Equalizer APO Quick and Easy Guide to More Bass

If you have favorite headphones, but sometimes feel that they could use some extra oomph, then this article is for you!

I’m going to show you an extremely easy way to add some extra bass to your headphones, by using one of the best free audio equalizer software available! And it will work for almost any application on your Windows computer!

So instead of buying new headphones, just follow my guide! And in a few minutes, you’ll be enjoying some extra touch of bass. And maybe you’ve saved yourself some money too!

Unless of course you’re looking for an excuse to buy a shiny new headphone, then please do not read further. Instead, check out our Best Bass Headphones Guide of 2018. Or you could do both 😉

Free Audio Equalizer Software

Equalizer APO is the engine that’s going to do all the heavy equalizing work. While Peace is a GUI (Graphical User Interface) used to easily configure everything with a few mouse-clicks. Both tools are open-source and completely free to use.

It will work simultaneously for Youtube, Spotify, Tidal, Netflix and any other Windows program. With the exclusion of ASIO and WASAPI in exclusive mode. Windows Vista or higher is required!

Reasons to Add some Bass

Face it, sometimes it’s all about the bass. For example:

  • Listening to certain music genres (EDM, Hip-Hop, R&B, …)
  • Watching action movies
  • When your headphones are bass light in general

Installing Peace and Equalizer APO

The first step is to download Peace and Equalizer APO. So head over to the following links and download those files.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/peace-equalizer-apo-extension/
https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/

First, start with installing Equalizer APO by running the downloaded executable and just follow the steps. The only configuration part is where you select the sound device which you want it to use. Normally it will already find the default sound device on your system. If not, you can just select it:

equalizer apo configurator

Secondly, run the PeaceSetup.exe which will start up the Setup Tool for Peace. It will detect if Equalizer APO is installed and will install Peace in the same location.

Peace Installer

Remember, Peace needs to be installed in this specific folder to correctly work with Equalizer APO!

Confirm Peace Installation

Great! You’ve just installed one of the best pieces of equalizing software available on the Windows platform. Piece of cake right!?

Let’s Add some Bass

Instead of adjusting the levels for every frequency, where just going to add a low shelf filter and define the amount of gain (dB).

A Low Shelf Filter will simply lower or boost the frequencies below the defined cut-off point. For example. If you define a Low Shelf Filter at 120Hz and add 3dB, all the frequencies below that 120Hz will be boosted with 3dB.
  1. Start Peace. Notice that none of the frequencies have been altered.
    Free Audio Equalizer Software
  2. We’re gonna set the frequency that we want to use as the cut-off point. This will be 120Hz. So change the value to 120.
    Equalizer APO Peace Frequencies
  3. Then we select the Low Shelf Filter.
    Equalizer APO Peace LowShelfFilter
  4. So now we’ve set a Low Shelf Filter at a cut-off point of 120Hz. Now we’re ready to add some gain to it. This does not have to be that much, so we’re just adding an extra 3dB to all the frequencies below our cut-off point. Simply change the value to 3.
    Equalizer APO Peace GainAwesome! We’re almost there… Because we increased the gain with 3dB we run into the chance that our music will start to clip. Because Equalizer APO has a limiter to make sure your music will not clip, it will however, lower the volume when clipping would occur. To make sure this won’t happen either, we have to avoid any clipping!
    Clipping happens when the music exceeds 0dB. Anything above 0dB will cause distortion of the sound. Unless you’re mastering music, this is something you should always avoid.
    vu meter

    This analog VU Meter is used to monitor sound. When the meter goes into the red zone, clipping occurs.

  5. Under Pre Amplifying change the value to -3. Remember, we are countering the +3dB from step 4.
    Equalizer APO Peace PreAmp
  6. We still have to enable the Pre Amplifying by going to the Graph Windows. Click on the icon as shown below.
    Equalizer APO Peace GraphYou can see that we’re still above 0dB, which would cause clipping or in our case sudden drops in volume.
    Equalizer APO Peace GraphDisabled
    Simply tick the box at Add pre amplifying and our graph resets nicely on the 0dB, just like we want.
    Equalizer APO Peace GraphEnabled
  7. To keep your config easily readable, we’re also gonna disable the other frequencies so you can easily see what you’ve changed. Simply right-click on all the unused frequencies as shown below, so they’re in the OFF position.
    Equalizer APO Peace DisableFreqs
  8. Save your configuration.

Still want More Bass?

So now it’s time for you to listen to some of your favorite songs or watch some movies, to see if you like the extra bass. If not then just change the Gain value and don’t forget to counter this value with an identical but negative value in the Pre Amplifying.

Don’t go overboard with the gain! It’s about subtle changes. Don’t put in a value of 30dB or something like that. You could seriously damage your headphones. Oh and headphones are no subwoofers, so don’t expect them to be!

Peace GUI Presets and the Dangers

A few words on the Peace GUI presets that are available. From personal experience, I didn’t like any of them. They are boosting the frequencies extremely high.

If you want to try them, remember to set the appropriate Pre Amplifying value. In some cases, you need to set this value to -20db or more to avoid clipping. This means you will also have to turn up the volume +20db or more to get the same volume level as without the preset. Now therein lies the danger.

The big problem is that all presets have no correct pre-amplifying value. It sits at the default value of 0dB. So if you select a preset and then manually correct the pre-amplifying value (to avoid clipping or sudden drops in volume levels) and then switch to another preset, it will jump back to 0dB!! If your music is still playing at the time you do this, the result will be ear piercing volume unless you remembered to turn down the volume knob. I’ve had this happen to me once. Not a fun experience…

So with these extreme high values, it is essential that you turn down the volume before you switch presets or even switch off the EQ altogether!

Also Read: Sonarworks True-Fi Headphone Calibration

Important Update

As of version 1.3.6.1 of Peace, a peak level meter with anti-clipping feature has been introduced. I highly recommend you mark the Prevent clipping option when playing around with the Equalizer APO Presets as this will prevent the danger I’ve just mentioned above.


19 Comments

  1. Peter Verbeek March 24, 2018
    • Jurgen March 26, 2018
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