As a hardcore music enthusiast and an audiophile, I have a lot of concerns with the equalizer. Maybe for a regular person, the equalizer settings don’t matter too much. But if you are someone like me, you probably wonder about the best equalizer setting.
This is why to help out a fellow music enthusiast; I am bringing you the best settings you can get for any equalizer. I will go through in-depth knowledge of equalizers and how you can get the best sounds out of them.
Let’s get into it without wasting any time.
What Is an Equalizer (EQ)?
Every audio you have ever come across is a combination of certain frequencies. You can find a lot of frequencies in a single audio clip. For humans, the hearing frequency range is from 20hz to 20000hz. So, technically whatever you can listen to with your ears are within that range.
Now, an equalizer is a medium that gives you control over the impact of those frequencies. You can increase or decrease the frequencies to control the effect of those frequencies in the audio. This will be much clearer with an example.
So, when you are listening to music, it usually has three ranges of frequencies. There are low frequencies that are also considered bass. There are mid and high frequencies as well. With the help of an equalizer, you can boost the lower frequencies to get more bass in your song. It doesn’t change the fundamental audio file or quality. It only adds the boosted effect to your headphones or speakers.
In short, an equalizer lets you control the different frequency ranges of an audio file. And anyone needs to know how to use the equalizer. Because knowing how to use it unlocks new realms of audio for you.
Once you master the use of equalizer, you will get the most out of your music experience. For example, certain songs are better with better bass, while some are better with more clarity. So, when you know how to use the equalizer to get your desired effect, you can get the perfect sound for every music you ever listen to.
The real challenge is how do you do it? Let’s find that out right below.
How to Use an Equalizer?
Here’s the thing, using an equalizer isn’t rocket science. Especially in the modern days where you get an equalizer in every audio device you can find. Also, they are digital equalizer that gives you precise control over the frequencies.
To use an equalizer, you first have to work through the different frequencies that come in it. Also, the frequency number or digits will vary depending on the equalizer you use. There are some graphic equalizers as well, which have exact control over each frequency. Anyhow, some basic frequency ranges are enough to get the best possible sound.
Here are the frequencies that you will typically get in music or any audio you listen to. Remember, these are the ranges, not actual numbers, so you have to play around a little to find accuracy.
- 20hz – 60hz: Usually, these are the lowest frequencies you can hear in audio files. They typically come from the kick drums or such kinds of instruments.
- 61hz – 200hz: These are sounds that you can get from bass and some other drums. They are also very low on the spectrum and have a deep heavy sound.
- 201hz – 600hz: This is the range where you get some other instruments added. For example, the lower notes of a guitar or a piano will typically be within this range. From a musician’s perspective, your chords mostly lie around this range.
- 600hz – 3000hz: Here, it’s the mid-range of frequencies. You will find most of the vocal sounds here. Also, the mid to higher notes of your instruments lie within this range.
- 3000hz – 8000hz: Within this range, you will get to hear the higher notes of your instruments. Also, some vocals seep through here if the song is sung in a higher key. So, you can expect some high vocals here as well.
- 8000hz – 20000hz: Typically, you don’t get to see this frequency range in music or anything else. However, sometimes there might be noises that can go up to this range to create a certain effect. It’s not likely, but it can happen.
So, once you know the frequency ranges, it’s pretty straightforward from thereon. You have to know what you want and what kind of music you are listening to.
For example, if you listen to a lyrics-focused song, you should aim to get more clarity. To do that, you can lower the ranges of 20hz to 600hz a little bit and then boost the 600hz to 3000hz range. This will get you a boost in the vocals so you can hear the lyrics properly.
Using the equalizer will come down to your preferences. Different genres of music have their preferable equalizer settings. For instance, rock music is mostly about the drums and guitars, so you will be boosting the lower and higher frequencies to get the best sound.
All in all, knowing the frequencies and the sounds related to them is all you need to use the equalizer. Once you know them, you have to play around with the numbers to find the perfect sound for you. And remember, your perfect sound won’t be the universal perfect sound. It varies from person to person.
Setting equalizer for best sound
Let me tell you something; there is no one true setting for the best possible sound in an equalizer. Different music will sound better in different equalizer settings. There are lots of things that go behind making music, and equalization is one of them too. So, you have to work your way through to get the best sound.
In the beginning, your equalizer will be in a flat position. From there, you will have to adjust different frequencies while listening to the music to get a proper equalizer setting. Also, one more thing to remember here is that you will need quality headphones and speakers to get the best sound. Equalization works best when it’s combined with a quality audio peripheral.
Like I said earlier, the best sound setting in an equalizer will depend on the song and genre you are listening to. So, start a song and open up the equalizer, then start playing around with the sliders or waves in the equalizer to find the perfect settings.
At least now you have an idea of which frequency does what. It shouldn’t be much difficult from here on. But still, to help you out even further, I have got some settings for basic purposes that work very well in most cases. You can try them out to get the best sounds in your scenario.
Best equalizer settings for bass
In the beginning, many people think that bumping up the decibels will give them better sounds. Only boosting the lower end of the frequencies won’t give you the perfect sounding bass that you desire. Just boosting the bass may increase the volume of the frequencies, but that also comes with some decline in the sound quality.
This is why you have to maintain a balance here. If you want more bass on the sound while keeping the quality proper, you can do it like this.
Increase the sub-bass or below 60hz mark by 6dB. Then, keep the bass frequencies or 60 to 200hz mark between 0 and 6dB. As for the rest, you can keep them flat or lower them to suit your needs.
Best equalizer settings for car
There is no single best equalizer setting for a car, as it will depend on what music you listen to. But more often than not, people prefer to have a heavy-sounding bass in their car audio. So, keeping that in mind, you will want to make sure that your car audio has good bass in it.
However, when you are changing the bass, don’t overdo it. Because your car isn’t the most open of places, too much bass can hurt your hearing. So, keep the changes to moderate.
Here, you should divide the frequencies into 3 sections. From 20 to 200hz, consider that bass and increase it somewhere between 0 and 6db. As for the mid and treble, you can either keep them flat or decrease the decibel count. This should work for some balanced sound quality and powerful bass.
Best equalizer settings for home theatre
Now, this is where you can bump up the bass and have a better experience. Because the purpose of a home theatre most of the time is watching movies. You would expect to have an immersive surround sound experience while watching a movie in your home theatre. Only bumping up the bass through the equalizer will ruin that experience.
So, your goal here is to get a balance of clarity and bass. In most cases, you should try getting the mid-range frequencies to their level best because the dialogues in the movies lie on those ranges. However, if you are watching an action-packed movie, you might want to have some power on the bass too.
You shouldn’t increase the sub-bass and bass frequencies by much or even a little in the equalizer settings. Keeping them flat or maybe even lowering them is a better choice there. Then, move on to the mid frequencies and bump them up a little but don’t overdo it, as it can cause noise.
And, make sure to keep the perfect balance of the surround sound because you don’t want overpowering sound from one side and no sound from the other side.
Best equalizer settings for tv
The equalizer setting for tv should be pretty similar to your home theatre. Except, here, you might need to consider boosting the bass a little if you don’t have a subwoofer connected. Because without a subwoofer, you might not get the best bass experience of the shows.
So, for the best tv equalizer settings, I suggest increasing the bass and sub-bass by 6db or more if you don’t have a subwoofer. But if you have one, then keep it below 6dB. Then, you can go flat or a go a bit higher for the mid and higher frequencies but keep it within 6dB.
Best equalizer settings for headphones
For your headphones, you will have to make a lot of adjustments from time to time. Because you mostly use your headphones for music. And for different genres of music, you have to choose different equalizer settings.
Some music sound better with boosted bass, and some sound better with clarity. That’s why for a casual music listening experience, I suggest going for a balanced sound. You can have a boost in the sub-bass and keep it flat in the bass section. Then you can have some boost in the mid and high frequencies.
This will set you up for decent sound quality for any music. And from there on, you can adjust the frequencies according to your needs. Aside from all these, you can also try some presets that might already be available based on the genres of music.
Best equalizer settings for gaming
These days, audios have a lot of impact on the gaming community as well. Many shooter games are highly dependent on audio cues in the form of enemy footsteps. And to get a competitive edge on that, you can equalize your sound to hear the enemies better.
For the best gaming equalizer settings, I highly suggest going for a clarity-based sound. This will help you immensely in hearing those footsteps. So, just bump up the mid and high frequencies to some extent without touching the bass frequencies. And that should do the trick for you.
In short, you can’t find one single best equalizer settings for your needs. As there are so many factors to go through, and they depend on personal preferences a lot.
So, the best thing you can do is, play around with the equalizer and frequencies to find the perfect setting for yourself. Whether for music, movies, or gaming, you will know which one suits your need the most.
And, if you don’t know where to begin, you can take my suggestions as a starting point and make adjustments from thereon.
Graduated with a Bachelor of Audio Engineering and Sound Production. He has worked with a number of studios as a Recording Engineer, with over 10 years of servicing experience in both re-recording mixing and sound editing.