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Equalizers give you the capability to fine tune your system. It is virtually impossible to get speakers to reproduce sound perfectly. In a multiple speaker system things are even more complex because the different drivers interact with each other. With an equalizer you can boost or cut certain frequency ranges to tailor the overall sound to whatever you desire. Usually you go for more accurate reproduction and then add some bass for a more "dynamic" sound.

Things to look for:

Number of Bands in the EQ: The number of bands in an equalizer tells you how fine an adjustment you can make. A 10 band equalizer breaks up the audio range into 10 parts and you can adjust the levels of any of them. The Q of an equalizer tells you how wide a range each adjustment makes. Let us say a specific band is labeled as 100 Hz. A high Q high equalizer will only boost or cut frequencies right around 100 Hz and not really affect signals at say 70 Hz. A low Q equalizer generally affects a wide range of frequencies even though it may be centered at one specific one. Typically, the more bands in the EQ the higher the Q so the different bands are not affected by each other. Simple bass and treble controls have the lowest Q. Equalizers with only few bands are good for making general adjustments but bad for fine tuning. A 30 band equalizer is great for making specific adjustments and tailoring the sound exactly how you want it. A tool called an RTA (real time analyzer) is used in setting those equalizers. It gives the system a flat signal (pink noise) and shows the user what the system returns. The user adjusts the equalizer until the RTA shows the desired response. The desired response is rarely flat because a flat setting results in dull, bass shy sound that is hard and edgy. Working with an experienced installer is key here.

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