How to Use a Graphic Equalizer

By Isaiah David

Graphic equalizers are a useful tool for both casual music fans and serious professionals. They allow you to adjust the sound of the music to suit your tastes or cover up flaws in the recording.

Examine your graphic equalizer. Most home stereos have graphic equalizers with 3, 5, 7, or 10 "bands" or frequency filters. The more bands, the more precisely you can control the sound. A software graphic equalizer will often have 10 or 20 bands to allow more fine control.

Understand the layout of a graphic equalizer. The leftmost band controls the lowest frequencies, and the switches get progressively higher to the right.

Get to know your equalizer. Put on your favorite album and turn all the sliders to their lowest setting. Then experiment by going through them one at a time and turning each to the highest setting to hear which part of the music it controls. When you are done, put all the switches in the middle again to hear the music normally.

Bump the bass. If you want to feel the beat of the music, turn up the low frequency switches. If you have powerful speakers, you can really make the room shake!

Increase the clarity of sound. If your music sounds muffled, try turning up the high frequency switches. This will make music clearer and spoken word easier to understand. This is a great fix for older music fans who have suffered some high-frequency hearing loss.

Cut the hiss. You can decrease the amount of noise in old recordings and poorly produced music by turning down the highest frequency band on your graphic equalizer.

Give it some body. If the music sounds thin, turn up the middle frequencies. This requires more fiddling and fine tuning than other adjustments, but it can really make a difference. The music will sound warmer and fuller.