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Equalizer Q&A Guide

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  • Equalizer Q&A Guide

    Equalizer Q&A Guide

    Q: What does the Equalizer do?
    A: The equalizer is similar to the bass and treble controls on a stereo or radio, however you get individualized control of specific bass or treble frequencies. The left sliders are the bass frequencies, middle is the midrange and the right are the treble. The higher the more bass|midrange|treble, lower positions the less bass|midrange|treble and center is normal. The preamp is the overall volume and is somewhat comparable to volume control for the EQ.

    For a general and/or more detailed description/discussion of equalizers and their usage see the External Information/Resources section below.

    Q: What are Presets?
    A: Presets let you save or load custom equalizer settings. Winamp already comes with a default set of presets...
    1. press Preset button.
    2. select Load
    3. click Preset...
    4. There should be a list to choose from, make a choice
    5. click OK

    You can also set your own (user) presets and save them
    1. Set the EQ sliders to your liking
    2. press Preset button.
    3. select Save
    4. click Preset...
    5. give it a name and Save

    Q: Where can I find more presets? Where can I find presets for other genres?
    A: EQ presets very subjective or to paraphrase, “presets are in the 'ear' of the beholder”. It all depends on the listener and the sound system on their computer. However, if you are interested in more presets read here. Note what was mentioned about installing "Winamp.q1" presets and how that will replace the default & user preset file.

    Q: How can I share a preset(s) with another person?
    A: The best way (IMHO) would be to save them as individual EQF file(s). If you have loaded preset or one that you set your self...
    1. Press the Preset button
    2. select Save
    3. click To EQF...
    4. give it a name and save
    Repeat the steps for other presets. Copy or save them to a disk. If you have more than one EQF to send via e-mail (otherwise over the internet), compress them using your favorite ZIP style compression/archive program.

    Conversely, you can load a EQF file that someone sent to you.
    1. Press the Preset button
    2. select Load
    3. click From EQF...
    4. browse to the location of the file on your drive
    5. select the file of choice and Open

    Q: Are there preset shortcuts or shortcut buttons?
    A: EQ preset shortcuts are not a native function of Winamp. However there are a small handful of modern skins with preset shortcuts built into the skin. As the presets are incorporated in to the skins, they do not effect and may not fully reflect Winamp's default/user EQ pesets.Legend
    *Pre-programmed Button(s)
    ?User Programmable Button(s)
    >Cycle Through Button(s)
    ^Preset List Built Into Skin
    As a side note, for classic skins Ctrl+S (while EQ is in focus) is a shortcut to the Load EQ Preset box.

    Q: What are auto presets? What does the 'Auto' button do?
    A: Auto presets can be set for specific media files and automatically load for each media file.
    1. set the EQ to the way you like for a currently playing song or current file in main/player window.
    2. press Presets button
    3. select Save
    4. select Auto-load preset...
    5. press the Save button
    When the Equalizer and Auto buttons are on the EQ will change automatically for each media file that has an auto preset.

    Set a default/"fall back" for non auto preset...
    1. set the sliders to your preference for a default
    2. press Presets button
    3. select Save
    4. select Default
    Q: Will auto-presets work for audio CDs?
    A: Auto-presets are based on filenames. You can add auto-presets for CD tracks, however as CD tracks are represented as Track##.cda (where ## is the track number) the presets will also be applied to tracks on other CDs.

    Q: Will auto-presets work with Internet radio (EG SHOUTcast)?
    A: Yes. If the stream's address is static (does not change) auto-presets will work.

    Q: Can auto presets be based on Genre?
    A: The native/default method for auto presets is based on filenames. However, thanks to the talent of DrO and his Auto EQ plug-in (discussion thread), auto-presets can be based on Genre tag of the media file. The plug-in works independently of the default auto preset function and uses the default/user (.q1) presets.

    It matches the genre tag to the preset name. In other words, if a media files has a Rock genre, the Rock preset will be loaded, Jazz genre will load Jazz preset, Blah genre will load Blah preset and so on. However, it has to be a exact mach, example: Country Rock genre will not load a Country preset.

    Q: When using the EQ I get static, choppy music or other distortions, what can I do to fix it?
    A: There are several different things you can do to reduce or eliminate distortions. One or more of the following...
    • Winamp > Ctrl+P (for Preferences) > General Preferences > Playback > Equalizer tab > checkmark (or uncheck) 'Use Limiter'
    • If the distortion happens with MP3 and/or ACC files...
      Winamp > Preferences > Nullsoft Mpeg Audio Decoder > checkmark (or uncheck) 'Fast Layer 3 EQ'.
    • Using a DSP/Effect plug-in with the EQ may be overkill so try disabling either one. The Equalizer is a DSP/Effects "plug-in" built into the Winamp core (winamp.exe). Using two DSPs requires extra resources, which can cause distortion. Also, running a signal through two DSPs is sort of like making a photocopy of a photocopy. The second photocopy may have very noticeable imperfections.
    • If your soundcard has its own DSP, effects or enhancement features try disabling one or more of them.
    • Try the DirectSound tweaks. In addition, make sure you have the latest DirectX for your Windows version.
    • Try closing unused applications.
    • Make sure you have the latest updates to the sound drivers

    Q: Why doesn't the EQ work with DRM'ed WMA (audio) or WMV (video) files?
    A: Sorry, that is a Microsoft restriction of DRM files. Not much that can be done about that.

    Q: Why does the EQ not respond (freeze issues) under Windows 98SE, is there anything I can do to fix it?
    A: From the Common Issues section of the Troubleshooters Sticky...

    ..... Winamp Equalizer not Responding (Win98SE)

    Q: Why is there no Equalizer item on the right click menu?
    A: Some modern skins don't have an Equalizer menu item built in to the skin. That will usually occur with modern skins that have the EQ built in to the main player. It is up to the author to include one.

    Q: Why doesn't the toggle EQ window shortcut key work?
    A: Not all modern skins will have the Alt+G shortcut key build in to the skin. That will usually occur with modern skins that have the EQ built in to the main player. It is up to the author include the Alt+G shortcut. If that is not it, another possibility may be the nVidia nView issue.

    Q: Why doesn't the 0db shortcut/"button" for normal values work?
    A: On all classic skins, Winamp Modern Default and Bento skin you can click on 0db to set the EQ to all normal ("flat level") values. However, not all third party modern skins have the 0db shortcut. It is up to the skin author to include one. As a alternative or workaround set normal values for a user preset or for the Default preset. When you are using a modern skin without the 0db shout cut, click Presets button > click Load button > select the preset accordingly/respectively.

    Q: Why wont the Equalizer shortcut keys work?
    A: EQ shortcut keys will only work with classic skins (sorry ). As a workaround for modern skins try DrO's EQ Hotkeys plug-in.

    Q: Why does the EQ have a default or generic look?
    A: If the skin author did not include an Equalizer skin Winamp will substitute one. It is up to the skin author to include all windows in skins. All skins at have fully skinned equalizers.

    Q: The EQ window is gone, where is it?
    A: Don't panic, read this thread.

    Q: Arrrr, I go to 'Presets > Load > Preset...' and there is nothing in the box. Help me!
    A: Either the preset file is missing or has become corrupted. You can download default/original preset file, by downloading the attachment Winamp.txt. Rename the attachment to Winamp.q1 upon or after downloading. Then, while Winamp is not running, add the Winamp.q1 file as explained below.

    See below for information on backing up presets (preset files).

    Q: How can I get the EQ work with CDs?

    A: For CDs
    1. Ctrl+P
    2. Plug-ins > Input
    3. double click Nullsoft CD\LineIn Plug-in
    4. checkmark 'Enable digital audio extraction when possible' and/or 'Use Sonic engine when possible'
    5. close out of Prefs
    6. close & restart Winamp
    Read here for info regarding CD auto-presets

    Q: How can I get the EQ work with MIDIs?
    A: Depending on your preference...

    Method #1
    1. Ctrl+P
    2. Plug-ins > Input
    3. double click Nullsoft MIDI player
    4. Device tab
    5. under the Device: drop-down list select 'Direct Music / Microsoft Synthesizer (with output)'
    Method #2
    1. Ctrl+P
    2. Plug-ins > Input
    3. double click Nullsoft MIDI player
    4. Device tab > midiOut device or something that closely reflects your soundcard
    5. Sampling tab
    6. checkmark "Sampling Enabled" and "Send to Winamp's output system"
    7. close out of prefs.
    It may take some trial & error with settings. You also may want to try a different device in the Sampling tab.

    Q: How can I get the EQ work with LineIn or Microphone?

    A: To do this you will need Jasper's LineIn plugin. Documentation is provided with the plug-in's ReadMe file or use the online docs. Some points about using the plug-in...
    • Jasper's plug-in uses line:// (not Winamp's default linein://).
    • To prevent echoes the Microphone and Line In should be muted in the Windows mixer.
    • Because of the plug-in's nature there is a noticeable latency (delay) issue. The on line docs has some suggestions for reducing the delay.

    Q: How can I get the EQ to reset/return to normal values for non auto preset files?
    A: You need to configure or reconfigure a default preset.

    Q: Where is the equalizer in Winamp 5?

    A: If you have recently upgraded from Winamp 2 or Winamp3, you may have noticed there is no dedicated EQ button on the Modern Default or Bento skin.
    • In the Modern Default skin click the CONFIG button in the main/player window, then click on the \Equalizer/ tab on the pop-down drawer. . Also, you can select the EQ from the menu bar View > Equalizer
    • In the Bento skin the EQ is available in the multi-content panel (top middle pane). Click on the change content button (bottom right, look like a box with three lines) and select the Equalizer. Also, you can select the EQ from the menu bar View > Equalizer -or- Options > Multi Content View > Equalizer.
    • As with almost any skin simply use the Alt+G shortcut key or select the EQ from Winamp's main/right-click menu.

    Q: Why is their X number of seconds before I hear the change?
    A: That depends on how much time set in buffer of the current output plug-in. X number of seconds in the buffer = X number seconds before you hear the change.

    Q: Is the Winamp equalizer a 4Front EQ10.

    A: Yes, from Winamp 2.90 the EQ was updated with 4Front Technologies. As of Winamp 5.51 you now have the option of using Constant-Q EQ.
    1. Winamp > Ctrl+P
    2. General Preferences > Playback
    3. Equalizer tab > in the 'EQ Type' dropdown box you have the option between 'Winamp 4Front EQ' and 'Constant-Q EQ'
    4. close out of Prefs
    Additional info...
    From Winamp 5 Help (via the F1 key in Winamp) > General Preferences: Playback

    However, for MP3 files you will need to disable the 'Fast Layer EQ'...
    1. Winamp > Ctrl+P
    2. Plug-ins > Input
    3. Nullsoft MPEG Audio Decoder > Configure button
    4. Decoder tab > uncheck 'Fast Layer 3 EQ' & 'Fast Layer 1/2 EQ'
    5. close out of Prefs
    There is also a 4Front EQ "stand alone" plug-in for Winamp, available here. Download the EQ plugin version, the EQ10/Winamp3 version does not apply to Winamp 5.

    Q: What is the difference between the Winamp (4Front EQ10) and Constant-Q equalizer?
    A: Read This

    Q: Can the Winamp EQ use the standard ISO bands?

    A: As of Winamp 5.51 you have the option of using the default Winamp frequency bands or ISO Standard bands...
    1. Winamp > Ctrl+P
    2. General Preferences > Playback
    3. Equalizer tab > in the 'Frequency Bands' dropdown box select between 'Winamp frequency bands' or 'ISO Standard frequency bands'
    4. close out of Prefs
    On the Winamp Classic default, Winamp Modern default and Bento skins the frequency band values will reflect the change in setting. Other (third party) skins will have to updated by the respective authors/developers. Additional info...
    From Winamp 5 Help (via the F1 key in Winamp) > General Preferences: Playback

    Q: What is the Fast Layer EQ option in the MPEG Audio Decoder (in_mp3.dll) plug-in?
    A: Read Benski's reply here

    Q: What are the shortcut keys for the EQ?
    A: While the EQ is in focus...
    1 - 0 Increase EQ bands 1-10
    Q - P Decrease EQ bands 1-10
    ` (single open quote) Increase EQ Preamp
    TAB Decrease EQ Preamp
    N Toggle EQ Enabled
    A Toggle EQ Auto-Loading
    S Open Presets Menu
    Ctrl+S Load Preset
    Alt+G Toggle EQ Window (from any Winamp Window)
    Note: The EQ shortcut keys are only available to classic skins. For modern skins, try DrO's Global EQ Hotkeys (see below) for a workaround. However the Alt+G shortcut is a little different, read here for more info.

    Q: Are there Global Hotkeys for the EQ?
    A: Winamp does not have native EQ items/entries for the Global Hotkeys. DrO's EQ Hotkeys plug-in (from the Equalizer Hotkeys thread) will add Equalizer support for Winamp's Global Hotkeys.

    Q: Is balance or cross-fade included with EQ presets?
    A: No. Although some modern skins may have the balance and/or cross-fade controls in the EQ window they are not a function of the equalizer.

    Q: Why do the bass and treble knobs on modern skins affect the EQ
    A: Bass and Treble controls/knobs are not a native function of Winamp. Modern skins simulate bass/treble controls by changing the EQ.

    If you are interested in using (other/more) skins with bass & treble controls, read here.

    Q: Will the EQ normalize or auto level my songs/music?
    A: Yes and no. The EQ is not specifically designed as normalizer, however if you have a small number of files to normalize and don't mind some work the EQ can simulate a normalizer. Use auto presets in conjunction with the preamp slider. If you want to, add personal touch with the frequency sliders.

    Note: As of Winamp 5.3, there is an optional global Replay Gain (auto-gain/normalize) feature. Info...
    ...• Winamp Tutorial: Automatic Volume Leveling in Winamp with Replay Gain
    ...• Winamp Help > General Preferences: Playback > Replay Gain

    Q: What does the 'Learn' button do?
    A: As for Winamp 5 the answer is, nothing. The learn button is a "leftover" on skins originally developed for Winamp3. It was part of an auto-gain/normalize feature about the time of WA3's demise. The learn button on the old Winamp3 skins does not work with Winamp 5's Replay Gain feature.

    Q: What are the various equalizer settings files and/or how can I back them up?
    A: Winamp.q1 = where the default and user presets are stored
    ....Winamp.q2 = where auto-load presets are stored
    ....FileName.eqf = individual preset file

    Addendum: Notes about the Winamp.Q1 and Winamp.Q2 file location
    The location and placement of the Winamp.Q1/Q2 files will vary with the Winamp installation and Windows version. As of Winamp 5.5 user setting are stored at %appdata%\Winamp ('Application Data'/'User Settings' folder) by default. Where as %appdata% is a shortcut to the 'Application Data'/'User Settings' folder


    Windows 2000 Windows XP
    C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Winamp

    Windows Vista

    The exception to that is if you installed 5.5x over a previous version that had shared settings ("old school" settings) , the settings are stored in the install folder.

    %ProgramFiles%\Winamp where as %ProgramFiles% is a shortcut to the Program Files folder
    Example: C:\Porgram Files\Winamp

    Depending on your install of Winamp the Winamp.Q1 and Winamp.Q2 files will be located on %ProgramFiles%\Winamp or %AppData%\Winamp. The FileName.eqf files can be anywhere.

    You can backup your EQ presets simply by copying the files (Winamp.q1/.q2 and/or *.EQF) to another folder/directory, drive or floppy etc.

    Additional Misc Info
    • Winamp Overview: Equalizer
    • Winamp 5 Help (via the F1 key in Winamp) > General Preferences: Playback > Equalizer
    • Winamp Blog: How to Use the Equalizer
    • Descriptive screenshot of the equalizer, using Winamp Modern skin. (click image to enlarge)...
    • There are also a number of different equalizer plug-ins that work independently of Winamp's default EQ. If you are interested, try a plug-in search with equalizer or EQ as a keyword.
    • If you are interested with other changes/effects/enhancements with music there are plenty of DSP/Effect plug-ins to choose from.

    External Guides/Information/Resources

    General Information about Using Winamp Equalizer
    • Roots of American Fiddle Music: Winamp Graphic Equalizer
      Slightly dated pictorial guide, this is a mirror of Winamp online docs from the good old WA 2 days.
    • PCWORLD: Winamp Audio Settings
      Dated, but informative summary on using Winamp's equalizer
    • Forums: Opinion: What are the best Equalizer settings?
      Pictorial reference of various presets for different genres. Although the post shows iTunes as a reference, Winamp's equalizer bands are close enough so you can get a good representation. For a closer representation, set the EQ to the ISO standard freq bands. Also, keep in mind that presets are subjective.
    • YouTube video of Winamp equalizer and the effects of varying the sliders. Note: video is Japanese

    General and Specialized Information About Using Equalizers
    • The Equalizer
      General description of equalizers and usage
      Note: (WayBackMachine) link | Sometimes may take a long time to download
    • Columbia University Music Department: Equalization
      General discussion of frequencies and ranges.
      Note: (WayBackMachine) link | Sometimes may take a long time to download
    • Drew's Equalizer And Frequency Equalization Tutorial
      Discussion of equalizers and frequencies, includes a graphic chart showing the frequency ranges of various instruments.
    • Digital Pro Sound: Magic Frequencies
      Discussion of frequencies, audio bands and how equalizers can affect different frequencies in audio.
    • eHow: How to Set Up Graphic Equalizer
      Tips on adjusting a Graphic Equalizer
    • Wikipedia: Equalization (audio)
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    Please report dead or broken links via PM with the subject line Dead Links - EQ Guide. Links will be corrected as time allows. Don't be disappointed if you do not receive reply, so Many Thanks In Advance.

    Guide compiled by Moderator JonnyMac | Revised November 2011 JonnyMac
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    Last edited by JonnyMac; 22 March 2010, 09:39.
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