Does it sometimes feel like they do not sound quite right whenever you listen to your favorite tunes? For instance, when you listen to the tunes in your car, they sound fine but somehow turn out flat when using your headphones.
If that’s the case, you have to adjust the equalizers of your devices. Now the question here is, what are the best equalizer settings for bass?
First, understand that the equalizer is just a program that allows the user to increase or decrease frequencies. If you have a great speaker setup or quality headphones, the optimal equalizer settings should always be flat and undistorted. However, music appreciation is subjective. That said, you may still find a deficit somewhere in songs that other people find perfect.
Read on to learn more about the best equalizer settings for bass based on your listening preferences and the device you’re listening from.
What Are the Best Equalizer Settings for Bass?
As with tastes in food, music appreciation is also subjective. It does not matter if you listen to music casually or you are a dedicated audiophile. You have listening preferences that are different from others.
Just like when you order food from a restaurant, the chef may think they seasoned the dish just right, but you still prefer to add more pepper. The same goes for audio, and the equalizer provides you with the element of customization you need.
Best Settings Are the Ones That Enables You to Enjoy Music
Keep in mind that you are the only one who knows what sounds good to your ears. You should trust your judgment. With that said, the best bass equalizer settings are the ones that allow you to enjoy your music the most.
When Do You Need to Adjust the Equalizer?
When do you need to adjust the equalizer? Using the audio equalizer is more about filling in a gap than enhancing the sound quality in most cases. Different speaker brands and models have their sound signatures. Some may not be as good as others.
For instance, let’s say your home speaker setup focuses more on the low and high frequencies. In that case, you can increase the mid frequencies to fill in the deficit. Different speakers will require different settings and adjustments of their equalizers. That said, there is no one best equalizer setting that you can just set on all your audio devices.
Trust Your Ear
One way to adjust the equalizer without using a real-time sound analyzer is to trust in what you hear. It also helps to use the same audio test tracks on different devices. This will let you see how much different they will sound.
Best Equalizer Settings for Bass – Why Use an Equalizer?
Audio equipment manufacturers have their own opinions on what their gear should sound like. However, if their ideas don’t mesh with yours, you may use the equalizer, so your equipment makes your preferred sound. In addition, you can adjust the equalizer to compensate for the noises in the environment.
Correct Audio Imperfections
Another reason why you should fiddle with the equalizer settings is to correct any audio imperfections in digital music. These imperfections are the result of the file compression used to make the music files smaller.
Maybe your earphones are a bit too bass-heavy for your tastes. Or, if it does not have enough, the equalizer will help you tweak it a bit. With that, your jams will sound just the way you like them.
What Does an Equalizer Do?
Manipulates Frequencies in Audio Tracks
An equalizer is a device that manipulates frequencies in audio tracks. This was an analog device first used in recording studios before getting into the home stereo systems. Today, aside from the analog ones, there are also digital equalizers or apps you can use.
If you grew up in the 80s or 90s, you are probably aware of the three basic levels of equalization, namely:
- Mid, and
These were the dials that you would usually see in most homes’ stereo systems back then.
They were simple to use. If you wanted the music to thump, you boosted the bass. If you want to hear the cymbals, you adjust the mid and the treble. The same is what you can do if you want the sound to have a bit more clarity.
However, we’ll focus more on the graphical equalizer in this article. A graphical equalizer looks like a graph, hence the name. Here, you can see that the frequencies are on the X-axis and the decibels on the Y-axis.
You will be manipulating sliders that let you adjust the volume of the frequencies. Bass frequencies are on the left, while the midrange is in the middle. The treble frequencies are on the far right.
Tips on How to Use the Equalizer
Now that you have a basic understanding of what an equalizer does, you can start playing around with it. Play any song that you like, pull up your equalizer, and start moving the sliders around. You will find that even a small adjustment can have a huge effect on your listening experience.
To get you started on proper equalizer adjustments, here are a couple of tips:
Decrease the Frequency You Don’t Like
When adjusting the equalizer, the first thing that you should try is to decrease the frequency that you don’t like. Do this instead of increasing the others around it. Turning up too many frequencies at a time will make your music sound muddled.
Shifting down a little bit here and there might be just what you need to do. Do it before you increase the volume of the other frequencies.
Wait to Hear the Results
Another tip is that you should wait a while to hear the results of your adjustments. You might not be in the part of the song where your frequency adjustments have the biggest effect. You also may need to pump up the overall volume to hear the results of the adjustment.
Again, what is the best equalizer setting for bass? The best equalizer setting for bass depends on your preferences. But the optimal setting should make the music flat and undistorted. If this isn’t the case, adjust the equalizer, a program that enables the user to increase or decrease frequencies.
Fine Tuning Your Equalizer
Now that you know what the equalizer is, it is time to learn how to fine-tune your settings. In this section, you will learn which sounds live where in the spectrum of sound.
Take note that the following are just guidelines and not strict rules, so trust your ears. If it sounds good for you despite what’s said in this guide, then that is the correct setting:
1. 20Hz to 50Hz – Sub-bass
This is the sub-bass frequency range. Even though the human ear can technically hear sounds in these frequencies, they are more gut than cerebral. Somewhere in the middle of this frequency range is where your subs will start making eerie sounds.
It is like what you would hear in sci-fi movies. You would typically want to lower the volume of these frequencies instead of adding more. This is necessary if you want to give your music more clarity.
2. 50Hz to 200Hz – Bass
Most hip-hop and R&B tunes typically start with notes at around 60Hz. The deep, thumping bass lines that come out of your subwoofer come from this particular sound range. It also includes the heavy punch coming from the kick drum and the smooth licks from a bass guitar.
Moving up towards the 200Hz range, you will hear the bass lines of acoustic guitars, brass, and string instruments. You will hear low vocals and piano notes as well. If you feel that you are not getting enough bass, you should slightly pump up this frequency.
3. 200Hz to 800Hz – Upper Bass to Lower Midrange
When you go above 200Hz, you will be dealing with the lighter side of the low end of the spectrum. This is the part where you can find most of the sounds of the instruments and vocals. Increasing these values will somewhat improve the lower end of vocals and acoustic guitars.
4. 800Hz to 2kHz – Midrange
You need to be careful when adjusting at this range as it will quickly change the sound. If possible, do not touch these sliders. However, if you want to take out the “brittle” sounds of the instruments, you can tune them down a bit. If you turn these frequencies up too much, your music will sound tiny.
5. 2kHz to 4kHz – Upper Mids
This is the range where your ears focus on the most. Making any adjustment here can affect the sounds of higher instrumentation quickly. If you want a bit more clarity to the vocals, this is what you need to increase. However, you should do so carefully.
6. 4kHz to 7kHz – Presence or Sibilance Register
Commonly called the presence zone, this range includes the highest pitches produced by natural instruments. If you increase the lower end of this range, you can make the music sound more forward.
It would be like the source is moving closer to your ears and vice-versa. The higher end of this spectrum are frequencies responsible for the sibilance or the sharp hissing sounds in vocals.
7. 7kHz to 12kHz – Brilliance or Sparkle Register
You can improve sound vibrancy and clarity by adjusting the levels at the lower end of this range. It also increases the purity of the sound. You can decrease this range when you feel like the sounds are somewhat too sharp. You may also do the same if it hurts your ears when listening for too long.
On the higher end of this range of frequencies are the sounds that can you can barely hear. However, you can still “feel” that they are there, like the “sparkling” resonance produced by the crashing of cymbals.
8. 12kHz to 16kHz – Open-Air
At this range of frequencies, the adjustments are more subjective and are relatively unnoticeable. The bottom range can still affect the higher overtones of sounds, like the synth effects common in electronic music. At the higher end, it gives your music a more open sound.
Even seasoned audiophiles would advise you not to bother with the frequencies 14kHz and up. The reason is that many people, especially the older ones, won’t hear sounds at these frequencies at all.
The equalizer is not just for increasing the bass of your favorite music. You can do all sorts of things just by pushing the sliders down or up. Now that you have a general idea about which sliders affect which sounds, you can fine-tune your listening experience.
Conclusion – Best Equalizer Settings for Bass
The equalizer is only an instrument or application that allows users to increase or decrease different sound frequencies. If you have an excellent home stereo system or quality headphones, you can leave the equalizer flat and still get enough bass from the music alone.
However, since music appreciation is subjective, you may find a deficit in certain songs that other people overlook. You can then adjust the equalizer to fix that problem.
Now that you learned about the different frequency ranges and the sounds they affect, you can start tweaking your equalizer. That way, you can improve your listening experience as the music will sound just the way you like it.