Improving Sound Quality in iTunes Using the Equalizer Tool

Get the best out of your music library by shaping the sound your hear

Just like physical graphic equalizers found on home stereo equipment, the equalizer tool in iTunes allows you to shape the audio you hear to improve sound quality. Use the built-in multi-band equalizer to boost or reduce certain frequency ranges to get the exact audio response you need through your speakers. This technique is useful for listening to music in different rooms, as each environment has its own set of acoustic variations.

Don't confuse audio equalization with the audio enhancement tool in iTunes called Sound Check. Sound Check normalizes the loudness of songs so that all songs play at the same volume.

Instructions in this guide refer to iTunes version 11 and later, as well as the Apple Music app, which replaced iTunes with macOS Catalina (10.15).

How to Open the iTunes Equalizer Tool on a PC

Follow these steps to access the iTunes EQ feature on a Windows device:

  1. From the iTunes main screen, select the View menu at the top of the screen. If you don't see this menu, enable it by pressing Ctrl+B.

  2. Select Show Equalizer. Alternatively, press Ctrl+Shift+2.

  3. The equalizer tool displays on the screen and is enabled by default. If it isn't enabled, select the check box next to the On option.

How to Open the iTunes Equalizer Tool on a Mac

Follow these steps to access the iTunes EQ feature on a Mac:

  1. On the main screen of iTunes, select Window and then choose iTunes Equalizer. Alternatively, press Option+Command+2.

  2. After the equalizer displays, ensure that it is enabled. If it isn't, select the check box next to On.

Select a Built-in Equalizer Preset

Before creating your custom EQ setting, find out if one of the built-in presets will work for you. There's a good selection of different presets, including Dance, Electronic, Hip-Hop, and specific settings like Small Speakers, Spoken Word, and Vocal Booster.

To change from the default preset (Flat) to one of the built-in presets, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Up/down arrow in the rectangular box to display the list of EQ presets.

  2. Choose one by selecting it. The multi-band equalizer changes its slider settings automatically, and the name of the chosen preset displays.

  3. If you want to try another preset after playing one of your songs, repeat the above steps.

Create Your Own Customized Equalizer Presets

If you exhausted all the presets that are built into iTunes, you might like to create your own. Here's how:

  1. Play a track or playlist from your iTunes library so that you can hear what happens to the sound when you change the equalizer settings.

  2. Modify individual frequency bands by moving each of the slider controls up or down. Don't worry about changing any of the built-in presets at this stage, as nothing is overwritten. You can always revert to a preset by selecting it.

  3. Once you are happy with the overall sound, select the Up/down arrow in the rectangular box, and choose Make Preset.

  4. Enter a name for your custom preset and select OK. The name of your custom-made preset displays on the screen. It also appears in the list of presets.

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