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Best Car Equalizers

You can survive with just a regular car receiver. You don’t, strictly speaking, need a car audio equalizer. But you cannot believe the difference having one will make. While it’s true that people who are constantly tweaking their system’s tuning tend to love the precise tone shaping capabilities an equalizer affords, there’s a bit more to the story. When you know how to use it, a good car audio equalizer will let you compensate for the noisiest component in your system — your vehicle.

An equalizer (or EQ for short) lets you tune the sound of your car’s audio system by giving you ultra-precise tonal control and adjustment over your music playback not covered by standard treble, midrange, and bass controls.

In this guide, we’ve evaluated the best car equalizers for this year, no matter what your budget, or your sound system.

Best Car Audio Equalizers — Reviews

1. Clarion EQS755

Last update on 2023-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Clarion EQS755 is a graphic equalizer offering superior control over the audio spectrum with frequency adjustments in the 50 Hz to 16 kHz range over 7-band to get the most of your sound system.

This equalizer is featured with an independent master volume, subwoofer level, and fader controls that’ll keep your highs and lows in balance. Its knobs are easy to move and glow Blue Illmination system isn’t too bright.

The EQS755 comes equipped with RCA and high-level speaker inputs, so you can hook it up to just about any system. It also comes with two AUX inputs – one 3.5mm front-mounted AUX input and another 2-channel RCA AUX input with variable gain adjustment on the rear-panel so you can adjust for audio sources of varying levels, while a selectable 12dB low-pass crossover at 60 or 90 Hz tames the wilder extremes of bass.

This graphic equalizer boasts 8-volt outputs to ensure that your amplifiers will get a super-clean signal for maximum performance.

All in all, the EQS755 is a very well-built equalizer that offers unmatched sound quality and tenability for a great price.

2. Massive Audio EQ-7X

Last update on 2023-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While Massive Audio might be one of the younger companies in the car audio industry, it’s been able to make a name for itself as a serious competitor. The company offers a wide selection of products including speakers, subwoofer, and amplifiers.

The EQ-7X is one of the best car equalizer that Massive Audio has to offer. This graphic equalizer features 7 bands of adjustment for sonic fine tuning, along with 8 volt output line driver.

This equalizer comes equipped with 3 sets of 7V preamp outputs (front, rear and subwoofer), 2-channel RCA input with adjustable gain, and rear-mounted RCA Aux inputs to let you pair your equalizer to just about any device.

Massive Audio EQ-7X features a subwoofer level, volume, and fader controls. It also features a switch to change the lighting LED system from Red to Blue depending on the interior of your vehicle.

3. AudioControl THREE.2

Last update on 2023-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is what you can get if you’re willing to shell out some serious cash. The AudioControl’s THREE.2 is a 3-band in-dash equalizer and a whole lot more. It’s designed to let you control almost every aspect of your receiver’s output from the driver’s seat.

The AudioControl THREE.2 boasts three bands of equalization — high, midrange, and midbass. There’s also a fourth band, called Para-BASS®, which allows for killer bass tweaking and let you get the bass popping the way you like.

This THREE.2 has front and rear auxiliary inputs for connecting other music sources such as a smartphone or iPod®. It also offers front and rear outputs for your speakers, maintaining front-to-rear fader capability for excellent soundstage.

The biggest thing with this equalizer is the fact that it has a subwoofer channel with 24 dB/octave crossover and its own level control. It also has an adjustable input gains with an LED indicator to tell you when the equalizer is perfectly matched with your receiver.

Additionally, this graphic equalizer also functions as a true pre-amp — Its master volume knob lets you boost the signal up to the level that your amps need to play at maximum efficiency.

4. Cerwin Vega EQ-770

Last update on 2023-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cerwin Vega is a pretty big name within the audio space. It’s been around for a very long time and has mastered the art of making top-notch products.

The company’s packaging and manual advertise the EQ-770 as a parametric EQ, but it’s not. It’s a 7-band graphic equalizer. The product itself has “graphic equalizer” printed on it.

Cerwin Vega EQ-770 is a very well-engineered equalizer. It comes with 3 sets of up to 7V preamp outputs (front, rear, and subwoofer) and auxiliary input.

It features a master and subwoofer volume control, as well as a built-in fader control.

5. Boss Audio Systems AVA1210

Last update on 2023-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Boss Audio is a company known for their long tradition of making affordable products, and their equalizer line is no exception. So, if you’re on a tight budget and looking for cheap car audio equalizer, Boss Audio AVA1210 is a decent option to consider.

The downside, however, is that Boss Audio occasionally has a reputation for hit-or-miss quality. So how does their AVA1210 graphic equalizer measure up?

The AVA1210 is a 7-band equalizer with with 18 dB boost/cut. It has with a volume control, fader control, subwoofer outputs and level controls.

This equalizer does what it should, but unlike most equalizers out there which adjust all seven bands on all your speakers, this equalizer works a bit differently. It splits the frequencies, so there are 3 frequencies that adjust rear speakers and the 4 left adjust the front speakers. This design would to be a huge advantage if your vehicle is equipped with powerful rear speakers that are capable of more low end than the front set.

Overall, Boss Audio AVA1210 equalizer isn’t truly the best car equalizer out there, but it’s a great bang for the buck.

How an Equalizer Helps Your System

A good graphic equalizer is the key to fine-tuning your music in the car. It’ll help your sound system overcome road noise and allow you to hear crisp and undistorted music, even at highway speeds.

An equalizer makes a night and day difference by catering to your listening preferences. It lets you compensate for the noisy listening environment of your car or truck.

It’s not just the road noise that affects your system’s sound. There’s also engine noise, rushing wind, size and shape of the carpeted interior, the reflectivity of glass, and the absorbent nature of seats. All of these chalk up together to make some frequencies sound muffled and muddy regardless of how powerful your components are.

Sure, you can cut down that resonance and road noise dramatically by installing a sound-damping material like Dynamat. But, to boost the frequencies you’re missing and attenuate those your vehicle exaggerates, you’ll need an equalizer.

When you make these adjustments, try dialing down certain frequencies first. For example, before you boost your bass, lower the midrange and high frequencies a little bit.

An equalizer will not only help in fine-tuning your music, but it’s also a great way to protect your equipment. If your lows are handled by a pair of 6-1/2″ woofers, use an EQ to cut back all frequencies below 50 Hz. This way, you amplifier will be more efficient and you’ll get a well-balanced sound while protecting your speakers from frequencies they can’t handle.

Types of Car Audio Equalizers

Car audio equalizers come in a variety of types, each of which has its own pros and cons:

Graphic Equalizer

A graphic equalizer is the standard type of car audio equalizer that usually has anywhere from 5 to 30 slider controls (slide potentiometers) placed side-by-side on top of the Equalizer with the highest frequencies at the right and the lowest frequencies at the left. These slider’s positions mirror the frequency response curve the equalizer is applying.

These sliding controls let you boost or cut certain frequencies by moving the slider up or down, giving you a high level of control over the tonal quality of your music. Unlike parametric equalizers, the width of each band in a graphic equalizer (also referred to as Q or bandwidth) is fixed and cannot be adjusted.

Parametric Equalizer

Unlike graphic equalizers, which have fixed center frequencies and bandwidths, parametric equalizers provide a high level of adjustability and offer an extremely tight tonal control over your music playback in your vehicle.

What makes Parametric equalizers a step up from graphic equalizers is the fact that they allow you to vary the centerpoint and width of each EQ band, thereby making it easy for you to really zero in on a problem area.

In other words, parametric equalizers allow you to adjust not only the amount in dB by which a certain frequency band is boost or cut, but also the width and/or center frequency of this band, which makes them quite versatile compared to their conventional graphic counterparts.

Analog Equalizer

Analog equalizers use knobs or sliders to control the level of each of the equalizer’s frequency bands.

Digital Equalizer

Digital equalizers gives you much more adjustment flexibility and precision. They use software based controls, and they let you store your own EQ curves; a pretty useful feature for those of your who listen to a wide variety of music genres or take part in car audio competitions.

EQ Booster

EQ boosters aren’t that popular in today’s market. They’re essentially a combination of an equalizer and an amp. That’s not to say that having one of these is better than a passive equalizer and a standalone amplifier. Quite honestly, EQ boosters aren’t typically as powerful as most good amps.

Equalizers — FAQ

Where do I mount an equalizer?

It’s recommended to mount your equalizer within reach of the drivers seat. Most often, dash-mounted equalizers are mounted above or below the receiver in the factory radio location, or below the dash using a mounting bracket or special kit. You can also mount it in next to your amp(s) in the trunk.

Why is my receiver’s fader control no longer working?

Most often that’s because your equalizer has only one set of inputs instead of multiple inputs. In other words, it only receives a single stereo signal from your receiver, instead of separate signals for front and rear.

If you want to retain your receiver’s fader feature, you should invest in an equalizer that will accept all your receiver’s preamp outputs.

Most 2 channel equalizers out there are fitted with a fader control, so you can still balance the music between the front and rear speakers.

4-channel equalizers will also accept your receiver’s front and rear outputs.

6-channel EQs will also accept all your receiver’s front and rear outputs as well as subwoofer outputs so you can still adjust your sub’s level with your receiver’s controls.

How can I determine the best EQ settings for my setup?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Simply because each setup is different. Therefore, the best way to determine the most appropriate EQ settings for you is through trial and error.

So, to achieve a well-balanced sound, start with all the levers set flat, so that the equalizer is not affecting your sound. Next, slightly dial down those strong frequencies and boost the missing ones until they sound right. For example, if your vocals sound muddy or muffled, boost some of the middle frequencies a little.

Our brains are hard-wired to assume that more is better. So, naturally, you’ll feel tempted to boost the low frequencies all the way up. Instead of doing so, it’s highly recommended that you bring those low frequencies up just a little bit, while lowering the mids and highs a touch — This way, you’ll get more effective gain out of your system, and most importantly, you won’t be at any risk of frying your speakers

Bottom Line

A good car equalizer will definitely tighten up your overall sound system response. The best way to find out what a good EQ can do for your system is to try one out for yourself.

A hands-on experience and some trial and error tweaking will help you learn more about fine-tuning the sound in your vehicle and really bring out the best from your system.

Alex Brown

Hey There, my name is Alex Brown, I'm an LA-based sound engineer with over 10 years experience installing, troubleshooting, and repairing commercial, automotive, and household sound equipment. I've installed highly competitive car audio systems, and everything from navigation systems to full car stereo systems, remote starters, alarms and beyond. I enjoy creating solutions and simplifying everyday needs. I also love helping people get great sounding gear, thereby, saving the world from bad sound one customer at a time.

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