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Best Equalizer Settings for Music Genres, Bass, Clarity, and Ideal Sound

Last updated: 8 months ago
8 min read

Do you like a specific music genre or sound signature, but your headphones simply don’t perform how you want? Learn how to elevate your listening experience by using the EQ settings from the article.

We present to you the best equalizer settings for each music genre, increased clarity, bass, and phone calls.

Best EQ settings

First, the basics…

What is an Equalizer (EQ)?

An audio equalizer (or an EQ) is a tool that lets you change the sound by tweaking the loudness of an individual frequency.

Equalizers come in 2-band or up to 31-band configurations (or even higher), with each band representing a different frequency.

EQ equalizing regions
An example of the 31-band equalizer, with numbers representing frequency regions (1-bass, 2-midrange, 3-treble)-

To be precise, when you tweak a band, you tweak a whole frequency group. For example, if you lower 1kHz, you also reduce the loudness of the neighboring frequencies. The further away from the main frequency, the less you reduce them.

Using advanced parametric equalizers (like the one we used in this article), you can select how much of the neighboring audio frequencies you want to tweak by using Q value or EQ filters (low-pass, high shelf, etc.).

You can learn more about how EQ works in our in-depth article.

What are frequency ranges?

Frequency ranges are groups of frequencies with something in common, like affecting the sound in a certain way. The biggest frequency ranges are bass, midrange, and treble.

They also separate into smaller groups:

  • Bass: sub-bass, mid-bass, upper-bass
  • Midrange: Lower midrange, midrange, upper-midrange
  • Treble: lower treble, mid-treble, upper-treble

Here’s a detailed view of frequencies produced by different instruments or vocals:

Drums:

  • 60Hz-150Hz (kick drums)
  • 120Hz-250Hz (snare drums)
  • 100Hz-600Hz (regular toms)
  • 60Hz-110Hz (floor tom)

Cymbals:

  • 400Hz-800Hz (fullness)
  • 6kHz-8kHz (clarity)
  • 12kHz (brightness)

Acoustic guitars:

  • 150Hz-300Hz (fullness)
  • 300Hz-600Hz (warmth)
  • 600Hz-800Hz (attack)
  • 1kHz-3.5kHz (presence)
  • 3.5kHz-12kHz (sparkle)

Electric guitars:

  • 250Hz (warmth)
  • 500Hz (fullness)
  • 1kHz-3kHz (loudness)
  • 3kHz-4kHz (presence)
  • 10kHz (air & sparkle)

Voice:

  • 80Hz-255Hz (main frequency)
  • 200Hz-500Hz (fullness)
  • 125Hz-1kHz (energy)
  • 2kHz-4kHz (s, t, k letters)
  • 4kHz-7kHz (presence)
  • 7kHz-9kHz (sibilance)
  • 9kHz (shimmer)
  • 10kHz-16kHz (air)

Best Equalizer Settings

Now that you know the basics, you understand what tweaking the frequency range does.

To help you out, we’ve made a few equalizer settings you can apply to your everyday listening routine. Of course, feel free to adjust them to better suit your taste. We’ve made these EQ settings using very neutral headphones (TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero:Red), so your headphones might behave differently.

Jump to the best equalizer settings for:

Bass

Bass frequencies lie between 20Hz and 250Hz, so you should focus on this group. However, you should tweak the bass depending on what you want to achieve.

  • Rumble: boost frequencies between 30Hz and 50Hz, preferably the latter. Remember that 20Hz is so low that you feel it rather than hear it, and it isn’t that essential to music, so don’t pay too much attention to it. Also, boosting it too much can lead to distortion.
  • Punch: boost frequencies around 50Hz and 100Hz, preferably around 70Hz. That will increase bass kick intensity, especially drum kick.
  • Warmth or fullness: boosting frequencies between 120Hz and 250Hz should help with hollow-sounding vocals and instruments.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for bass boost:

Best EQ for bass boost

Clear voice

When equalizing for voice, you can either adjust for the main frequencies that work with all genders or focus on a particular one.

  • Main voice frequencies: try boosting frequencies between 800Hz and 3.000Hz to improve voice legibility. This works best for phone calls or listening to podcasts.
  • Female voice: main frequencies of the female voice range from 350Hz to 3.000Hz, but their harmonic frequencies span from 3.000Hz to a staggering 17.000Hz.
  • Male voice: main frequencies of the male voice range from 100Hz to 900Hz, whereas their harmonics span from 900Hz to 8.000Hz.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for voice clarity:

Best EQ for voice

When it comes to music genres, you should amplify their main characteristics.

Pop music

In pop music, you normally get a bass beat, vocals, and a lot of shimmer in the treble. Therefore:

  1. Add some more energy around 60Hz and 100Hz for the punch.
  2. Increase main vocal frequencies between 800Hz and 3.000Hz.
  3. Boost high-frequency sounds above 9.000Hz, preferably between 12.000Hz and 16.000Hz, to add air and shimmer.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for pop music:

Best EQ for pop music

Rock

When it comes to rock (or metal, for that matter), don’t overdo the bass and treble, and especially avoid excessive warmth. Here’s how you EQ for rock:

  1. If you find the current sound a bit muddy, lower frequencies around 250Hz. Adjust the 60Hz-100Hz range to get the amount of punch you want.
  2. Bring up the vocal range between 800Hz-3.000Hz.
  3. If electric guitars seem dull, raise the region around 2.800Hz and 4.000Hz.
  4. If the treble seems too harsh, lower the 8.000Hz-12.000Hz range.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for rock music:

Best EQ for rock music

Hip-hop & rap music

Hip-hop music is very energetic and puts a lot of attention on bass and vocals above anything else. So, these are the two regions you should focus on:

  1. Boost the rumble between 30Hz and 50Hz, as rap music heavily uses sub-bass frequencies.
  2. Raise the 60Hz-100Hz region to amplify the bass kick.
  3. Clear up the vocals by raising 800Hz-3.000Hz region.
  4. Raise the 12.000Hz region a bit to add some air to the sound, which helps elements in music stand out a bit more.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for hip-hop and rap music:

Best EQ for hip-hop and rap music

Electronic music

Electronic music is a mix between pop and techno, so the focus is on all regions. However, not to overwhelm the sound, you should try and stick to a V-shape sound signature:

  1. Boost the bass between 30Hz and 100Hz to add rumble and punch.
  2. Add some energy to frequencies between 100Hz and 200Hz, but not too much to avoid muddiness.
  3. Leave vocals as-is, or slightly boost the 800Hz-3.000Hz region to make them more audible (if they’re too quiet).
  4. Increase the intensity of the 6.000Hz-8.000Hz region if you feel the sound needs more clarity.
  5. Boost the 12.000Hz region to add some brilliance.

An example of good equalizer settings for electronic music:

Best EQ for electronic music

Techno music

Unlike electronic, techno music focuses more on bass and upper regions of the audible frequency spectrum. You should be fine if you stick to a more V-shaped tuning:

  1. Increase frequencies above 50Hz to 200Hz. No need to go further than that to avoid muddiness in the midrange frequencies.
  2. You can leave mid-frequencies alone to keep it as natural as possible. Techno usually lacks vocals and heavy instrumentation apart from the synthesizer.
  3. Elevate the frequencies above 6.000Hz, especially between 8.000Hz and 12.000Hz, to bring out the sparkle and for the horns to cut through.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for techno music:

Best EQ for techno music

Classical music

Classical music involves numerous instruments, all displaying slightly different fundamental and harmonic frequencies, which makes it difficult to suggest a specific tuning.

It’s best to leave your headphones on neutral setting to hear the instrumentation more accurately. You can either leave the sound as-is or read our detailed article on how to EQ your headphones to make them sound more neutral.

Soul music

Soul is a more relaxed music genre, putting vocals and bass instruments up-front, like drums and bass guitars. Here are the ideal EQ settings to spice the soul up:

  1. Raise frequencies between 80Hz and 250Hz to add some warmth and body to a bass guitar. Raise 250Hz a little to avoid getting muddy midrange and losing texture in the bass.
  2. Bring up the vocals by boosting 800Hz and 3.000Hz regions.
  3. Add some sparkle by tweaking frequencies above 6.000Hz.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for soul music:

Best EQ for soul music

Acoustic music

In contrast to soul, acoustic is all about non-electric guitars in various shapes and forms and pianos. It may involve other acoustic instruments, like cajones, but those are exceptions. Here’s the best EQ for acoustic music:

  1. Boost the region between 800Hz and 4.000Hz to bring out the vocals and acoustic guitar presence.
  2. Add some clarity to the string plucks by slightly boosting frequencies above 6.000Hz.

Your equalizer should look similar to this for acoustic music:

Best EQ for acoustic music

All music genres

It’s challenging to make a universal EQ that would work great with all music genres. If you want a consistent performance across the board, making it more neutral is the safest way to go.

Learn how to EQ your headphones to sound more neutral.

However, if your current headphones sound a bit dull and you want to spice the sound up a little, you can go for a slight V-shaped sound signature:

  1. Boost frequencies between 40Hz and 200Hz to add a little rumble, punch, warmth, and body.
  2. Raise frequencies above 8.000Hz, especially above 12.000Hz, to add some sparkle to the mix.
Best universal EQ for all music

In a car

In general, cars generate a lot of noise, like from engine, air drag, tire noise, etc. Furthermore, it also depends on how well the cockpit is insulated against the outside noise.

Also, how much you can EQ relies on the quality of the car’s audio system. Most modern car speakers are pretty capable, but most have a V-shaped tuning.

You also need to remember 2 things before making your EQ:

  • Bass needs to be slightly boosted to compensate for the loss of it while driving (due to external noise).
  • Midrange is also susceptible to getting lost due to outside noise, so you should increase it.
Car infotaiment system EQ
Our car stereo is even more limited with only “bass” and “treble” EQ adjustments.

Now, here are our best equalizer settings for car stereos (you probably only have “bass, mids, treble” controls in your infotainment system):

  1. Play a bassy song and raise the bass until you hear muddiness or distortion. Once you hit that point, lower the bass by a few dB. Now you should have a nice punch during a ride without distortion issues. To further improve the low-end performance, play a song heavy on drums and find a sweet spot where drums don’t sound muffled due to excess bass.
  2. Raise the mid-range frequencies a bit if necessary.
  3. Don’t over-boost the treble to avoid harsh sibilance, which can sound even more aggressive during a ride without strong bass.

Video games

How you want to listen to your video games depends on how you play them: for fun or competitively. Here are the best EQ settings if you play video games for fun:

Antlion Kimura Duo during gaming
Or you can buy dedicated gaming headsets like Antlion Kimura Duo, which are already well-tuned for gaming.
  1. Increase the bass from 30Hz to 200Hz to add rumble and greater impact to in-game effects. You can raise the 250Hz a bit but keep it from pushing it too far to avoid bass bleeding into the midrange.
  2. Boost frequencies between 800Hz and 3.000Hz to make the in-game dialog clearer.
  3. Slightly elevate frequencies above 8.000Hz to add clarity and sharpen up some details that will help with immersion.

On the other hand, here are the best equalizer settings for competitive gamers:

  1. Keep the bass neutral (lower it down if it’s too powerful by default). You only need to hear explosions, not feel them. Also, you want to avoid excessive bass covering details in other frequency regions.
  2. Boost the midrange from 800Hz to 4.000Hz to better hear your teammates in the chat and to sharpen up to opponents’ footsteps.
  3. Raise the 8.000Hz-12.000Hz region a bit to make the sound clearer.
Competitive gaming EQ settings

Can I Make My Voice Clearer During a Phone Call?

Unfortunately, you can’t use EQ settings to improve the clarity of your voice during a phone call. However, there are a few things you can try.

Voice isolation

If you have an iOS device with a firmware version 16.4.1, you can take advantage of the Voice Isolation feature. It uses machine learning tech to isolate your voice from external noise better.

Here’s how you activate the Voice Isolation feature:

  1. Swipe down from the upper-right part of the screen to open Control Center.
  2. Tap on the “Mic Mode” widget and select “Voice Isolation”.

Use an internet-based calling app

Pretty much all smartphones bought in the last 5-6 years support VoLTE (voice over LTE) or even use a Wi-Fi network to make calls. This technology has greatly improved the call quality.

However, to maintain a stable call over long distances, the bitrate is still really low at around 16 kbps, which affects audio quality.

On the other hand, using apps like WhatsApp, Facetime, Discord, etc., the bitrate rises up to 64 kbps. It doesn’t sound much, but it makes an audible difference.

Man on FaceTime iPhone
Using internet-based talking services like FaceTime usually yields better sound quality. Credits: Ben Collins

Therefore, if others often hear you muffled during regular phone calls, try calling them with some of the apps mentioned above.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About EQ Settings

What is the best EQ settings for bass?

The best EQ settings for bass are to boost low frequencies under 250Hz. Focus primarily on frequencies between 50Hz and 100Hz, as they’re responsible for a louder, deeper bass kick and rumble.

How do I set my equalizer to get the best sound?

Set your equalizer to neutral to get the best sound possible. You can learn that in our article on how to EQ headphones. But, since neutral headphones can sound a bit boring, slightly boosting frequencies below 200Hz and above 11.000Hz should make things more fun.

What are the cleanest equalizer settings?

You get the cleanest equalizer settings by boosting frequencies above 6.000Hz. Just don’t overdo it since you can quickly introduce harshness and sibilance into your sound.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you found what you’ve been looking for in our article, and you now enjoy your music much more than before. We tried out each of our EQ settings to ensure they indeed offer a better listening experience.

Of course, our equalizer settings work best with neutral headphones, so you might experience some audio imbalance if you don’t own such headphones.

What kind of EQ audio settings do you use to boost your music enjoyment? Let us know in the comments.

2 Comments
  1. what is the best settings for eq 31 band thank you very much

    Reply

    1. What do you mean for “eq 31 band”? Do you mean a 31-band equalizer?

      It depends on what kind of sound signature you prefer. You can copy the EQ settings in this article into your 31-band EQ.

      Reply

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