The best equalizer apps for Android

There's a pretty good chance you use your Android to listen to music. Some folks really get into it, but most of us enjoy a tune playing when we're on the train, or at the gym or even just chilling. There are a lot of ways to get music from your phone (or the internet) to your ears, because humans are musical animals.

A big part of enjoying your music is fiddling with settings to make it sound better. For some of us, that's as simple as adjusting the volume. Other folks want to adjust sliders or enable settings that boost the bass or enable a pseudo-surround sound wrapper effect. Others also get a little more extreme and micromanage every setting they can find to tune their tunes. No matter which category you fall into, a good equalizer app will help you find just the right sound. Let's take a look at what's out there that fits the bill.

Why is this list so short?

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Equalizer apps in Google Play

You noticed that, huh? Good, because I really want to talk about that for a minute.

For starters, every single equalizer app you can download and install without having a rooted phone is basically the same. They all tap into the Android AudioEffects class to use the Equalizer, BassBoost, Virtualizer, PresetReverb and EnvironmentalReverb derived classes to apply audio effects to a specific instance of an audio session, and system-wide effects to the global audio mix are depreciated and no longer work. This means two very important things — the only differences between all these apps are the user interface and features, and that an equalizer app can't control the sound from more than one app at a time. Experience tells us that this means every app won't work with every music player, too.

Every equalizer app uses the same Android API, so the difference is in the interface and feature list.

None of this applies to apps with system-level permission, like the ones the folks who built your phone added (think JBL audio or the HTC Beats of olde), system wide audio effects provided by the operating system, like we see in the CyanogenMod AudioFX settings, or root-specific apps like Viper4Android.

Basically, every equalizer app you install does the same thing as the rest — moving a slider does the same thing, enabling Bass Boost does the same thing, and what matters is how easy it is to do it all. But that still doesn't explain why I only picked three apps from a list of a hundred or more in Google Play. That's because these are the three that don't suck suck the least.

I started by installing the 20 equalizer apps with the highest rating in Google Play. I deleted all the apps that crash and burn on Marshmallow. I then deleted all the apps that did bad things like try to trick you into installing other apps with vague wording and promises of a new version. Then I deleted all the apps with horrible ads that capture your screen and make you watch 10 seconds or so of some shitty game you never wanted to install anytime you move between screens or apply changes. That leaves us with three apps, because I'm just not going to point you at apps that I wouldn't install myself. I can't do it, and I won't do it.

You might already have an equalizer

Google Play Music equalizer

Google Play Music equalizer

Some companies that build Android phones have their own audio enhancements built into the settings. And plenty of music apps have a built-in equalizer in their settings.

Built-in audio effects from the folks who built your phone can and will do more to the sound than any app you install from Google Play, because of the things we talked about above. They aren't restricted to use the same API, and often have companies like JBL or Harmon Kardon help them tune the audio output. If your phone has anything like this, use those options first. The HTC 10 (for example) has a much better surround virtualizer built in than anything you can download and install, and it's worth trying what you already have before you try anything else.

If your music player has an equalizer in the settings, use it

If your music player app has it's own equalizer — like Google Play Music or PowerAmp — it will give you the same exact results as anything you can download. The app is already running, so you'll not have anything adding overhead or latency to the audio stream, and you'll not need to use up any space by installing another app. Some of the worst offenders that didn't make my list also want to try and start at boot, and keep running forever — even when the audio effects aren't active. That's OK if you're using an older version of Android that lets an app adjust the sound mix globally, but not an efficient use of resources if you're using something running KitKat or newer.

If you already have an equalizer or audio effects settings, save yourself the hassle and use what you have. If you don't like it, then try something else — but be sure to disable what's there because only one app can apply effects to one audio stream at a time.

Now, on to the short list.

Equalizer & Bass Booster

Bass EQ

Once installed on your phone, you see it listed as Bass EQ. Don't be fooled by the name, because Bass EQ is more than just a bass booster. It leverages the API to provide a volume boost with 15 levels of adjustment, 12 settings for bass boost and 12 settings for sound virtualization as well as a five channel equalizer (60 Hz, 230 Hz, 910 Hz, 3.6 kHz and 14 kHz) is a spiffy "mini" ui that acts like a floating window. One really cool feature is a visualizer in both the compact interface as well as full-screen with pretty cool visual effects in time with the music. It's a trippy throwback to WinAmp, minus the llamas.

A dip into the settings allows you to enable or disable a persistent notification (as well as use the notification to toggle the app on and off), vibration on a change so you know you're adjusting things and the option to choose which screen — the volume booster or the equalizer — is shown at start up.

The free version has ads, and you will get a full screen ad from time to time — but always with a way to close it so you're not a hostage to a shifty app developer. If you like the way Bass EQ works, the Pro version is $2.99 and kills the ads, as well as gives you the ability to use and store reverb presets.

Music Volume EQ

Music Volume EQ

Another equalizer app with a nifty mini interface, Music Volume EQ would be my pick from this list.

You get the standard 5 band equalizer (60 Hz, 230 Hz, 910 Hz, 3 kHz and 14 kHz), bass boost and virtualizer settings and a master gain control with a vu meter that has green-to-red indicators — exactly what you're used to from a hardware eq. Pretty standard stuff, but what I really like is what you'll find in the settings.

Jump in and you'll see a quick toggle between a standard stereo-looking skin and a material theme, a full screen mode setting, transparency options for a static widget and some settings to control the behavior of the app. You can lock the system media volume setting so that only the gain slider in the app controls audio output levels, and set the background service to stop if you set the volume to zero. These are both pretty cool options for when you're using your phone to do nothing but play you some songs.

The app is free with an ad banner at the bottom of the main screen, and there's no paid option to kill it off. But you are given a choice to opt-out of usage analytics, which makes me want to enable them and help the developers out. Good show, devs.

Download Music Volume EQ (Free) (opens in new tab)



This is probably the most full-featured equalizer app in Google Play, and one of the first. I've used in on and off through several Android versions, and it works exactly (almost) as stated and does it without being silly with permissions or scammy ads.

It has the standard settings — a five band equalizer with presets, a bass booster, virtualizer and reverb presets. The user interface is simple and easy to understand while being unique and not looking like the old Blaupunkt stereo I had in my VW bus. Equalizer also can hook into certain music apps (Google Play Music and Omich Player are two examples) and automatically enable itself when you start playing a song, then go back to sleep when you're done. That's a nifty trick. It claims to be a global equalizer, and probably was at one time (I think it was) but that's part of the reason it's not my top pick — it's in dire need of an update.

You have skins for both the app and the widget, but the service that hosts them is no longer running and you get an error when you try to find them. I don't mind the interface the way it is, and I don't need an equalizer widget so this isn't that big of a deal, but if you haven't updated your app since 2014 and have let hosting services disappear, I can't say you're the best.

Equalizer is free, but you can buy an unlock key for $1.99 that lets you save custom presets, delete, edit and rename presets, put a preset shortcut on your home screen and backup or restore settings from your phone storage or SD card. If you don't mind using an app that may have been abandoned, it works well and the unlock key is worth the two bucks.

Tell me what I missed!


I use PowerAmp almost exclusively when I get serious about listening to music, and use the built in EQ and tone controls, so I'm not looking for a good equalizer app. But I'm sure some of us do have a favorite here, and I want to hear about it. Shout out in the comments and tell me what I need to add to this list, and as long as it doesn't kill me by trapping me in ads or crash on my phone, I'll give it a shot. I'm always looking for things to make my music sound better.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

  • If only the built-in equalizer worked over a bluetooth connection, these kinds of apps wouldn't be necessary.
  • I've used Poweramp exclusively for years Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • Poweramp turns almost any phone into a beast. I've used since my old Optimus G. Posted via my LG G5
  • You mentioned ViPER4Android, but guitardedhero's modded "ARISE" version is phenomenal. Check out the last few pages here:
  • Arise is wonderful along with a bit of V4A tweaking :) sound on my OPO is amazing :)
  • I've used Poweramp for a couple of years, it's a nice music player, playlist maker and much more than just an equalizer. In fact, the equalizer part is just a subset of its overall capabilities. That said, it works much better as an equalizer when I'm using a Bluetooth speaker. I barely notice any changes using the Poweramp equalizer when listening on the phone via earbuds and almost zero when listing through the phone's speakers.
  • No difference through earbuds? Interesting. I think it does wonders, especially with medium priced buds. Posted from Nexus 6 running Android N
  • Note 3 with SOL REPUBLIC Jax in ear buds. I've set Poweramp just enough to give me more bass and cleaner instrumentals. And I CAN notice the difference between Poweramp, Samsung's native equaliser, and no equaliser at all. Maybe you haven't set your equaliser right... This phone has the AC App.
  • I use HibyMusic when playing FLAC files with my FiiO Q1 and a USB OTG adapter. It has its own equalizer. Posted via my Moto X Pure Edition using the Android Central App
  • Hey, that looks nice. Playing DSD files over the network is pretty nifty. Installed.
  • i downloaded the app cus Jerry used the word nifty
  • I hope you like it. Posted via my Moto X Pure Edition using the Android Central App
  • I'm running the alpha poweramp app and it is even better than the standard. Can't wait till it is prime time. Posted from Nexus 6 running Android N
  • I know, right? I wish I could install both the stable and beta side by side because I like to keep my "work/test" phones beta free to try and field questions and troubleshoot.
  • I really, really wish that Google Play Music would offer a better equalizer (along with some HQ options) :-(
  • I prefer my music straight up with good headphones. But with Bluetooth speakers, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need ;) Music Volume EQ was the first one I loaded and didn't immediately delete. However, the five bands of EQ was not granular enough for me, so I wound up with the paid version of PowerAmp. My big BT speaker is an iHome that gets very loud and has poor high end. I passed that one along to someone else after getting a Pacuwi unit that also had the speaker phone function. The sound is ok with decent bass, but there was an un-natural boost around 10k which I had to tone down. PowerAmp fixed that and let me create a profile for just that speaker. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I use the equalizer (the very bottom of your article) because preset detects the type of music and adjust it for you. I think I made the right investment since you wrote highly of it. Thanks again for the good review. The only bad setting is the "metal" preset. Something doesn't sound right with that.. Oh also the Google play equalizer only works with Nexus lines I old Nexus has it but my G4 doesn't even show it on the setting. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have always wondered about why I don't have an equalizer on Google Play on my G3. Is it true it's only available on Nexus phones?
  • No. I have the equalizer in Google Play Music on my Droid Turbo 2 - very effective, although I'd like better control options.
  • Same here. I don't have it on my Honor 7 either.
  • It's extremely frustrating that not all phones put some sort of built in equalizer. Love my g5 but one thing I can't stand is having to download a third party app to control how my music sounds. And the pre amp on Google play is absolute garbage. Posted via what ever tickles me at the time.
  • "...because I'm just not going to point you at apps that I wouldn't install myself. I can't do it, and I won't do it." i really appreciate how that philosophy shows in this post! Refreshing! I'm so weary of posts i often see showing 10 or more apps for whatever need but that should have been easily be ruled out by similar criteria as was used in this post. I only wish that I could find a TEN BAND equalizer in such a stand-alone equalizer PowerAmp has built in.
  • I've already been exclusively using the EQ built into Poweramp (v3 alpha builds) and for my older devices, ViPER4Android so no need for me to use an EQ of any kind. Posted via an LG V10
  • Any tips on getting around the EU volume cap on a Samsung s7? I'm sick of quiet European android phones but I don't want to root Posted via the Android Central App
  • The best solution would be a portable headphone amp, but that's bulky and not very practical.
  • Fiio makes some great portable amps and dacs that aren't very large. I'm using the Fiio e11k and its rather small, they even have ones that are the size of those old square iPod Nanos.
  • I've got an e6. Yep it works but I dunno. Still not as good as just having a phone that goes loud.
    For all its faults my old oneplus one at least seemed to completely disregard any volume limits Posted via the Android Central App
  • I have the FiiO, and I love it. Posted via my Moto X Pure Edition using the Android Central App
  • Noozxoide EIZO-rewire Pro although not a true equaliser it's still my favourite Posted via the Android Central App
  • +1 Posted via the Android Central App
  • I see no mention of Neutron player......any reason why? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Poweramp FTW! Galaxy S6 Edge +
  • Amazon Music needs to integrate an equalizer on their app! Galaxy S6 Edge +
  • There's also Noozxoide EIZO-rewire, may not be a true eq but has some great processing. Viper4android is my root eq of choice, it just can't be beat by these "filter" type eq.
  • amen to that...i love noozxoide Posted via the Android Central App
  • Do any of you notive a difference with that? Because I used it and compared to Poweramp with some FLAC albums gifted to me and Poweramp plays it back with richer sound. Noozxoide doesn't do ANYTHING to it! (At least when I used it. Maybe I haven't toggled a setting?) This phone has the AC App.
  • "it's own equalizer" -> "its own equalizer" How many times do I have to tell you?
  • No "it's own equaliser" is right. Posted via the Android Central App
  • troll
  • This is true. “Its” belongs to a group of pronouns which are already possessive and don’t need an apostrophe, for example: yours, hers, his, its, theirs, ours There are other rules along the way which may not seem to make sense — but which we need to learn. One of those is, “The cat licked its fur.” is correct — and “its” does not need an apostrophe.
  • Noozxoide equalizer the best equalizer...ive tried almost everything because im not rooted anymore... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Thanks Jerry for the review! Is there an app that does volume equalization/normalization? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Neutron sounds amazing. It is some what confusing to start with but worth it in the end. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Rocket Player has a built in 10 band equalizer, plus a preamp and bass booster. I haven't used anything else since Google Play Music replaced the Android Music Player, and I dropped one more Google "service". Unlocked Marshmallow Nexus 6 on Verizon. I'm a happy guy.
  • I use poweramp. Its pretty nice. I find Android has a ton of audio glitchiness. I feel there is a ton of room for improvement. The recent lg products and the new htc unit give me hope. I feel that Qualcomm and google could standardize good audio easily. Almost as if they pay more attention to new features than perfecting the core features. Posted via the Android Central App
  • iv been using JetAudio Music Player+EQ Plus exclusively for years, shame it gets no mention as it blows the rest out of the water Posted via the Android Central App
  • I am using Stello music player. Its equalizer is mind browsing. Try it!
  • All those above use EQ with minimum phase filters, which distort the phase of the signal around the nearest EQ-ed frequency. And yes it is very audible, since the human auditory system is very sensitive for that. Sounds within the soundstage will be placed forward or backward based on the EQ curve. With linear phase filters this is avoided, to my knowledge only Onkyo HF player's built in EQ has that, It's not cheap ]for an Android app] but worth it IMO. It also works now with the LG V10 with its built in HiFi DAC that has superior HP amp.
  • The equalizer in Poweramp is outstanding, but you are limited to playing your own music stored on the phone. I don't want that, as I have too much music to sync. Instead I use DSub and Google Music. The EQ in Dsub is average at best, and there is no EQ in Google Music (on an LG G4). Furthermore, I've been using the "Equaliser" app but the quality is so poor when it does alter the EQ, lowering all the other frequencies instead of raising the one I lift) and it often doesn't change the sound at all! So, how does one play DLNA content with a Poweramp quality equalizer? Anybody?
  • Im not directing this comment to anyone who posted here, but.... Ive never met anyone who could set an eq properly by ear, and without a RTA.
    Pretty much just people who are fumbling around with buttons. I guess this review is also more geared for those who are using headphones or the aux cord in general. I use my droid for my car audio and just bypass the built in droid dsp and run my eq flat. With a decent system you really shouldn't have to adjust anything more than a few cuts here and there. Eh... I guess my post is pretty pointless, though, since my perspective is all about not using the system eq/dsp. Meh..