The QT2 is currently available on Massdrop for $35.
Okay, I finally gave these some more serious EQ love. I’m driving them from my iPhone SE with Neutron Player, using Spinfit CP145 tips.
Basically, I’ve auto-EQ’d to MiniDSP’s diffuse field target and dialed in a little extra bass and low midrange because I like a little more warmth.
I’m extremely pleased with the results. Vocals and acoustic instruments sound much more natural now, there’s a tremendous amount of clarity, and the bass is still punchy and well extended like before.
I still feel uncomfortable with earbuds. Any movement whatsoer drives me crazy. Any way,when I am mowing, I “think” of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Beyond that,I have to hear what all these mechanical things are doing for my own safety. I just use standard earplugs to protect my ears when I cut the hedges- the hedge cutter tends to be closer to my ears when i do that.
You may find these useful. I took the Harman Target data and converted it to text files for REW for EQ function use. I use it to compare how the headphone measures to target curves. An example:
Here’s the link to the text files:
Take it with a grain of salt of course, since the target curves were established using GRAS and human hearing vs the EARS unit, but if I correctly understand it, using the raw data calibration file provided by MiniDSP should work with the data here. The link includes dataset for Harman 2018 Headphone target, 2017 IEM target, and also the old 2013 flat speaker compensation target. I think the current Harman targets are too bass heavy / V-shaped for my liking. I really like something in-between the two targets, so I have made my own compensation curve for REW/EARS use.
Dumb question - how do you load these text files into REW?
Sorry, I forgot to mention - these are “house curve” files. You can load it in the Settings -> House Curve tab
This is amazing, thanks!
Well, I got sucked into EQ land again. It’s funny how much messing with EQ resembles testing out headphones, just easier to A/B since I can just switch EQ profiles! Although I find myself continuing to mess with the EQ a bit, I’ve come to the conclusion that these $50 IEMs are really all I need headphone wise.
Here’s my current favorite profile. I enjoy the clarity of my Etymotic HF5’s sound but hate the deep insertion tips and wish they were warmer, had more bass and more treble extension. The QT5 are much more comfortable and seem technically as capable, but their stock tuning is a little too v-shaped, lacking in clarity and suffers from a high treble peak. Using my measurements of the HF5 as a starting point, I developed the below EQ profile for the QT2:
This achieves a few things:
- Make the midrange less warm/more neutral while still preserving a little warmth
- Add clarity in the 1-2 KHz region (it’s easy to push this too far, at which point stuff like trumpet and violin starts to sound a little unnatural)
- IEMs need a bump between 1-5 KHz to make up for the fact that they bypass the outer ear, which naturally boosts levels in this area. My EQ basically just mimics the Etymotic HF5’s tuning, including the level of the bump relative to 1 KHz.
- The QT2 have a dip around 8 KHz, which seems to be a pretty common characteristic of BA drivers (my KZ ZST show this too, and the HF5’s just plain roll off starting here, missting the later peak). Filling in this dip seems to improve the perception of instruments being placed precisely in the sound stage. Since I’m very sensitive to sibilance, I was careful not to boost this too far, so I keep it a bit under the midrange.
- Bring down the peak around 12 KHz to make cymbals sound more natural
- Attempt to add a little air above 12 KHz, though this is largely a losing battle because the QT2’s BA driver simply runs out of steam up there. Thankfully I’m pretty much deaf above 14 KHz anyway!
I’m finding that EQ’ing the bass and the upper treble is the easiest, as changes become pretty immediately noticeable as long as the song has some bass notes or low percussion, and some cymbals. The lower midrange (100 Hz - 1 KHz) is a little harder because tilting it one way or the other has subtle impacts on human voices.
The most difficult region definitely seems to be from about 1 KHz - 5 KHz. In IEMs, this region needs a boost, but subtle differences in the level or shape of that boost seem to make big differences in clarity, brightness and attack of instruments (and I’m sure this depends a lot on my individual HRTF). Even worse, the effect depends a lot on the instruments and the recording, so that some settings will sound great on some songs but terrible on others, so it’s important to listen to a lot of material. My original thought was to boost clarity in the 1-2 KHz region and boost even further from about 2-3 KHz. While this sounded very good on a lot of material, I found that trumpets and strings sounded a bit artificial and overly bright. So, rather than reinventing the wheel, I decided to pretty much mimic the HF5’s response in this region because it sounds very good to my ear. Sure enough, when tuned like the HF5 here, the QT2 sound very good as well!
That’s some nice insight. You are definately well versed in EQ. I haven’t even started yet. I keep saying I will get around to it, I will do though. It seems to me a very complex subject or at least as complex as you want it to get. Personally I think I am going to EQ then I should at least try to understand what it is that happens when I start messing around with the parameters. I need to read up on it. Especially the one I will use in Neutron on my Dap. I have perused the Neutron forum a little, though it can get complex quite quickly if your a noob at EQ like me. As always you shall be my first port of call should I run into problems when I do start.
Always happy to help! You really just need to dive in and keep an open mind (and ear). It’s a rabbit hole, but a fun one. I feel like a I learn something new about sound every day that I mess with EQ (and consequently I keep tweaking it).
Thanks @pwjazz I am thinking of putting some of Oratory1990’s EQ’s into Neutron if I can at some point. It’s for another EQ program though isn’t it. It should be fundamentally the same shouldn’t it? Though Neutron has Gain, Q and DW.
Just retiring for the evening now but I will catch up tomorrow.
Yes, Oratory’s EQ includes parametric EQ settings (I believe using Q to specify filter width). Neutron lets you use either Q or bandwidth, you can configure that per band. There’s no functional difference between using Q and bandwidth, they’re just different ways of stating the same thing.
Thanks for the info.
I just bought one of these from Aliexpress for the QT2:
- It was $3.40!? I don’t know how they even cover shipping with that, but I’m not complaining.
- The braided cable is more subtle and generally nicer than the stock rubberized QT2 cable
- The angled 3.5mm connector is much better for my phone than the stock straight-out connector which is basically a big lever waiting to torque the socket if I hit it wrong
- I immediately cut out the memory wire and the IEMs sit securely and comfortable with just the conforming natural wire
- The y-connector split is way too low, just like the stock cables. I’ve temporarily fixed that with a twist tie and I might apply some heatshrink later.
Now, there’s the bummer. 2-pin connectors come in two diameters, 0.75mm and 0.78mm. It wasn’t clear to me which the QT2 have, so I ordered a 0.75mm connector to be on the safe side (go too large and it’ll stretch out the sockets). Well, they fit a bit loosely, so I guess that means the QT2 uses 0.78mm 2 pin connectors. So far there’s no sound issues from loose connection and the fit seems tight enough that the cable doesn’t just fall out, so perhaps it’ll be fine.
I’ve been playing with the IEM target you provided some more, and so far I’m finding the following. Curious what you think about it from your experience…
If I eq to match the target exactly, it sounds extremely bright. Oddly, it’s not sibilant and instrumental timbre actually sounds pretty right, it’s just awfully bright. Still, it provided insight that it’s worth boosting my usual EQ in the 6 K region, which does improve timbre and attack of percussion, so I’ll call that a win!
The upward sloping response from lower to middle mids brings male vocals forward, which I enjoy, but it does seem to take away body from a lot of instruments relative to the more typical downward slope in this area. Still, the Harman target provided valuable insight that I was tuning things too warm around 200 Hz. The key insight here is that a flat response from about 200 to 1000 Hz seems very natural and balanced, while dramatically bringing up the bass sub-200 to match the Harman target provides satisfying depth to vocals and instruments. My previous experiments with a flat midrange kept it flat from 100 to 1000 Hz, which was going too far.
So overall, while the verbatim Harman target doesn’t seem to suit my personal tastes, it provides some valuable lessons. Thanks again for sharing!
I think the harman target is a tad bright. I dont mind it being bright myself, but I know others may. It seems the Harman curve has gotten more and more v-shaped over the years with more bass and treble emphasis each iteration. It’s what people like!
Just remember, they created that curve based on using a GRAS measurement rig with a more realistic ear simulator than EARS. So compensations would have to be fully derived for it to be completely apples to apples.
I dont know if that really helps the treble thing though, as I think EARS typically shows higher upper mids/treble data than GRAS. Have to look back at comparison data.
That’s a good point.
Okay, this is it, my golden EQ settings for the QT2! I haven’t touched these in nearly a week, which for me is an eternity.
Impactful bass, clear midrange, lovely timbre, balanced vocals, great detail, good imaging and a little sparkle without sounding overly bright. These closely follow the Harman response, but with some deviations.
- Just a touch more warmth in the upper bass/low mids
- Just a touch more energy in the presence region (I like what this does for vocals and guitar)
- Quite a bit less energy above 5 K. Harman here (at least relative to my E.A.R.S. measurements) is way too bright. As I have it, there’s still plenty of energy to drums and guitar, and timbre sounds right to me. Deviations between measurement equipment tend to be greatest in this region anyway, so it’s not surprising that my EQ deviates from Harman here.