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iTunes 10 Essential Training takes an in-depth look into the popular music and media hub from Apple. Author Garrick Chow demonstrates how to perform the core functions in iTunes: playing, purchasing, sharing, and streaming content. The course also covers specialized features such as setting parental controls, syncing with iPods, subscribing to podcasts, listening to Internet radio, using the Genius feature, the Ping social network, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
Now let's take a look at iTunes built-in Graphic Equalizer. In the world of audio equipment an equalizer, also called an EQ, is a device that allows you to adjust the level of specific ranges of frequencies, which can enhance the sound of your music or even compensate for limitations in your sound system. It's kind of like the bass and treble does on your stereo, but with a lot more granular control and flexibility. You can open the EQ by choosing Window > Equalizer, so this is the EQ here. It's currently turned on and its setting is Flat, meaning all of its frequency sliders are set to 0 db, so they are having no effect on the music I playback.
If I am getting too technical, the values you see going across the bottom of the EQ represent the range of human hearing in hertz. The lower frequencies are on the left, basically the base frequencies, and they move into the higher frequencies as you go to the right. The vertical values represent decibels, basically units that measure the volume or intensity of each hertz frequency. So by moving these sliders, you can increase or decrease the level of each individual frequency. The Preamp slider controls the level of volume before it reaches the volume slider in the main iTunes window. So the Preamps slider can be a useful feature if you're trying to listen to a particularly low-level recording, and you need to raise the volume to a level higher than you can achieve by cranking the iTunes volume slider all the way up.
So let's start a song playing. Find a song to play here. (Music playing) Bring up the EQ again. So you can increase the volume with the preamps slider if the song is too quiet, or decrease the Preamp if it's too loud. Now just be aware that setting the Preamps slider to its highest or loudest position or even near the highest position could cause distortion if the song you playing is already fairly loud.
This won't necessarily cause equipment damage. In fact, it probably won't, but it will cause your song to sound distorted or clipped, because you're sending too much level into iTunes. So again, these other 10 sliders affect individual frequencies, starting with the lower frequencies on the left, moving towards higher frequencies on the right. Being able to adjust specific frequencies gives you the ability to boost aspects of the audio that might be difficult to hear or to reduce other sounds that are too overbearing. For example, if you're listening to your music through your laptop speakers, you will probably find that the base frequency through these tiny speakers is a little weak, so you might want to manually boost the lower frequencies.
And then listen to see if that improves the sound at all. Now of course, you can't get booming based out of tiny laptop speakers, no matter how good an EQ you have, but you can make the audio sound a little bit better. Now one thing you might want to do is to start a song playing, bring up the EQ, and you can hear that Preamp is distorting, so let's bring that back down to 0. (Music playing) Now I am going to turn on the Graphic EQ, and this represents the frequencies of each moment of the song. This is going to give you an overall level of the range of frequencies in the song.
So while the song is playing, I can see that the voice falls, let's see, probably right around this range here. So if I wanted to boost the vocals a little bit so they came more through more clearly, I can try raising frequencies in that general range. (Music playing) It's probably hard to hear here, but I am actually boosting the vocals a little bit by moving that slider up. Now you might not be able to hear the changes that well in this recording, you will hear it better for your own copy of iTunes, but again, looking at the Graphic EQ can just give you an idea of where the audio ranges fall.
So if you see that it's a little lacking on the base end, you can bring those up or the high end if those seem low, you can bring those up as well. Generally, the human ear hears the midrange frequency fairly well, so you might bring those down a little bit while boosting the low and high frequencies. Often times you will see EQs that looks something like this. But it's really something you will just have to play around and experiment with. Just bear in mind that when you change the equalizer settings, you are affecting the sound of all the songs you play. So every song I play from this point will be equalized with these particular settings.
That's not to say I am permanently changing the files though; they are simply getting played through the EQ with these settings applied and you can always turn the EQ off or on. Now if you are not quite sure what to do with these sliders, there are quite a few preset settings available in this menu. So if I am listening to jazz, I might choose jazz. So you can see that automatically resets the sliders to a setting that has been optimized for jazz recordings. The bass is slightly boosted, the midrange frequencies are set just as little bit lower, and the higher frequencies rise up a little bit, so each one of these settings moves the sliders into different positions.
Now don't let the names of certain presets discourage you from trying them out. For instance, depending on your computer and its speakers, you might find that the Dance setting sounds pretty good with classical music. Your best bet is to try several of the presets to find which one best enhances the sound of your music through your system. If your decide against using the EQ altogether, you can either just turn it off or select Flat from the menu, and if after experimenting with the sliders, you find a setting that really makes your music sound great, we just move this around a little bit.
You can choose from this menu Make Preset, and I can give this a name. I will just call this My Settings. And now I can select My Settings anytime from the Preset menu. So I can switch to another one, and then choose My Settings to go back to that setting that I had. So this is how you set the EQ for all the audio you playback. You can also set the EQ for individual songs. That way if there is the song in your library that just doesn't sound quite right because of the way it was recorded or whatever, you can right-click on it, choose Get Info, and under Options you will find the same Equalizer Preset settings that we just looked at, including the custom one which I just created.
The difference is that these presets will affect only the currently selected song. So maybe I will select Rock for this track and then I will click OK. And let me bring up the EQ again and just place it where we see it. I will just make my iTunes window smaller here. And if I play this song, let me just play another song first. (Music playing) Notice that it is set to My Settings, but if I go back and play the song I set my Preset settings to, it switches back to Rock, which is the EQ setting I set to this track.
Now another option we have for setting individual EQs is to the View menu to View Options, and from here I can choose Equalizer. That gives me an Equalizer column for everyone of my songs and now I can easily come through here and set different EQ settings for each one of these tracks. So now when I play certain songs you will see the equalizer change. (Music playing) Let's get that where you can see it. (Music playing) And so on. So that's the iTunes Equalizer and some various options you have for setting the overall EQ, as well as individual song EQs.
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