The equalizer in your Spotify music app is a neat little addition that can really enhance your music listening experience. That said, many don’t even realize there is an EQ built into the Spotify app!
Whilst it won’t be as surgical or accurate as an EQ you’d use in a mixing scenario, a few tweaks can make a big difference when listening to music on your AirPods or AirPods Pro.
If you’re wondering what settings to use, then you’ve come to the right place!
How Do I Access The Spotify Equalizer Settings?
It’s actually really simple to find the in-built EQ. First of all, open your Spotify app, then hit the ‘Settings’ cog icon in the top right-hand corner.
This will take you to a screen with several options, scroll down to ‘Playback’. On the next screen scroll down to ‘Equalizer’, tap on it and then you’ll see the custom equalizer itself.
How Do I Use The Spotify Equalizer?
As you’ll see on screen, the EQ is pretty much identical in layout to that of a standard EQ plugin.
The big difference is you won’t be able to change the Q size or move around frequencies (whilst this is a custom equalizer, the frequencies you can boost or cut are set at 60Hz, 150Hz, 400Hz, 1kHz, 2.4kHz, and 15kHz).
From there, all you need to do is drag the nodes up and down to amend the frequency levels.
If you have an idea of what you want to boost then great, you can do this really quickly and easily whilst listening to a track to get an idea of how the EQ is affecting the music.
You can quickly switch the EQ on and off (essentially you can audition your track this way and see what difference it is making) and you can also choose whether or not to apply the EQ to podcasts, which is really useful especially if your EQ settings include a lot of bass!
Handily, Spotify has also included a varied list of equalizer presets to choose from if you aren’t sure where to start.
These include specific genres, such as Pop, Rock, and Hip-Hop but you can also use the custom equalizer to dial in sounds for increasing loudness, bass booster, vocal boosts, listening on small speakers, and even spoken word.
Flick through the equalizer presets to quickly get an idea of which one sounds best for your listening setup.
You’ll see the settings change in real-time; for example select ‘Bass Booster’ and you’ll notice the top end increase as you’d expect.
What Are The Best Spotify Equalizer Settings For AirPods And AirPods Pro?
This is a tricky question, as there isn’t one particular EQ or equalizer preset that could be classed as ‘best’. Music is subjective after all, but also the way you EQ something will vary depending on what genre it is.
For example, you likely aren’t going to want the same settings for a hard-hitting dance track as you are for a relaxed folk song.
As we’ve mentioned, the Spotify music equalizer isn’t the same as the equalizer you would find in your DAW or on a mixing console. But in reality, the tracks you are listening to likely have been professionally mixed and therefore won’t require surgical fine-tuning.
Because of this, we’d suggest experimenting with the equalizer presets first depending on the style you are listening to, and then make tweaks to your liking.
Here are some of our suggestions to get you on your way!
1. Bass Booster
As we’ve mentioned, ‘Bass Booster’ is pretty self-explanatory and simply increases the level of bass you will hear.
If you’re listening to electronic music that has a prominent kick drum or bassline, then tapping on this preset will emphasize the low end and help you lock in on the lower frequency elements.
If we’re talking about the best Spotify equalizer settings for AirPods, this might not be classed as ‘the best’ as it only increases low-end, however, if you think the sound is a little muddy try reducing some of the bass or brightening up some of the higher frequencies.
Also bear in mind that due to the size of AirPods and AirPods pro, they naturally won’t have a huge bass response so try not to overcompensate.
This preset is designed to increase the perceived loudness of the track you are listening to.
To do this the low end is increased to add punch whilst the mid-range is boosted as this area is where the human ear is most sensitive. Adding more mids can give the sensation of more loudness.
If you’re listening to guitar music then tweaking the mids can help bring out some of the punchiness in the instrument but too much could sound honky and unnatural.
This setting can be a great place to start when listening to Rock music.
Listen to the vocals in the mix though, you may find slight increases in the top end of the spectrum will help bring these out.
3. Spoken Word
As you can imagine, this isn’t the best choice for listening to music but if you enjoy podcasts then this setting can brighten up speech and make the recording more audible.
This preset will trigger a big boost in 1kHz and 2.4kHz which will bring out the frequencies where the most intelligibility is in the human voice.
The top end is rolled off so as to avoid too much harshness which can be quite annoying if present.
If you do find the tone a little unnatural then you can add in a little more low mids but if you’re struggling to hear the speaker and there is music on the recording, cutting more of the low end will help pick up on what is being said.
Part of the fun is experimenting and seeing what you can get. If you enjoy music production and mixing, you’ll probably enjoy seeing what you can create with the limited resources of a Spotify EQ.
If there is something you feel is missing then try to think about what is occupying each frequency range.
If the kick and bass you feel are lacking then start by tweaking the low end. If you want to bring out the sound of the instruments in a track then the mid-range is the place to begin, whilst boosting the top end can help provide clarity to vocals and speech.
Similarly consider subtractive EQ, meaning removing certain frequencies to allow more room.
If your track appears muddy then clearly the lows and low mids are the culprits whereas a tinny or harsh sound will improve by reducing the top end.
It can take a while to perfect this, but try tweaking each frequency and see what result you get.
You can follow the exact same process for Apple music as you can for Spotify. All you need to do is head to Settings and select the Music option.
On the next screen scroll down to EQ and you’ll have various options to choose from.
Unfortunately on your iPhone, there isn’t an option to manually adjust your EQ but there is a large selection of presets to choose from, so if you are an Apple Music user you can still adjust your equalizer to your own taste.
What Are The Differences Between AirPods And AirPods Pro?
You might be wondering about the differences between the two models (and more specifically how you would use the EQ in Spotify music depending on which you have).
There are a few key differences, but if we’re talking about a music equalizer then the main points are going to be that the AirPods Pro offers an adaptive EQ as well as a better noise canceling function.
Why are these important?
If you’re using AirPods Pro then the adaptive EQ will (as Apple explains) tune the low and mid frequencies to “produce pure, incredibly clear sound while also extending battery life” meaning you might not need to spend time fine-tuning the lower frequencies as the earphones will do some of that for you.
The noise-canceling properties of AirPods Pro also mean that you might be able to pick up on certain frequencies that a normal set would allow to be drowned out, particularly if you’re in a busy area like a city or traveling on public transport.
The AirPod Pros are designed for a better listening experience and you should find you won’t need to tweak the custom equalizer as much as you might with a regular set of AirPods.