“Perfect” iTunes Equalizer Settings


Everyone knows that the best way to ensure that one is getting the very best quality audio is to invest in good hardware, and only listen to full CD quality (or better) music. However, not everyone can afford a professional audiophile setup. Macosxhints.com has what one man is calling the universal “perfect” settings for the iTunes equalizer. That is to say, that he claims that these settings will make improve the sound of widest range of music types. Of course, when ever someone makes a claim like this, there will be some who refute the assertion. Delving into the comments on the post reveals a comment by a very experienced audio engineer, who presents quite a negative attitude. The engineer claims that the “perfect” preset is the opposite of what should be done, and presents a preset that reverses the “perfect” preset.

Now, I make no claim to be an expert in audio, and my PowerBook and Altec Lansing speakers are far from ideal, but, to my ears at least, the “Perfect Negative” preset does improve the sound of my shoddily encoded MP3s.

Check the post out for yourself, and see if it doesn’t make your music sound better.


Joe Bigliogo

This is nothing more than the classic (invented in the 50s) Fletcher/Munson “loudness” boost” to compensate for a crappy little speaker’s lack of bass warmth plus our ear’s lack of sensitivity to certain frequencies at low listening levels.
Warning: boosting the highs on typical small speakers that are already bright and zippy–will make them sound over the top shrill and sibilant. These curves might work with some speaker setups OR spell disaster with others. Speakers all sound radically different from each other, therefore different EQ setting will be necessary for each and every speaker brand.

What an EQ won’t do is compensate for peaks, resonances and stored energy (“hot spots”) typical of most inexpensive speakers. You simply cannot eliminate distortions inherent in the hardware.

There simply is no substitute for choosing good hardware to begin with. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear. The best advice is to run the computer’s audio into your best home stereo (even if you have to run long cables). I do it and rarely do I touch Itunes’ EQ settings


RazorFus settings sound kickass on my Marantz towers and my pioneer surrounds. Put out with an Onkyo receiver and ADC Equalizer. Thanks man. Bump.



Razorfu’s settings work pretty sexy on Reggae with my Rotel amp and Tannoy speakers. Have yet to try other styles. There’s quite a strong bass push there, so acoustic or vocals might need some tweaking.

Thanks Bud!

Nuno Guimaraes

i am looking for a way to equalize the musics on itunes.
the musics seem all with the same sound when i listen on itunes, but when i pass then for the ipod, there are some musics with the sound higher than the others and some with the sound lower than the others.
can somebody tell me if there’s a software to equalize the musics?
i use the itunes and ipod equalizer and the problem persists.

Michel Rouzic

I’m losing faith in people. You guys don’t listen. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT EQUALIZER, BECAUSE YOUR SPEAKERS THEMSELVES MODIFY SOUND JUST LIKE AN ARBITRARILY SET EQUALIZER. That’s why there can’t be an equalizer that works on all speakers/headphones.


It doesn’t require a program, I’ve found that the quickest way to find a good EQ for your set up is to just go down the list of presets. I found that with my altec vs4121 2.1 speakers, the vocal booster preset is best. The bass on these speakers is far to prominetn, so this preset helps reduce the pounding bass, while making the sound at the other frequencies sexy too.

Mac Genius

Charles, that setting that you have supplied here is garbage sir. Bottom line, keep your EQ settings set to centered & adjust the preamp between 0-1.5! Everything else depends on your audio system. The player for iTunes, as well as, all of the presets, are arranged & recommended to be used with 5.1 surround or better. Sadly, if you do not have this then your sound will always be subpar!


try to use SRS sandbox 1.7.0, my setup works perfectly. I used Creative SB X-FI Fatality for my soundcard, Logitech z-5500 for my speaker, itunes and razoefu eq settings…


Charles, I tried your settings for half an hour now on different genres and it’s great ! I have been looking for settings which allowed me to play my Tunes loud without the heavy bass or breaking high trebles. Your settings did the trick.

I am in the process of changing all my tunes to the new setting. It’ll take about half an hour. :(

Thanks again

Joe Leong

Charles, the settings are great.

I gave up on the iWow2. Even on my Bose® speakers, the sound broke and made these speakers sound cheap. So I disabled iWow2.

Thanks Charles


I have been looking for a nice, balanced sound from my speakers too. I finally found the right setting – with the sliders you create a parabola shape for smooth frequency response:
32 = Tick 1 (ie. One above the centre)
64 = Tick 0
125 = Tick -1
250 = Tick -2
500 = Tick -3
1000 = Tick -3
2000 = Tick -2
4000 = Tick 0
8000 = Tick 2
16000 = Tick 4
Pre-Amp = 0dB

The results were stunning for me, and my files are low bitrate. I hope you get the same results.


Recently installed SRS iWOW 2 and it sounds so much better than Volume Logic. I use both Perfect Setting (from MacOSXHints) and RazorFu’s EQ setting. Perfect Setting bass is too deep for my jazz and RazorFu’s is beautiful !!! Still, I might still be messing around with the EQ. For now, the sound is sweet on my Bose® speakers


The so called “perfect” equalizer is not perfect after all. The setting causes all of your songs to become distorted. Whoever created this perfect equalizer, might have to check their ears, because it doesn’t make a very good sound. And it can’t be said that it is the perfect setting because sounds vary on differ computers.




i just try to tune my EQ so it pronouces a warm music. basically i just try to find a setting where the bass doesnt hurt my ears. i have the logitech x-530 and the speakers are excessively bassy, so i just tune the EQ so my ears wont hurt by the bass


why hasnt i-Tunes v.7.1.1 got an equaliser?! if it has sum1 plzzzzzz tell me hw 2 find it! :-s

Gonzo Bunanzo

Razorfu, I’ve been funkin around with my eq settings for quite some time. I’ve got some tall stack speakers and its always so hard to get things soundin bumpin. Your preset config rivals one of the best I’ve seen.


I’d say the only `perfect` EQ is flat. but obviously flat doesnt work out too great on computers due to translations to other file types and plus flat eventually gets booring. Thats why I started messing with the EQ a few months ago. I’ve been sticking with my latest EQ setting that I call Bass Enhanced Techno. I just found out about the EQ setting called `perfect` today and amazingly they almost sound identical. But I feal mine highlights the more interesting sounds a little better than `perfect` does. I hope you guys try it out its awsome!

32 – 3.2
64 – 6.2
125 – -2
250 – -1.5
500 – 2.6
1000 – 4
2000 – 0
4000 – 3
8000 – 3.2
16000 – 6
preamp – 0 or 6 ( 6 makes this sound almost identical to `perfect`)

Ok I know its hard to get the arrows to point at those exact points but if you have the time it makes a big difference. Oh and this setting doesnt just work on techno. Just listen to this EQ and then try going back to your old one. Have fun!

Michel Rouzic

I’m surprised to see so many hits on Google for the perfect iTunes EQ preset.

I’m not an ingeneer, but I do DSP (digital signal processing) in my spare time and if I can tell you one thing about what the perfect EQ setting is, it’s that it’s the one that makes the frequency response of your sound system flat.

In other words, it’s when every frequency plays as loud. If that sound a bit abstract, consider every note of an instrument, let’s say a flute, ranging from the bassest sound you can hear to the treblest, well with a perfect EQ setting, every note would seem to be played with the same intensity.

That’s the perfect EQ. And it depends on every set of speaker/head phones, their disposition and the characteristics of the room their in, etc… And it takes more that iTunes’ simplistic EQ to achieve that anyways.

So quit looking for a perfect EQ setting, because in order to find it, well, basically it involves playing sweeps out your speakers and recording them, cross-correlations, deconvolutions and Fourier transforms in the polar form.

Oh and this being said, do I need to say that an EQ setting for someone won’t sound the same for you because of your different sound system?


to quote the late Frank Zappa,
“if if sounds good to _you_, it’s bitchin’; if its sounds bad to _you_, it’s sh*t”

Don’t mess around with plug-ins. LISTEN. If you don’t like how things sound, play with the equalizer, and/or your speakers/amp/room position/favourite shirt until you like how it sounds.


Even if there is no true “universal” preset, most people will get a boost in audio quality from this hint, if it’s because it inspires them to experiment with eq settings at all, or if, like me, it awakens them to the sonic benefits of using an eq properly. Starting from the settings in the hint and tweaking, I developed a much tighter sounding preset than my old favorite. If this hint did nothing else, it exposed an important misconception, at least for me, about the way to use an eq. In the spirit of the new Red Stripe commercials, “Hooray Audio Engineering!”


In my opinion, a much better solution is Octiv’s plugin Volume Logic. It uses on-the-fly digital processing that is leaps and bounds better than iTunes’ equalizer or Sound Check functions.


It makes small speakers sound good and good speakers sound great. Free trial available and only $20 to purchase.

I wish it would be able to export processed music to my iPod, though. That’s the biggest (and only?) drawback.


No, the engineer does most definitely NOT say that his or her alternate EQ setting is a perfect setting, or even that it will sound good. Nor is his or her alternate setting a reverse of the originally proposed setting–it uses the same EQ curve, but pushes it below unity (the zero line) instead of above unity.

This is because negative EQ (pulling a frequency down instead of pushing it up) does indeed have less of a negative effect on the music. The engineer is quite correct in this assertion.

But you should know that there is definitely not any EQ curve which will be correct for all users. Different speakers have different weaknesses, and different environments sound very different. If there is such a thing as a perfect EQ setting it is unique to a set of speakers and a single environment.



I tried it out. It was a little much for my set of Altec Lansing speakers (3 piece with powered sub-woofer) which are like six years old but still in great shape. I toned everything down a little bit and it does sound much better than my previous setting (the Rock preset). I basically just decreased everything by one bar from what they suggested so the various levels are in the same proportions to each other but it is less amplified.

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