We all love going into our iTunes player and manually adjusting the equalizer settings, am I right?

Alright, well, I for one make sure to readjust the equalizer bands for each song that comes up, which is why I don’t really accomplish much in a given day. However, a Japanese Twitter user by the handle of Hisagi claims to have found the ideal settings which have been dubbed simply “Perfect.” They claim that this setting will improve the quality regardless of what speakers you use.

This announcement has brought other contenders for the crown of “Best iTunes Equalizer Settings” out of the internet woodwork as well. So we decided to test them all out to find the champ… or to realize that it’s better to just leave the equalizer alone in the first place.

Jokes aside, most people probably wouldn’t think to fiddle with the levels, assuming Apple would probably have the best results by default. But not all sounds are created equal and thus need to be equalized differently. After you’ve finished wrapping your head around that last sentence here’s how to open up the iTunes equalizer.

■ Setup

First click on “View” and then “Show Equalizer” in the menu bar. Your menu bar likely isn’t showing by default though, so just go to the top left pull down menu and select “Show Menu Bar” if that’s the case.

Now you’re ready to equalize! You might feel dismayed that you’ve been listening to your music “Flat” all this time, so let’s shake things up and start with Hisagi’s Perfect settings.

There isn’t a whole lot of control over the levels so you’ll just have to eyeball it the best you can.

One Twitter user known as Cametek developed the following preset, known as Zutsu wo Okoshitai Toki or “When you want a headache.

Next up is Massive New Crew Sushi with their creation 👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊. I’m not sure how to pronounce the fists.

Finally, an old favorite that has been floating around the internet is the legendary Eargasm Explosion. Will this have the goods to knock out all other iTunes settings?

Finally, I’d like to submit my own equalizer preset which I call Ketchup Concussion and which I will judge against these other presets in a super-unbiased way.

■ Experiment

For this experiment I chose four diverse songs to get a sense of each preset’s versatility. The songs were “When will they Shoot” by Ice Cube, “Psycho Killer” by Talking Heads, and “Linus and Lucy” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio (aka that song they play in the Snoopy cartoons), and “No Dogs, No Masters” by Caninus (a grindcore band with a pair of dogs as the lead singers). I will listen to each song with all of the presets and determine the best results. Naturally, like a fine wine taster would, I will cleanse my ear’s palate by reverting the settings to “Flat” Between each listen.

“When Will They Shoot” – Ice Cube

Best Preset – Perfect

This song has a pretty heavy beat that just borders on that distorted door-slamming sound that other songs have when they take the bass too far. The Perfect preset keeps the bass in check but deepens it while keeping the other layers on the track clear and crisp. It absolutely has a richer sound that “Flat.” Eargasm Explosion was very similar but there were a few minor sounds in the beat that rang out more clearly with the Perfect Preset allowing it to win by a nose.

Worst Preset – [TIE] When You Want a Headache / 👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊

It didn’t take long to understand the name of “When You Want a Headache,” as unpleasant a feeling it was the result was kind of interesting though. Because the bass was turned way down, my ears seemed to be straining to try to hear it. It’s like when people say “my ears are bleeding” but not in the way you expect. It’s as if my ears were instinctively trying to turn themselves inside out to catch the missing sounds. It was a pretty disgusting feeling.

Hardstyle, on the other hand, makes the song sound like your sitting in the car of a teenager equipped with a high-end stereo that they have no idea how to use properly. The beat is completely distorted, garbled and drowns out most of the song completely. However, it’s probably great for driving around and annoying neighborhoods or if you fancy industrial music and like to hear some of your favorite songs redone in that way.

Perfect: ★★★★★
When You Want a Headache: ★★👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊: ★★
Eargasm Explosion: ★★★★☆
Ketchup Concussion: ★★★

“Psycho Killer” – The Talking Heads

Best Preset [TIE] – Perfect / When You Want a Headache

Perfect again took the sound quality of this song to new heights. All of the instruments sounded richer and I could have sworn that I could even hear the pick scraping against the guitars through this setting. The bass line also kicked in hard but wasn’t overwhelming. Overall this was a vast improvement over “Flat” and again Eargasm also came very close to this quality, but I felt just a little bit was missing.

Also in a surprise victory When You Want a Headache gave this song a whole new vibe that was kind of moody and fit the theme of a “psycho killer.” It sounded as if there was some mental patient singing the song over a telephone or something. Although it’s totally different that the original recording was intended to be, it was actually a very pleasant surprise and nice to listen to on occasion. So this was just as good as Perfect but in a completely different way.

Worst Preset – 👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊

It was slightly less annoying than with the Ice Cube song, but that actually worked against it. A least in that song it had some attitude and character. Now, it just sounds like my speakers are broken.

Perfect: ★★★★★
When You Want a Headache: ★★★★★
Eargasm Explosion: ★★★★☆
Ketchup Concussion: ★★★☆

“Linus & Lucy” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Best Preset – Perfect

Despite the change to a more mellow song, Perfect again brought richer textures to all of the instruments. Also, Eargasm was nearly identically good in terms of quality. I would have almost given it the tie with Perfect this time except during the hook part that goes duh-duh-duh-duh really fast the bass kicks in a little too deeply. If I could give it 4 and 99/100 stars I would but that would be in violation of ISO regulations regarding star ratings.

Worst Preset – 👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊

Well look who we have here… Actually this song done in hardstyle didn’t sound too bad and was interesting in parts. However, when that same bass line that hurt Eargasm came in, it just sounded like someone was farting in my ears.

Perfect: ★★★★★
When You Want a Headache: ★★★
👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊: ★★☆
Eargasm Explosion: ★★★★☆
Ketchup Concussion: ★★★★

“No Dogs, No Masters” – Caninus

Best Preset – Ketchup Concussion

Although this came out on top it was hardly a great victory. This track in particular had a problem where the vocalists (pit-bulls) were mixed a little too loudly. As a result Perfect and Eargasm both gave the dog barking a better sound but it actually only accentuated a short coming of the recording. Ketchup Concussion, on the other hand, blended the dogs’ voice better with the instrumentals for a move even sound. However, throughout each song Ketchup had the fatal flaw of coming out muffled despite providing a nicely balanced sound. Ketchup barely pulled through on this one, but I think the theory behind it has some potential.

Worst Preset [TIE] – When You Want a Headache / 👊👊HARDSTYLE👊👊

When You Want a Headache works magic again on this song, but this time it magically strips away all musicality from it. Instead it sounds like you’re just listening to some noisy neighbors. There was no benefit at all to this equalizer settings and I was sure something would finally do worse than Hardstyle. I was wrong, however, and sure enough Hardstyle came along to completely crappify this song as well.

Perfect: ★★★
When You Want a Headache: ★
Eargasm Explosion: ★★★
Ketchup Concussion: ★★★★

In the end, results may vary depending on your own equipment and recordings. Heck, there might even be some song that Hardstyle actually works with out there. Also, even though Perfect came out well on top in this competition, I felt that despite its name it is possible to improve on it.

So, if you feel you’ve got the iTunes equalizer preset to end all presets, post an image of it in the comments and we’ll review it against the others. Just make sure it has a snappy or interesting name, because that’s the key to high-fidelity audio.

Source: Kinisoku (Japanese)
Video: YouTube – couchfloor, FlyingDoctor1988VinceGuaraldiVEVO, Charlie Zcrack II