There are two basic patterns - the Vee and the Diagonal. I have heard people argue about which is the right pattern. They hate when I center all of the sliders. Their ears have been trained to like muddy bass and bright highs.

I think bass is WWAAAAAAYYY overused in music today. The only way I can get decent balance is to turn the treble way up.

Cranking up the treble ensures one thing above all. You are going to hear the most amplifier hiss possible. I typically run fairly flat audio output on my systems. If one instrument features prominently in the music, I’ll enhance its portion of the spectrum.

And, yes, bass abuse is one of the most egregious crimes of modern audio recordings.

The only place I crank up the treble is on my electric guitar.

erm, I’m a bass junkie. I tend to have the treble at half and the bass up to much higher. The only reason I really have is that I like the floor to rumble when I listen to music. :slight_smile:

3/4 for almost everything.
Admittedly, as others have said, this is partially because there seems to be an asinine preoccupation with getting a lot of BOOM these days.

Sound reproduction should be “flat” - meaning that any given octave should sound to be the same volume as any other at the same delivered signal level, or equivalent across the frequency spectrum of “pink” noise.

The purpose of equalization is not to artificially boost highs and lows (i.e. what ‘bass’ and ‘treble’ controls typically do), but rather to compensate for room dynamics which create spikes and dips in the optimally flat response curve. Every room, vehicle or other space, combined with listener position, will have a different effect on which frequency bands are attenuated or reinforced. Multiple band equalizers allow the user to correct for that and tune the response back to “flat”.

Boosting bass and treble controls will only serve to create muddy, boomy lows and artificially sharp highs. The percieved need to do this usually arises from low quality equipment which is incapable of recreating the full spectrum without distortion or attenuation. Speakers are certainly the largest single factor which creates the most audible difference. If you are unhappy with the way your system sounds, try adding a subwoofer to take care of all frequencies below about 80 Hz or so. Incidentally, proper implementation of a subwoofer will not draw attention to itself - you shouldn’t even notice that it’s there, apart from the fact that your music will sound full and rich in the lower octaves. Pounding bass that shakes the walls should be left to dance clubs and high-school hot-rodders.

If your speakers do not incorporate tweeters (or have “whizzer” cones which are not very effective at high frequency reproduction), get better speakers, or add tweeters to the system. High frequencies are very directional. The system tweeters should be at ear level and directed toward the listening position. Otherwise they will sound attenuated.

When you increase the bass and treble control (or equalization bands), in addition to increasing gain, you also increase distortion - meaning that as you boost the parts that seem to be missing, you also boost noise and emphasize the dissonant qualities of the system. Better bet is to shoot for maximally flat response, and tweak the system components and placement to make that flat response sound as pleasant as possible.

For this very reason, most higher-end equipment completely lacks built-in equalization controls. Nor are add-on equalizers common for much of that stuff. Among the audiophile cognoscenti, equalizers tend to be regarded with disdain and audiophiles “equalize” their system through careful component purchase and matching, speaker placement, and/or room treatments ( also, for some, cabling - something I regard as more voodoo than anything else ).

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