Software

How to perfect your Android's sound with Neutralizer

Don't acquiesce horrible audio from your Android. Jack Wallen recommends an app that will vastly improve your device's sound.

I'm an audiophile. While I write in my office, I listen to vinyl through a modified turntable that produces glorious analog sound in ways no digital file could touch. Suffice it to say, when I am relegated to using a mobile device to enjoy music, the enjoyment isn't exactly what I'm accustomed to.

But the struggle doesn't have to be that painful. Even with less-than-ideal headphones, it is possible to enjoy the sound from your Android device that is perfectly tuned for your hearing. How? With a free app from the Google Play Store, called Neutralizer.

I've used Neutralizer for a while now, and I can attest that this app is a must-have for anyone looking to receive the best sound from their device. However, the app isn't quite as easy to use as a simple five or ten band equalizer. In fact, without explanation, the app can be really confusing. Fortunately, I've gone through the challenging part and am here to make Neutralizer easy for you.

With that said, let's install and perfect your Android sound.

SEE: Job description: Android developer (Tech Pro Research)

Installation

Installation of Neutralizer is the easy part. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Play Store on your Android device.
  2. Search for Neutralizer.
  3. Locate and tap the entry by AUDIOMATIC by Javeo.
  4. Tap Install.
  5. Allow the installation to complete.

You should now see a launcher on your home screen or in your App Drawer (or both). Tap the launcher to open the app.

Usage

First off, do not try to use Neutralizer from the device speakers. In order to get the most out of the app, you need to listen through headphones. It is also important to do this in a quiet room (to better hear the cut-off points of the tones). Here's how Neutralizer works:

  1. You create a profile.
  2. You step through each frequency and adjust each up or down until you can no longer hear the tone.
  3. You name and save the profile.

Here are the specifics for creating a profile. From the main window (Figure A), tap the + button in the bottom right corner.

Figure A

Figure A

The Neutralizer main window.

Tap the left-pointing arrow until it is on the 32 Hz frequency, and then adjust the dial until you can no longer hear the tone. You want to stop adjusting the second when the tone drops completely out. Once you've reach that point, tap the right-pointing arrow to the next frequency and follow the same steps. Do this until you step through each frequency. When you're finished, tap the check in the upper right corner of the window (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

Adjusting the tone for each frequency.

You will be prompted to save the profile. Tap SAVE, and you're good to go. You can name (or rename) the profile by tapping the edit button and then tapping the name. Your profile is complete. Make sure the Neutralizer enable switch is in the ON position (from the main window), and that the sound produced by your Android device will be perfectly tuned for your hearing.

The caveats

As you've come to expect, there are always caveats. There are only three here, but they could be a breaking point for you. The first is that with the free version of the app, you can only save one profile. This isn't a problem if you're the only one using the device. However, if you use your device with different headphones or connected in your car, you might want different profiles to match those devices/environments. The premium version is an in-app purchase. After you create a profile, tap the + button to create a new profile to be prompted to purchase the premium app.

The second caveat is that the app won't help the sound from your device's built-in speakers. This app shines when used in conjunction with either headphones or a connected Bluetooth device (or auto).

Finally, depending on your hearing, the changes can be very subtle. What you experience may vary, depending on a few factors. For me, the sonic changes were subtle but important. With Neutralizer enabled I finally feel like I'm gaining the most out of the Android soundscape. So keep all of this in mind when you work with Neutralizer.

Also see

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Image: Jack Wallen

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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