Blasting your favorite music while on a road trip has always been fun.
But did you know you can step up your game by personalizing your audio setting?
Don’t worry, as it’s super easy!
You just have to tweak your stereo equalizer a little according to your preference.
Want to know how? Then…
- How to tune the front and rear speakers.
- 5 easy steps to adjust your car stereo equalizer.
- 9 best equalizer settings for car audio bass, mid, and treble.
- And that’s only the beginning…
What are the best equalizer settings for car audio bass, mid, and treble?
The best equalizer settings for car audio bass, mid, and treble depend on the song genre and your personal preference. There isn’t a “correct” equalizer setting, but the most recommended is the “smiley graph.” On which the ends of the bass and treble are boosted, and the mid remains at 0 dB.
9 best equalizer settings for car audio bass, mid, and treble
#1: For soul music
Sub-genres: Blues, RNB, and gospel music.
Are you the type of person who listens to soul music when driving? Then, this one’s for you.
Soul music mainly focuses on vocals and rhythm.
So, if you want to enrich the quality of the song you’re listening to, you should highlight the artist’s vocals.
And to do that, you must boost the mid-range of your car audio equalizer setting. Plus, minimize the digitized sounds.
Doing this will create a clear and clean voice sound. Which will help you hear and understand the song lyrics better.
Note: Boosting means raising the range of the equalizer setting. While cutting means lowering it.
Different car stereos have different equalizer panel settings.
Some have 3 sliders, one for each frequency level. While some have 10 or more sliders for a more precise adjustment.
Depending on your equalizer panel, here’s how you should set it for soul music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+1), mid (+2/3), treble (-2/3).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like an inverted “U” with a tail.
Additional note: This setting is only a recommendation. You can still tweak the sliders to your preference.
#2: For acoustic music
Sub-genres: Folk and stripped versions.
Okay, so you love listening to the acoustic versions of your favorite songs…
Then, you should definitely boost the mid-range of your car audio equalizer.
Aside from enriching the vocals of the music…
Boosting the mid highlights the guitar and piano aspects of the song.
Plus, you should boost the bass to emphasize the lower frequencies of the music. So, you can feel the “slowness” or “deepness” of it.
That being said, here’s how you should set up the equalizer for acoustic music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+2/3), mid (+1/2), and treble (+1/0).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like a small wave near the middle of the slider.
Some acoustic songs have louder vocals, especially on unofficial song covers.
You can cut the mid a little if you want to balance it out.
#3: For classical music
Focus: Vocals and instrumentals.
Or perhaps you’re into classical music…
If you are, then you should definitely follow this recommended equalizer setting.
Unlike the first two types of music above…
Classical music uses various types of instruments and vocal ranges. Meaning it covers a wide range of frequencies.
That’s why you should aim for an almost “flat” sound. So that you can hear and balance out all aspects of the music.
But just to emphasize the melody and rhythm of the song, tweak the lower-ends of the bass, mid, and treble. (This only applies to equalizers with 10 or more sliders).
Here’s how to set your car audio equalizer for classical music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+1/0), mid (+1/2), and treble (+1/2).
- 10 or more sliders: it’d look almost like a straight line with little highs on the lower-ends of the bands.
You can also set the equalizer setting a little higher or lower from 0 dB if you want. Just make sure that the bass, mid, and treble remain at almost the same level.
Note: 0 dB is at the middle of the slider.
#4: For jazz music
Now for the jazz type of music…
You would want to emphasize both ends of the frequencies. Knowing that jazz music uses various instruments.
Jazz music can use a trumpet sound that falls both under bass and treble range. And it can also use double bass and drums, which fall under the bass range.
So, if you want to enjoy the richness of jazz, boost the bass and treble on the equalizer.
You can follow this car audio equalizer setting for jazz music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+1/2), mid (-1/0), and treble (+1/2).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like a stretched “U.”
Note: Some audiophiles call that “U-shaped” figure as a “smiley” figure.
#5: For lo-fi music
Do you want to vibe to smooth and “nostalgic” lo-fi music as you drive? Then, here’s one for you.
Some lo-fi songs have vocals, but most only play instruments.
That being said, if you want to listen to lo-fi music at the best quality, adjust the bass and treble on the equalizer.
Instead of boosting the bass and treble, you have cut them to the lowest possible range.
Doing this highlights the low and high frequencies of the song. Plus, it helps produce a more calming and relaxing vibe.
Additionally, “lo-fi” means low frequency. So, cutting the bass and treble just makes sense.
Here’s how to set your car audio equalizer for lo-fi music:
- 3-slide setting: Bass (-4 or lower), mid (0), and treble (-4 or lower).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like a deep inverted “U.”
Note: If the sound is too low for you, boost the bass and treble a little higher than the recommended setting.
#6: For pop music
Sub-genres: K-pop, J-pop, and dance-pop.
If you’re the type who sing-along to lively and fun music while driving, follow this setting.
The heart and center of pop music are vocals.
So, you have to emphasize the artist’s voice in the song. And you can do that by boosting the mid-range.
The instrumentals affect the vibe of a pop song. But it doesn’t hold that much importance to it. And that explains why some popular songs have multiple “remixes.”
Given that, here’s the best-recommended equalizer setting for pop music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (-1/0), mid (+1/2), and treble (-1/0).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like a small downward curve with almost flat edges.
Note: You can boost or cut the bass and treble as you like. Just make sure that the mid is higher than any of the two of them.
#7: For electronic music
Focus: Instrumentals, especially bass.
Sub-genres: Techno, house, and dubstep.
So, you enjoy lively music that makes you dance to every beat? Then, here’s what you need.
Electronic music or EDM is known best for its bass sounds. Which makes electronic songs “groovy.”
Plus, it also contains digitized sounds that make the song more lively and high-tune.
That being said…
Boost the bass and treble range if you want to emphasize the richness of its bass and digitized sounds.
To do that, follow this recommended equalizer setting for electronic music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+1/2), mid (-1/0), and treble (+1/2).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like a stretched upward curve.
#8: For rock music
Sub-genres: Alternative rock, punk rock, indie rock, and rap-rock.
Oh! I guess you’re the type who rocks-n-rolls on a road trip.
If you are, then let me help you step up your game.
Rock music also highlights the instrumentals and beats on a song. And although it has vocals, it’s not really what listeners are focusing on.
So, to enhance the sound quality of rock music on your car stereo…
Boost the lower-ends of the bass and treble ranges. Doing this highlights the sounds of every instrument used in a song.
Here’s the recommended equalizer setting for rock music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+1/2), mid (0), and treble (+1/2).
- 10 or more sliders: it should also look like a stretched upward curve. Except that the mid-range lies on 0 dB.
#9: For heavy metal music
Focus: Instrumentals and vocals.
Sub-genres: Avant-garde music, gothic metal, and black/death metal.
Okay, now for more intense and loud music…
If you listen to heavy metal, you’d want your car speakers to produce loud music that highlights every aspect of the song.
Heavy metal music focuses on both the instrumentals and vocals.
So, if you want better quality heavy metal music on your car stereo…
Boost the bass, mid, and treble ranges. Yes, all of them!
Here’s one of the best equalizer settings for heavy metal music:
- 3-slider setting: Bass (+6), mid (+6), and treble (+5).
- 10 or more sliders: it should look like an almost flat group that lies above the center of the slider.
Note: If this setting is too loud for your preference, cut the ranges a little lower.
How to tune your equalizer for the best settings? 5 steps
#1: Park your car
Before you tune your car audio equalizer, you have to park your car in a quiet place.
It doesn’t have to be in a completely remote area or an enclosed parking lot. Just make sure that you park in a car place where there are not many background noises.
Tuning the equalizer requires your full attention. You have to be in a quiet place because you’ll have to listen attentively to the quality and fullness of the sound.
Once you’ve parked your car, make sure to close all the windows. That way, you can hear the music from your car stereo more clearly.
#2: Play a song you’re familiar with
Next, turn ON your car stereo and play any song you like.
You can play it from your phone’s music service app, such as Apple Music or Spotify.
Also, make sure to pick a song that you’re totally familiar with. Meaning you know its tune, melody, rhythm, and even song lyrics.
Plus, it’d be best to play a song with a wide range of frequencies. It can be classical, soul, or heavy metal music. Just make sure that it has a rich set of instrumentals and vocals.
A song must have a wide range of frequencies. So that you’ll get to test the bass, mid, and treble ranges all in one song.
And you must know the song at heart. So, you’ll be able to highlight the song’s best parts and aspects.
#3: Tune the front and rear speakers
After that, tune your front and rear speakers to get the best sound quality of the music.
You can do that by adjusting the fade control. On some car models, it’s called a “fader.”
If you have an analog car stereo, you can access the fader by pressing the main controller. And you can adjust the fade control of the front and rear speakers by turning the controller clockwise and counterclockwise.
But if you have a digital car stereo, you can easily access the fader by navigating the settings.
Here’s how you should set the fade control on your car stereo:
Note: You should do this while a song is playing on the stereo.
- Access the fader settings.
- Select the rear speakers.
- Adjust the fade control to your liking.
- Select the front speakers.
- Adjust the fade control to your liking.
If the fade control settings of your front and rear speakers are the same, that’s great! Because that’s the ideal setup you should aim for.
Suppose they’re not matching. Try to compromise some settings until you balance it out. But if you’re content and comfortable with the settings you have previously set, then you can leave it as is.
The rule of thumb here is to aim for a setting that’s according to your preference.
You can watch this video to know how to access and adjust the fader on analog car stereo:
You might also like: WiFi vs Bluetooth Speakers: 3 Sound Quality Comparisons
#4: Access the EQ panel
Have you already tuned your front and rear speakers? Then, it’s now time to adjust the car stereo equalizer for the best settings.
And before you can do that, you have to access the equalizer (EQ) panel first.
The location of the EQ panel varies depending on your car model and type of car stereo.
But here’s a general guideline on how to access it:
For analog car stereos:
- Turn ON the stereo.
- Press the main controller until you see the bass, mid, and treble settings on the screen.
For digital car stereos:
- Go to settings.
- Select “Audio settings.”
- Then, click “Equalizer.”
Just tap the graph-like icon on the homepage of the dashboard.
Once you’ve accessed it, you can see the sliders of the equalizer that ranges from bass, mid, and treble frequencies.
#5: Adjust the EQ according to your preference
Now for adjusting the equalizer for the best settings…
Here are some things that you should consider:
- Song genre.
- Speakers’ quality.
- Your hearing range.
- Music production quality.
All of these affect how good or bad you hear the song you’re listening to on your car stereo.
This simply means that there’s no “correct” equalizer setting. But there are equalizer settings that are best to your preference.
So, adjusting the equalizer is trial and error. You tweak the sliders until you find the ranges that sound good to your ears.
And now back to the main point…
You can adjust the equalizer settings in 2 ways either:
- From scratch.
- By adjusting the preset settings.
To adjust the EQ settings from scratch:
- Press “custom” or similar to create custom settings.
- Place all the bars at 0 dB (center of the slider).
- Then, boost or cut the frequencies one by one until you reach your desired settings.
Note: Some audiophiles advise that you form your EQ bars in a “smiley” figure as a starting point. Since it’s considered one of the best settings for most song genres.
So, you may also try that. And tweak the frequencies one by one according to your liking.
To adjust the EQ settings by adjusting the presets:
- Tap the preset bar at the top of the screen.
- Select the “genre” you want.
- Then, tweak the preset according to your preference.
“How would I know if my custom setting is okay?”
Your custom EQ setting is good if the high notes or tunes of the songs don’t hurt your ears. And if the bass sounds don’t create uncomfortable vibrations.
BONUS: Use an RTA app
If you want a more professionally-customized EQ setting, use an RTA app.
It’s a real-time audio analyzer that helps accurately measure a song’s frequencies. Using this will help you tune your equalizer settings better.
But keep in mind that it requires adequate knowledge on measuring sound frequencies.
People also ask:
How do you tune a bass equalizer in a car?
To tune a bass equalizer in a car, play a song that you’re familiar with. And adjust the bass ranges one level at a time until you reach a setting you’re comfortable with.
Tuning the bass equalizer is trial and error. So make sure to do this:
- In a quiet place.
- At different volume levels.
- With the car windows down.
That way, you can find the ranges that fit your taste and preference.
As a general rule, you should set the bass equalizer at its lowest setting. And that’s on 0 dB.
If you want to emphasize the bass sounds on a song you’re listening to, boost the bass 2 or 3 levels from 0 dB.
But if you want to achieve a calmer and deeper tone, cut the bass 1 to 2 levels from 0 dB.
What should bass and treble be set at in a car?
The bass and treble in a car should be at a 4:5 ratio. Doing this balances out the low and high tunes of a song. Which then highlights the song’s key instruments and rhythm.
If you’re into acoustic, jazz, or rock music…
Then you should prioritize adjusting the bass and treble ranges on the equalizer.
The recommended setting for them are:
- Bass: +2/3 levels from 0 dB.
- Treble: +2/3 levels from 0 dB.
Note: Depending on the song genre, you can boost or cut the bass and treble close to the recommended settings.
You can play with them as long as you maintain an upright U-shaped graph on the equalizer.
How do you maximize bass on an equalizer?
To maximize the bass on an equalizer, glide the sliders upward on the 20Hz to 200Hz frequencies. These are the first few sliders on a multiple-range equalizer panel. Depending on the type of your car stereo, it can be the first 3 or 4 sliders.
The sliders on a car stereo equalizer are arranged from bass, mid, and treble.
Meaning the bass sliders are always on the left side of the panel.
To increase the bass to its maximum level, just raise the sliders on the 20Hz to 200Hz frequencies.
Note: However, boosting the bass at a maximum level can create distortion.
So, raise the bass ranges only to the level you’re comfortable with. Usually, it lies 2 to 4 levels from 0 dB.