Optimizing Your AirPods EQ Settings: Here’s How

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There are many reasons that Apple’s AirPods have emerged as one of the most popular wireless earbuds in recent years. They look stylish, are comfortable to wear, and boast impressive functionality and sound quality.

What is the best EQ for AirPods?

The genre and style of music or audio that you are listening to will largely determine which EQ setting will get the best results from your AirPods. You’ll also need to consider whether you’d like more bass, clearer treble, or an overall louder mix before deciding on the best EQ setting for you.

Using EQ with AirPods is a great way to customize the sound of the music you listen to and make it better suited to your preferences.

Some people prefer to listen to music with the bass frequencies turned up, while others would rather hear the vocals more clearly. Whatever sound you’d like to achieve, you can experiment with the EQ for AirPods to find the best option.

In this detailed guide, we’ll explain exactly how to get the best sound from your AirPods using EQ.

Best AirPods EQ for Dance Music

Whether you use Spotify, Apple Music, or another audio streaming platform, you can easily find the best EQ setting for listening to dance music with your AirPods.

Dance is an umbrella genre that includes a wide range of styles, such as:

  • EDM
  • Trance
  • House
  • Techno
  • Dubstep

One of the key characteristics of dance music is the deep bass tones that are used. These basslines are often played on synth basses, as opposed to bass guitars. Dance producers mix the bass so that sub-frequencies provide depth to the track.

There are two ways that you can improve the sound of dance music being played through your AirPods using equalization. Firstly, you can use one of the presets from your preferred streaming platform and see whether that improves the sound.

Secondly, you can adjust the EQ settings manually, which will allow you to be more specific.

It’s also possible to use the “Dance” preset in the Spotify or Apple Music EQ settings, then tweak the parameters manually to alter the sound until your dance tracks sound exactly how you would like them to.

If you’ve never manually adjusted EQ settings before, you’ll need to experiment by moving the various frequency band sliders up and down and then monitoring the sound that is produced.

My recommendation for dance music would be to take some of the upper-midrange out of the mix, which will result in the bass having more space.

You can also increase the frequencies at around 1kHz to bring the high-end of the bass out more.

If the sound coming through your AirPods is a little harsh, this means you need to reduce some of the treble frequencies.

Best AirPods EQ for Hip Hop & Rap

Hip-hop and rap music require different EQ settings than most other forms of popular music.

The instrumentation used in these genres is often quite minimalistic, as the vocals are the main point of focus for the listener so producers try to avoid making the mix overcrowded with many sounds.

808 kick drums and sub-basslines are two of the most prominent features of modern rap music. These sounds most commonly fall between the frequency range of 30Hz-60hZ, which many earbud-style headphones struggle to project as these low-end frequencies require a powerful subwoofer to be heard. 

AirPods’ frequency range, according to Apple, spans from 20Hz-20kHZ. Therefore, you should be able to hear the majority of 808 and sub-bass sounds included in hip-hop and rap music.

The best EQ for hip-hop and rap when using AirPods with either Spotify or Apple Music is simply the preset listed “Hip Hop”.

This setting increases the prominence of the bass and lower midrange frequencies, while simultaneously reducing the prominence of the upper midrange. It also provides a slight boost to the treble frequencies.

This EQ preset covers all bases, as it makes the basslines featured in rap and hip-hop sound more solid, removes any of the muddy frequencies in the upper mids, and ensures that the vocals can be heard by boosting the higher frequencies slightly.

Again, I would recommend monitoring the sound that the “Hip Hop” preset produces with your AirPods, and if you feel that you need to make any adjustments you can use this setting as a foundation to alter to suit your preferences.

Best AirPods EQ for Rock Music

Listening to rock music on AirPods, or any earbud-style devices can cause the sound to be overly compressed and harsh to your ears. This is because rock music often consists of various prominent instruments which all compete for space and volume within the frequency range.

Firstly, it’s important to ensure that when listening to rock music in AirPods, or any other genre for that matter, you avoid setting the volume too high. This can be especially tempting with rock music, as it’s a lot of fun to listen to on full blast!

However, this can cause serious damage to year ears in the long term.

To get the best EQ for rock music using AirPods, you need to increase the bass frequencies slightly and also boost the treble. The midrange frequencies shouldn’t require much adjustment, as that’s where the guitars and vocals are generally mixed.

There is a “Rock” EQ preset found on both Apple Music and Spotify which would be a good place to start.

Do AirPods 3 Have Adaptive EQ?

Adaptive EQ is an innovative feature designed by Apple and included in many of its over-ear and in-ear headphones. It is included on the AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Max, and various Apple-owned Beats headphones.

AirPods 3 users can benefit from the improved listening experience that Adaptive EQ offers. This feature works by equalizing the sound in response to the dimensions and shape of the listener’s ear. 

The frequencies that are played through the AirPods 3 or any of the mother models that have Adaptive EQ are adjusted to make them sound more consistent. This is achieved by using a small microphone that sits inside the ear and controls the EQ in real-time.

Although Apple has never officially explained how the feature works, it is speculated that the way that Adaptive EQ works with AirPods is very similar to the way that the popular ANC feature works.

It tracks background noises and makes the necessary adjustment so that the sound quality is optimal regardless of the environment.

The table below provides a breakdown of the AirPods that have Adaptive EQ capabilities.

AirPods ModelAdaptive EQYear of Release
1st Generation AirPodsNo2016
2nd Generation AirPodsNo2019
3rd Generation AirPodsYes2021
AirPods ProYes2019
AirPods MaxYes2020

Make AirPods Louder Using EQ

EQ is a great tool for shaping the way that music sounds through your AirPods. It can also provide the illusion that the music is louder, but equalization is not typically used for the sole purpose of increasing volume.

This is because EQ works by increasing or decreasing the volume of specific frequency bands. It is possible to lower or increase the volume of several frequency bands, which in theory could make the audio louder or quieter overall.

To achieve this, you’ll either need to find an EQ preset that makes your AirPods seem louder, or you can manually adjust the EQ to increase the overall volume. When you increase several frequency bands using EQ, this can cause the music to sound muddy and unclear, so it’s best to adjust only a couple at the most.

Check out this YouTube video for more information on AirPods EQ.

Reductive EQ is an effective method that can be used to make specific frequency bands seem louder through your AirPods. This involves reducing the level of the other frequency bands so that one particular frequency band stands out more.

The volume levels on AirPods have a maximum for a reason – to protect your ears from damage. If you try to make them as loud as possible using EQ, you might harm your ears, and in many cases, this can be irreversible and cause a lot of distress especially if you end up with tinnitus.

Using the Active Noise Control or Adaptive EQ features on your AirPods may be a better solution than trying to make them louder than they already are.

Related Questions

Do AirPods 3 use spatial sound?

Like the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max that came before them, AirPods 3 also have the Spatial Audio feature which allows users to enjoy a more immersive, 3D listening experience.

Can you buy a replacement for one AirPod?

If you lose or damage one of your AirPods, you can purchase a replacement directly from Apple. Buying one AirPod is usually more cost-effective than buying a pair of new AirPods.

Can you charge AirPods with no case?

It is not possible to charge AirPods without placing them inside the charging case. Some people claim that you can charge AirPods using pin chargers or through an app on your iPhone, but none of these methods are approved by Apple.

Best EQ For Apple Music

For more information be sure to check out this article.

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