Applying an equalizer in macOS allows you to take control of your audio playback. You can use an equalizer to fix problematic sound or enhance recorded music. This article shows three ways to apply an equalizer in macOS.
1. Audio Hijack
Audio Hijack is a professional-grade application that allows you to apply effects to your Mac’s system audio. It can target the audio from a single application or from the entire system. You can easily pop on a ten- or thirty-band equalizer and sculpt the sound precisely.
Unless you’re an audio pro, it may take a little bit to become familiar with the application’s full set of features. If you just want the basics, Boom makes it easy to just apply a simple equalization curve to your Mac.
Audio Hijack also enables a host of other audio effects beyond equalization, like compression and filtering. If you know how to use these tools, Audio Hijack gives you incredibly precise control over your system’s sound. Audio Hijack provides tools for recording audio streams as well, making it ideal for podcasters and streamers to record their tracks.
Boom is similar to Audio Hijack, interposing itself between your system’s audio stream and the speakers. By applying a series of effects to the audio stream, it can be adjusted to your liking.
Boom is a more consumer-focused app when compared with Audio Hijack. As a result, it’s easier to learn and use. You won’t need significant audio experience to understand what you’re doing to your sound. The app ships with plenty of presets and automated tools to sweeten your Mac’s sound without too much work.
From the makers of Audio Hijack, Airfoil is intended as a free application for routing sound to other devices wirelessly. However, it also comes with a simple ten-band EQ that can be applied to any sound source on the computer. You don’t need to route audio to take advantage of the equalizer, so you can apply a free equalizer to any macOS audio from an application or from the whole system.
Airfoil is extremely simple, so it’s outrageously simple to use. There are only a handful of buttons in the entire application. Select the audio source at the top, then adjust the equalizer as desired. That’s all there is to it.
Honorable Mention: iTunes Equalizer
If you listen to music or other audio from inside the iTunes app, you can use the built-in iTunes equalizer to sweeten your sound.
1. Select “Equalizer” from the “Window” menu bar menu in iTunes.
2. Adjust the equalizer as desired. Make sure to tick the checkbox next to “On” for the equalizer to take effect.
This will apply your selected equalizer curve to any audio coming out of iTunes. Unfortunately, the iTunes equalizer cannot be applied to any other audio output from your Mac.
Audio Hijack has been the go-to application for audiophiles and audio techs. It’s robust, well-known, and long-running. Their smaller application, Airfoil, is one of several applications they offer that contains a specific, small portion of Audio Hijack’s functionality. Boom is a user-friendly application that anyone can get the hang of, providing more ways to improve your sound than Airfoil, while not overwhelming novice users with technical information and details.
All the applications work well to apply an equalizer to macOS audio, so your choice depends on your experience level and preferences.