Basically, a car graphic equalizer is an expanded set of tone controls for your car audio system. Most car stereos allow you to boost or reduce bass or treble frequencies. These are the deepest low frequencies of bass drums or electric/acoustic bass, and the higher frequencies of cymbals and tambourines.
Used correctly, a quality equalizer can greatly improve sound quality and fidelity by allowing the user to shape the tone of their audio to fit their needs. For more in-depth information on how car equalizers work, check out some of our expert articles.
Learn how to how to get the most out of your audio quality with this guide.
Many different designs of car audio equalizers are available, so it’s important to choose one that suits your tastes. The most popular equalizers are located in the vehicle’s dash and have a graphic display, but others may be mounted in the trunk and have parametric or quasi-parametric processors. Pioneer, Boss, and Kenwood are three top-rated brands to consider when choosing your equalizer.
The typical car equalizer will feature a large number of adjustable filters (each corresponding to a specific frequency range) to adjust your car audio. In most modern equalizers, these have a graphical interface on the head unit that shows all of the different frequency bands in a row. The more bands that the equalizer features, the greater amount of flexibility and control the user has in shaping the sound. So, depending on how much control you want, you may want to choose an equalizer with a larger number of bands.
While equalizers are often used to enhance or highlight certain parts of the music, they compensate for the muddy timbre from sounds resulting from car’s standard operation or by its acoustic properties.
The installation process will vary depending on the type of equalizer you choose, so refer to the instructions which should be included with your purchase. In general, installing an equalizer is a difficult task which should be performed by professionals, as it’s possible to severely damage your vehicle’s sound system if done incorrectly. Unless you have in-depth knowledge of your vehicle and its audio system, it’s a good idea to let someone professional install the equalizer.
Once you have your car audio equalizer installed, you’ll need to turn on some music with vocals and adjust the frequency levels to your liking. The mechanics of adjusting your specific equalizer model vary, and should be covered in its instruction manual; usually it’s a simple matter of turning knobs on the dash. Boosting treble may improve clarity, while a higher bass outputs deeper, richer sound. However, too much treble can make voices sound hollow and excessive bass makes them low-end heavy. Be very careful when adjusting audio levels and always make changes a little bit at a time because you can easily blow out your speakers by setting the amplifiers too high.
After tweaking your audio equalizer to your liking, it’s recommended to keep the same settings for all of your music; you shouldn’t re-adjust the levels for different CDs. While you can continue playing with the levels, over-adjusting your equalizer after the initial setup may result in a damaged speaker system.
Car audio equalizers greatly enhance the quality of a vehicle’s stereo system by allowing precise adjustments to be made to various frequencies. These adjustments compensate for the acoustics of your vehicle’s interior and for road noise to provide you with custom-balanced, high-quality sound. Although the process of installing and tweaking your equalizer may be lengthy and difficult, the end result is well worth it for anyone who desires superior sound quality. For those who want a true concert experience while driving, graphic equalization is a valuable tool for bringing out all of the best qualities in the music you love.