Your good old car stereo is a lot more versatile than you think -- you just don’t know how to use it.
Mind you, it’s not complicated. Tinkering with your EQ settings to achieve the Best Equalizer Settings might look like rocket science at first glance, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think.
What is Equalization?
First things first, Let us understand what is equalization?
In music terms, equalization lets you adjust audio. The best equalizer settings lets you modify the volume of a particular frequency range. Doing so lets you adjust the sound of various instruments playing in an audio track.
So, for example, if you’re listening to heavy-bass music but you don’t really feel it while inside your car, you can tweak the bass settings to improve audio clarity and volume.
In a typical car stereo, you can usually adjust the bass, tenor, and other various instruments. Although three might not sound like much, it’s plenty enough. In fact, knowing how to tweak these three broad ranges alone properly can do wonders in terms of improving the audio quality of music played inside your car.
Why Do You Need to Equalize?
Well, why not?
The best equalizer settings can mean the difference between bland, plain sound and listening to the kind of music that you’ve always been looking for. The more precise the settings, the better the audio quality. If you’re good enough (and if your car stereo and audio system is capable), you can make the audio sound like it’s literally being played in front of you.
Whether you prefer more bass or a more refined experience, knowing the best equalizer settings can give you exactly what you want.
What is the Best Equalizer Settings for the Best Sound?
But what exactly are the best equalizer settings? Is there even such a thing as the best equalizer settings? Or, is the best equalizer settings more of a case-to-case basis and dependent on personal preferences?
Well, to answer that question, yes, there is such a thing as best equalizer settings.
To achieve that, you have to understand the basics first. For starters, percussion and high-pitched instruments or vocals are usually the highest frequencies. Meanwhile, the lowest frequencies are the bass and instruments like the harp that produce deeper sound. Finally, the mids are mostly dependent on how deep your equalizer can go and how many bands it has.
In general, there’s no best equalizer settings for everybody -- music preference is very personal.
As a rule of thumb though, the best equalizer settings would be the one that transforms the audio in your car to feel like you’re attending a concert. Even if you have untrained ears, you can tell. Just close your eyes and try to feel the music. If you don’t feel the instruments playing in front of you (or behind you), then you’ll want to adjust the equalizer settings until you do.
In the end, it’s all about experimentation and your willingness to try.
Don’t worry. You won’t really damage your car’s audio system as long as it’s properly installed. Tweaking your equalizer settings would be just like adjusting your car’s thermostat.
How to Step Up Your Car to Have the Best Equalizer Settings
Check Speaker Phasing
The idea here is to make sure that your car speakers are all moving in the same direction. This is especially important if you recently had a new car audio system installed. But even if you didn’t, it might be worth checking to see if something’s wrong.
A good way to tell is to listen to bass-heavy music while setting your stereo’s balance control all the way to the other side. Then, after you do this, try listening to the same music with the balance control returned to the center. There should be a significant difference in bass between the two. But if there aren’t, your speakers would need to be checked.
Do the same for your car’s subwoofer system as well.
Set the Equalizer Flat
Now that you know that all of your car’s audio speakers and subwoofers are phased properly, it’s time to tune them.
First start with the stereo’s equalizer settings. Set it flat. This means setting all tone controls to zero without engaging an EQ curve. Turn off the subwoofer as well. Once you’ve done all of this, play your favourite song or something familiar, but don’t crank up the volume. Instead, work on slowly increasing the subwoofer output or bass output until the bass kicks but not so much that it muddies the rest of the audio.
If the bass sounds like it’s coming from behind you, you’ll want to decrease the bass output until it feels like it’s coming from front of you.
Time for some fine tuning
For a more refined audio experience, try to see if your stereo system has a “fade control” feature. If it does, tune it until the sound comes from the front, not from the back. After doing this, do the same to the left-right balance.
Take note of these settings, because it’s important.
Once you’re satisfied with the sound, do the opposite and tune the fade and adjust the left-right balance until the audio sounds like it’s coming from behind you. Take note of these settings as well.
Try comparing both settings to see if they’re the same. If they are, great. But most of the time, they won’t be the same.
If this is the case for you, you’ll now have to find a sweet spot between both settings. This way, you have sound coming from the front and the back, making for a more complete sound from your car’s entire audio system.
While you want the sound to feel like it’s coming from front of you, it should also have some depth.
A good rule to follow is that bass should be rich but not loud enough to distort the idea; the mid-range frequencies should feel smooth; the high frequencies should be clear without hurting your ears.
Even though it’s different for everyone, your goal when looking for the best equalizer settings is clarity and smooth audio.
Things to Consider When Setting Up Equalizer Settings
Consider adding tweeters to your set-up
For better high-frequency clarity, try adding tweeters to your car’s audio set-up. Car tweeters help add clarity to the higher sound frequencies in music.
Of course, these need tuning as well. You can start by having them face towards your ears. Then, you can slowly adjust the positioning of the tweeters until you hit the right spot to satisfy your audio needs. For example, bringing your tweeters close to the front can help improve the loudness of high frequencies.
Remember, as mentioned earlier, high frequencies should feature clarity without sounding annoying.
Adjust the rear speakers
Rear speakers are there for support. They’re not there to be noticed. They’re simply to help add some depth to your car’s audio system. However, you might still want to tinker around with their audio settings.
Even though you probably don’t think that you hear your rear speakers enough for it to make a difference, the right settings can help add some much-needed depth.
Invest in a noise dampener
Noise dampeners are extremely useful when you find yourself hearing an annoying “rattling” sound whenever you try to turn the volume up or you hit a bump on the road.
Having noise dampeners installed can help get rid of the unwanted noise from your speakers.
Time for an Upgrade
Sometimes, even when you find the best equalizer settings for your car, it still might not satisfy you. In these cases, you’ll want to consider upgrading your car’s speakers for a much-better audio experience.
A good example is to replace full-range speakers with better mid-range speakers.
If you do this and the speakers are properly installed, you can enjoy softer sounds and richer music compared to using your previous full-range speakers. But if you like listening to bass-heavy music, you might want to consider installing a subwoofer or upgrading to a better one.
Bass blockers for smaller speakers
If your car’s audio system is small and the bass tends to muddy the audio regardless of what you do, bass blockers can help filter some of the lower frequency audio and improve audio clarity.
The pursuit of the best equalizer settings is never-ending. You might feel satisfied now, but who’s to say that you’ll feel the same tomorrow? There’s a huge chance that you’ll get used to the improved audio clarity eventually and start looking for something “better”.
In these cases, a good rule to follow is to invest in the long-term, not the short-term.
Spending more and thinking ahead can save you a lot of time, money, and effort, when you’re building and upgrading your car’s default audio system.
But first things first, you have to know how to tweak your car stereo’s equalizer settings first.
Thanks to our guide, you now know the basics. Now, all you have to do is to be willing to tinker around so you can start looking for the best equalizer settings for your car’s audio system on your own.