Have you ever asked yourself “what are the best equalizer settings?” after diving deep into the audio settings of your favorite music device trying to understand how it works or trying to discover if there’s a magical configuration that gives you the best sound for your money no matter what speakers you’re rocking?
Well, you’re not alone.
In this article, we’ll help you understand a few things to help you find the perfect setup for your speakers and genres of music. Because no, there isn’t a perfect equalizer setting for everybody no matter what other people think. The best settings depend on your hearing capabilities, the quality of your speakers, and even the type of music your listening to.
But first of all, let’s go over the basics as you will need to know this information to keep up with the rest of the article.
What’s an Equalizer (EQ)?
An equalizer is a processor that allows you to boost or decrease certain frequency ranges to modify or enhance the sound quality. It usually works with frequencies between 20 Hz up to 20,000 Hz, which are theoretically the frequencies humans can hear, although in reality our range could be decreased by age and other factors.
Decades ago, equalizers were managed via a physical console were you could tune up and down levers to adjust your settings, but since most audio is consumed in a digital way nowadays, equalizers have been implemented in most devices such as computers, smartphones, etc. to allow you to adjust your audio settings and get the most out of your speakers.
You can also find equalizers in most stereo sound systems, Blu Rays, Smart TVs, Car stereos, etc. An example of a digital equalizer is shown below:
What are frequency ranges?
Frequency in “audio” terms is the number of times a wave repeats itself in a lapse of time. To put it simply, if you have a low-frequency sound, you’ll hear waves in the bass or sub-bass range. Low-frequency sounds require more power and bigger speakers, while higher frequency sounds require less power and smaller speakers.
That’s why you always see small speakers around your surround sound but a huge bass speaker to give some punch.
Here is a breakdown of the frequencies:
- 20 Hz – 60 Hz: Super low frequencies on the EQ. Only sub-bass and kick drums reproduce these frequencies and you need a subwoofer to hear them, or a good pair of headphones.
- 60 Hz to 200 Hz: Low frequencies requiring a bass or lower drums to be reproduced.
- 200 Hz to 600 Hz: Low mid-range frequencies. If you play the lower end of many musical instruments such as guitars or a piano you’ll hear this range of frequencies.
- 600 Hz – 3,000 Hz: Mid-range frequencies. This is the range we are used to hearing and also vocal sounds are located in this range. Most instruments such as guitars and pianos are played in this range.
- 3,000 Hz – 8,000 Hz: Upper mid-range frequencies. This is played in the upper range of instruments such as guitars or violins. It’s a spectrum where you can enjoy the music if done well, but many times it can be very annoying too.
- 8,000 Hz and above: Theoretically we can hear up to 20,000 Hz, yet most humans have limited hearing capabilities due to age and other factors. We need trebles to reproduce these high-frequency sounds.
Now that you understand the frequency ranges you’ll be able to see an equalizer and understand how it works and test some settings yourself.
It’s important to understand that usually, equalizers are set flat so you can hear the sound as it was originally recorded. However, you can always improve your audio experience by tweaking the settings according to the genres of music you’re listening at the moment and also according to your speaker’s capabilities.
Here are some examples of the best settings according to some popular music genres:
Best Equalizer settings for Acoustic music
If you love hearing acoustic versions or just enjoy the love of instruments without tons of bass or digitally modified sounds, this is a good way to set up your equalizer:
You’re going to be pumping just a bit the bass frequencies and also the mid and higher mid frequencies, which works perfectly to boost people’s voices and also the sound of most acoustic instruments without going overboard.
Best equalizer settings for Electronic music
If you love electronic music you know the bass is super important, and since many times it doesn’t focus on vocals you want to get the most out of digital sounds in the high ranges, which is why you can test a setting like this one and tweak it to your needs:
Best equalizer settings for Latin music
Latin music is all about bass and trebles, with strong vocals that normally don’t require to be boosted more. Check out this configuration and test if you like it:
Best equalizer settings for Piano and Classical music
If you love to hear Chopin, Beethoven, and other classic music authors, most of the sounds come from instruments such as piano, violins, acoustic guitars, or a full orchestra. Try these EQ settings to get the most out of it:
Best equalizer settings for Pop music
Pop is mostly about vocals and mid-range sounds. We’re going to boost the mid-range frequencies more than anything else and also a boost a bit the low-mid and high-mid frequencies as shown in this image:
Best equalizer settings for Rock music
Rock is one of the top genres and it focuses a lot on low-frequency sounds as well as high-frequency sounds made by electric guitars, etc. Test these EQ settings (classical Rock curve) that pretty much elevate everything besides the mid frequencies and enjoy your Rock songs like there’s no tomorrow:
Best equalizer settings for bass
Bass isn’t a music genre, yet a ton of people are looking for this as they just want to max out the punch sound of their bass. If you understand the frequency ranges correctly, you’ll end up with something like this:
Basically, you’re maxing out the lower frequencies up to 500 Hz and then leaving everything else flat. While I recommend using some of the other settings according to the genre, some people just want to maximize their bass and this is what works.
Keep in mind though, for this or any other settings to work and actually increase the bass of your music, you’ll need a decent woofer or subwoofer to reproduce the sound.
There you go. There are many other settings you can try to get better sound out of your music device. In general, you can get started with any of those presets and then tweak it accordingly.
Make sure you reproduce some music while tuning your equalizer as you will immediately see the difference when you apply the changes. From there, you can tweak up and down each frequency range and see what sounds better for you, because as we’ve said before, music is personal and what sounds best for you might not be the best for your friends.
Also, keep in mind your speakers are a very important part of this. You need a good speaker set up like a soundbar or a surround sound setup, or at least a decent pair of headphones to be able to make the most out of an equalizer. If you try to boost some frequencies in a cheap laptop with integrated speakers you’ll only get cracks and audio distortion.
Once you learn what works better for your setup and your ears, you’ll discover more sounds in your songs that perhaps you never heard before, and you’ll enjoy your music even more with the best equalizer settings for your favorite genres.