Many of the better headphone and audio reviewers will play around with equalization profiles, both to get a sense of how well a particular product can handle it, and to fix any bumps or “issues” in their sound signature to better suit their tastes.
I don’t do any of this.
It’s similar to how I don’t use mods on video games, really. I like the concept of having that customization power, but in practice, I either tire of it before I’ve done something satisfying or I feel like I’m distorting the original vision.
I think some of this might come from my education and personal background. In college I studied Film Production and English Literature/Literary Criticism, which was basically like taking a constant shower inside the Auteur Theory. We mustn’t distort the intent of the original creator! We must take the work of art seriously as a cohesive and independent thing! Etc.
So when it comes to headphones or other audio gear, I like to hear them at their “purest.” Sure, I could EQ them to better suit my tastes…but then wouldn’t everything sound the same? And if I bought a pair of M50’s and just EQed them to my personal liking, I would never have had to buy another pair of headphones again.
And that would just be silly.
All joking aside, it really does make me feel like I’m just throwing out the work of the engineers who got paid more than me to make the audio go. I want to hear their vision. I want to see what all the fuss was about. I want to experience the product in as natural a state as possible.
Yes. Yes I am. And I realize that’s a form of EQ, in a way. But it does allow me to hear the full extent of the sound mix in games and movies that were made for a multi-channel setup without having to maintain a multi-speaker surround setup in my small apartment.
(I used to do that and just deal with the constant hassle of knocking over speaker stands).
Although these days, believe it or not, after years of reading the science and listening to music…and experiencing headphones like the DT880 and HD 58X, I’m becoming a strong proponent of stereo 16-bit 44.1khz audio. You know, the format sometimes known as Red Book CD Audio that should be capable of presenting all the audio data a human could ever need, and that Sony once designed headphones around.
Just don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little secret. I’ll still pretend I’m the virtual surround guy, especially when I review those new Razer headphones… whenever I can get a pair.