If you have a MacBook with abominable speaker sound quality, stop what you’re doing and go get this app — right now.
Contrary to popular belief, Apple isn’t good at everything. They used to be a heckuva lot better about the sound quality on the MacBooks. It used to be you could actually hear the bass in your music, or stream an episode of Fringe without turning the speaker volume all the way up to the highest setting and still barely be able to hear it.
I listen to a lot of music, all kinds of music, and there is nothing worse than hitting the play button expecting a rich, thumping tune to emerge, and finding oneself sorely underwhelmed by a tinny, thin, poor excuse for music come trickling out.
Up until yesterday, I had been alleviating the problem with the MacBook by using headphones. (Apple isn’t great at those, either, so I have a sweet pair of Sennheiser earbuds similar to these that have amazing sound whether they are plugged into an iPod, computer or a transistor radio.)
But sometimes I don’t want to listen to music with headphones. Sometimes I’m in the zone on a design project and just want to fill the room with sound and jam out while I work. Headphones pump sound directly into the brain — ok fine, technically the ear canal — which can be distracting when the brain is being used for other important tasks like creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. With speakers there is a natural space created between the sound and the brain (ears) that keeps music at a more ambient and less obtrusive level, so I can enjoy it and still think.
Yesterday was the day I’d had enough. I finally went the interwebs in search of a remedy to my (relatively trivial) crappy sounding speaker problem, thinking to myself, “there must be an App for that,” right?
Low and behold my tech prayers were answered with BOOM by GlobalDelight, “… a simple volume booster and system-wide equalizer that lets you boost the volume of your Mac and your music files.” Uhm, and makes your Mac speakers sound awesome!
I downloaded the App directly from their website, dropped it into my Applications folder and clicked to open it. It puts a Boom icon in the menu bar where you can adjust the Boom volume (separate from the computer’s volume) or open the application window to set the equalizer. I fired up iTunes (turned off the native iTunes equalizer), launched a song and was amazed by the new sound quality coming out of my crappy little speakers — it actually sounded really good! Rich quality, great bass, and that was with the Boom volume barely turned up at all.
Boom also improves the sound quality of video in iTunes, YouTube and Vimeo, streaming media from sites like Hulu and chat applications such as Skype. The equalizer runs independently of the volume control for Boom so you can use one or both to enhance sound, and while it comes with EQ presets installed, you can set it the way you like it and save your own presets. ✻
The Boom app (as of the publish date of this blog) has a 7-day free trial and costs $6.99, well worth it in my opinion for the greatly improved sound quality on my machine. There isn’t an app for iPhone or iPod, however, you can “boom” specific files in your library, re-sync and play them with enhanced sound quality on other devices. So cool.