There is a reason that Google has received so much praise for the Pixel Buds Pro. The wireless headphones come with impressive audio, considerable charge life, and the ability to work out without getting uppercut by headphone cables.
Google also announced that they would be adding significant additions with each update, one of them coming in the form of a five-band equalizer through the mobile app.
Audio is anything but one-dimensional and the ideal listening experience will vary from person to person. On top of your own subjective taste, there is a distinct difference between a good audio setting for a gripping audiobook compared to the pulsing bass of dubstep.
Because of this, we will be offering suggestions for different musical genres, as well as podcasts and audiobooks.
If all of this sounds like a bunch of techie nonsense, we can run you through the basics to get the equalizer set up and working. By the end of this article, you will know how to access your equalizer, what each frequency band means, the ideal settings for each genre, and far more.
How Do You Access Your Pixel Buds Pro Equalizer?
Regrettably, for those with regular Pixel Buds or the A-Series – the equalizer options aren’t great. The Google Pixel Buds do not come with the additional equalizer found in the mobile app and instead simply come with Bass Boost. The A-series at least allows you to tweak the bass a bit, but this is inferior to the five-band equalizer that the Bud Pros utilize.
To access the equalizer on the Pixel Buds Pro, there are a few steps you need to follow.
- Depending on which version of Android your phone has, you will start two different ways.
- For Android 10+, you will either click on Settings on your phone, followed by Connected devices, where you can click on the gear cog (settings) option next to the Pixel Buds.
- Other Devices will simply need to open the Pixel Buds app on their mobile device.
- Select the Sound option, then click on Equalizer Settings.
- If you did it successfully, five horizontal lines with toggles should appear on your screen.
From here you can access a number of presets as well, which we will cover more in-depth below. If you do not have the EQ feature, your device may need to be updated to a newer firmware version that contains it. The first version to possess it was 1.0.474476083, so any device that hasn’t been updated regularly may miss out on this feature as well as bug fixes.
What the Equalizer Settings Change
Most folks stay busy with a hectic work schedule, familial commitments, and one or two hobbies they are uncomfortably good at. Because of this, it is a bit presumptuous to assume that everyone has scholarly knowledge of audio nerd terminology. To help those who prefer to listen to their music without the burden of fine-tuning weird horizontal bars, we will give a brief rundown of each.
The Pixel Bud app has a five-band equalizer with Upper Treble, Treble, Mid, Bass, and Low Bass. These are organized by their position in frequency, with upper treble and treble representing the shrill sounds of drum cymbals, various string instruments, and higher-pitched vocals. If your audio starts to sound shrill to the point of being unpleasant, chances are you have set your treble a bit too high.
Bass is 20 Hz – 200 Hz, Mid is anywhere from 200 Hz – 8,000 Hz or 8 kHz, and Treble will be anything above 8,000 Hz or 8 kHz.
Mid is exactly what it sounds like, the middle ground of audio frequencies. Things like normal speech, guitars, woodwind instruments, and most piano notes will make up this range. While there are plenty of guitarists who would disagree with the notion of “too much mid”, heavy emphasis on the mid-frequency can result in a muddled, gritty sound.
Bass is likely the one you can guess, it represents the banging and booming of drums, bass guitars, and Barry White’s vocal cords. If you listen to exclusively Bluegrass, this may not be exceptionally important to you. Most musical genres will need a good bit of representation in these lower frequencies, however, particularly rap and house music. Low-end bass is an often sought-after sound in smaller audio products that creates a warm, heartbeat-like noise that projects sound like primordial grunts.
The way this author has always felt about a lack of bass is it sounds like music coming from the far end of a cold, metallic room. The clarity is there, and the vocals come in crisp but the entire package is devoid of any warmth and can make the sound unpleasant and harsh to the ear. Too much bass makes the entire experience hard to discern, with vocals and string instruments taking a backseat while your speaker wakes up everyone in the area.
Equalizer Presets & What They Change
While many choose to go it alone in their tuning, others may prefer simple, easy-to-understand presets. Thankfully, Google did not choose to overlook this helpful option and has offered seven different presets. These include Default, Balanced, Vocal Boost, Clarity, Heavy Bass, Light Bass, and Last Saved.
Default is the standard setting on the equalizer and is made to be the most accessible sound profile across all genres of music and audio. This setting will never be offensive or overpowering, though you may feel more notable restraint in certain genres than you may prefer.
Balanced is somewhat similar to default, emphasizing neutrality. This setting will make everything feel even across the board, which is a nice setting to leave on if you don’t wanna fuss around with the equalizer much. This setting would be great for audiobooks, podcasts, or even sports broadcasts. While it won’t sound bad when playing music, you won’t hear the focused emphasis in the bass, treble, or singing like you would on other presets.
Vocal Boost is good for songs where the singing is especially pleasant to the ear. This is also good for live performances where the spindly gentleman gyrating on the front of the stage is often the hardest to hear.
Clarity will pump up the treble considerably allowing vocals, lyrics, cymbals, and string instruments to be heard clearly. This is good for genres with a lot of string instruments, higher-pitched vocals, or even songs that you want to more easily distinguish on the upper end. If you feel like the bass is underrepresented, you would want to avoid this preset.
Heavy Bass is the opposite of clarity, pushing the lower frequencies to the forefront (Bass and Low Bass) and forcing the treble to take more of a backseat role. This is ideal for thumpy genres like rap, house, EDM, or even some bass-heavy rock songs (Red Hot Chili Peppers come to mind). If you want extra bass out of your earbuds, this will be your best bet consistently.
Light Bass may be a misleading name for some folks. While it implies that it adds a bit more bass to the song – it actually lowers the bass to allow the rest of the song to come through. While the Clarity preset pushes up the treble, this simply peels back the bass a bit. If the bump of your nightly jams is starting to give you a headache; the light bass preset is a good way to fix the issue.
Last Saved is the equalizer preset that – wait for it – brings up your previous equalizer settings. If you have a favorite way to tune up your frequency bands and want them reconfigured to your previous specifications, this is the ideal preset for you.
Ideal Settings For All Audio
There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to equalizers, though most people would recommend leaving them alone. Despite this, there are a couple of ways to set the equalizer that will result in most genres of music sounding pretty good. Both of these are suggestions and can be tweaked and tampered with as you see fit.
Don’t Touch The Equalizer
Seriously, don’t do it. Well, do whatever you want; but most folks prefer to leave it be. This is because when you change the settings on your equalizer it will change the original sound, altering the original vision of the artist. Those that disagree with this sentiment would say that the different listening devices one can buy would vastly change the sound of the song.
The real test for whether this applies to you or not is going to be testing the audio of your Pixel Buds Pro across the different genres of music, audio, and whatever else you choose to put in your ears. If it sounds good, leave it be. If it sounds almost perfect, tweak it slightly. If it sounds not at all like you wanted it to, take a look at the next option!
The Arrow Setup
This setup tends to work really well with genres that include a good bit of real instruments, particularly electric ones. So if you prefer to listen to rock, country, and metal – this is likely perfect for you. As the name suggests, the equalizer will roughly resemble an arrow pointing down.
The low bass can be moved up a fair bit, with the bass being pushed up slightly. Mid can remain where it is, while treble should be moved up slightly. Finally, push the upper treble until it sits about where the low bass is, and you have the right idea. Pixel Buds Pro earbuds aren’t equipped with the best equalizer when it comes to precise measurements, so you may need to fiddle with this a bit until it sounds ideal.
If you find that the music is too bass-heavy or overly warm, you can push up the treble a bit to improve audio clarity. Conversely, kick down the treble if the music begins to sound too shrill, hollow, or sharp.
Equalizer Settings By Genre
Depending on what you are listening to, your equalizer settings could either help or hinder the experience. While tastes differ and this is ultimately up to your own opinion, there are widely agreed-upon settings to help improve the sound of certain music, audio, and even podcasts. To help assist folks trying to optimize their morning commutes, we will be going over the majority of genres and audio you can listen to.
Many audiophiles are hesitant to tweak their equalizer settings at all due to the fact that almost all songs are designed to be played neutrally. Because of this, when you make drastic adjustments like cranking up the treble or bass all the way, the song will likely not sound good. A good rule of thumb is to make minor tweaks and alter them as needed.
Where an equalizer is exceptionally useful is for low-quality audio equipment. As anyone who has had the misfortune of purchasing five-dollar headphones can attest to; the shrill claps of a poorly replicated high hat can prove unbearable. If you find that certain songs test the limitations of your Pixel Bud Pros – the equalizer can ease the sirenlike tempo in your head.
Not all rap is going to fall under the same umbrella, though most will benefit with some added thump. While there are some notable exceptions (Blue Magic by Jay-Z), most songs will need the bass pushed up considerably. While low bass should be moved up, be careful that it doesn’t smother the vocals. Speaking of vocals, if you are listening to a talented lyricist – it may prove useful to bump up the mids.
Treble is largely up to you and the song playing at the time. There are a lot of exceptional producers in the industry that toss a fair bit of nuance in the highs and lows that can go unnoticed. Songs like Runaway by Kanye West or Respiration by Blackstar are good examples of tunes that may need a bit more representation on the higher end.
The Heavy Bass preset is an excellent alternative for those who don’t want to fuss about the equalizer and will help boost the thump of your Pixel Buds Pro.
The term rock is awfully broad and can mean something entirely different on a person-to-person basis. It can span from classics like Beatles and the Rolling Stones all the way to lesser-known subgenres like math rock, midwest emo, alternative, nu metal, soft rock, and far more. There is an ocean of differences between an avid Corpsegrinder fan and a Genesis junkie.
Because of the seventy years of different rock, we will be covering a couple of different ways to set your equalizer. The biggest similarity all rock seems to have is that it tends to put more emphasis on the instruments than the vocals themselves.
There are certainly plenty of talented singers in rock, but in most cases the mid can be left alone or even pulled back slightly. Pushing both the low bass and bass up a bit will help bring out the bass guitar and drums of most songs. The treble and high treble can be adjusted to better represent guitar, synth, piano, or even a triangle for Blue Oyster Cult.
Alternatively, you can leave the low bass and high treble alone and simply boost up the bass and treble to get a better representation of instruments. This is ideal for harder rock like metal and grunge though can also be used for other genres of rock. This comes with the caveat that no two bands sound exactly the same and what works for Megadeth may not transfer over to Metallica.
Pop is a term that can encapsulate several different genres, including any of the previously listed. The two big qualifiers for pop music are that it exists in the mainstream and contains a catchy melody or lyrics. With that said, a good bit of pop music nowadays is done without any instruments used in the recording process and the vocals tend to be the highlight of the overall experience.
Because of this, you will want to push up the mid to allow the vocals more room to take center stage. Like rap, there are several talented people in the studio adding minor tweaks in the low and high end, so it may help to tweak low bass and high treble slightly. This is admittedly situational, as there are countless pop songs that use little more than four chords and the occasional drum or snare to create a tempo.
The Vocal Boost preset could certainly benefit most pop songs to allow the lyrics to stand at the forefront of the audio. For perky, higher-pitched pop you may want to even try Clarity to hear the lyrics as well as the upbeat treble for songs like Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cindi Lauper.
For those that enjoy their music unplugged, you will need some love in the lower end to bring out instruments such as a standup bass, bass guitar, bass drum, or other percussions. This will also depend on what type of acoustic music you partake in. Musicians like Jack Johnson or Norah Jones may require a bit more in the way of bass. If you choose to listen to acoustic unplugged albums by Alice in Chains, Nirvana, or other grungier tunes – bass may not be as crucial.
For “optimal” audio, you will want to bring up the treble and high treble slightly as well as the mid to give instruments and vocals a gentle nudge. Bass and low bass are going to depend more on what you are listening to, though will always benefit from the lion’s share of attention.
Both Heavy Bass and Balanced are good choices for presets when listening to acoustic music. If you are in love with the vocals, you could also go for Vocal Boost.
Electronic music is made on a computer most times rather than in a studio full of expensive instruments. You will want to bring the bass and low bass up a fair bit then see how that sounds. If you feel that the treble is underrepresented or the music is murky and non-clear; try raising the treble and high treble up a bit.
Most music in this genre finds a comfortable living space in the low and high ends, so those are going to be the areas to focus on. Electronic enthusiasts often complain that any tweaking to the EQ will distort the original vision the artist had, though it largely depends on what equipment you use. The best course of action would be to try the music neutral on your Pixel Buds Pro and then make minor revisions as needed.
For those that want to hear the stomp in their audio, Heavy Bass is a good move to give the busy lower end more of a spotlight. If you are listening to more sparkly, crisp house, EDM, or whatever else you enjoy – Clarity may help boost the optimistic tones in treble and upper treble. If you do use clarity, try it at a lower volume; finding out the high notes are too shrill on max volume is a jumpscare no one deserves.
Banjos, fiddles, and up-tuned acoustic guitars are no strangers to country music and have become the backbones of the genre since its origin. While a lot of modern country incorporates more on the lower end than the twangy hits of the 90s, the lion’s share of the genre sits in the mids and highs.
A recommendation (which all of these are, it’s all up to personal taste) would be pumping up the treble and upper treble and letting the mid sit just a bit above default. The bass and low bass can be left alone or even brought down depending on how it sounds. Careful not to overdo the high-end, as several older country songs are already brisk and crackly on their own.
Clarity, Vocal Boost, and Balanced all work as good presets depending on what you are listening to. Bluegrass may benefit from an upturn in the treble, while pop or billboard country music may lean towards Vocal Boost.
Audiobooks & Podcasts
Audiobooks are a great alternative for folks with hectic lives that want to stay informed, educated, or even absorbed in gripping fiction. Depending on the production of the audio you are listening to, it may vastly change how you set your Equalizer.
An audiobook like “Ham on Rye” By Charles Bukowski is read by a talented narrator without accompanying effects or audio. Alternatively, “The Hobbit” by J.R.R Tolkien includes entire musical pieces, the clashing of swords in fight scenes, the rumble of a dragon snoring, and the scampering of oversized halfling feet in the tenser chapters.
Podcasts are much the same with some being a conversation between two to three people, while others have entire productions behind them. The number of sounds, vocal inflections, and background music will play a bigger role in what you set the EQ to than whether it is a podcast or audiobook.
If you are listening to one to two people talking or reading a novel, you can push up the mid, lower the bass and tweak the treble as you see fit. Some auditory bookworms prefer less treble, while others may want it pushed up slightly for higher-pitched narrators. If you don’t want to fuss with it, Vocal Clarity would make the voice actor sound clear and crisp.
For audiobooks and podcasts that come with additional sounds, songs, and effects – you may want to leave the equalizer as is or go with a Balanced preset. While many love the immersive ambiance of a bigger production, others may find the sound effects distracting and even off-putting. If that is the case, you can throw on Vocal Clarity and lower the bass and upper treble as you see fit.
While there is no right or wrong way to set an equalizer, several people will tell you that for most music the best setting is a flat one. Where this may change is in the equipment you use, which can naturally have some shortcomings the musician or narrator did not plan for when releasing a track. Pixel Bud Pro earbuds have a great sound and may be worth listening to at default before breaking out the graphic EQ.
This is ultimately a subjective list of equalizer settings to help folks who don’t want to endlessly fiddle with their mobile app. With that said, the interface for the equalizer is far less complicated than other equalizers we have seen and should be easy to navigate for pretty much anyone. So even if it may seem a bit confusing at first, you will be an old Pixel Bud Pro in no time.