EQ for both iOS & Mac

Hi all,
iOS & Mac users: what are you using to EQ your headhones, for both desktop and iPhone, on a system-wide level?

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There’s no system wide EQ available for iOS, other than that built-in to the OS. Your only options there are to use player applications that incorporate EQ themselves.

On macOS, if you want proper EQ, then you’ll first need a virtual sound card/AU host (something like SoundSource, and then an EQ plug-in of your choice (I use the DMG line of “EQ” products, usually “EQuilibrium”).

So the Sonarworks app for iPhone was not all encompassing? I thought so :pensive:. I guess I’m forced to use the EQ in the Onkyo player app. Qobuz needs one for their stuff also.

Well, you’ve got two issues here …

First, Sonarworks isn’t EQ in the traditional sense. It uses EQ internally, but your control over that is limited to choosing the headphone you’re using, and it applies its own adjustment intended to bring that headphones frequency response to neutral.

You can tweak that a bit, by applying “age related hearing loss” compensation, and by tilting the sound more towards bass or treble, but that’s about it.

Second, their iOS app, “True-Fi” only works for Spotify or locally stored iTunes content (which can be your own files, as long as they’re not protected, but does NOT work for Apple Music files even if you’ve downloaded them). And you have to use the in-app navigation there.

On macOS, Sonarworks Systemwide is system-wide. But it’s still just what I described as point one and not a full-blown configurable EQ tool.


I don’t use EQ currently but I am enjoying Tone control via Schiit Loki.


Thanks. I downloaded the SoundSource for my Mac, and I’ll have to figure it out for the phone.

What about Boom3D for the macOS ?

For the best results, pair it with a good EQ plug-in (“EQuick” is the least expensive DMG option) as you’ll get much more control (i.e. parametric instead of just a few band-sliders with fixed Q etc.).

If you’re asking me, I’ve never used it. Looks a bit gimmicky. Would have to try it and compare the quality if its results to a professional EQ tool.

Also, it appears to be another simple “graphic” style EQ (Apple have a 31-band graphic EQ as a standard AU on macOS that’ll work with anything that can host AUs, like SoundSource), which isn’t useful for me.

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thank you Torq , I just downloaded the sound source and Equilibrium plugin. I think this will work, I have been trying to EQ my HE1000SE and haven’t really got the result that I wanted.

I bought it and disliked it to the point of un installing it all together…

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I’ve used Tokyo Dawn Records Nova - integrates well with Audirvana on Mac and you can set it to eq live (except for DSD playback). Nice pretty easy to use parametic eq.

With this I was able to play around with some eq settings from metal571’s videos.

I have Sonarworks True-Fi also, has settings for a few of my headphones, but it doesn’t seem to work with hi-res - if I’m listening on Tidal through Audirvana on xDSD I get no sound if I try to use it. It does work with Spotify (free version) through a DragonFly Red.

True-Fi is all based on presets for a long list of headphones and ease of use - you have simple limited control for personalization (some bass boost, some treble boost).
Has anyone else experienced the issues with playback with True-Fi? I think it just caps out a certain rate and won’t work above that.

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Speaking in general EQ terms, is there a resource where many different EQ presets can be found? If I have a DAP that supports EQ like AK DAPs then having reference EQ presets can be very helpful. I can customize from a standard one.

-Boom is system wide on the Mac.
-If you use Audivarna there are many eq plug-ins you can use

On the iPhone boom is ok
A good free option is Captune

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MacOS also includes a free multi-band parametric EQ AudioUnit called NBandEQ. The UI looks like this:


I use it with SoundSource as @Torq suggested, and the experience so far is quite nice.

It’s not EQ, but since I have SoundSource, I also apply 112dB Redline Monitor to simulate nearfield speakers. It’s not exactly like listening to speakers, but it does add a fair bit of depth to the soundstage and nicely firms up the center image. I find it more effective (and cleaner sounding) than the typical BS2B crossfeed implementations.

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what are the steps to get this AU parametric EQ and install it in SoundSource?

I believe the parametriq EQ is already installed on every Mac along with a bunch of other audio units. These instructions show how to use audio units in Sound Source…


Thanks, pwjazz.

You’re welcome, and may Muad’Dib protect you and your waters on this journey into the unknown :slight_smile:

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I’m gonna need him :slight_smile:

How did you get SoundSource to use Redline Monitor? It installed in /Library/Application Support/, but the RM folder was empty. I’m on MacOS 10.13.6

iIRC you have to put in a license code for redline monitor which the SoundSource UI may not support. You can try loading the plugin in AULab or another plugin host to get past the license thing. After you’ve put in the license once you should be able to use it in SoundSource. It’s been a while since I got redline monitor so I don’t remember exactly, sorry.