Best Equalizer Settings for Music, Gaming, Cars, and MORE!

Nero Peña
Nero Peña

Updated · Oct 16, 2022

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Attention, audiophiles!

If you’re looking for the best equalizer settings, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, you’ll learn how to tweak your player’s equalization to achieve the best sound.

Whether you’re blasting your favorite music from a woofer or mixing tracks with monitor speakers, you’ll find the perfect configuration right here!

But first…

What is an Equalizer?

An equalizer (EQ) is an audio tool that lets you boost, lower, or neutralize certain audio frequencies. Just like a volume fader, it enables you to adjust the loudness of individual frequencies within a single audio source.

Here’s what a standard equalizer looks like:

A standard equalizer shown

In the past, equalizers were controlled using a physical mixing console (mixer). By tuning the faders up and down, you could change the volume for specific frequency ranges.

Remember those three-toned knobs with the treble, middle, and bass labels on them? That’s how sound was regulated back then.

With such tools, achieving the right audio equalizer setting for the best sound required a little more manual and technical work.

Flash forward to today’s digital age, audio manipulation has become way more accessible. That’s because EQs have been integrated into various electronic devices that support audio content.

Those include:

And more!

How Does an Equalizer Work?

An EQ isolates a track’s frequencies and then alters the color of an audio signal. By doing so, the player can yield a unique sound output.

For example, you could make a song sound more bombastic by amping up the bass frequencies. Or you could make the vocals clearer by enhancing the trebles.

An EQ could also modify the tone and timbre of musical instruments like guitars, keyboards, etc. Or remove unwanted sounds in a track, like a faint rumble in the background.

Here’s the thing.

To set perfect equalizer settings, you must first have an adequate understanding of the entire frequency range.

Let’s cover that, shall we?

What are Frequency Ranges?

Frequency ranges (also called bands) are groups of frequencies that cover a specific area in the audio spectrum.

Simply put, this audio variable determines the kind of sound you would get from a particular source. It’s the key aspect you adjust to get the best equalizer settings for voice, music, etc.

For example:

If you have a low-frequency sound, you hear sound waves in the bass range. These usually require more power, so you’ll need bigger speakers to reproduce them. A high-frequency sound, on the other hand, requires less power and smaller speakers.

A typical EQ can work with frequencies of 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz. Audio experts consider that to be the range of human hearing.

To give you a better idea, here’s a breakdown of all the frequency ranges:

  • 20 Hz–60 Hz (Sub-bass)—the lowest sounds humans can hear; in music, usually produced by kick drums, bass guitars, and low synthesizers. You need a nice pair of headphones or speakers to be able to hear them well.
  • 60 Hz–200 Hz (Bass)—filled with warmth and richness, finding the best equalizer settings for these frequencies will give you the most control over the bass range. Many producers like Timbaland amp up these frequencies to make the lower mids on drums pop.
  • 200 Hz–600 Hz (Lower Mids)— Many musical instruments like guitars, pianos, snare drums, and many synths are very audible within this range. Especially important for rock music.
  • 600 Hz–3,000 Hz (Mids)—the range that humans can hear the best. The majority of the sound of vocals is here, so EQing this range represents the perfect equalizer settings to play with if you want to affect someone’s voice.
  • 3,000 Hz–8,000 Hz (Upper Mids)—most audiophiles handle this range with care. It is rarely boosted because these frequencies could potentially cause damage to the ears if made too loud. Plosive sounds like the letters S or P produce peaks in this range that producers often have to reduce during mixing. When done right, though, these frequencies could provide stunning guitar effects or that chime-like, ringing sound, as well as add clarity to vocals.
  • Above 8,000 Hz (Highs)—the highest frequencies within the human hearing range. They are sometimes accented to create a more ambient or atmospheric sound. Sparkling cymbal sounds have this range more or less reserved as far as acoustic instruments are concerned. Synths, of course, can go wherever they want, including in the highs.

Other Common Equalizer Terms

By this time, we’ve established that tweaking a particular setting to equalize for the best sound requires knowledge and skill.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some important EQ terms to help you equalize like a pro.

  • Frequency—the number of times a sound wave is repeated in a time-lapse, usually measured in Hertz (Hz). It represents the audio band or range within the human hearing. Low sounds have lower frequencies, whereas high, piercing noises produce a higher frequency.
  • Decibel (dB)—the unit of measurement for sound intensity or amplitude.
  • Timbre—the tone color or tonal quality of a sound coming from a musical instrument. This is, for example, the difference between a piano and a violin playing the same note.
  • Filters—used to boost, let pass, or lower a specific frequency range. EQ is considered an application of a filter. When using an equalizer for music, a filter can come in three forms—low-pass, high-pass, or band-pass.
  • Gain—the metric that measures the intensity of boosting or cutting a frequency in your EQ. A positive gain indicates a boost, while a negative one represents a cut.
  • Additive EQ—a general technique that involves enhancing audio frequencies.
  • Subtractive EQ—Additive EQ’s counterpart—in this technique, you’re diminishing frequencies out.

Keeping these terms in mind and understanding their effects to sound manipulation is key to equalizing properly.

Best Equalizer Settings

Alright, it’s crunch time.

Now that you’re familiar with all its inner workings, it’s time to execute the correct configurations for your audio setup.

Consider applying these changes to your EQ:

Bass Sound

Bass frequencies lie within the lower range, so that’s the area you want to boost.

Let’s say you’re calibrating your kick drum or bass guitar. Or you’re simply listening to music with great lows like EDM or hip hop. Your bass equalizer settings should look like this:

Bass equalizer settings shown

A 50–100 Hz boost should do the trick!

Voice Recording

What are the best equalizer settings for a clear voice?

Here’s a good example:

Vocal equalizer settings for clear voice shown

Anywhere below 100 Hz won’t do you any favors. So focus on tweaking the areas beyond that. If you want a deeper presence, upping the 800–1,500 Hz range is enough.

To add more clarity to a voice, you can take that up a notch and boost it within 2,000–4,000 Hz or even higher. Use your ears!

Car Audio

Tuning your car stereo will give you a good listening experience as you take long drives.

Typically, the best equalizer settings for car audio are a blend of good bass and just the right amount of highs. Slowly turn up the lowest frequency until you hear a bit of rattling or crackling—that’s where you stop and turn back a little. You don’t want to damage your speakers!

The highs can be very delicate to work with, but as we’ve mentioned, they’re good for creating ambiance. Give the 6,000–10,000 Hz range a kick to create some space within your auto.

Gaming

What games are you into? The best equalizer settings for gaming hugely depend on what you are playing.

If you’re more of an FPS type, it’s important to hear those little details, such as footsteps or movements in your gaming headset. In this case, enhancing the 2,500–4,000 Hz range will keep you alert during your playthrough.

Story-based or RPG players, on the other hand, can deal with the low frequencies for better gameplay. They produce a more atmospheric sound, allowing users to feel the environment they’re in.

Podcast

Podcasters will benefit from added clarity and tonal crispness. Just like the equalizer settings for voice audio, optimizing the range intended for human speech is the way to go.

Remember, though, that frequencies vary from person to person. So if you’re inviting various guests to your podcast setup, consider creating an EQ that caters to such diversity.

You can use the average range for each voice for reference:

  • Adult Male—125 Hz
  • Adult Female—200 Hz
  • Child—250 to 400 Hz

TV Audio

Enhancing your TV sound with equalizer settings will take you to the pinnacle of entertainment. Often, movies and TV shows have unbalanced vocals and background music. They could even have thumpy bass tones or some ear-shattering highs.

How do you fix this?

If you want a fuller bass, start by cutting the higher mid-range frequencies. It’s always better to cut first before boosting to avoid sound distortion.

If you want clearer dialogues, your TV equalizer settings should lean more towards lesser lows and highs. You can also boost the high mids if you need more clarity.

Note that changes should be made gradually. An instant boost, for example, could make the vocals inaudible.

Spotify

Spotify has an Equalizer that lets you tweak the app’s frequencies through presets:

Spotify's Equalizer shown

Depending on the song or podcast you’re listening to, the best equalizer settings for Spotify come pre-installed. It’s the same for most music streaming platforms. Additionally, you can just choose a music genre to optimize the sound.

Music

Now, if you like to do things manually, there are appropriate configurations you can try for various genres of music.

If you’re into Pop, it’s all about the vocals. You need enough room for them to shine, and anywhere between 70 Hz–900 Hz or even 6,000 Hz–12,000 Hz is an excellent place to be. Most pop songs nowadays have rich lows and highs.

Meanwhile, the best equalizer settings for Rap and Hip Hop music lie within the 65 Hz region for that bass kick. The bars are just as important, so consider boosting the 1,000 Hz–2,500 Hz range as well.

Just like Pop, Rock music focuses on the lows and highs for that pure intensity. You can try the classical rock curve, or the smile EQ, to enhance those frequencies. Just follow the path, and you’re good to go!

If you enjoy the mellow vibe of Acoustic covers, the equalizer settings for this music type will include more mids and less bass. Something like this:

Acoustic covers shown

Audio Equalization Tips

Knowing what you can do with an EQ is a valuable trick.

However, things can go wrong if you approach it too aggressively.

So.

Before making EQ adjustments to your tracks, here are some tips to help you achieve the sound you want.

  • Identify what you want to change.

Randomly sliding the tuners will set you up for disaster. Ask yourself—is the audio lacking bass? Boost the lows. Are the vocals too muffled? Focus on the mids. It all comes down to your purpose!

  • Look for the bad frequencies, then cut them.

Finding problematic areas is always a good first move, especially when working with equalizer settings for music.

  • Do it in mono.

This is particularly useful for mixing. By removing space and separation from your audio, you can hear phase issues along the way that would otherwise be difficult to notice. It helps with range allocation, too!

  • Use filters.

Filters can save you from unwanted noises. Say you’re recording a speech and captured a distant sound of a passing truck. You can use a high-pass filter to cut the low end and make the distraction less noticeable.

  • Take advantage of presets.

Most electronic devices and streaming platforms have built-in EQ presets. You don’t have to do it all manually anymore. Simply hit the calibrated Electronic, Pop, Jazz, or Dance equalizer setting!

  • Less is more.

No amount of tweaking can completely transform your audio. For beginners, a 3 dB boost here or a 2 dB cut there is enough to get you started.

Keep in mind that small changes add up as you go. So be careful not to get too heavy-handed with the controls! Remember—ideally, with perfect recordings, perfect speakers, and perfect rooms to put them in, we wouldn’t have to use EQ at all! So treat it as a tool to fix problems rather than trying to completely change the music your favorite artists worked so hard to make!

Wrap Up

Good equalizer settings can genuinely change the way you hear sound.

By playing with certain frequency components in audio, you can achieve the exact kind of listening experience you like.

But remember—there isn’t a one-size-fits-all option.

Whether it’s to hear those clear vocals or bombastic beats, finding a calibration that suits you and your setup is key.

The best equalizer settings will hugely depend on your hearing capacity, playback quality, surroundings, and, most importantly—your intentions.

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Nero Peña

Nero Peña

Nero is an all-around wordsmith with a degree in Communication Arts— not the vicious emperor you might know in history books. He's an avid reader. A frisky writer. A tech enthusiast and occasional binge-watcher. He likes long walks on the beach. Enjoys deep thinking and shallow conversations. Hates ketchup. Panic! At The Disco.

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