It can be difficult to choose which car audio equalizer to use for yourself, especially if you’re entirely new to the concept. You want to make sure you find something that is suitable for you and your car, your level of expertise as well as budget, and most importantly, the ears of those driving with you!
We’ve listed best car audio equalizers that are high in standards, performance and respectable in pricing.
Table of contents
- 6 Best Car Audio Equalizers On The Market
- What is a Car Equalizer?
- What’s The Difference Between An Equalizer And A Crossover?
- How To Properly Adjust The Car Equalizer?
- How To Connect Car Equalizer To An Amplifier
6 Best Car Audio Equalizers On The Market
Our Pick: JL Audio FiX-86 OEM
This 10-band car equalizer is the one we believe to be the best car audio equalizer of the bunch, having a 24-bit DSP processor to take in digital signals and process them into crisp, clear sound to limit and reduce background noise or “crackling” tones that simply interfere with a good sound system.
It lets you fine-tune to your musical preferences and be left with sound so satisfying you may as well live in the wavelengths. With the quad 1/3 octave equalizers, they offer a brilliant ability to fight feedback, allowing the listening time in your car to be an enjoyable one.
The Audio Fix-86 gives you the ability to accept up to 4-way factory audio signals which are a line or speaker level, making the EQ powerful enough to deal with intricate factory audio configurations on the market.
This digital equalizer also has 8-channel inputs, 4-channel stereo inputs (front and rear), 2 subwoofer RCA output pairs and a frequency response of 20 – 20,000 Hz.
By pressing a button on the Fix unit and then play the calibration track on the provided CD at 75% volume, all calculations will be made by the Fix processor to calibrate in less than 30 seconds, adding to the reasons why we’ve put it at number one!
You can turn the bass mid, treble or all the way up and there will be no muddy distortions taking away from your listening experience, only clean smooth tones to put an ease back in your drive.
The Handsfree Optimization Mode disables the time-correction and adds a filter to the audio, cleaning up sound when you decide to make a hands-free phone call, letting your loved one know you’re late because you’re too busy grooving to the incredible tunes coming from your touchscreen stereo.
This car equalizer is our favorite for good reasoning which is why it is our first pick.
Bang For The Buck: Clarion EQS746
If you’re looking for an EQ that costs less but does plenty still, then this one’s your pick. All in our words, this is our “Bang for the buck” choice as the Clarion EQ is a wise option for a short price.
It offers a 7-band graphic equalizer with 6-channels, has 7-volt RCA outputs (Front/Rear/Subwoofer), giving you a very high range to handle your tones and frequencies how you want.
Fine-tuning can be carried out fantastically smooth as there will be no fuzz or popping that comes with it, which is often an unpleasant effect that comes with altering your EQ. There is a changeable master volume level control for fluent rotation and an adjustable subwoofer level control.
The Clarion EQS746 also comes with a 2-Channel RCA AUX input with adjustable gain and a selectable 12dB low-pass crossover (60Hz to 90Hz).
However, though this EQ is a great pick for your daily equalization, it is exclusively for vehicles with a negative ground, 12V battery system.
With the 105dB signal clarity, it will certainly produce high-quality equalization in the car you’re driving, meaning that windy days or roadwork won’t stop you from singing along to your well-loved tunes.
While looking sharp with its gold-plated terminals as well as sounding terrific, this car equalizer will clear sound for your heavy metal, classic rock or warm-toned pop.
I can confidently say that you will be surprised by this option, with its performance acting so strong at such as an affordable price, what more could you want?
The Clarion EQS746 will bring you highs that couldn’t be livelier and lows that couldn’t be thicker, all while acting as a line driver meaning you are able to get more power to the amplifiers that you’re using. Don’t let appearances deceive you, as this simple-looking box will give you top-quality sound while cleaning up that bass!
Also Great: Clarion EQS755
If the other offers didn’t trigger your interest, here is an equalizer for car audio system that is just as good.
The Clarion EQS755 offers a 3.5mm front AUX input, 2-channel RCA AUX input with variable gain adjustment RCA and speaker inputs of high level.
Its 7-band equalizer handles frequencies at 50Hz, 125Hz,315Hz, 750Hz,2.2kHz, 6kHz, and 16kHz. This EQ also comes with a 12-dB low-pass filter (60Hzor 90Hz) 6-channel and 8-volt RCA outputs: sub, rear, and subwoofer.
We know people can be picky with the clarity in their stereos, which is why we reassure them that this car EQ will give you wonderful sound and enhance your music. The control is at your fingertips with the blue-tint backlight, allowing you to adjust and readjust over the 7 bands as much as you please.
Sometimes simple is the better option for you, which is why this great item works just how it’s supposed to.
If you need an car equalizer that will achieve a flat line, then you will be very happy with this purchase as it strengthens your signal almost to the level of a line driver, making up for unfriendly acoustic environments that your music can’t flow as well through.
The Clarion EQS755 is another brilliant pick to carve out and stabilize frequencies that may be flowing out of control.
On The Budget: Planet Audio PEQ10
The Planet Audio PEQ10 car stereo equalizer has four fixed bands – high, mid, low and sub – this EQ has a 12dB boost or cuts adjustment, a subwoofer output with adjustable filter, master volume, input sensitivity adjustment, night illumination, and a 3.5-farad capacitor.
It’s recommended for those with a tighter budget but understand the importance of music that isn’t dominated by crackling, hissing or spitting.
With its faders, you can bring roaring sounds to the front of your car or push them to the back, depending on the placement of your speakers.
With the center frequencies being at 75Hz, 200Hz, 2kHz, 20kHz, you are still given a range of adjustments to make sure the quality of sound that is filling your car is still pleasant.
With a subwoofer crossover frequency variable from 45 – 180Hz and a signal to noise ratio of 105 dB, spending less isn’t always a bad option, but instead can boost a sound car system tremendously.
You will be pleasantly surprised after short installation time, with a bass that’s deep and trebles that are crisp, this affordable car equalizer will make a good fit for you and your ears. With its sleek sizing, this EQ will work well with your large car components, not adding any bulk but rather blending with the style.
The Planet Audio PEQ10 will not limit your bass experience but will add an extra punch to those songs that are lacking. High-end, high-tech, isn’t exactly what every person who just wishes they had some control over sound-quality wants, so this in-dash equalizer one worth looking at.
On The Budget: DS18 DS-KEQ5
The DS18 KEQ5 is an in-dash equalizer that has five bands, which is even more than that cheaper price is pretending to give you.
While offering you full power and control over your listening time, it also has a crossover that is specifically created for a mobile setting, so you can have dazzling sound blaring from your speakers whether you’re parked at a mall or heading down a highway.
The DS18 KEQ5 gives these wonderful features in a compactable size to fit comfortably in your car dash and with easy wiring, it is almost as simple as plug and play.
It also has an active gain equalizer with adjustable input sensitivity, a master volume control with up to 7 volts RMS of output, individual left and right sensitivity controls, gold-plated RCA input/output connectors and illumination so you can fine-tune even through the night.
If you want to listen off another device and without the head unit, you can use a 3.5mm male jack from one end to the RCA on the other.
Just like the Clarion EQS 755, this is the top rated equalizer for if you don’t want to spend a fortune just to have a good jazz-out session, so if someone says “you get what you pay for” you will realize you’re receiving more for less with the DS18 KEQ5.
On The Budget: Sound Storm S4EQ
The last of our choices is the Soundstorm S4EQ, a 4-band preamp car equalizer with front, rear and subwoofer outputs, common fader control, fun dual-colored illuminations (green or red), and gold-plated connectors.
Some feel like seven (or more), bands can be a bit of an overkill for equalization, which is why there is an option available for all varying purchasers.
This is a high-performing car EQ with a price that goes above all your expectations and a choice that will guarantee to upgrade your sound system, allowing you to put your sound experience into your own hands and take control back from the car inconsistencies that can ruin audio.
This car equalizer has a subwoofer crossover which can be adjusted across frequency bands of 40 to 150 Hz, giving you the ability to tune your sub-feed for the finest sound you want to hear.
The Soundstorm S4EQ is a passive device that turns on with the head unit and allows a separate device – such as an MP3 or another accessory – to be input.
The EQ has a sturdy, well-built casing and an elegant clear top, showcasing the circuitry inside.
Just like the DS18 DS-KEQ5 and the Planet Audio PEQ10, this final car audio EQ is one that won’t stretch your wallet but will certainly stretch your appreciation for a clean-sounding audio system.
What is a Car Equalizer?
A car equalizer (EQ) can help improve the quality of sound coming from your car radio by dealing with the things that can disrupt the audio.
The factors can be very varying, as your music could be drowned out by wind from outside, the interior of the car (like metal grills over the speakers) or just general street noise.
The glass windows can cause music to also sound like an echo, but an EQ can cut tones or boost them to stop this issue from taking place. One same note can sound like something entirely different depending on what you’re using to listen with or where you are.
An EQ can give you specific adjustment ability over the quality of tone that is being emitted from your radio speakers.
Most car EQs come with two bands: bass and treble, but there can be five, ten, even thirteen bands meaning the EQ is more detailed to your favorite sound.
For music equipment used by professionals, there can even be up to thirty bands, just to put into perspective how finely tuned you can really make audio. For most, a simple altering for a deeper bass or sharper treble is all they need to enjoy their music, while others may like to have all those extra options to fit audio to their strict liking.
The left side of the EQ is for low frequencies while the right side is for the high ones while adjusting the top EQ bands control how much treble you have, and bottom bands control the bass.
All sliders on a car equalizer are usually centered on certain frequencies in Hertz (Hz). Sometimes you’ll have to have a basic understanding of the music you are listening to so that you can adjust your EQ correctly. For example, tracks that have vocals don’t use many lows, but rather mids and highs.
What’s The Difference Between An Equalizer And A Crossover?
Well, an EQ compensates for the inconsistencies in a car by using different bands, changing the amplitude of audio signals at certain frequencies. They essentially are software filters that adjust how loud certain frequencies are.
A crossover takes in one input signal and splits it into two or three output signals containing separated bands of low-, mid- and high-range frequencies. These different bands feed into different speakers – or “drivers” – in sound systems: woofers, tweeters, and subwoofers (15-inch or 10-inch).
A simple crossover will have two filters: a low-pass and a high-pass, but this can increase depending on which one you use. The low-pass filter will only allow signals through that are below a specific frequency, driving the mid-range driver to the woofer.
As you’ve guessed, the high-pass filter then only allows high-frequency signals, which feeds through to the tweeter.
And finally, low-bass frequencies are directed to the subwoofers. Through a crossover, each speaker will only handle the frequencies that it can emit efficiently, that way there is no overlapping, high distortion or overall mixing of noncorresponding tones, while an equalizer will take care of frequencies that need to be heightened or lessened.
There are two different types of crossovers: passive and active.
Passive crossovers do not need external power supplies, are easier to install and will filter an audio signal after amplification.
But active crossovers do require a power supply, give you more control over your sound and filter audio signals before amplification. All speakers have their own frequency range that they perform best at, so a crossover will give them clarity, and just like an EQ, the more bands the more complex the sound adjusting is for you as the listener.
How To Properly Adjust The Car Equalizer?
Car equalizers have controls that offer a selection of presets: rock, concert, pop, vocals, concert, flat, electronic, jazz, acoustic and more, but it is not limited to just these ones.
Every person has a subjective taste in sound as well as the fact different speakers require different settings, so it is in the hands of the user to make sure it’s adjusted to the best of standards.
Start off by making sure the EQ is set at neutral (0 position), meaning there is no EQ curve. Then, while playing a sound that you’re familiar with, make small adjustments to the frequency controls.
Start with having the subwoofer off and then slowly turn up the output until you hit the spot you’re happy with. Some call it the “sweet spot” which essentially means it’s in a setting where the bass has kicked in nicely without overpowering anyone.
The positioning of your car speakers can also have an effect on how you want to alter the audio sound.
Bass blockers can be used if you have small front speakers to help with filtering lower frequencies. This allows the music to be ultimately clearer and even louder. If your speakers are in the back of your car then you can use the faders on your receiver to bring music more forward or further back (probably depending on who’s in the ride with you).
Remember that handling an car equalizer for the best-desired sound is about balance and amount. If you want more bass, you can turn down the treble and mid-range frequencies.
What about a clearer treble? You can reduce the low frequencies to clear it up a bit. It’s best to cut and lessen instead of increasing, for this may lead to distortion of sound, which won’t sound nice at all.
How To Connect Car Equalizer To An Amplifier
To connect your EQ straight to your amplifier, there need to be preamp-in and preamp-out channels on it, (which are usually located at the rear).
- You will need two RCA cables to run signals to and from your EQ to your amp, (right channel jacks will normally take the red RCA plugs while the left is for the white or black).
- Connect one pair to the preamp-in channels on your EQ and then connect the other end to the preamp-out channels on the amp.
- Now connect the second pair of RCA cables to the preamp-in on your amp and to the preamp-out on your EQ. This will be between the amplifier and the receiver. Also, instead of preamp connections, some have “tape monitor channels” which work also.
- Some amps have switches that will turn on the preamp connections. If you only have access to tape monitor channels, then you can turn this switch on instead.
- Finally, turn on the EQ, the amp and the receiver and adjust the EQ to your liking! Small changes can make a big difference, so start off slow and give it several seconds for the adjustments to fully take place.