Most people are at least incredibly familiar with what an equalizer (EQ) looks like. For some of us, the lines of sliders that are decorated in a kind of smiley face are an icon of the 80's – as one Tom Cruise was forbidden to touch his stupid dad in Risky Business (which also blasted one of our favorite Halloween costumes, by the way). But film references aside, do you really know what to do when it comes to fishing with equalizer settings?
The component-sized EQ devices have largely gone towards the cassette deck (hipsters, despite it). But EQ continues in digital form, ranging from smartphones and portable players to wireless speakers, and even streaming services like Spotify. Unfortunately, understanding is how an EQ works and uses it properly a much more elusive concept. You do not want to take a Tom Cruise and just shoot every shooting rule to the maximum – it will be terrible.
Equalizers put the power in the sound sculpture at the fingertips. And you know what they say: With great power comes great responsibility. OK, so an EQ is not a real super force, but it can get you closer to the sound you're looking for to get out of your gear … about you know what you're doing. With that in mind, here's our top-to-bottom EQ guide.
Why do I want to use an EQ?
Electronics manufacturers have their own ideas about how some tools should sound like, but EQ lets you tell what you think. We do not always listen to music in ideal environments. Many of us listen while commuting or exercising, where the shape of the room or the surrounding noise can have a nasty effect on how our music sounds. An EQ can help.
Maybe you have a pretty bass-haired pair of headphones that you need to tune down a bit. Or maybe you listen to a lot of EDM, but the tweeter is too sharp and has to be retracted. Whether you're looking for more blows, a warmer sound or a bass that will spoil your interior, an EQ can help you to dial the sound that suits you best.