Equalizer (by Smart Android Apps) (Free, Android)
Audio purists deride equalizers, because they want to hear everything as the engineer intended. That’s easy to say when you’re listening to $60,000 speakers through over speaker wire that costs more than most people’s monthly rent. The rest of us have to put up with inferior headphones and small speakers, and in those scenarios, the right EQ can work wonders. Dozens of equalizer apps are available for Android, but this is the best. As we mentioned in our guide to improving Android sound quality, this feature-rich app, which is called simply “Equalizer,” offers a great combination of basic options (i.e. presets) and advanced EQ. The app can even detect what type of song you’re listening to, and select the optimal preset based on that. A free version is available, but the $2 pro version we prefer comes with the ability to create and save custom presets.
EQ 10 ($1, iOS)
On the Apple side, EQ 10 serves up a 10-band graphic equalizer, 32-bit high fidelity audio engine, and the ability to play radio stations as well as the music stored locally on your device. It has to be a player, you see, because iOS can’t send audio from one app to another in real time (although a consortium of app developers is about to change that). There’s a lot to play with in this app, which boasts more features than competitors that cost three times as much. It won’t make your concert bootlegs sound like they were recorded in a proper studio but then again, nothing will. What it does do is improve your sound quality noticeably, especially if you’re stuck with Apple’s crappy stock earbuds (the ones it mostly fixed with the new EarPods).