RIAA curve

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RIAA curve

To the newcomer, our HiFi systems might seem a bit overwhelming. There's lots to learn.

Take vinyl's RIAA equalization for example. This EQ curve is found on every LP ever made (and is the reason we can use the abbreviation for Long Play).

The LP, and its famous equalization curve, was first released in the same year I was born, 1948.

As most of us probably know, when we make a vinyl record we jack up the high frequencies by 20dB (10 times!) and cut the bass level down by the same amount. Between the 20dB louder high frequencies and the 20dB lower bass frequencies, we've managed to equalize the highs and lows by 40dB.

When we playback an LP we need to reverse this EQ in order for the music to be presented as flat once again. That's the job of the phono preamplifier.

Why all this back and forth boosting and cutting? To make more room for the music on the vinyl disc. Bass frequencies need more room on the disc than high frequencies do. Without the RIAA curve, we have called the LP an MP or SP (Medium Play or Short Play disc).

I've been playing with this knowledge for the past 50 years, so I have a pretty good idea of what it all means. Newcomers to our beloved sport aren't as versed and often misunderstand the purpose of this curve.

Which is why, on occasion, I will do my best to remind us of some of the basics. 

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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