I’ll be honest: I haven’t thought of applying an EQ (equalizer) to audio on a Chromebook since I’ve owned one. My audio is largely cast to a Chromecast-ready speaker or sent wirelessly to my Bluetooth headphones and I rely heavily on streaming services like Spotify, Google Play Music and YouTube Music for my tracks. That combo usually results in well-balanced audio that doesn’t require a ton of tweaking to feel right during playback.
Thanks to a reader email and a few questions regarding moving from Windows to a Chromebook, some questions around audio and equalizers came up and I’ve spent a little bit of time researching and figuring out a solution for Chromebook users that could come in handy for quite a few of you out there. Though I’ve jumped on the music-as-a-service bandwagon, I know many users still love to own their own library of music and have vast arrays of files at the ready to listen to at a moment’s notice.
So, I wanted to identify a few solutions that cover both scenarios and allow for EQ adjustments on both on-device audio and streaming audio alike. The first tool that I’ve found that is clean, easy to use and quite stable is an extension called Sound Equalizer. Head over to install this small extension and you’ll have a persistent EQ for all audio that is running through a Chrome instance. YouTube videos, Spotify’s web player (just two examples) and basically any audio that comes through a Chrome window can be manipulated with this extension. It’s easy to use, the interface is clean, and it even comes with some great presets, too. Even if you have your audio player of choice installed as a PWA, the top bar still has the EQ extension up to for adjustments on the fly.
The second scenario involves offline music. While Chrome OS leans on a nice, neat mini-player for those times you double-click on an audio file, that playback method is limited in its function. There’s no EQ, no real track selection or sorting, and it is really just meant to listed to a single file for reference.
Installing a more full-featured player is as easy as heading to the Chrome Web Store and installing Enjoy Music Player. Terrible name aside, this little app is quite nice. It has a pleasing aesthetic, a simple layout, and everything you need to sort and manage a local collection of songs. You can even tell the app to look for your music on a connected drive and I’d assume this to be your setup if you have a library of songs saved to local media. Finally, you can connect add a Google Drive folder as well if you’d prefer to keep your own private catalog of music but still lean on the cloud for all that storage space.
Either way, once you have your music found and playing, the reason we’re even talking about all this is for the ability to tweak that EQ a bit. Thankfully, this little music player has the same 10-band EQ as the extension we just mentioned, so dialing in just the right sound for your speakers or headphones is a snap. Again, there are suggestions and custom options, but I found the ‘suggest’ preset to nail a full, clean sound most times.
The final scenario would involve a sort of combo of these two solutions. Services like YouTube Music offer playback of your personal files and libraries once those are uploaded. Going this route would allow for your personal files to be accessed anywhere you can get to YouTube Music in an app or on the web. If you are in the app, there is a built-in EQ you can leverage on the go and return to the solutions outlined above via the web player when on your Chromebook. In this way, your music is still your own, stored for free on Google’s servers, and available via a dedicated music service when you need it.
There may be a scenario I haven’t thought of, but I think this covers the bases quite well. If you are in need of a solution with a Chromebook that involves music playback to headphones or speakers with an EQ, it looks like any combo of what we’ve outlined here should work for you. Like many other things with Chrome OS and web-based computing, sometimes it just takes a bit of digging and perhaps a little bit different perspective to find the solution you are looking for. Hope this helps some of you out!