Many buy headphones based on their sound signature. However, sometimes the default tuning lacks a bit of bass boost. That’s when you need an equalizer.
How To Boost a Bass On a Windows PC?
We will show you how to quickly change the sound of your headphones inside Windows 10 (you can do the same on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1).
Usually, the Windows already comes with a built-in EQ that is a part of your sound card driver. You can access it with a few clicks.
Equalize With the Audio Driver Settings on Your Windows PC
- First, in Windows 10, you have to find a “volume” icon on the lower left side of your screen.
- Right-click and select “Open volume mixer.”
- Go over the speaker image and press a left mouse click.
A new window, “Speaker Properties,” should open. Click on the “Enhancements” tab.
At this point, you might have a slightly different menu than others. That’s because computer manufacturers use different sound cards and audio drivers.
Some users might have the “Bass Boost” option, but we have “Enable Sound Equalizer” in our case. On our laptop, it only says “Equalizer.”
At this point, all you need to do is:
Check the box with “Enable Sound Equalizer” and click on “More Settings” button under “Enhancements Properties.”
In the equalizer window, you can tweak all the frequency ranges, from sub-bass to upper treble. You can do the same for both PC speakers or headphones.
In the end, you press the “Exit” and “Apply” button afterwards.
If your audio driver only has “Bass Boost,” you can only boost the bass settings. If you also wanted to boost the treble and midrange, you’ll have to download a dedicated desktop app for sound settings. More on that down below.
Of course, every audio player also comes with graphical user interface EQ, but is usually a mixed bag (worse dynamics).
Does EQ Affect the Quality?
Bear in mind that these EQs aren’t the best as they can lower the sound quality. They muddy the audio and remove original dynamics.
Also, not all headphones are happy with equalization. Some can handle it just fine, whereas some start to distort.
Often the key is not to overdo it. Make subtle changes until you start noticing a degradation of sound. Small tweaks shouldn’t cause any problems, whereas cranking a frequency to the max will always cause distortion.
Should You Update Audio Drivers?
Usually, you don’t have to. Drivers are automatically installed during Windows installation. Also, companies tend to issue very few firmware updates, sometimes none whatsoever.
If you still want to be sure that you have the latest drivers, repeat the first 3 steps from above:
- Right-click on the speaker icon, “Open volume mixer,” and a left click on the speaker image.
- In the General tab, click “Properties” button under “Controller Information.” A new window should open.
- In the General tab, click on “Change settings,” which will give you admin access.
- Then choose the “Driver” tab and click “Update Driver.”
- Select “Search automatically for drivers” and let your computer find the latest original drivers.
That is the quickest way of updating your audio card drivers. Of course, you can dig deep into the Device Manager settings to find your sound card’s name and then go to the internet to find drivers manually.
However, we only advise that option for those who know how to handle computers. You might end up corrupting your audio driver if you don’t find the correct ones.
The Best Equalizers For PC
As mentioned before, if you only have the “Bass Boost” option in your audio driver settings, but you want more than just to boost the bass setting, a dedicated app is a way to go.
There are many equalizers to choose from, from essential to professional ones. The good thing about them is that they usually offer a higher number of frequency bands that you can change. With that, you can more accurately tweak specific frequencies.
Here are some excellent EQ apps that you can get for free or for trial.
An open-source graphic bass-treble booster that is both intuitive to use and light on processing requirements.
When boosting specific frequency ranges too much, you’ll get red areas. That way, you can locate a problem if the sound gets too distorted.
With Equalizer APO, apart from EQ options, you can also boost the overall loudness of your headphones.
This is a very straightforward solution for equalizing your sound. The user interface gives all the necessary information to give your sound a quick boost.
Playing with sliders like “clarity,” “ambiance,” and “dynamic boost” will give a more powerful, punchy sound with a good bass boost that makes the audio experience more alive.
Sadly, there aren’t as many frequency bands as with APO.
The interface is very laggy, but it doesn’t eat up too many system resources, which is why you’ll forget it’s running in the background.
There are many different kinds of Boom app, even a dedicated one for mobile. However, for PC purposes, you need to download Boom 3D one.
There is a lot you can do inside this app. Apart from boosting virtual surround sound, you can use the app’s built-in 31-band equalizer to finely tune the audio.
You can also use it as a music player or to have fun with up to 20,000 different radio stations worldwide.
Sadly, you can’t keep it forever. There’s a trial period, after which you need to pay around $10 to get the full version.
Bongiovi DPS is a cool app that lets you boost the 3D experience, as well as makes a specific model of headphones sound better. You can do that with built-in sound profiles.
However, you only get sound profiles and not a fully customizable equalizer.
Digital vs. Analog EQ: What’s Better and Should You Care?
This debate has been going on for many years, much like digital vs. analog audio. In reality, both have their own pros and cons.
+ uses passive electronic components like capacitors and inductors
+ sounds more natural and organic
+ can only boost a range of frequencies
+ better for adding special touch to the final mix
– analog EQs are usually heavy and expensive
+ uses active electronic components to create a feedback loop to boost a frequency
+ sounds more analytical
+ can boost a very specific frequency
+ better for critical mixing work
+ since it’s software, you don’t need expensive equipment
– can sound too clean and artificial
Of course, that only matters for professionals. For casual use, software solutions are the way to go. They’re free most of the time and offer a high level of customizability.
Digital equalizers were indeed pretty bad for quite some time, trying to mimic analog magic but failing miserably. However, in the past few years, these two technologies became better.
Nowadays, many sound engineers use both analog and digital EQs for studio mastering since both add something to the sound quality.
Digital equalizers are perfect for precise tuning. It’s challenging for an analog equalizer to boost or reduce a specific frequency, like digital software can do.
That is why they became a must-have in many sound studios around the world.
Analog equalizers are still used for adding fines to the sound, a specific coloration, or audio effects.