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How to Increase Bass in Headphones in 9 Simple Steps

Last updated: 5 months ago
11 min read

It is scientifically proven by the University of California and the University of Jyväskylä that people find pleasure in listening to music with loud bass, increasing the production of endorphin, the happiness hormone.

In this article, we’ll show you how to boost bass on your headphones on:

Boost bass on headphones EQ

How to Boost Bass in Headphones with Android

Boosting the bass on your Android smartphone is DIFFERENT between wireless and wired headphones.

Many wireless headphones come with a companion app, which contains a custom equalizer or EQ presets. Here’s a beginner how-to-equalize guide.

On the other hand, to boost the bass on wired headphones, your only way is to use a third-party hardware or software-based equalizer.

Jump to boosting bass on wired headphones with third-party:

Equalizers give you greater control over how much bass boost you want and which frequencies to boost. Let’s first cover software-based amplifiers.

Note: If you’re a fan of low-end, you should check the best bass headphones and bass earbuds that come with powerful punch out of the box.

Use smartphone equalizers

Some smartphones have a dedicated equalizer with multi-band EQ, EQ presets, or both. A good thing about them is that they apply the EQ to all apps, from music players to YouTube.

This is how you access the default equalizer on a Samsung smartphone:

  1. Open a notification bar and tap on the gear-looking icon in the top-right corner to go into “Settings” (or find the “Settings” in the app drawer).
  1. Go into “Sound and vibrations.”
Samsung EQ
  1. Scroll down and tap on “Sound quality and effects.”
  1. Open the “Equalizer.”
  1. Pick the “Custom” and change the low frequencies to your taste.
Samsung EQ

However, speaking from personal experience, these equalizers are often a mixed bag. They significantly change the sound’s volume and lower the audio quality.

Music player equalizers

Many music player apps have their own equalizer settings. However, some are better than others, as the bad ones like to change the volume of your music.

Furthermore, adjusting EQ inside a music player app will only apply the sound settings to the player, not to other apps like Netflix, YouTube, etc.

Also, they require you to store your music locally on your phone, which is something few people do. Based on statistics, most use music streaming services or YouTube.

Finding a third-party equalizer app is a must.

Nonetheless, if you store your music locally and only want to enhance bass quality of your music and leave other apps alone, we highly recommend this music player:

Musicolet Music Player

Link to Google Play Store

This is a free music player with tons of widgets that could be overwhelming for a simple user. But don’t worry, all you have to do is to:

  1. Tap on the 3 little dots in the bottom left and select “Equalizer.”
  1. Make sure to enable the source to start adjusting bass. You can select how many bands you want to fine-tune your sound.
  1. You can also go to the second widget and adjust the “Bass boost” slider.
Musicolet app

Third-party equalizers for Android

Here are all the apps that we tested and that work flawlessly on Android smartphones:

Flat Equalizer – Bass Booster

Link to the Google Play Store

This is a simple app with glaring reviews and ratings, the highest in the Google Play store.

The EQ changes apply to all apps, from music players to YouTube.

The app lets you boost bass either by:

  • Tweaking 10-band equalizer
  • Selecting EQ presets
  • Enabling the Bass Boost feature and adjusting the intensity of the boost
Equalizer app

SpotiQ Ten – Equalizer Booster

Link to the Google Play Store

Free of charge audio equalizer with a simple user interface that doesn’t change the sound quality too much.

What is most important is that it works with music players and with YouTube.

It offers:

  • 10-band equalizer
  • EQ presets
  • Compressor (PRO version only)

Wavelet: headphone specific EQ

Link to the Google Play Store

Another free EQ app that doesn’t shower you with ads.

However, EQ only works with music player apps and not when watching YouTube.

The app offers:

  • A 9-band graphic equalizer
  • Auto EQ
  • EQ presets
Wavelet app

How to Boost Bass on Headphones With an iPhone

The iOS ecosystem is limited regarding freely accessible audio equalizers.

All equalizers are integrated with a music player. You have to store your music locally or in the cloud (iCloud, Google Drive). That isn’t ideal since most people use music streaming services or YouTube to listen to music.

Moreover, most are locked behind a paywall with high subscription fees ($10 or more per month).

Your best solution is to use an equalizer provided by a music player/streaming service that you use.

Before we go into details, here’s an article on how you boost bass on AirPods.

Here are the steps for Spotify

This is how you enable equalizer on Spotify:

  1. On your home page, click on the gear-looking icon in the upper right corner.
  1. Tap on “Playback.”
Spotify EQ
  1. On the bottom, you tap on the “Equalizer.”
  1. Make sure to enable it and tweak the 60Hz band or try out some of their EQ presets.
Spotify EQ

Here are the steps for Apple Music

Apple Music also supports equalization but only through presets.

To access them, you have to:

  1. Open “Settings” and scroll down the menu on the left to find “Music.” Tap on it.
Apple Music EQ
  1. On the right side, under audio, you will see “EQ.”
  1. In there, find a preset that works best for you.
Apple Music EQ

Unfortunately, these bass settings only apply to Apple Music and no other apps, like YouTube or other streaming services.

How to Increase Bass on Headphones Connected to a Windows PC?

Like with Android smartphones, Windows computers also offer different methods to boost bass.

You either boost it by:

  • Using an equalizer built into a music player
  • Using an equalizer provided with your audio drivers
  • Downloading a third-party equalizer

When using the first option, you will only boost bass of the songs played via the music player.

On the other hand, using the last two options will change the sound in all applications.

Boost bass by using audio drivers

Every device with an audio output has an audio chip that needs drivers to run it. Usually, these drivers have a few user-adjustable options, like an equalizer.

However, your experience may vary since my HP laptop running Windows 11 has no built-in equalizer.

This is how you boost the bass using Windows 10:

  1. On your desktop, right-click on the speaker icon in the bottom-right corner (next to a date and time) and select “Open volume mixer.”
Open volume mixer
  1. Left-click on the tiny speaker image labeled “Speaker” to access Speaker Properties.
Speaker icon
  1. In the “Enhancements” tab, enable an equalizer option (in my case, it’s called Sound Equalizer).
Enhancement tab
  1. When enabled, click on “More Settings” below.
Sound equalizer
  1. An equalizer window should appear.
Equalizer

We went into more detail in our article on how to boost bass on a computer.

In there, you will also find the best third-party solutions to boost the bass.

How to Increase Bass on Headphones with a Mac?

MacOS is a bit more flexible with available apps than iOS but still less than Windows. However, at least you have options for simple and free third-party solutions.

However, some apps (like Audio Hijack) require you to lower system security requirements before installation. We didn’t include those apps in this article.

That said, if you’re using an Apple Music player on your Mac, the latter already has a good audio 10-band equalizer.

Here is how you access the Apple Music equalizer:

  1. When in Apple Music, click on the “Window” tab on top of the screen.
  1. Find “Equalizer” and click on it.

Note that this will only change the sound of music played via the Apple Music app and not when using other apps.

Best third-party solutions for Mac

eqMac

Link to the official eqMac website

This app is by far the best and simplest to use on your Mac. It offers a Pro version, but you can calmly use it for free and still get simple EQ options.

We tested it to work across different audio apps and when using wireless headphones.

The app offers:

  • Bass, Mid, and Treble boosters
  • 10-band equalizer
  • EQ presets
  • App mixer
  • Spatial Audio tweaker
eqMac for MAC

Boom 2

Link to the official Boom 2 website

This app is similar to Boom 3D but focuses more on audio tuning rather than virtual surround effects.

When you open it for the first time, it will try to tune your speakers with the help of a microphone. So be ready to listen to some weird sweeping noises.

However, once you get into the app, you can manually select the audio output you want to tweak and use built-in EQ to boost bass.

Just be aware that the app has a 7-day trial, after which you have to pay $13 for half a year, $18.2 per year, or $44.2 for a lifetime license.

The app offers:

  • 31-band equalizer
  • Speaker tuning
  • Remote sound control panel via mobile app
  • Soundstage booster
Boom 2 for Mac

How to Use Equalization (EQ) for Best Bass Boost?

Here’s the thing: any frequency you boost too much will eventually result in sound distortion.

That is especially true for lower frequencies requiring more power to produce. And the more speaker vibrates, the greater the chance it produces crackling and distorted noise.

Follow these few steps to ensure your bass enhancement doesn’t affect sound quality.

Pick a good audio equalizer

Signs of a bad equalizer:

  • Equalizer muddies the sound as soon as you start making changes
  • You can hear how the volume drops
  • The music becomes less dynamic (lively)

Signs of a good equalizer:

  • Equalization doesn’t affect the volume
  • Only boosts or reduces the wanted frequency
  • Sound retains its dynamic, lively sound even after applying EQ

Be rational when boosting bass

While you might want to change your headphones into a subwoofer, the truth is not all headphones respond well to equalization.

That means that some start distorting sooner than others. If your headphones are tuned to sound neutral, you can be sure they will never sound like bass monsters.

Flat Equalizer app
Lifting the bass frequencies to the max distorts the sound, so keep them under max levels.

When applying bass boost, do it gradually:

  • Do a few listening tests with bass-heavy music. That way, you’ll see how your headphones handle louder bass.

Some headphones already have bass boosters

Some wireless (and even wired) headphones have built-in EQ presets or Bass Boost modes.

To name a few headphones with bass boosters:

However, apart from the Anker Soundcore Life A1, these headphones are quite bassy by default. As a result, switching into “bass mode” produces so much bass they start to distort.

OneOdio A11 physical controls
A circular button (under the – button) on OneOdio A11 enables the “SuperEQ” feature, which is basically a bass boost.

We have yet to see headphones with good Bass Boost mode. A kind that would boost bass tastefully, making the sound fuller and punchier without completely masking other frequencies.

Can too much bass boost hurt your headphones?

Too much bass can hurt your wired headphones if you leave them boosted for too long and risk burning out the drivers.

But wireless Bluetooth headphones can’t be damaged by bass boost thanks to built-in DSP (digital signal processing) that protects the headphones from burning out. Consequently, it will lower the volume every time a bass gets too intense.

How to Use an External Amplifier to Boost Bass on Headphones

If you use wired headphones, you can boost bass with an external amplifier in 2 ways:

  • Together with an equalizer app
  • Or by getting an amp that has a dedicated “Bass Boost” feature (button or a knob)

However, you will have to invest in a separate headphone amplifier or DAC (digital-to-analog converter).

Together with an EQ app

  1. By using some of the apps mentioned in the article above (for Android, iPhone, PC, or Mac), you boost the bass.
  2. Then you plug the amp into your system of choice and plug your headphones into the amp.

Using a dedicated Bass Boost feature

  1. First, inspect if your headphone amp has a Bass Boost feature. It normally comes in the form of a switch (ON, OFF) or a knob (to regulate the bass boost quantity).
  2. Turn on the switch or rotate the knob to make the bass louder.

Why use a headphone amplifier?

Headphone amplifier makes the sound more controlled and more detailed across the entire frequency spectrum.

Amplifiers are more than just about the loudness. A weak, low-quality amplifier can make the bass sound sloppy, especially when you try boosting it.

While amplification built into your computer is decent, it might not handle bass boosting that well. That’s why it’s better to use an amp for better results.

What is a DAC?

Music (unless you’re listening to vinyl records) is stored digitally in a sequence of 1’s and 0’s.

Since headphones only understand an analog signal, you need a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to translate those numbers into a signal that your headphones can play.

Headphones DAC
A headphone DAC doesn’t amplify the loudness of the sound.

However, low-quality DACs can introduce background noise in the sound due to internal and external electrical interferences.

That’s why it’s often better to have a DAC away from other electronics to avoid unwanted interference. Like sitting on your desk.

Different types of headphone amplifiers

Headphone amplifiers separate based on how you use them (portable or desktop) and what kind of audio source they accept (analog amp or DAC/amp combo).

Portable

Portable headphone amps are pocket-size devices meant to be used on the go. They’re battery-powered and have either a digital input (connect via USB-C or Lightning) or a wireless receiver (connect via Bluetooth).

Strauss & Wagner EM205 with an amp
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB amp/DAC comes in a size of a regular USB flash drive.

Desktop

Desktop headphone amps can range from pretty small to almost shoebox-sized. They’re generally AC-powered, although some use only a USB port. Desktop solutions are more powerful and offer better sound quality than portable solutions.

Analog

Analog headphone amplifiers only take the signal and amplify it. Sound and bass quality is based on the quality of the amp’s components. You usually plug it into your computer’s AUX port or an external DAC.

Headphones analog amp
An analog amplifier has 2 RCA or 1 LINE input on the back.

DAC/amp combo

With DAC/amp combo, you relocate all the sound processing and amplification away from internal interferences. The more expensive these combos get, the better the circuitry and output selection, from unbalanced to balanced ports.

Headphones amp DAC
A desktop setup of a DAC (below) and an amp (on top).

Other Methods of Enhancing Bass

Apart from using software equalizers that only work with specific apps or devices or buying expensive external amplifiers, you can also try out some more budget-friendly solutions.

Change earpads on your headphones

New earpads

If your headphones are around 2 years old and you wear them regularly, chances are earpads got a bit stiff.

Consequently, they don’t provide an equally good seal as brand new, affecting the bass performance.

Dirty velour earpads
Dirty and worn-off earpads that lost their shape no longer ensure optimal sound quality.

Leather earpads

Furthermore, velour earpads (or from any other similar fabric) are soft and comfortable to wear, but they aren’t the best if you want more bass output. 

Try finding leather earpads for your headphone model to help your boost bass. Just be aware that you might change how your entire headphones sound, not just the bass. Try finding some forum discussions about how changing earpads affects the sound of your headphones.

Sony WH-CH710N earpads comparison
Leather earpads create a more airtight seal around your ears, preventing the bass from “escaping.”

Switch ear tips on your in-ear headphones

Foam ear tips

It’s known among in-ear headphone users that foam ear tips boost the bass while smoothing out the treble.

Therefore, if you currently use silicone ear tips, try to find foam ones that suit your model (try brands like Comply or InAirs).

However, note that the overall sound will change slightly. Also, you must change foam ear tips at least every 6 months since they get stiff and possibly dirty.

Squeezed foam tip
Foam ear tips can squeeze and better contour your ear canal’s shape.

Avoid buying open-back headphones

Open-back headphones (you recognize them by having metal mesh on the earcups, possibly exposing the drivers inside) produce a more airy, open sound.

HD6xx for gaming Windows Sonic
Open-back headphones have an exposed driver, protected only by a metal mesh.

However, due to the design, they can only develop a moderate bass response and will start distorting if you try boosting it.

On the other hand, closed-back headphones trap all the bass produced by the speaker and send it directly into your ears. The ear cup enclosure also amplifies it.

Do some modding

This advice is only applicable to some headphones and should only be done by people who know how to open headphones carefully without damaging the internals.

Browsing through internet forums, you can find advice on how to mod specific headphones to achieve a desired sound change.

Of course, you mod your headphones at your own risk.

That’s it for the bass-boosting tips.

On a related note, here’s a guide on how to make your headphones and earbuds sound better overall.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use bass boost on my headphones?

It doesn’t hurt to use bass boost on your headphones if they need an extra oomph. Just make sure not to push them to the point of distortion, which could damage them and worsen sound quality.

Can boosting bass on headphones hurt my hearing?

Boosting bass on headphones can hurt your hearing since that means increasing the overall loudness. You should lower the volume if you hear ringing in your ears after listening to music. Read more on this topic in our how to prevent hearing loss article.

What Hz is best for bass headphones?

Frequencies below 100Hz are the best for bass headphones since that region is the most important for bass punch and rumble. Otherwise, the bass region stretches from 20-250Hz.

How much should I boost bass?

Around 3-6dB is how much you should boost bass to avoid getting distortion. You can boost the bass even higher but risk getting a distorted and muddy sound.

Does gain increase bass?

Yes, gain does increase bass, but gain and bass boost are two different things. Bass boost only amplifies lower frequencies, whereas gain increases the loudness of all frequencies.

Read more:

Conclusion

To recap all the ways how you can boost bass on your headphones:

  • Use an audio equalizer
  • Use an external amplifier or DAC with a bass boost feature
  • Change the earpads/ear tips

The best way to boost bass across all apps is to use a third-party equalizer app or an equalizer inside your headphone’s companion app (if it exists).

Of course, the best way to get more bass in the first place is to buy bass-heavy headphones. That way, you don’t have to spend additional time and money to achieve desired results.

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