Can You Adjust EQ On Headphones? (Explained)

EQ, or equalize, is when audio engineers adjust recorded music to make it sound good on all platforms, including through your phone, TV, headphones, PC, or car stereo. They do this by adjusting different frequencies of an audio signal changing the loudness level of the song.

Simple explanations refer to the bass and treble levels that anyone can adjust in their car (if their stereo allows it). By changing those levels, you can make the vocals come in clearer or increase the bass beats of the song you’re playing.

Through EQ, the playback of audio becomes clearer and more ideal, but can you EQ music or sounds even after a sound engineer has done so in the final product of the song?

Sure you can!

Here’s How You Can Adjust EQ on Headphones:

Adjusting EQ means customizing your bandwidth and center frequency to optimize your sound. You can achieve EQ through software (on phones) or dials on a stereo. Users can boost the output of specific sounds (such as vocals), make them louder, and decrease other sounds.

What Are Your Options for Adjusting the EQ on Headphones? 

Not all EQs are created equal.

Some manage phases better than others, and the frequency response curve may change depending on how you measure. To optimize your sound, you must adjust your music to your preference, environment, and listening method with specific settings.

Here are the three types of EQ’s:


Each slider controls a certain frequency band, and you may fine-tune the sound.

For example, the higher a slider is raised, the greater “gain” you will get. In other words, with higher slider frequency, the loudness rises.

Many sliders will come with presets labeled “Rock,” “Pop,” or “Jazz.” The preset’s name coincides with what genre of music the slider EQ company created to help you find the right sound for your music.

Sliders are most often used for “bass boost.”

Graphic EQ:

Graphic equalizers are the simplest type of equalizers. They consist of various graphical sliders and controls, which you can then use to change and adjust the frequency response of an audio system.

You can also use them to boost or lower bands of sound signal frequencies, enabling users to control audio output.

Your surroundings play a critical part in your overall listening experience, but you can use a graphic equalizer to remedy that situation. For example, if your room absorbs too much bass, a graphic equalizer can increase bass to a point where you can really feel it.

Parametric EQ:

Parametric equalizers provide users with vastly greater control.

They enable you to sweep over frequency ranges when you have problems pinpointing that precise issue frequency. With a parametric EQ, you may pick the center frequency for each band, the gain, and the bandwidth.

It has a lot more flexibility. With it, you can add as many bands as you wish and even modify their width to fine-tune your EQ properly.

Do Some Headphones Have Built-in EQ Controls? 

It depends on how you define “built-in.”

Most EQ will come from apps or software that you install into your device to equalize sounds that go to your headphones. Apple and Android phones have apps in their stores that can help you.

iPhones have system settings that allow you to change the sound coming from your device, and Android phones have “Audio Effects” in their settings, too. This would be considered “built in,” but might not work across all platforms.

For example, the iPhone’s EQ only adjusts the audio from the Apple Music app. Audio created by other applications, such as Spotify or YouTube, won’t be modified by the EQ.

This means that you would have to update your settings through a software app or manually for all apps like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Netflix, etc.

As far as “built-in headphones” goes, some wireless headphones may feature a button on the outside cup to enhance your music’s bass. However, this isn’t as sophisticated as an EQ and may not do much for your overall sound.

Can You Change the EQ Settings on Apple Headphones? 

If you’re paying $9.99 or more a month for an Apple Music membership, you want to make sure you’re receiving the greatest sound.

The built-in iPhone EQ isn’t as advanced as physical ones, enabling you to alter the levels manually. Still, it does include a variety of settings that will greatly enhance the sound quality of the music you play on your iPhone.

Here’s how to activate the iPhone’s EQ: 

  1. For optimal results, attach a set of high-quality headphones to your iPhone and start playing music, which will enable you to test the EQ settings and hear the tiny changes between presets.
  2. From the iPhone’s home screen, tap Settings. 
  3. From the sidebar, hit Music. The screen displayed below appears. 
  4. Tap EQ.
  5. Tap a preset, such as Rock.
    • The idea is to choose a preset that fits the genre of music you regularly listen to.
    • Keep checking presets until you find one you like. 

It’s always vital to get the finest sound out of your headphones, particularly if you spent a big sum on them. 

What is the Standard EQ Setting on Headphones?

There is no “standard” setting because each person, headphone, and device will differ.

Equalizer settings are determined by finding out what it is about what you’re listening to that you don’t like and then working out which EQ settings would change that sound into something you DO like.

The main objective of EQ is to modify the frequency response: 

  • To adjust for room acoustics
  • To adjust for FR of speakers or headphones
  • To compensate for difficulties with the FR of the program being played
  • To adapt for personal taste

The optimal equalizer setting for your scenario will be ‘off’ until you decide how to adjust your settings. You don’t want to mess with it until you know how to use it properly.

Can EQ Adjustments be Good or Bad for Headphones? 

There is nothing wrong with using EQ, but at the same time, it can’t salvage lower-quality headphones.

Many users will try and “boost their old headphones for free” by using an EQ. While this isn’t a bad idea to try, don’t expect it to create the same quality sound as new or upgraded models.

Furthermore, going too far with your settings might blow out your headphone speakers or ruin your device over time. It could also lead to screeching sounds or static if not tuned properly.

You need a decent baseline to receive any advantage from EQ since an EQ can’t modify a headphone’s performance, just the characteristics.

Can You Make Headphones Play Louder? 

There are reasons why some headphones sound loud than others. 

If you’re using a phone, you need to choose headphones that are easy to drive or require less power to go loud. Mobile phones don’t have powerful headphones amplifiers, so this means you want to choose headphones that are well-matched with this.

A good way to know is to look for the specifications of the headphones: mainly the impedance (measured in Ohms) and the sensitivity (measured in Decibels). 

Since February 2013, all portable music players and mobile phones sold in the EU have been required to have a volume limit of 85 decibels (dB). … These suggested sound constraints also apply to mobile phones that may play music using headphones. 

Here are the 7 ways to make your headphones louder: 

  1. Clean Your Headphones
  2. Removing Volume limits on your Device
  3. Check Your Device’s Settings
  4. Using Volume Boosting Apps
  5. Use an Amplifier
  6. Connect to Bluetooth


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