Before the idea of a car, audio tuning app existed, sound quality in your car used to have major limitations. The best change you could make to a car was to purchase an entirely new car stereo system.
That can be a lot of work and money to spend just so you can finally hear the bass on your favorite song. If you had a luxury vehicle and you wanted a stereo system, you could’ve been looking at a $100 thousand range or higher.
Now, car tuning apps provide a way to get the sound quality you want with practically no upfront cost or installment time.
How Does a Car Audio Tuning App Work?
A car audio tuning app is a real-time analyzer tool that allows you to measure and control your car’s stereo sound straight from your mobile device. Even the best car audio systems can be enhanced through a tuning app.
Each car has what’s called an infotainment system which includes radio, camera, video, and stereo functions.
Your infotainment system also has an interface where you can manipulate features and control features to your liking. When you use a car audio tuning app, your smartphone integrates with this interface and diverts control directly to your phone.
If you have an Android, your phone integrates with the app via Android Auto, and your iPhone integrates through Apple CarPlay. You can either connect your phone via Bluetooth or through a simple USB cord if your car doesn’t have a Bluetooth function.
Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integrate with your app and allow you to make calls or receive them, view texts, or get directions completely hands-free. This is all possible through Siri and Google Assistant voice control.
The Basic Car Audio Tuning Setup
If you want better audio in your car, you’ll first need to adjust your car’s stereo equalizer or EQ. True to its name, an equalizer allows you to balance the low points and high points of your audio.
With the basic EQ setup, you’ll have 3 frequency tones (also known as “bands”): bass, mid, and treble. Instruments such as drums and bass are bass tones. However, the drum’s cymbals, along with brass instruments, are typically your higher tones.
Your mid-range tones include instruments with a mild pitch such as piano, guitar, and vocals. This may fluctuate depending on the song but you can follow this as a rule of thumb.
Popular Settings for Audio Tuning Apps
An EQ allows you to control the tones in your music and customize the sound to your liking. However, there’s more to audio than just the tones. Having a variety of other features in your car tuning app will increase the finetuning capabilities for your audio.
The fader is the most intuitive feature on a car tuning app. Instead of focusing on the qualities of the sound itself, a fader simply allows you to balance the total amount of sound coming from each speaker.
In a car, the fader is the knob on your car’s infotainment interface, but most car tuning apps give you this feature so you can control it remotely from your phone.
Audio crossover controls the different ranges of frequencies. You might find that your speakers don’t properly carry some audio tones as strong as others might. The reason is that some speakers are designed to carry a specific range of frequency.
So when frequencies outside of that range travel to a speaker, the signal may not be strong enough. A car tuning app with a crossover editing function can help you adjust and determine these frequency ranges so you can utilize your speakers the way you want.
Ever notice that music produced from faraway speakers sounds slightly delayed? Because of the distance between your ears and the speakers, the sound has to travel farther to reach your ears.
Time correction on a car tuning app allows you to adjust the travel speed of an audio signal to individual speakers.
A subwoofer is a speaker that’s designed to produce specifically the lower frequencies, your bass tones. While your parametric EQ allows you to control these bass tones, your car tuning app may also have a digital subwoofer feature.
Some apps come with a built-in amplifier so that you can focus even more on bass tones. These specifically include frequencies between 20 and 200 Hz.
If you’ve ever had a song that has a great baseline but it plays too faintly, you can fix this with a subwoofer.
Sound Tune is among the best and most popular car audio tuning apps. It’s available for download on both Android and iOS. It’s compatible with EQ models such as DEQ-S1000A and DEQ-S1000A2.
If you’re using a USB connection, you must have a phone that runs Android 5.0 up to 7.1.2. Your phone must also have Android Open Accessory 2.0, which allows the USB hardware to interact with your Android’s software.
For iOS, your phone must have iOS version 10.3 or higher. It’s also compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch if they have version 10.3 as well.
This is a top-rated app that specializes in boosting your audio’s bass tones. With Equalizer FX, your lower frequencies are much crisper and louder.
This app also offers 12 equalizers presets. So instead of having to equalize and balance all of the tones yourself, you can choose from 12 different audio setting presets to start.
Equalizer FX also integrates with Spotify, Pandora, and TuneIn Radio. To download this app, you’ll need at least Android 4.0.3. or later and on iOS, you’ll need 9.0 or later.
Alpine TuneIt App
If you want to use a car tuning app that comes with its own infotainment system, consider betting both from Alpine. This gives you a tuning app that you can be sure your car is compatible with.
Some cars may have outdated infotainment systems that don’t integrate with modern mobile apps, so getting a new system may be the best choice for you anyway.
The Alpine TuneIt app can be used alongside an Alpine iLX system which enables integration with Pandora and Google Assistant.
The app itself offers 6-channel digital time correction, 9-Band parametric EQ, and recommended settings to simplify the tuning process.
With 9 parametric bands, you can control tones in between the bass tones, mid-tones, and treble tones. Having more than just 3 tones allows you to finetune the audio exactly the way you want it.
To download this app on Android, you need a version 4.4 operating system or later. For iOS, you should have iOS version 9.0 or later.
Using Your First Car Audio Tuning App
These car tuning apps are just a few to get you started. However, to find the car audio tuning app that’s right for you, make sure you understand exactly what features you want and which app carries those features.
For more tips on enhancing your car audio, check out some of our other gadgets and gear content.