May 14, 2009

A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting

And now for something actually useful. I'm restarting my long ago DJ career over at, so it was time to bring this reminder to myself and others back from the Archives.


Works like a charm. Here's how to set it up.

This hint is really only for iTunes, and I found it in MacFormat's September 2004 Issue. It was submitted by an anonymous user.

Are you somewhat disappointed with the output from iTunes? If so, you might try using the equalizer (Command-2, or the third button from right at the bottom of the main window) to modify the output levels at various frequencies. There are a number of pre-defined settings, but the MacFormat tip contained a different set of suggested levels.

Open the equalizer, and from the pop-up menu, select "Make Preset." Call it "Perfect," because it is, and set the following levels, from left to right (skip the Preamp section):

db 3, 6, 9, 7, 6, 5, 7, 9, 11, 8 db

The image to the left (full-size image) shows about what it should look like when you're done. Make sure you check the "On" box to activate the equalizer, too. These settings produce absolutely the best balance I've ever heard. My home computer speakers are ablaze with sound now. --

Don't forget to choose "Make Preset" from the list box and label this so you can get back to it later.

Then.... kick back and CRANK those speakers!

[Via Merlin Mann's invaluable 43 Folders]

Posted by Vanderleun at May 14, 2009 7:54 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Wow! I tried the perfect Equalizer setting and it is just so great that I set all my iTunes songs to it.

Posted by: mistersurefire at September 23, 2007 12:02 AM

The image of your equalizer doesn't match up to the numbers listed in the post. Specifically the 500, 1k, 2k appear to be at 3, 2, and 5 respectively rather than 6, 5, 7 as is listed in the post.

Posted by: josh Bradley at September 23, 2007 7:55 AM

You're right.

Premature screen grab.

Fixed now. Thanks.

Posted by: vanderleun at September 23, 2007 9:23 AM

That's pretty good, yeah.

Posted by: See-dubya at September 23, 2007 12:33 PM

I went to change my settings to "Perfect" and found that my manaul settings were withing 1 notch on every level. (I'm cereal).

Posted by: JohnO at September 23, 2007 7:01 PM

Try this one - it is optimised for Bose QC2 headphones

3.5, 7, 7, 6, 7, 7, 7, 6, 5, 3

and live WSP

Posted by: Robohobo at September 23, 2007 8:23 PM

Hmm, I posted another set of numbers that I use that I have optimised for Bose QC2 headphones and it disappeared.

Testing 1...2...3...

Try 3.5,7,6,6,7,7,7,6,5,4 and some live Widespread Panic - Red Rock night #1 from this year is on right now - 'All Time Low'

The 'Perfect' settings are pretty good tho'

Posted by: Robohobo at September 23, 2007 8:30 PM

Okay, yeah, that's REALLY nice.

I hadn't done anything with my levels since I rarely listen to iTunes and I've got a set of ancient miniature speakers, but the difference is amazing.

Posted by: B. Durbin at September 24, 2007 11:05 AM

songs are already set to the proper levels in the studio, therefore, you shoudl just leave it flat and not change the songs at all...

Posted by: Greg at September 24, 2007 6:54 PM

You, sir, have changed my life.

This is awesome. And to think I scoffed, scoffed, when I saw the word "Perfect" for the equalizer preset.

From Aerosmith to Celtic Woman (I'm not gay), this preset is great.

Thank you.

Posted by: jkrank at September 25, 2007 2:57 PM

ICK! If you have to EQ more than 3db either way at any frequency, seriously reconsider the accuracy of your speakers.

Posted by: a. at October 6, 2007 2:47 PM

I tried running some Todd Rundgren through this setting, and I can vouch that it sounds pretty damn good.

Posted by: Jake Was Here at October 15, 2007 8:59 PM

this is like the old 80's and 90's pull out the trebble and crank the base and highs.

Posted by: at May 14, 2008 5:26 PM

You are deaf. That eq setting is horrific.

Posted by: Music City at August 8, 2008 12:02 AM

Works for me.

Posted by: vanderleun at August 8, 2008 9:03 AM

Tried this while playing some '80s hits, and the difference was noticeably better with each additional change.

Only problem I had was that I had to set everything first, then go through the "Make Preset" process.

It's posts like these that make me appreciate the InterTubes.

Posted by: Bill Peschel at August 9, 2008 3:32 PM

this preset makes my cock swell. thanks.

Posted by: Jon at September 19, 2008 11:30 AM

x2 jkrank. That preset sounds like ass. Makes lots of distortion. Get new speakers and amps if you think this EQ helps.

Posted by: smileyborg at March 18, 2009 12:06 PM

Oh, crap. More digital steps to optimize my mac life. I'm going to spend hours figuring this thing out tomorrow, thanks G.

Posted by: Daphne at May 14, 2009 5:51 PM

Just did it. Love it!


Posted by: newton at May 14, 2009 11:13 PM

Thank you! :) Even *I* could follow the instructions...

Posted by: Maura at May 15, 2009 8:52 AM

Sir Vanderluen,

Thank you for the very nice music.

Much appreciated.

Posted by: France at May 16, 2009 4:08 PM

Thank you for the Blip! I have been getting pretty bored with Pandora and now I have a replacement!

Posted by: Obi's Sister at May 19, 2009 4:43 PM

I use Pandoro on my MacBookPro with Bose speakers. This setup really need a good equalizer for classical music, but Pandoro does not support an equalizer. I like the looks of this one, but I need it for my MacBook and not for my iPod Touch/phone, which I also have but don't use that much.

Posted by: cfw123 at January 23, 2010 7:40 PM


Posted by: at April 30, 2010 8:22 PM

yeah its pretty bad...

Posted by: dt16 at May 25, 2010 8:52 AM

Your "Perfect" is far from being perfect. I'd name this preset "LMFAO" because that's what I'll be doing when everyone goes deaf in the very near future.

Want good settings? You can start by investing in a good pair of cans (head phones) and a DAC (Digital to analogue converter).

SR80i would be my recommendation since they'll cost about ten to 30 dollars more than the crappy boxed set of speakers that you picked up from wherever.

As a reminder, 'louder' does not mean the music will be better - it just means that the music will be louder and you'll drown out all of the details, lose the warmth and fullness to the overall sound and experience.

Just saying. . .

Posted by: audiojunky at September 16, 2010 11:18 PM

Audiojunky, now that you've established what a smarmy piece of shit you are, perhaps you could consider spending more time in personal self-intercourse with your cans.

Posted by: vanderleun at September 17, 2010 8:10 PM