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330 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I love the stock Bose audio system for its precision and clarity, but it would be nice if it had a little more punch, especially in the bottom end and more power overall. In the past I had a small powered sub in the trunk that helped quite a bit, although the trunk is so well insulated not a lot of the sub's output registered in the cabin.

I took the sub out a couple of weeks ago in preparation for trading the car in, and in the meantime I've been experimenting with some 3rd party EQ apps for my iPhone (where my music library lives.)

In any 3rd party sound app, the app itself must become your music player as well. Some are better than others. Note that any EQ app can only play local song files, not streaming music like Pandora, Rhapsody, etc. If your library is not in iTunes, this app will not benefit you.

Yesterday I downloaded the AudioForge EQ app from ITunes ($4.99) expecting very little and I was blown away by how with just a few tweaks the Bose system was brought to life. Not only did it transform the low end, providing bass so punchy that you can feel the bass drum hits in your seatback, but it dramatically increased the power output overall. The result is that Rock music actually sounds like Rock music again!

If I installed this in your car and told you I'd upgraded your amps and speakers you'd be convinced I was telling you the truth. It's that big a difference.

Here's the interface. Across the bottom are 5 tabs. Left to right:


The EQ screen allows you to manipulate the equalization, and the preamp slider at the top allows you to boost the overall signal output. A three stage VU meter (green, yellow, red) monitors the output in real time and will actively prevent clipping if you overdrive the system. (The goal is to keep it in the yellow)

To the right is a "bullsye" icon that toggles between two modes of controlling the individual EQ "sliders" (in this case blue dots). In "bullseye" mode you can move sliders horizontally as well as vertically, giving you the ability to select precisely which frequency you want to adjust. as well as being able to boost (or cut) the frequency. In the toggled mode, only vertical movement is available. Next to the bullseye is a link to share your EQ settings via Facebook, email, etc.

Below that is the EQ itself. Tap a dot to turn it blue and then move it around to your heart's content. It works on-the-fly in real time as a song is playing as well.

Note that the Player controls (FF, PLAY/PAUSE REWIND) can be brought up as an overlay on any screen by clicking whichever icon has the blue border around it. In this case, it happens to be the EQ icon. Press again to hide the player overlay.

The next icon controls the Presets. The app comes loaded with the standard stuff. If you want to create your own saved Preset, tap the little down arrow icon next to the envelope icon. Your keyboard will appear. Name the preset and it will now appear permanently in the list. The envelope icon allows you email presets you've created to friends.

Next is the Now Playing (Active Playlist) button. It's where you add songs from your iTunes library for the player (The + icon). You can add individual tracks, or slide all the way up in your song list and select "add all".

You can select "Shuffle" and "Repeat" here as well. The next button is a screen that's a duplicate of your iTunes library selection screen, with the familiar PLAYLISTS/ARTIST/SONGS/ALBUMS filters. Your selection loads into the Now Playing screen.

The last button will display the cover art of the current selection being played.

For the W220, the best sounding set up (to me) was as follows:

On the COMAND: Bass and Treble to 100%, Factory Default Sound (no surround), fader to midpoint.

On the iPhone App:

Add your ITunes library (middle icon)

Select the "FLAT" Preset (second button from the left).

Open the EQ (first button) and tap the first dot (from left to right), and slide it all the way up.

Slide the Preamp control to the right until it lines up around the Bullseye.

Switch to the Preset screen (second button from left), tap the down arrow icon and name your Preset.

Select a song from your library and let 'er rip. If you find you need to adjust, tweak away until you're happy with the sound on a majority of the music types in your library. When you get it perfect, either save it as a new Preset or overwrite the last one.

If you're not familiar with a graphic EQ at all, you're looking at an image that represents the audio spectrum from low to high frequency. Low frequencies are also known as "Bass", high frequencies are also known as "Treble". Everything in between is known as "Mids". Moving sliders in the Bass range up or down increases or decreases the amount of Bass, etc.

I did experiment over several days with different EQ curves, adding or diminishing mids and highs. I discovered that the Bose does a good job with mid bass, mids and highs on its own, which is why the curve I settled on just boosts the low bass. However, by using the Preamp function, you're able to really punch up the whole spectrum. If you're getting a Red light, just nudge the slider to the left a bit.

Give it a try, and feel free to post any questions.


330 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! I traded the S430 for a 2010 S550, and this app was a lifesaver. Where the Bose in the W220 sounds great all by itself, the Harmon Kardon in the W221 needs all the help it can get.

Honestly, I'm not sure about the wisdom of the trade. Aside from having more modern goodies and nice styling I still think I'd rather have the W220 and a long warranty.

W221 & Audio Moderator
10,864 Posts
I tried a 3rd party app, SRS MyTunes Pro, that provided good EQ - but it needed to be opened up and started each time I used the playback device. Because it was an app, I had to use either an iPhone or my iPod Touch, and not an iPod. I had to turn the iPod Touch on and off each time I started the car - or the iPod's battery would run down. Then there was a pause while the app found and loaded the music library; and initial song selection had to be on the playback device, not on the COMAND. Once everything was running, one could use the COMAND to control music selection - but if one didn't set playback up through the app, and just started out with COMAND, you wouldn't get the EQ.

In my S500 I plug my playback device in; Bluetooth just doesn't have adequate audio quality.

My questions: Because it is an app, does the Audioforge EQ software have to be run separately from the iPod Touch or iPhone's built-in music playback app? Or can it be set to open automatically whenever music playback is begin? (That is, will it open together and at the same time as the music playback app built into an iPod Touch or iPhone?)

Ultimately, after tiring of turning the iPod touch on and off every time I used it, I went back to my regular Gen 5 iPod, and use an EQ that I set - I chose one of the iPod's built-in EQs that I never used, and replaced it as described at post 19, (The first 18 posts show the annoying difficulties using an app that had to run separately - i.e., take over control of the playback device's music rather than supplementing it). That lets me just use the iPod for my music, and it starts and shuts down with the car (unlike the iPod Touch).

Also, because Audioforge EQ is an app, I am presuming it cannot be used on an iPod other than an iPod Touch.
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