Setting up a car audio system can be a bit of work. After all, they are intricate and complex. Although it is a tricky job to tune it properly, once you manage to set up the hardware, it’d be in tune to cancel out the noise and distortion.
To help you do this job properly, a vital tool to use is an equalizer. Equalizers help a great deal to enhance the audio quality of the sound produced by your speakers.
To be more specific, audio equalizers are sound processors that allow you to boost or cut certain sound frequencies to make them louder or quieter according to your need. Without one, your car’s audio system will not be able to deliver its best performance.
But the real question is, how much difference does it really make? Do you need an equalizer in your car’s sound system in the first place? The answer will be Yes if you have changed any OEM accessories of the car stereo. The original stereo equalizer might not be suitable with the new accessories so you should install an equalizer to improve the audio quality.
What Do Equalizers Do?
An equalizer helps to improve the sound of car audio system by making up for the inconsistencies that the sound system has. A car’s sound system is exposed to many obstacles and components that hinder its performance.
Especially when you’re on the go, the sound quality is affected by road noise, and wind noise. it’s even subjective to the interior of the car.
Then there come other components such as the grills over the speakers, the improper locations of the speakers on weird spots, and whatnot. All of these things might seem minimal, but together, they play a great deal in impacting the sound quality of your car’s audio system.
Every car has elements that are designed to work well under extreme conditions. Although, they are designed to function within some very specific parameters, they still sometimes falter due to circumstances.
The equalizer’s job is to balance out all of the inconsistencies these components produce and provide you with a smooth, distortion-free, clear, and consistent audio output which is crucial for a quality music-listening experience.
How Does an Equalizer Work?
An equalizer is basically a sound processor. It controls the frequency spectrums of audio. To understand how it works, first you need to have a brief idea of what ‘frequency’ is. To put it simply, an audio frequency is a function of air vibrations.
For example, if you pluck on the string of a guitar, it vibrates, creating little ripples of ups and downs in air pressure in the ambience. These tiny ripples are called sound waves. The number of sound wave cycles in 1 second is the audio frequency of the string.
Audio frequency is measured in units of Hertz. The frequency determines the pitch of the sound waves that hit our eardrums. The minimum and the maximum range of frequency hearing of us humans’ range between 20 to 20 thousand hertz or 20-20Khz.
Although it’s very subjective and varies from person to person depending on various contexts and circumstances. The hearing frequency range of many animals are different from that of humans. Like dogs can hear up to 45Khz, which is way above the human hearing range.
Let’s get back to equalizers. Every musical instrument plays a certain range of audio frequencies that defines its sound, and that along with other elements like timber, sets it apart from other instruments.
An equalizer allows you to tweak the sound of an entire song. Equalizer settings control how it sounds by granting you access to each of the instruments and their frequencies.
You can adjust, minimize, maximize, and balance different audio frequencies produced by every sound component that is used in a song, with the help of an equalizer, of course.
Why Do I Need an Audio Equalizer in My Car?
To be frank, you wouldn’t always want to hear the maximum frequency of every single instrument or every kind of sound element used in a song.
Just like the spices and other ingredients used in cooking, sound frequencies also need to be added to a song in a proper proportion and in an exact amount at the exact time.
It’s all about balancing everything out to perfection. Just to get a perfectly prepared outcome.
With the help of an equalizer, you can bring out the best from each instrument, make sure their frequencies don’t collide with each other, and each element can be heard clearly enough to add its own complement to the music you’re listening to.
Regardless of how basic or sophisticated your car’s audio system is, it must already have some sort of equalization in it. The most basic car stereos come with a two-band equalizer at the very least. These two bands are bass and treble. One categorizes the low frequencies. The other categorizes the high frequencies.
Nowadays, most car stereos have three band equalizers consisting of at least the bass, the mid, and the treble. As the stereo gets more sophisticated, so does the equalizer that comes with it.
Some modern car stereos even have equalizers equipped with up to 12 bands. Those are very complex equalizers with a lot of controls.
Whatever type of equalizer you use, it’ll enable you to compensate for all types of challenges you might face while listening to music in your car.
There are some equalizers that are built into complex sound processors. They monitor the sound in your car with a built-in microphone, and make automatic adjustments to compensate for the interior of your vehicle.
Okay, I’m Convinced. Which One Should I Get?
There are some basic components that an ideal audio equalizer must be equipped with. If you find one that ticks all, or at least most of these boxes, then you should go for it. Here are the things that you ought to be looking for in a quality equalizer:
Is It Easy to Use?
This is the one question you should always ask before buying any audio device, not just car equalizers.
Especially, if it’s your first time buying and installing a car stereo equalizer, this is a crucial thing to consider. There are a bunch of equalizers, especially the graphic ones that are mounted on the car’s dashboard, are pretty simple and easy to use and adjust.
Others… such as the ones with parametric processors are more suitable for users who have an in-depth knowledge of sound processing and their car’s audio system.
Is It Compatible with My Car?
Most stereo equalizers are installed inside the dashboard of the car and have the display on there as well. People often use equalizers mounted on the car’s trunk too.
You might be facing compatibility issues with certain equalizers depending on the setup of your dashboard and the total space available inside your car. It’s a good idea to talk to an expert on this such as a technician or a company that sells equalizers before purchasing one.
The Style You’re Going for!
Let’s admit it, looks do matter. At least when it comes to your car. You won’t be setting something up inside it that does not complement its aesthetics.
Since the display of the equalizer is going to be the most prominent feature of it that’ll be visible on the dashboard, get one that you’d like looking at. You’re the one who’ll be seeing the most of it, after all.
Fix Your Equalizer’s Price Carefully!
Another thing you should be paying very much attention to regardless of what you’re buying is the price of it. By price, we don’t just mean how much it costs, but also how much value it provides.
There are some that cost a lot, but doesn’t really serve up to it. Then there are ones that have an appealing price, but don’t provide much value for money.
Choose your equalizer wisely when it comes to price.
How Do I Get One into My Car?
Adding an equalizer to your car is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not like you just grab a device and set it up into your car’s default stereo system. The process is a bit more complex than that, but it’s no rocket science, either.
It usually starts with replacing the older model. If you have an after-market speaker and stereo in your car, chances are that it already has a built-in equalizer preinstalled in it. But you can still add a digital equalizer to further enhance the sound quality, in addition to a sound processor.
But if you have a factory car sound system, then you can’t really add much of an equalizer to it. In this case, to substitute for an equalizer, you can try adding an amplifier. Check out our article on Analog V. Digital Car Amplifiers here to get a better idea on that.
Watch the following video to learn how to DIY install equalizer in your car.
Let’s Put a Pen in the Topic
Equalizers are an essential part of a car’s stereo system. If you have a sound knowledge (pun intended) of the thing, you’ll be able to get the best out of your car’s stereo no matter how basic it is.
Knowing which type of equalizer you’re using helps. Different ones have different ways of functioning. One wrong move while setting up and you could end up compromising the audio quality. This guide will serve as basic guideline of the process. For complicated systems, you’d need a detailed guide.
We’ll come up with an in-depth tuning guide as well. Till then, have fun exploring other articles on our website!
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