Google has released a new update for Pixel Buds Pro that adds a significant new feature: five-band equalizer adjustment. Once you install the update, you can easily adjust the sound balance, or you can choose from six presets provided by Google (via Notebook Check).
To update you will need the Pixel Buds app (which is on Android only) and as long as the app is up to date you can jump to the latest firmware which is 3.14. The new update also promises to fix several bugs, but the addition of the new equalizer feature is the really cool change.
In our review of the Pixel Buds Pro, we said that the tracks were generally “not as punchy, grippy, or heavy on the bass registers” as they should have been for the price – and while we haven’t yet tested this update to see what difference it can make, it gives Pixel Buds Pro owners the option to boost bass to compensate.
Changes made to the EQ in the app will be saved by Pixel Buds Pro, so the new sound will apply even when you switch to using them with a tablet or laptop.
If you’re thinking of buying a pair of Pixel Buds Pro if they show up among this year’s Black Friday headphone deals (which we think they probably are), this update might help sway you.
Analysis: Adding an EQ should be more common
What’s interesting about this update is that few of the best wireless headphones that don’t start with an EQ option add one. The big and obvious example is the AirPods: there has never been any EQ adjustment feature for any of their models since their launch in 2016.
That gives the Pixel Buds Pro an edge over the new AirPods Pro 2 – the latter’s overall sound quality is better, but if you want to cut down on its meaty bass to suit your preferences, you’re out of luck.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort headphones have been offering EQ tweaks for a long time, so the Pixel Buds Pro caught up with them (partially) – both headphones offer a lot more adjustment beyond EQ.
Some headphone audio engineers will naturally hate the idea that their carefully tuned sound he must come with the ability for people to fiddle with the balance, but just as the best TVs give people enough configuration options to satisfy any weird preferences they might have, I think it’s good that headphones let bass enthusiasts gorge themselves. or leave the audiobooks lovers focus too much on mid-range vocal tones, if that’s where their loyalties lie.