Have you been wondering why your old car stereo is not satisfying your needs?
You might have selected the right head unit, installed great aftermarket speakers, and even coupled them with an amplifier. There are particular sound factors that even the best speakers and amps cannot handle, the reason you are still receiving mediocre sound from your car audio system. Audio delivery may be affected by the absorbent nature of your car seats, glass reflectivity, the engine, noises from your car’s interior, and so on. These factors can affect sound frequencies such that some frequencies sound sharper and others muffled.
The ultimate solution for smoothing out frequencies is installing an equalizer, or EQ. An EQ balances audio frequencies between and within electronic signals. In other words, an equalizer enhances frequencies that need to be boosted and cuts those that the car or its sound system is exaggerating. Also, it compensates for the frequencies that a car’s interior distracts so that you get the best sound quality possible.
Table of Contents
- Comparison Table for Best Car Equalizer 2021
Comparison Table for Best Car Equalizer 2021
|Name||No. of bands||Equalization Range||Our Rating||Price|
|Clarion EQS755 [Overall best]||7 bands||50Hz to 16kHz|
|BOSS Audio Systems AVA1210||7 bands||50Hz to 16kHz|
|Sound Storm Labs S4EQ||4 bands||85dB|
|Rockville REQ215||30 bands||25Hz to 16kHz|
|Massive Audio EQ-7X||7 bands||50Hz to 16kHz|
How we selected the best car equalizers
Digging deep into the forest of car audio equipment is what we do on a day-to-day basis. And we do all this knowing that our well-researched reviews will save you time and money when you go out to select the best audio equipment for your car audio system. We endeavor to be your most trusted research partner, bringing you detailed and unbiased reviews of top-performing audio equipment for your convenience and listening pleasure.
For this project, we set out on a hunting spree for the best car equalizer on the market. We selected five among tens of EQs that compete for a leading position. As expected, big names in the car audio industry made it to this exclusive list. We have the best of Clarion, BOSS Audio, Rockville, Sound Storm, and Massive Audio. Our team of sound engineers and technicians combined efforts with experienced researchers to conduct user interviews as well as tests for each of the EQs in this list. Here is the result of their dedicated effort:
1. Clarion EQS755 Overall Best in 2021
The EQS755 is a fully-featured, 1/2-Din Chassis, 7-band graphic EQ. It excels at giving you superior control over the sound your car audio system delivers. The EQ allows you to adjust frequencies over a range of 50Hz to 16kHz. In addition, the equalizer has input and output features that get the best out of your audio system.
Unique features of Clarion EQS755
- 7 bands of equalization: Like most high-class EQs, the EQS755 allows you to optimize sound delivery using its 7 bands – 50 Hz, 125 Hz, 315 Hz, 750 Hz, 2.2 kHz, 6 kHz, and 16 kHz. Add this EQ to your system to get better, more fine-tuned sound.
- Versatility: You can connect Clarion EQS755 to any system thanks to its RCA and high-level speaker inputs. Whether you use a new or old, factory or aftermarket audio system, this EQ will boost the system’s sonic performance significantly. It’s no wonder that the EQS755 has received many positive reviews from users across the board.
- RCA AUX inputs: This EQ has two AUX inputs – a 1/8” AUX input located on the front panel, and RCA jacks on the rear panel. These inputs offer variable gain, thus allowing you to adjust for audio sources of different levels. Besides, there is a selectable low-pass filter that helps to tame wilder bass extremes. The filter has 6 channels operating at 60Hz or 90Hz and is adjusted by fader control.
- 8-volt outputs: The EQ’s front, rear, and sub RCA outputs are powered at 8V. This power ensures that your amps get a clean, powerful signal. The overall effect is stronger sound with well-balanced high and low frequencies. In other words, your amps are powered for maximum performance.
What we liked
- Contains 7 equalization bands
- Delivers crisp and clear sound
- The integrated low-pass filter keeps wild bass frequencies away
- 8-volt RCA outputs for maximum amplifier performance
- The EQ is easy to install
What we didn’t like
- More expensive than other brands featured here
- No warranty details
Our verdict– The EQS755 keeps all sound controls within easy reach. Its premium features make it the number one choice for many car owners. We think that this EQ is well worth its price.
2. BOSS Audio Systems AVA1210
BOSS Audio Systems AVA1210 is a 7-band pre-amp car EQ. With its gold-plated front, rear, and sub outputs, the equalizer provides you with everything you need to adjust sound output according to your musical tastes. It is among the best car EQs for distortion-free sound. See below for more features of the AVA1210.
Key features of Boss Audio Systems AVA1210
- Band frequencies: Front adjustable band frequencies are 125 Hz, 500 Hz, 3.5 kHz, 12 kHz; rear adjustable band frequencies are 50 Hz, 600 Hz, 6.3 kHz; making a total of 7 equalization bands. This equalization capability means the EQ can work well in systems that have different speakers – from tweeters and small car door speakers to subwoofers.
- Dual two-channel source and fader control: The EQ’s volume control has an output of 8V RMS. Sub outputs can also be controlled using level controls. The switchable subwoofer filter is a big plus for the EQ, not forgetting the front, rear, and sub outputs that make it effortless to tweak the sound output to suit your unique tastes.
- CD/AUX input selector: It doesn’t matter how you play your music. The input selector allows you to enjoy your music from a CD player, tuner, or even your phone via a Bluetooth adapter. You don’t have to limit yourself to a single audio source while the EQ’s input selector gives you the freedom to switch sources the way you want.
- SNR > 110dB and low-noise BI-FET op-amp: If you are looking for an EQ that will give you great sound quality, you can’t go wrong with the AVA1210. A Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) above 100dB is exceptional. Complement this with a 0.05% level of harmonic and be sure to keep away all interferences from compromising the quality of your sound.
- Universal half-DIN chassis: If you are a beginner in matters of car equalizer installation, this EQ is probably the best option for you. The universal ½-DIN chassis makes installation easier. Therefore, you can single-handedly set up the BOSS Audio AVA1210 EQ with minimal installation skills. The accompanying manual is all you need.
- Adjustable front and rear band frequencies
- Low white noise levels
- Impressive channel separation
- Variable subwoofer filters for optimization of bass
- Blue light illumination makes the car interior more attractive
- Less durable build compared to other EQs
- Lacks cable grounding and metal RF shield for the housing
Our verdict- This car equalizer marks Boss Audio Systems’ commitment to quality offerings. Its broad selection of features and ability to produce sound with minimum distortion makes it a great option for any car audio enthusiast.
3. Sound Storm Labs S4EQ
Here’s another big name in the car equalizers market. Sound Storm Labs S4EQ is a 4-band pre-amp graphic equalizer. It is a reliable EQ for anyone wishing to give their car’s audio quality a boost. Unlike other EQs, the S4EQ features band center frequencies and a unique combination of sound control capabilities. It’s also fair to note that the EQ has an extraordinary construction that fits well in a wide variety of vehicles.
Why choose Sound Storm Labs S4EQ?
- 4-band center frequencies with a +/- 18dB boost/cut: The EQ band frequencies are 150 Hz, 20 kHz, 1 kHz, and 40 Hz. Pre-amp output is 7V. This power output is slightly lower compared to other EQs but the boost/cut at center frequencies makes up for it. The boost/cut allows the EQ to carve out the best tones possible. It also reduces the buildup of sound energy in non-ideal places.
- Phase control: This feature allows you to adjust your speakers so that all audio signals can play together rather than against each other. The phase control provides the perfect remedy when you want to eliminate signals that oppose each other.
- Subwoofer level control: A bass-level knob gives you the ability to boost the sub level when your sub and amplifier are both connected to the subwoofer pre-amp output. Using it allows for the production of superior sound as you have greater control in matching output levels.
- Gold-plated inputs: The front, rear, and subwoofer inputs are gold-plated to prevent corrosion. The absence of corrosion allows for clean sound processing. Therefore, if you are looking for a car equalizer that will perform efficiently even in misty and high humidity areas, consider Sound Storm Lab S4EQ.
What we liked
- Dual-color illumination will help decorate your car
- Ability to boost/cut frequencies
- Master volume control works well
- Corrosion-resistant connections
- Favorable price
What we didn’t like
- Installation is challenging if you do not have the technical know-how
- Doesn’t fit all vehicles
Our Verdict– The S4EQ is a high-quality car EQ offered at a very pocket-friendly price. It will boost your car audio quality if you are lucky to find that it fits your vehicle.
4. Rockville REQ215
Rockville REQ215 rocks at number four with a dual-channel 30-band (15 bands per channel) configuration. Add this EQ to your car audio system to enhance its performance over frequencies ranging from 25Hz to 16kHz. The equalizer has an acceptable SNR and harmonic distortion level. Thus, you cannot miss major sound quality improvement with this EQ.
Features of Rockville REQ215
- Dual-Channel 30-Band (15 bands per channel): This feature alone tells you that REQ215 is a professional-level car equalizer. The equalizer’s design is tough and rugged to enable it to meet the highest demands of any car audio system. The EQ has been tested and proven to make a wide variety of speakers sound better at all frequencies.
- Boost/cut: This 2/3 octave graphic EQ enables you to select between 0-6 dB or 0-12 dB cut or boost. Also, you are able to remove rumble from sound inputs such as mics aided by the LED indicator on the EQ’s low-cut crossover filter switch.
- Sub outputs and sub controls: Rockville REQ215 offers something that the majority of other brands miss with regard to subwoofer controls. It has a sub output with 30Hz – 200Hz frequency controls. These controls help to keep low frequencies within desired bass thresholds.
- XLR balanced inputs/outputs and ground lift switch: XLR balanced inputs and outputs remove the noise picked up by the connection. This can be very useful in cleaning your car’s audio output in the presence of noise from the car’s electronic system. On the other hand, the ground lift switch eliminates undesired buzz and hum resulting from the current flow between devices.
- LED indicator is very convenient when doing sound checks
- Wide effective equalization range
- Produces clean sound with minimal noises
- Subwoofer controls allow for bass enhancement
- Audio-efficient RCA connections
- Pocket-friendly price
- Knobs are a little flimsy
- Lower sub output compared to other EQs
Our verdict– Rockville REQ215 is one of the best performing car EQs on the market. It’s a great choice especially if your audio system has amplifiers in the signal path. Besides, it is available at a very favorable price.
5. Massive Audio EQ-7X
Have you been wondering how you can get your car audio from average to jaw-dropping quality at a fair cost?
Massive Audio EQ-7X is a 7-band graphic equalizer with various high-level abilities to fine-tune the quality of sound your tweeters, mid-range and subs give. Among its main features are 6 channels and 7V RCA outputs, adjustable master volume, and subwoofer level controls.
What to expect from the EQ-7X
- Superior audio control: Push your car audio notches higher with the EQ-7X. It has a selectable 12dB low-pass crossover at 60Hz or 90Hz, 2-channel RCA Aux input, and adjustable gain to allow you to adjust audio to your preferences. These sound tuning control features allow you to get the best out of your car audio system.
- Corrosion-free terminals: The gold coating on RCA terminals gives you less to worry about signal transmission at the inputs and outputs. These terminals will last years without rust or corrosion. This feature also enhances the durability of this EQ.
- Audio quality: The EQ–7X improves sound by enhancing the performance of your amplifier and lower-end head units. However noisy your car’s interior is, this EQ will fix spikes and drops to give you a clean and uninterrupted sound.
- LED illumination: With one switch of the button, the LED changes color between blue and red. The illumination gives your car interior an attractive look. While this is a minor plus, it does improve your in-car entertainment experience and can potentially drive up the value of your vehicle.
What we liked
- The crossover efficiently fine-tunes frequencies to receivers
- Adjustable master volume control for easy sound adjustment
- Powerful features in a compact size
- Easy to install
- Beautifully illuminates car interior
- It’s a bit heavy
- Knobs can be tough to turn
- Some people find the LED lights too bright
Our Verdict– Massive Audio EQ-7X performs exemplarily in many aspects including the effective band equalization range, subwoofer output, and build quality. Check it out if you are searching for a compact EQ that powerfully and efficiently improves sound across a wide frequency range.
How to Choose the Best Car Equalizer
You want a car equalizer that gives you the best value for its price. The value of an EQ is reflected in the overall improvement it causes in your audio system. There are several vital features one should evaluate, as well as factors to consider so that the EQ achieves the required improvement in audio performance.
Before we look at factors to consider, it is important to understand the function of a car equalizer. A car EQ does not make car audio louder. Nor does it amplify speakers’ power. Rather, it smoothens out the frequencies of the sound system you have already installed in your car.
When it comes to the actual selection of equalizers, there are key considerations to make. These are explained briefly below:
i. Type of car equalizer
Car equalizers are of two main types: parametric equalizers and graphic equalizers.
A parametric EQ gives you higher sound control. They are designed to allow you control over the boost, bandwidth, and center frequencies.
On the other hand, graphic equalizers have graphic displays of different frequency bands for precise tuning. They have audio filters for specific frequency bandwidths of the audio spectrum. Most graphic EQs come with sliders that you can move up or down to adjust the sound accordingly.
The type of equalizer you prefer depends on your experience with equalizers. It’s noteworthy that graphic equalizers are generally easier to use than parametric EQs.
ii. Number of bands
The number of bands implies how many sliders an EQ has. A 4-band EQ has 4 sliders. Correspondingly, a 7-band EQ has 7 sliders. The more the sliders the more control you have over the audio frequencies.
iii. Mounting location
There are different places you can place your car EQ. It’s inherent that you choose an EQ that’s suitable for installation in the spaces available in your car. Some dash-mounted EQs can be installed above or below the receiver. Others can fit below the dash using a special kit or a bracket. Truck-mounted EQs work with remote controls so that you can make sound adjustments from the driver’s seat.
Filters located on the front and rear channels are useful when using sub output. These filters allow certain frequencies to pass through them. The filter allows high frequencies to go to small speakers and low frequencies to subwoofers. The use of filters makes sure that the speakers and the sub are not forced to recreate sounds that they weren’t created to reproduce. Consider EQs with filters as they enable the system to produce higher-quality sound.
v. Audio controls
Different EQs come with different controls for master volume, fader, sub volume, main or AUX inputs, etc. Inspect these controls, aiming to take home an EQ that gives you as much control over the sound as possible.
We have added a few additional useful tips to help you get the best out of the car equalizer you choose.
- Good-quality wiring prevents buzzing, humming, hissing, and popping sounds. Thus, it is advisable to focus more on EQs with high-quality cables.
- Faulty installation can result in unwanted noises. If you find out that your unit is humming after installation, check your connections. Check to ensure that all cables and screws are tight.
- Take time to play around with the EQ before purchasing it. Experimenting with a system is the only way to test its performance.
- The position of other audio components, such as speakers and amplifiers may water down the benefits of a good EQ. Consider using faders and music blockers to get the best audio from your system.
With an understanding of the critical factors to consider when choosing a car EQ, you can go ahead and evaluate each of the EQs we have included in this best car equalizers review.
Our Pick for the Best Car Equalizer is Clarion EQS755
Clarion EQS755 equalizer has a wide effective frequency equalization range (50Hz to 16kHz). It can reliably smoothen out frequencies before they reach your tweeters, mid-range speakers, and subwoofers.
This EQ is equipped with RCA and high-level speaker inputs that allow it to work with a vast variety of audio sources including CD players and common mobile devices. In addition, the EQ boasts of superior sound control features such as RCA AUX inputs and selectable low-pass filters with fader control. Besides, the EQS755 uses 8V outputs for the front, rear, and subwoofer outputs, which means your amps get enough power for maximum sound performance.
Most of the customer reviews we analyzed showed that this EQ drives major improvements in sound crispness and clarity. Also, many users found it easy to install.
While the price of Clarion EQS755 is considerably higher compared to other EQs in this selection, it delivers superior value. Therefore, the premium price should reassure you of great value rather than put you off.
Featured image credit: Unsplash