Does Android have built in EQ?

An equalizer, often abbreviated as EQ, is an audio filter that adjusts the volume level of specific frequency ranges within an audio signal. The main purpose of an EQ is to allow users to customize the frequency response of an audio system to match their preferences and make the listening experience more enjoyable.

EQs are commonly used in music production and audio engineering to adjust the balance between bass, mids, and treble. They enable producers to sculpt the overall tonal characteristics of a track. In consumer audio devices like smartphones, EQ presets allow listeners to easily choose between sound profiles like “Rock”, “Pop” or “Jazz” that boost or cut certain frequencies.

EQs can help compensate for limitations in audio equipment and room acoustics that may make certain frequencies too loud or soft. They are an essential tool for tuning the sound of speakers, headphones, mixing boards and other gear to achieve the desired frequency balance. Whether tweaking music to sound its best or correcting imbalances in an audio system, equalizers provide fine control over the sonic palette.

Android’s Built-In EQ

Android has included built-in equalizer (EQ) settings and capabilities since Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The EQ allows users to customize the sound output on their devices by adjusting frequency bands like bass, mids, and treble (source).

The built-in EQ can be accessed through the Sound & Vibration or Sound settings menu on Android devices. The exact location varies by OEM skin and Android version, but is generally found in the device’s Settings app (source).

The EQ offers presets like Normal, Classical, Dance, Flat, Folk, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Jazz, Pop, and Rock that optimize sound for different genres. Users can customize bands themselves with sliders for bands ranging from 32Hz to 16kHz on some devices. There are typically 5-7 bands that can be adjusted.

The strength of Android’s built-in EQ is convenience since it doesn’t require downloading additional apps. However, the EQ has limitations in flexibility compared to advanced third party apps. The available presets also vary across manufacturers and Android versions.

Third Party EQ Apps

While Android does not have a built-in system-wide EQ, there are many great third party EQ apps that can provide this functionality. Some popular options include:

  • Andromeda – Provides a powerful 16-band EQ with bass boost and virtualizer effects.
  • Equalizer – Allows adjusting the EQ for system-wide audio with both graphic and parametric EQ options.
  • Equalizer FX – Offers preset and custom EQ settings and also includes a bass booster.
  • Equalizer & Bass Booster – Provides a 5-band equalizer, bass boost effect, and audio visualizer.

These apps allow applying EQ to audio from any app on an Android device for customized audio tailored to a user’s preferences.

EQ Capabilities by Android Version

The equalizer capabilities built into Android have steadily improved over time as new versions of the operating system are released. Here’s an overview of how EQ features have evolved across different Android versions:

In Android 2.3 Gingerbread, released in 2010, basic equalizer capabilities were introduced, allowing users to adjust audio frequency bands to customize the sound. However, the EQ only affected music played through the stock music player app.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, launched in 2012, expanded the built-in equalizer to work across more apps and audio sources. Users could now customize EQ settings for streaming apps, videos, podcasts, and more. Jelly Bean also introduced preset audio profiles to easily switch between EQ configurations.

Android 5.0 Lollipop, arriving in 2014, upgraded the EQ with a five-band equalizer for finer audio adjustments. Bass and treble boost options were added as well. Users could also enable a volume leveler to prevent drastic volume differences between songs or videos.

In Android 9 Pie, released in 2018, the EQ was again improved with support for fine-tuning left/right balance and channel volumes. Presets also expanded to include genres like Pop, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Rock to optimize audio for different music types.

The latest Android 13 update, launched in 2022, keeps the EQ capabilities of Android Pie but with performance improvements and tweaks to the interface. Auto-EQ is also enabled in some manufacturers’ versions to automatically adjust audio settings based on what headphones are plugged in.

Overall, the equalizer built into Android has gone from basic to robust over the years, with each version expanding audio customization options. However, availability of certain EQ features still depends on your Android phone manufacturer and model.

EQ on Other Mobile Platforms

Android’s built-in EQ capabilities contrast with other mobile operating systems like iOS. Whereas Android has some basic EQ functionality in its native music apps, iOS does not include any system-wide EQ features. Instead, iPhone users need to download third-party EQ apps to customize their audio experience.

This difference highlights Android’s more open and customizable approach compared to Apple’s walled garden. Android users can access EQ settings without needing to install additional apps or make modifications. Meanwhile, iOS restricts audio adjustments to preserve a uniform experience across devices.

Other mobile operating systems like Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS also lack built-in EQ functionality. These platforms require using third-party music players or apps to enable audio adjustments. Overall, Android stands out for baking EQ directly into its core audio architecture and system apps.




Audio Hardware Considerations

The quality of the headphones or speakers you use can significantly impact your audio experience when using EQ on an Android device. The audio hardware plays a major role in determining how noticeable and impactful EQ adjustments will be.

High-end audiophile headphones with large drivers and a wide frequency response range will showcase EQ changes more than cheap earbuds. The better the headphone, the more discernible subtle boosts or cuts in certain frequency bands will be.

Additionally, headphones with good noise isolation allow you to better hear the changes made by EQ. With excessive external noise bleeding into the headphones, it becomes harder to notice tweaks to the sound signature.

Having an external DAC (digital-to-analog converter) or headphone amplifier will also improve sound quality and the impact of EQ adjustments. The built-in DACs and amplifiers on phones are often low quality.

In summary, to get the most out of EQ, a good pair of headphones or speakers is a must. The source audio gear will determine how much you can actually enhance the listening experience with EQ.

EQ Presets

Many audio apps and devices come with preset EQ options that optimize the frequency response for certain listening situations. Some common presets include:

Flat/Direct – This preset aims for an unmodified, neutral response across all frequencies. It provides a transparent listening experience without coloring the sound.

Bass boost – As the name suggests, this preset boosts low frequencies to emphasize bass. It brings out the thump and rumble in music like hip hop, EDM, and rock.

Treble boost – Opposite of bass boost, this preset amplifies high frequencies to highlight details, crispness, and clarity. It can make music sound thinner and brighter.

Vocal booster – Focuses on bringing out mid-range frequencies where vocals lie. Makes voices and instruments like guitars more pronounced.

Acoustic – Designed for non-amplified acoustic instruments. Accentuates mid and high frequencies while attenuating bass. Helps bring out nuances in folk, classical, jazz etc.

Live/Concert – Mimics the feel of a live show by boosting highs, lows and surround effects. Expands the soundstage for an immersive listening experience.

While presets provide a quick way to optimize audio, manually tweaking each frequency band gives you finer control over the sound signature.(1)

EQ for Streaming

Using an EQ when streaming music or videos can help improve the audio quality. Many streaming services use compression algorithms that reduce audio quality, particularly in the high and low frequencies. An EQ can boost certain frequency ranges to help compensate for this compression.

For example, boosting the bass and treble frequencies slightly when streaming can help restore some of the warmth and clarity lost to compression. However, it’s best not to overdo EQ adjustments when streaming, as too much boosting can cause distortion.

Some music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have built-in EQ presets, allowing basic adjustments directly within their apps. For more advanced audio tweaking, there are third party apps like Poweramp and Neutron that offer parametric EQs, graphic EQs, and other tools to customize the sound.

Video streaming services don’t tend to have EQ options built-in. But using an external EQ app can still be beneficial. For instance, boosting dialogue frequencies can help make speech clearer when streaming movies or shows.

If using headphones or earbuds for streaming, keep in mind their frequency response when adjusting EQ. Avoid boosting frequencies that the headphones already accentuate. The goal is to get a more balanced sound, not just more boosting across the board.

Overall, EQs provide a useful way to get better audio quality from compressed streaming music and video. Just be wary of overdoing it, and tweak the settings to match your particular headphones/earbuds and audio preferences.

EQ for Audiophiles

Audiophiles often have high demands for audio quality and take extra steps to achieve customized sound from their mobile devices. To get the most out of their audio hardware, audiophiles can take advantage of Android’s EQ capabilities in several ways.

With external DACs and amplifiers that bypass the phone’s onboard circuitry, the device’s software EQ can provide tone shaping before the signal reaches the headphone jack. Matching the EQ profile to the frequency response of the headphones allows audiophiles to sculpt a neutral or preferred sound signature.

For those listening via USB or Bluetooth, an outboard EQ solution may be required. Some USB DACs and wireless headphones have onboard EQ that integrates with Android’s system settings. Apps like PowerAmp and UAPP also offer advanced parametric and graphic EQ options beyond the built-in presets.

Audiophiles working in a treated listening room can optimize the EQ profile for their speaker setup and room acoustics. While in-room correction is best achieved through proper placement and acoustic treatment, judicious EQ adjustments can minimize peaks and nulls at the listening position.

No matter the endpoint, precision EQ enables audiophiles to achieve a balanced, realistic sound from their system. But restraint is advised as excessive EQ can introduce distortion or other audio artifacts. A quality signal path and transducers should require only minor tonal correction.


Android offers users several options for controlling audio equalization, both through built-in features and third party apps. The native Android EQ provides basic presets that allow you to adjust bass, mids, and treble to suit your preferences. More advanced EQ controls are available through downloading apps like Equalizer FX and Music Volume EQ.

The capabilities of Android’s EQ vary across different versions of the OS and hardware. Newer versions tend to offer more customization of the native EQ. Devices with better onboard audio chips and headphones/speakers will be able to take fuller advantage of EQ tweaks. Overall, Android provides solid EQ features that should meet the needs of most users. Audiophiles may want to look into more powerful third party apps and external DACs/amps for finer tuned control.

In summary, Android enables you to easily shape your listening experience through equalization. The platform provides accessible EQ options suitable for everyday music playback and entertainment needs. Users wanting more advanced audio editing capabilities can turn to the thriving ecosystem of Android audio apps.

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