EQu in Review - your tunes, perfectly tweaked
Original review: EQu in Review - your tunes, perfectly tweaked
Itís funny: Iíve been taught not to bite the hand that feeds you, but Apple have fed music-loving fans like me the merest of crumbs for so since 2007 that I long to sink my finely manicured fangs into something fruity. Gapless, lossless, and great headphone performance are just niceties for the regular Johan who wants to pump up the jam on his Justin Bieber collection without hitting distortionís ugly overhead. For that crowd (and me), audio app developer, elephantcandy, have delivered EQu Ė the quality equalizer.
EQu is one of the most important apps to debut at the App Store. Why do I say this? Firstly, EQu does NOT distort even when you cue up too much bass. Secondly, it allows YOU to choose how to listen to your music. True, there are good and bad ways to EQ music, but itís always nice when those choices remain yours.
EQu is great. It is capable of an infinite combination of EQ settings. You are not limited to gain steps for each frequency band. Better yet, EQ settings do NOT culminate in compressed dynamics. No, EQu keeps your music intact.
Setting EQís is easy: simply tap a segment of the red line to add an EQ point. Frequencies are nicely displayed at the bottom, so you wonít get lost thinking whatís what. In portrait mode, that line can get cramped, but landscape is plenty roomy enough to make some crazy patterns.
EQu is a parametric EQ, meaning that for every frequency you tweak, the Q, or bandwidth, for that frequency can also change. If, for example, you drop the 800Hz band a little bit, frequencies around it, too will be lowered. Ditto for raising a frequency. If that bothers you, just add more frequency points in the spots that you donít want to be affected, and raise them as well.
You can save EQ settings with unique names and unique characterisations. Mine are headphone-dependent, so Iíve got ATCK10, FE333, RE2, and so on. EQu is a veritable SimCity of EQ apps: pretty and endless.
NOTE: Some users have complained that iPodís gain is lowered when music is played through EQu. Firstly, without lowering the gain, the age-old crack, snapple, and pop would engage every modern album. You canít get a great EQ without creating working room. This room is either built-in to the song itself, extended with outboard equalisers, or is extended via the use of software. EQu is that software. There is NO other way to get a great EQ on the iPod/iPhone without it because Apple donít have dedicated EQ chips in their devices. I donít consider this a tradeoff, but then again, I donít listen to my iPod at ear-destroying volume levels.
At the same time, perfection isnít possible in any audio app layer, but EQu is the closest EQ layer Iíve used on any portable app, much better, for instance, than Sonyís much-praised built-in equaliser.
On newer iDevices, EQu runs like a dream. It is also a universal binary, so a one-time 3$ purchase is all you need to enjoy great equalisation on any of your Apple devices. This by the way, is a huge advantage over the App Storeís first equalising app, Equalizer. That said, performance on my iPod touch 2G is worse than my most recent, post-influenza 50-click jaunt.
EQu 1.0 was hampered. You couldnít choose albums, playlists, or artists. Rather, you were stuck fumbling around alphabetically in your music library. Today, the interface is fast, clean, and full of additions to Appleís stock software. For instance, if I pull out my headphones, the music keeps playing rather than stopping. While this isnít good news for battery life, it is great news when braving the cold as some large-lipped tourist asks for directions. I can just pull out my headphone plug, say, ďI donít know.Ē and plug back in without thrusting my moist, finely-painted fingers into the bitter cold.
EQu is an app that I both love and hate. It sounds great, works great, looks great, and is a breeze to use, but it is such a personal hit that:
I am retiring my Rockboxed iPod nano 1G
I am using my iPod touch 4G for music
8GB is no longer enough for apps and music!
The battery on my iPod touch 4G is getting some use now
I donít know what to do with my unused iPods now
it makes me wish my iPod touch was smaller, because I LOVE it now!
Music lovers, this is one of the best 3$ youíll ever spend, and elephantcandy, consider yourself closely watched from now on! Well done.