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Windows Media Player 12 Equalizer: Improve the Sound of Your Songs

Use the EQ tool to help shape the sound of your MP3s for better playback


WMP Equalizer

The Equalizer Tool in WMP shapes the sound you hear

Image © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

What Can The Graphic Equalizer Tool Do?

There are quite a few features in Windows Media Player 12 for manipulating your songs during playback such as crossfading, volume leveling, and altering the playback speed. The graphic equalizer (EQ) tool is another option to use when you want to enhance sound at the frequency level. It allows you to shape the sound that is played back by using WMP's 10-band graphic equalizer.

To discover how to use WMP 12's graphic equalizer presets and to customize your own settings, this step-by-step tutorial shows you how to access and utilize this useful tool.

Viewing and Activating The Graphic Equalizer Tool

Run Windows Media Player 12 and work through these steps:
  1. Using the menu at the top of WMP's screen, Click on View and then select the Now Playing option. If this menu bar is turned off you can quickly re-enable it again by holding down the [CTRL] key and pressing [M].
  2. Right-click anywhere on the Now Playing screen (except the menu) and hover your mouse pointer over the Enhancements option to reveal a further menu. Click on the Graphic Equalizer option.
  3. You should now see the graphic equalizer interface pop up on the screen. You can drag this around on your desktop to a more convenient location if so desired.
  4. To enable the EQ tool, Click the Turn On hyperlink.

Changing to a Built-in EQ Preset

Windows Media Player 12 has a selection of built-in EQ presets that you can use without having to start from scratch. This is sometimes all that is needed to enhance the playback of your songs. The presets are for different types of music such as: Acoustic, Jazz, Techno, Dance, and more. To select a built-in EQ preset, do the following:
  1. Click the down-arrow next to the Default hyperlink. This will display a list of presets to choose from. Click on one of them to change the equalizer settings.
You'll notice that the 10-band graphic equalizer will instantly change as soon as you select a preset. It's best to try them all to see which one fits the best -- so, just repeat the above step.

Using Custom EQ Settings

If you can't seem to get the right sound using the built-in presets (just like in the above tutorial), You'll want to tweak the settings yourself by creating a custom one. Follow these steps to see how:
  1. Click the down-arrow again for the presets menu (as in above tutorial), but instead of selecting a preset, click on the Custom option -- this is located at the end of the list.
  2. At this stage it's a good idea to play the song you want to enhance. You can use the keyboard to quickly switch to Library view by holding down [CTRL] and pressing 1. Once you are playing the song, switch back to the Now Playing screen by holding down [CTRL] and pressing 3.
  3. Move the sliders either up or down using your mouse pointer until you get the sound you want.
  4. If you want to move the sliders in groups, click on one of the radio buttons on the left-hand side of the equalizer screen. You can choose loose or tight grouping of frequency bands which can be useful for fine-tuning.
  5. If you need to start again, click on the Reset hyperlink which will set all the EQ sliders back to zero.
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