The Best Apps to Get the Best out of Your Headphones
Two Sound Streams
There are two dominating tendencies in today’s approach to headphones as a genre of technical art. Some manufacturers pursue comfort first of. Thus we get phones without 3.5 jacks, TWL headphones that constantly get lost apart, endless enhancing software as artificial as Instagram filters (and aiming to paint away bad quality as well), and so on.
On the other pole, we see mobile audiophiles and manufacturers sowing all over this small but fruitful field. Here come “sandwiches” of portable players and preamps, expensive cables that make Apple look humble, and, of course, audiophile headphones. They are sometimes ugly, always wired, and often more expensive than used cars, but they provide really great sound. As for built-in smartphone players, they are considered lo kosher in this community, unless they are used with a preamp or equipped with a dedicated DAC.
Is there a compromise for any user with requests above the average, but not ready to sell a kidney for premium sound? Yes, there are some. Here are some recommendations on the apps that can noticeably enhance your musical experience with your headphones. Some of them are versatile; some are compatible only with certain brands and are published by these very brands. Here are five top apps for making your phones sound better.
Here is an example of this brand-bound app that will be a great enhancement if you own a pair of Bose headphones, and completely useless if not. So, let’s suppose you’re a Bose user.
It’s compatible with both wired and wireless headphones, but some of them will benefit more from using the Bose headphones app. The undoubted leader is the Bose SoundSport Pulse model, letting you do incredible things, impossible before. The combo of the phones and the app does the work of a good fitness tracker. With it, you can track your heart rate, and when it goes too low or too high, you hear the instruction to force up or slow down.
With more regular models, you can control noise cancellation (if they are equipped with this feature), share the same music to two pairs (if they are both by Bose), and simply adjust the volume of the music playing.
Bose isn’t the only manufacturer to issue a special assistant app for its headphones. For example, MEE Audio offers an app that lets you run a hearing test and then generates your personalized audio profile. But Bose is way more popular than MEE and other niche manufacturers. In addition, its app is multi-functional and enhances both sound quality and user comfort.
Some music addicts say that music should sound the way it was written. Anyway, even the most diehard ones agree that some devices really require some intervention for correction. For example, most headphones that come with phones cannot compare to audiophile items. But they still can provide a decent sound, if you adjust it to your hearing a bit.
Headphones Equalizer is the app that adds a sound control tool to your system, regardless of what headphones you use. It offers popular options like 5-band equalizer, bass boost, genre-based presets, and a calibrating tool for making your pair sound natural.
In addition, the app can run in the background, and you can quickly change its settings via Quick Notification access.
While the previous app is quite versatile, this one is a one-trick pony, but a very powerful one. Its main tool is (guessed?) a bass booster. Low frequencies with this app can be boosted up to +10dB, so the rhythm section in rock music will be seriously upgraded.
The app offers multiple presets and even can define the optimal one by the genre you are listening to at any given moment. It also has its manual bass equalizer, so you can adjust its settings to what you consider the best.
By the way, this app offers a bonus that some players lack. If it detects an incoming call, it turns the music down, but not completely off. It’s up to you to define how loud it should sound when you speak on the phone.
Onkyo HF Player
Onkyo is a popular headphone manufacturer too, like Bose. But its app isn’t bound to its native headphones and can be used with any pair you’d like. Of course, Onkyo headphones owners may benefit a bit more because of better optimization. And if you dare to spend some money on Onkyo external DAC or amplifier, you’ll get even more with this app.
This app offers thousands of high-definition equalizing patterns and lets you create your own. Like streaming music services offer playlists curated by professionals, Onkyo features equalizer presets by pros. The app can also do anything a decent player should, including downloading lyrics, showing album art, working with playlists and seamless track mixing.
Neutron Music Player
It’s more than just a headphones app: it’s a fully-featured player that has a great built-in equalizer. It’s capable of 32/64-bit audio processing and sending DSP effects directly to the playing device, bypassing internal Android audio engine. If it doesn’t mean anything to you, we’ll explain: it doesn’t let Android spoil the sound if its quality exceeds system limitations.
It also has any manual control tools a music addict can dream of, including over amp, compressor, and parametric equalizer. In addition, this player is retro-styled, so if you remember those big, loud and complicated cassette recorders that seemed to come straight out of NASA research centers, Neutron will revive that feeling.
Choose Your Soundstream
These are the tools we recommend, though we are aware there are more than five good apps. Recommend more and share what you think of these! And of the idea of listening to the music on your smartphones.