Headphone improver


This is a phenomenal project that tackles what most people would consider a minor issue: the audio quality from their headphones. But it does this in such a hugely impressive and well-documented way that even audio cynics would be impressed. At the core of the project is a command-line tool that can listen to and analyze the frequency response of your hardware. The frequency response of a set of headphones (or speakers) can be visualized as a graph that shows how accurately the sound output reflects the sound input. Can it accurately reproduce low bass frequencies, for example, or the mid frequencies typically occupied by the human voice, or the high frequencies generated by high hats in a drum kit, or the raspiness of Miles Davis's trumpet? The truth is that most headphones massage their frequency response to flatter the sound, often inflating the bass, mid, and high frequencies, but sometimes their design can adversely affect the sound you want.

AutoEQ can help fix your headphone audio but not directly. As mentioned earlier, it's able to measure the frequency response of your headphones and create a map of where the output is lower or higher than an ideal flat frequency response. It can then give you the ideal settings to fix your hardware or to boost or reduce in the frequency areas you prefer. But you don't even need to take the measurements yourself. The project has amassed more than 2,500 profiles for headphones, and there's a good chance yours will already have been analyzed. It's then just a simple matter of programming the suggested compensation into your favorite equalizers. An equalizer is an audio processor that can boost or attenuate the audio at specific frequencies, just like the graphic or parametric equalizers on old stereos. Linux has plenty to choose from, and the project documentation does a great job of recommending plugins for a variety of platforms, including Android and Linux, for which (for transparency) a previous FOSSPick, PulseEffects, is recommended.

Project Website

AutoEQ generates equalizer settings for you to use with your own headphones to help improve their audio quality.

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