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You told us: A little extra bass goes a long way

It seems most of you like only a little extra bass.

Published onApril 23, 2024

A bust of The Terminator faces the camera head on wearing the Sony WH-XB910N.
Big headphones bring a big boost in bass.

We are increasingly seeing a pronounced bass emphasis in the frequency response of many headphones and earbuds we have tested and reviewed as of late, such as the Sony ULT Wear, which has a dedicated bass boost button to match the branding. Additionally, we are finding that MDAQS results tend to be higher for products with a bass-heavy profile, indicating that the virtual panel of listeners meant to represent the general population prefers extra bass.

We were curious: Do the majority of you actually like bass emphasis, and if so, how much of it? So, we ran a poll across our website and YouTube channel to gauge how much bass emphasis our audience prefers when listening through headphones or earbuds. The results provided some interesting insights.


The most popular choice among poll respondents, garnering around 48% of the votes, was for a little extra bass (+5dB emphasis). This indicates a preference for a moderate low-end boost. While a sizeable 32% on our site and 14% on YouTube opted for no extra bass at all, the preferences dropped off sharply at the higher bass boost levels. Only 5-8% went for a pretty heavy +15 -20 dB boost, and just 10-11% said you can never have too much bass, meaning anything beyond 20 dB.

This tells us something essential about listening habits: while there’s a thirst for that extra oomph, many prefer it in moderation. It seems that for the majority, a little goes a long way when it comes to the lower frequencies.


  • @imopn: Depends on the music and often specific track. Having the control is important.
  • @kNiV3Z: I like control over bass, but some headphones and speakers lose bass as you raise the volume to max. And bass is important in movies especially over headphones where you don’t have a sub. You can have both quality and lots of bass if done right.
  • @jamesblair2713: Even less than 5db, more like extra 3db.

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