How to set a car equalizer

Written by rob garland
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How to set a car equalizer
Equalisers improve the clarity of audio systems. (graphic equaliser concept image by Akhilesh Sharma from

An equaliser improves the experience of listening to music in a car. Setting it can help the listener isolate instruments, improve the clarity of the overall sound and make the audio experience more pleasurable. Many equalisers have factory settings programmed into them for listening to different styles of music.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Set the equaliser flat. Place the faders all in line at the central or zero position. Some equalisers have buttons that show the settings on a digital display. Set all buttons at zero. Some equalisers have knobs that change the settings. Set all knobs at the 12 o'clock flat position.

  2. 2

    Locate the balance setting and set it flat or to zero. This will ensure the sound is coming out of both the left and right speakers in equal amounts. Locate the fader setting and set it at zero or flat to ensure the sound is equally split between the front and back speakers.

  3. 3

    Select a piece of music to play from a CD or MP3. Set the equaliser preset to best represent the style of music you have chosen. For example, if you selected a piece of classical music, use the classical preset. Press the EQ button to scroll through available presets such as jazz, rock, classical and talk.

  4. 4

    Use the equaliser to adjust aspects of the sound that may not be pleasing. The faders on the left side control bass, mids are in the middle and the right-side faders control the treble or high end of the sound. If the low frequencies are difficult to hear, increase the bass by moving the faders on the left up or pressing the bass range buttons to increase the number from zero. Add bass to the equaliser until the low-end frequencies in the music can be clearly heard.

  5. 5

    Add more mid range to the music which will help fatten up a thin sound by increasing the middle faders, turning up the knob marked middle or pressing the corresponding mid-range buttons on a digital display to increase the number from zero. If the music sounds too harsh, reduce the treble settings by turning the knobs down or pulling the right-end faders down below the flat line until the harshness in the music subsides.

  6. 6

    Alter the bass, middle and treble frequencies and listen for changes in the sound of the music. Make slight alterations such as increasing one setting by one number or one position on the fader at a time and listen for improvements. If possible use the same piece of music to make adjustments so there is a consistency. You may wish to adjust the equaliser when playing a different CD or changing the radio station to a different genre of music.

Tips and warnings

  • Refer to your owner's instruction manual for assistance on setting the faders, knobs or buttons on the equaliser and for information on how to save a custom preset. Save your digital equaliser settings by selecting the custom preset option. There are no right or wrong settings, as everyone hears sound differently.
  • Make sure the volume is set to zero or on a low number and gradually adjust it before adjusting the equaliser.

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