Sorry, the video was merely meant to reinforce the science of why headphones are different from speakers and how we should approach EQ. There has always been a stigma against EQ in the audio community and for speakers I can understand the sentiment. But headphones represent an entirely different ballgame so I always want for people to understand WHY headphones can’t really have a true “neutral” that is really neutral to every individual.
I think this depends on your goal with EQ. There are 2 options you have to pick from:
- Tune your headphones to whatever sound preference you enjoy and what sounds best to you. In this case, I agree with what you said about just starting at a baseline and making free adjustments to whatever sounds good.
- Tune your headphones to be as close to “neutral” as possible, trying to match and imitate what flat speakers would sound like. Most sound engineers are using reference monitors to do the mixing and mastering so by tuning headphones in this method, you are aiming to try and hear the music as it was intended by the creators. In this case, your method of free tuning would not work.
For this second method, getting absolute proper individualized EQ settings for each person could be tedious. I’m not recommending all that work with fancy/expensive equipment. While using that stuff would be more accurate, you can actually get pretty good approximated results with much less hassle. The method I recommend is to get a good EQ software that specifically uses parametric equalization. This allows for a smoother and proper tuning curve. I always recommend Equalizer APO and the Peace GUI as both are free and work at the system-level so it doesn’t matter what music software you use. Next, grab a good measurement of your headphones like those from innerfidelity. From there, you can easily see where all the abnormal peaks and dips are that differ from the target curve. Making those adjustments first sort of gets the headphone closer in line to what good speakers would sound like. It is all preference from that point on, but doing it with measurements gives you a much better starting place and confidence in making adjustments. Metal571 made a great tutorial video on doing this process I described and once you learn how to do it, it is quite easy. Because this is software EQ, the tuning adjustments can all be saved. I do this for each of my headphones, it probably doesn’t take more than 10 minutes each to set them up once, and once I have that curve saved I can load it up whenever I use that headphone. I have over a dozen headphones in my collection right now and I switch through them all the time and I can assure you loading up the stored EQ is simple and easy to do.
I completely understand if someone doesn’t like fiddling with EQ. It just won’t be preferred by a lot of people in this hobby and that’s okay. But I just want others out there to know that the idea of EQ on headphones isn’t inherently bad or improper. And scientifically, we can show with math and empirical evidence that EQ is not only okay, but it is required for a given headphone and a given unique individual in order to accurately reproduce music as was intended by the creators.