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iTunes Sound Enhancer

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BluePotato's picture
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I've always had the Equaliser in iTunes switched off but tonight I stumbled across the 'Sound Enhancer' setting in iTunes.  I've turned it on and switched to 'High' - I've not played about with the setting on too many songs just yet but I must admit on the majority of the ones I did try I quite liked the sound - seems to add a bit more 'ooomph' and sparkle to instruments.  Just curious what others thought? 

 

 

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Rethep's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

I did never try because i like the purity of "neutral" equalising. To me it seems there is a kind of "loudness" equalising activated by that "Sound Enhancer". My system does not need that! But if you like it, go ahead.

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fr0g's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

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davedotco's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Er, in this case it doesn't sound better, it sounds 'enhanced'. A not so subtle bass and presence boost to give the system some weight and bite.

This is not a degree of corrective eq, it is a boom and tizz generator. I'm not the 'thought police' so if people want to use it that's fine but it has nothing to do with music or hi-fi as far as I am concerned.

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

chebby's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Peter Walker who founded Quad (The Acoustical Manufacturing Company)  and coined the 'motto'  "The Closest Approach To The Original Sound"  put bass & treble and slope controls and filters on the Quad 22 and 33 pre-amps and  'Bass Lift', 'Tilt' and filters and slope controls on the 34 and 44 pre-amps.

(I am pretty sure even current Quad amps/pre-amps have the same controls.)

A&R Cambridge's (ARCAM's) first product - the legendary A60 amp - had tone controls.

Audiolab's first product - 8000A amplifier - had tone controls.

Even Naim (!) now have a variable loudness control on their UnitiQute. (A first for Naim.)

Many fine amplifiers, past and present, have tone controls.

I'd say fill 'yer boots, get the sound you like and don't get too close to anyone  scratching away in their 'hair-shirt' of purity. They'll cost you money.

This post from Alan Shaw of Harbeth says it all far more eloquently than I have...

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?466-Tone-controls-equaliser-or-tilt-controls-at-home  (Worth reading the entire first post twice.)

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davedotco's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

chebby wrote:

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Peter Walker who founded Quad (The Acoustical Manufacturing Company)  and coined the 'motto'  "The Closest Approach To The Original Sound"  put bass & treble and slope controls and filters on the Quad 22 and 33 pre-amps and  'Bass Lift', 'Tilt' and filters and slope controls on the 34 and 44 pre-amps.

(I am pretty sure even current Quad amps/pre-amps have the same controls.)

A&R Cambridge's (ARCAM's) first product - the legendary A60 amp - had tone controls.

Audiolab's first product - 8000A amplifier - had tone controls.

Even Naim (!) now have a variable loudness control on their UnitiQute. (A first for Naim.)

Many fine amplifiers, past and present, have tone controls.

I'd say fill 'yer boots, get the sound you like and don't get too close to anyone  scratching away in their 'hair-shirt' of purity. They'll cost you money.

And get you closer to the music, which is what the hobby is all about. Your choice to spend or not.

Personally I love the modern (for Quad) controls, I would have the 'tilt' and 'bass' controls in an instant if they were available on different amplifiers but I find conventional bass and treble controls to be, in the main, crude and often unusable.

I have no liking of 'graphic' equalisers either, whether hardware or software, they have no place in a playback system for me unless you have some very odd, and perhaps non commercial recordings.

What I do find useful is the ability to mildly adjust the tonal balance from a 'bit bright' to a 'bit dark', the tilt control in other words, generally I find this sufficient for the variations in recording and production styles.

I would ideally like some bass eq too, in this case to help fine tune a speaker to the room, a 'shelving' control that adjusts bass level uniformly below about 300hz and some low bass filtering would be ideal.

The bass controls mentioned are relatively common on inexpensive active studio monitors and I find them immensely useful as they can be set to suit the room and speaker positioning and left, but they are no help in making the 'light/dark' adjustments that I also mention.

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

fr0g's picture
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Posts: 2876
RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

davedotco wrote:

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Er, in this case it doesn't sound better, it sounds 'enhanced'. A not so subtle bass and presence boost to give the system some weight and bite.

This is not a degree of corrective eq, it is a boom and tizz generator. I'm not the 'thought police' so if people want to use it that's fine but it has nothing to do with music or hi-fi as far as I am concerned.

 

Seems to me that the OP thinks it sounds better. Ergo, it sounds better. Only the person listening can decide. If you prefer it off, great, keep it off, if he prefers it on, great, he should switch it on.

It may indeed be nothing to do with "Hi-Fi" in the strict sense, but it quite obviously has everything to do with music, or rather the enjoyment of music, which is surely what we are all trying to do.

And to deny yourself an increase in that enjoyment because of some spurious purist BS, is, well, a bit silly. 

 

__________________

“Out beyond ideas of wrong and  right, there is a field.

I'll meet you there."

 

 

chebby's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

davedotco wrote:

chebby wrote:

I'd say fill 'yer boots, get the sound you like and don't get too close to anyone  scratching away in their 'hair-shirt' of purity. They'll cost you money.

And get you closer to the music, which is what the hobby is all about. Your choice to spend or not.

I should have said "they'll waste your money".

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davedotco's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

fr0g wrote:

davedotco wrote:

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Er, in this case it doesn't sound better, it sounds 'enhanced'. A not so subtle bass and presence boost to give the system some weight and bite.

This is not a degree of corrective eq, it is a boom and tizz generator. I'm not the 'thought police' so if people want to use it that's fine but it has nothing to do with music or hi-fi as far as I am concerned.

 

Seems to me that the OP thinks it sounds better. Ergo, it sounds better. Only the person listening can decide. If you prefer it off, great, keep it off, if he prefers it on, great, he should switch it on.

It may indeed be nothing to do with "Hi-Fi" in the strict sense, but it quite obviously has everything to do with music, or rather the enjoyment of music, which is surely what we are all trying to do.

And to deny yourself an increase in that enjoyment because of some spurious purist BS, is, well, a bit silly. 

See, this is where I disagree, it is neither BS nor silly.

Firstly if someone wants to muck around with the sound in the belief that it sounds better then that is fine, as I said I am not the 'thought police'.

But as you say it is nothing to with hi-fi and in this case I think the user is loosing out. A good system will, in my view, open up the user to music that is different to that normally played and this is, again in my view, one of the great delights of a good system.

Not my place to be telling anyone what to listen to, I can only express my delight in the different kinds of music that I listen too, much of which I would not have appreciated without a decent system. 

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

davedotco's picture
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Posts: 2334
RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

chebby wrote:

davedotco wrote:

chebby wrote:

I'd say fill 'yer boots, get the sound you like and don't get too close to anyone  scratching away in their 'hair-shirt' of purity. They'll cost you money.

And get you closer to the music, which is what the hobby is all about. Your choice to spend or not.

I should have said "they'll waste your money".

"Sigh".

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

BigH's picture
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Posts: 3300
RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

davedotco wrote:

fr0g wrote:

davedotco wrote:

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Er, in this case it doesn't sound better, it sounds 'enhanced'. A not so subtle bass and presence boost to give the system some weight and bite.

This is not a degree of corrective eq, it is a boom and tizz generator. I'm not the 'thought police' so if people want to use it that's fine but it has nothing to do with music or hi-fi as far as I am concerned.

 

Seems to me that the OP thinks it sounds better. Ergo, it sounds better. Only the person listening can decide. If you prefer it off, great, keep it off, if he prefers it on, great, he should switch it on.

It may indeed be nothing to do with "Hi-Fi" in the strict sense, but it quite obviously has everything to do with music, or rather the enjoyment of music, which is surely what we are all trying to do.

And to deny yourself an increase in that enjoyment because of some spurious purist BS, is, well, a bit silly. 

See, this is where I disagree, it is neither BS nor silly.

Firstly if someone wants to muck around with the sound in the belief that it sounds better then that is fine, as I said I am not the 'thought police'.

But as you say it is nothing to with hi-fi and in this case I think the user is loosing out. A good system will, in my view, open up the user to music that is different to that normally played and this is, again in my view, one of the great delights of a good system.

Not my place to be telling anyone what to listen to, I can only express my delight in the different kinds of music that I listen too, much of which I would not have appreciated without a decent system. 

I can see that but in some rooms, you may want to reduce the bass or even increase it, whether thats hifi I don't know but it may work for some people. This enhancer just seems like a loudness button boosting bass and treble.

MajorFubar's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

The iTunes Sound Enhancer is a bit of an enigma. No-one seems to know exactly what it does. To a certain extent it seems to lift the bass and treble frequencies, but also it seems to act as a spacial widener, which of course only works on stereo recordings. In fact the more obvious the separation is in the original recording, the bigger the effect seems to be.

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davedotco's picture
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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

BigH wrote:

davedotco wrote:

fr0g wrote:

davedotco wrote:

fr0g wrote:

This is one area of "Hi-Fi" which has always puzzled me.

People spend thousands and more on "perfecting" their systems, but a simple tone control adjustment could give better results, but is avoided as it isn't purist.

People spend silly sums of money on wire trying to change the sound yet are unwilling to simply turn up the bass, or turn down the treble, or equalize!

 

If it sounds better (to you)...use it. If you don't use it even if it sounds better, then what's the point?? 

Er, in this case it doesn't sound better, it sounds 'enhanced'. A not so subtle bass and presence boost to give the system some weight and bite.

This is not a degree of corrective eq, it is a boom and tizz generator. I'm not the 'thought police' so if people want to use it that's fine but it has nothing to do with music or hi-fi as far as I am concerned.

 

Seems to me that the OP thinks it sounds better. Ergo, it sounds better. Only the person listening can decide. If you prefer it off, great, keep it off, if he prefers it on, great, he should switch it on.

It may indeed be nothing to do with "Hi-Fi" in the strict sense, but it quite obviously has everything to do with music, or rather the enjoyment of music, which is surely what we are all trying to do.

And to deny yourself an increase in that enjoyment because of some spurious purist BS, is, well, a bit silly. 

See, this is where I disagree, it is neither BS nor silly.

Firstly if someone wants to muck around with the sound in the belief that it sounds better then that is fine, as I said I am not the 'thought police'.

But as you say it is nothing to with hi-fi and in this case I think the user is loosing out. A good system will, in my view, open up the user to music that is different to that normally played and this is, again in my view, one of the great delights of a good system.

Not my place to be telling anyone what to listen to, I can only express my delight in the different kinds of music that I listen too, much of which I would not have appreciated without a decent system. 

I can see that but in some rooms, you may want to reduce the bass or even increase it, whether thats hifi I don't know but it may work for some people. This enhancer just seems like a loudness button boosting bass and treble.

Read post 5 above, it is just that few amplifiers have tone controls that are actually useful.......

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

davedotco's picture
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Posts: 2334
RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

MajorFubar wrote:

The iTunes Sound Enhancer is a bit of an enigma. No-one seems to know exactly what it does. To a certain extent it seems to lift the bass and treble frequencies, but also it seems to act as a spacial widener, which of course only works on stereo recordings. In fact the more obvious the separation is in the original recording, the bigger the effect seems to be.

The 'presence' lift will tend to spread the stereo effect as much of the directional information is in this region.

This selective boost is bad enough but if they mess with the phase as well.......... silenced

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

chebby's picture
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Posts: 15319
RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

davedotco wrote:

chebby wrote:

davedotco wrote:

chebby wrote:

I'd say fill 'yer boots, get the sound you like and don't get too close to anyone  scratching away in their 'hair-shirt' of purity. They'll cost you money.

And get you closer to the music, which is what the hobby is all about. Your choice to spend or not.

I should have said "they'll waste your money".

"Sigh".

What else do you call the insane cable swapping that goes on in the cause of trying to get the 'right sound' from speakers and amps in your living room?  It gets worse when people start adding outboard power supplies and swapping speakers to achieve a sound balance that they can enjoy.

How many 'harsh' or 'bright' amps and speakers (or even cables!) do you see people moaning about? How many times are people told...   "Wait until the speakers / amps / cables have run-in." ?

It is sentiments like yours... "by all means use some equalisation if you enjoy that kind of thing, but don't call it hi-fi" (my paraphrasing)   ...that makes some people almost feel guilty about using a perfectly legitimate form of adjustment to the tone of their system to make it sound more enjoyable.

I will quote a little bit from that Alan Shaw Harbeth link (that you conveniently left out when quoting me earlier)...

"In short: if your amp has a tone control you are more likely to get the best overall fidelity because you can tune the speaker/room interface to suit you. Tone controls empower you not some marketeer who has decided on your behalf that tone controls are evil."

Here is the link again.

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RE: iTunes Sound Enhancer

The way I see it is, and I might be wrong as I,m no expert.

Music is produced by the producer twiddling his knobs till he get the sound of the recording how he wants it to sound. And then the album or song is produced.

This may not be how all people like that track to sound but we are not able to do the producing, however tweaking the music to change the levels may increase your enjoyment of the music.

I find that not all music tracks or complete albums have not been produced  to a high standard for some reason, which is disappointed when you've paid good money for it. 

 

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