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With the growth of services like Spotify Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? Spotify vs. Apple Music vs. Google Play Music: Which Is Best? While there are lots of music streaming services around, there are three major ones that stand out above the others: Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play Music. But which is best? Read More  and the increasing popularity of podcasts The 12 Best Podcasts of 2016 You Need to Hear The 12 Best Podcasts of 2016 You Need to Hear In this article we share the 12 best podcasts 2016, all of which we thoroughly recommend you hear. Whether you’re looking for inspiration, to discover something new, or simply need to be entertained. Read More , lots of us now use our smartphones as our main way of enjoying audio.

But while the usage of mobile audio continues to grow, the Android operating system has struggled to keep up.

One area where it lags is the lack of a system-wide equalizer. Sure, some apps offer their own equalizers, but there’s no native way to adjust the output for any audio.

You need a third-party solution. Here are four of the best equalizer apps in the Google Play Store.

(Note: You should only have one equalizer app installed. Multiple equalizers can cause compatibility issues.)

Understanding Equalizer Apps

Before I dive into the list, there is one important point to clarify: all the equalizer apps that work without requiring root access do the same thing.

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That’s because they all rely on the Android AudioEffects class to control the Equalizer, Virtualizer, BassBoost, PresetReverb, and EnvironmentalReverb.

This has a few significant repercussions for users. Firstly, the only differences between the apps are the user interfaces and the additional features – the effect on your audio will be identical. Secondly, the equalizers will not be able to control more than one app at a time. Finally, the equalizers you download work in the same way as the equalizers packaged into apps like Spotify and Google Music. If you only use one service and it already has an equalizer, downloading an additional app is unnecessary.

Because of these realities, this list only has the four best options.

1. Equalizer

In my opinion, Equalizer has the best features, it’s the easiest to use, and it has the best interface.

The free version comes with 11 presets (Normal, Classical, Dance, Flat, Folk, Metal, Hip-Hop, Jazz, Pop, Rock, and Latin) as well as a bass boost, surround sound, and a sound amplifier. Tap on the preset you want to activate it.

Its standout feature is its use of ID3 tags to automatically adjust the equalizer based on the type of music you’re listening to. Clearly, this only works if you’ve taken the time to tag your music library correctly 4 Fantastic Tools to Manage Your Massive MP3 Collection 4 Fantastic Tools to Manage Your Massive MP3 Collection Music library management can be an entirely frustrating experience, especially if you have years of unorganized music waiting to be sorted and labeled properly. Poor music library management will come back and bite you later... Read More .

The Best 4 Android Equalizer Apps for Great Audio equalizer 571x500

The app follows Google’s “Material Design” principles Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? Exploring Android L: What Exactly Is Material Design? You may have heard about Android L and Material Design, but what exactly is this new design philosophy and how will it affect Android and other Google products? Read More , but you can download custom themes if you want to add some spice. There’s also a home screen widget, letting you quickly adjust your equalizer on-the-fly.

The pro version is available for $1.99. It adds a way to save your own custom presets, the ability to add custom presets to your home screen widget, and allows the ID3 tagging feature to work with streaming apps like Spotify.

Download: Equalizer (Free)

2. Equalizer & Bass Booster

Equalizer & Bass Booster does a lot more than the name suggests. In addition to the bass boost, there’s a five-band equalizer (60 Hz, 230 Hz, 910 Hz, 3.6 kHz, and 14 kHz), a 15-level volume booster, and a surround sound control.

Aesthetically, the developer has designed the app to look like it’s an MP3 player that floats in the middle of your screen. There are easy-to-use dials that let you change the volume, bass, and surround sound.

The Best 4 Android Equalizer Apps for Great Audio Equalizer Bass Booster 571x500

Whenever you’re playing audio, the screen of the virtual MP3 player has some cool visuals that bounce around in time to the music. If you make the visuals full screen, it becomes even more impressive. The graphics adjust themselves as you move your device around. You need to let the app record your phone’s audio How to Automatically Record Calls on Android and Never Run out of Space How to Automatically Record Calls on Android and Never Run out of Space Recording phone calls is a great way to keep data for your records. Let's compare some apps that will do this on your Android phone. Read More for the on-screen effects to work (see screenshot above).

The $2.99 pro version removes ads and adds custom presets.

Download: Equalizer & Bass Booster (Free)

3. Equalizer Music Player Booster

Equalizer Music Player Booster is a three-in-one app: an MP3 player, a music equalizer, and a bass booster. It has an “Editor’s Choice” award in the Play Store.

The equalizer has five bands (Bass, Low, Mid, Upper, High). There are 10 presets to choose from, and you can also create and save custom presets.

It will only work with audio (songs or podcasts) stored on your device – it is not compatible with Spotify or other streaming apps. However, don’t let that put you off — as mentioned at the start of the article, the equalizers provided by Spotify and dedicated third-party apps are identical in terms of functionality.

The Best 4 Android Equalizer Apps for Great Audio Equalizer Music Player Booster 571x500

The MP3 player is easy to navigate. It’ll automatically find any audio you have saved on your device, it supports crossfading (up to 20 seconds), it has a visualizer (though it’s not as impressive as Equalizer & Bass Booster’s visualizer), and there’s a sleep timer.

There’s even a way to share songs will other users 6 Awesome Ways to Find and Share Music Playlists 6 Awesome Ways to Find and Share Music Playlists Streaming music services are growing ever more popular, and this means the ability to create and share playlists with family and friends have got easier than ever. Here's how to do it. Read More on the same network. As long as they have the app installed on their device, you can give them a code and they can stream your entire collection remotely.

For $2, you can remove the ads.

Download: Equalizer Music Player Booster (Free)

4. Equalizer Ultra Booster EQ

I’ve made Equalizer Ultra Booster EQ my final pick for one main reason: it boasts a 10-band equalizer. From my research, it was the only non-root 10-band app in the store. If you know of any others, be sure to let me know in the comments.

In additional to the 10-bands, you’ll also find a virtualizer and a reverb dial, as well as sliders for a bass boost and a treble boost.

If you’re happy to spend $1.50, you can unlock “Ultra Mode.” It has some cool additional features, including a preamp, ultra bass, enhanced stereo effects, crossfading, and playback speed adjustment.

The Best 4 Android Equalizer Apps for Great Audio Equalizer Ultra Booster 670x376

Despite the benefits, there is a trade-off. The app is nowhere near as straightforward to use or as pleasing on the eye as my three previous recommendations. The font it deploys looks like something out of a bad sci-fi movie, and the silver-on-black theme can be difficult to read.

Nonetheless, if those extra bands are important to you, it’s a solid choice.

Download: Equalizer Ultra Booster EQ (Free)

Which Equalizer Do You Use?

I hope my four choices have helped you understand what the core features offered by Android equalizer apps are. Which app you ultimately decide to download depends on what is most important to you: ease-of-use, graphics, multiple bands, or additional features.

Now it’s your turn. Which equalizer app do you have installed on your phone? What are its best features? Why does it deserve to be part of this list?

You can leave your thoughts, feedback, and recommendations in the comments below.

Image Credit: Christopher Gardiner via Shutterstock.com, Eric via Flickr

Originally written by Joel Lee on June 21st, 2013.

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  1. Lawrence Keel
    March 19, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    When I was on the iOs platform, I used an app called EQu by Elephant Candy. Since my second return to Android, I have not found anything as good.

    Are there any Android audio music apps close to this app?

  2. Rick Edelson
    January 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Joel, thanks for your helpful article. I use Google Cast (a/k/a Google Home) to play my music over my stereo instead of on my android phone via the Chromecast Audio device. Do any of these equalizers affect the Chromecast output stream? I've fiddled with a couple of these and they seem to alter what comes out of my phone but not the Chromecast signal sent to the stereo. Any guidance you could give on this would be greatly appreciated!

  3. Jerry b
    November 28, 2013 at 3:45 am

    Is there any EQ app that will will work on a galaxy note 2, after a recent ota update stock EQ doesn't work neither do the dozen or so ago I've installed.

  4. Raccoon
    October 7, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Viper for android hands down!!

  5. Alvin
    October 3, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Thanks for the review. I was using Equalizer on my Nexus 7 tablet, but was never really happy with the equalizer which degraded the sound. The bass booster on Equalizer made the bass sound muddy.

    Based on your review, I tried Music Volume EQ. The Music Volume EQ's bass boost produces a much cleaner sound on my Nexus 7 tablet. But, the equalizer is nothing to write home about.
    At least I have a clean base sound.

    Thanks,
    Alvin

  6. lee
    September 13, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Thank you for the review...went with Equalizer.

  7. daniel
    September 2, 2013 at 7:41 am

    i've tried alot of app include those audiobeats, racoon. nooxide, dsp, pureXaudio n so onn... the best is still viper4android...

  8. boody
    September 2, 2013 at 4:29 am

    DSP Manager, pure audio™, raccoon audio are da best selection IMO.

  9. Don Gateley
    June 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Oops! Paragraphs are only compressed out of the preview. Sorry.

  10. Don Gateley
    June 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Why the hell does this site compress out any paragraph separation in comments? Rude in the extreme.

  11. Don Gateley
    June 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    You fail to mention that the first app, Equalizer, has a third screen with effects. On it are variable bass boost, virtualizer and reverb. This is what makes it really useful. The virtualizer effect is superb. It creates a virtual sound stage which considerably opens up the music beyond the headphone syndrome without affecting the tone in any significant way and the reverb adds depth to it.

    Since all these programs all offer pretty much the same controls they must all be putting a skin on an API that is provided by Android rather than processing any sound themselves (a pass-through sound processing app is not possible on any smart phone, Android included, without difficult kernel hacking) so they will all sound and function identically and it's just a matter of choosing the skin you like best.

    • Joel Lee
      June 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Well, an equalizer by definition does nothing more than alter the sound wave at specific frequencies. It's hard to distinguish oneself as the "best alterer of sound" since it's pretty straightforward. The difference between the apps is not only the presentation (which is important) but also the additional features, like the bass boost, reverb, etc. that you mentioned.

  12. ReadandShare
    June 21, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Still waiting for a Windows or Android music player that will allow you to set individual equalizer presets to each song. iTunes had this feature years ago...

    • wwsiralexd
      September 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      PowerAmp lets you do this.

    • Artem
      October 15, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      audio master pro (by Blackjack) is an exterior eq that lets u do that with much better quality than Power Amp

  13. Mike Liveright
    June 21, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Any volume compression/expansion app for the Nexus 7 system?

    I tend to use Pandora as my background study player and would like to have the volume adjusted so that the various "songs" are the same loudness. I assume that this could be done by Pandora, or by using a sound compression/expansion app like these equalizaion apps. I looked at them and the play store and did not find any app that did adjust the volume so that either the various songs were at the same sound level or so that the output volume was expanded (if mp3 does not encode the entire dynamic range of the song?).

    Thanks.

    • Joel Lee
      June 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      I think what you're looking for is something called "replay gain." I haven't looked into any apps that strictly offer replay gain only, but some of the more advanced music player apps have that feature. I'm not sure if you can replay gain Pandora, though. Perhaps you could try asking over at MUO Answers?