SRS iWOW plugin for iTunes improves audio by leaps and bounds
More music than ever is available at your fingertips; between all those MP3s you stumbled across back in Napster’s heyday and the present-day instant gratification of the iTunes Music Store/Amazon’s MP3 store (not to mention streaming radio), you’ve got days and days of music at your disposal.
Lost in this world of abundance and accessibility is fidelity. I’m not talking about the age-old debate of bit-rate encoding and vinyl vs CD vs MP3—just the sound coming out of your off-the-shelf Mac’s speakers regardless of its original format. Want to improve what you hear like magic? SRS iWOW is the trick up your sleeve.
Did you hear that?
I could describe the enhancement ‘till I’m blue in the face—how about you take a listen for yourself?
Below are three samples of the same 30 seconds: (the song is “The Ills” off Mayer Hawthorne’s outstanding debut album A Strange Arrangement)
SRS iWOW turned off, iTunes EQ turned off
SRS iWOW turned off, iTunes EQ turned on (set to Dance)
SRS iWOW turned on, iTunes EQ turned off
No other changes were made (I didn’t touch the volume). There’s such an incredible difference, I’m surprised Apple hasn’t bought SRS and built this technology into iTunes.
Just turning it on will get you an improvement but SRS iWOW really shines when you spend a couple of minutes tweaking the six sliders to match your specific setup. Adjust the output to the size of your speakers, how much bass you want, the definition of the sound and more. I’m not even sure what “definition of the audio signal” and “perceived sound field” mean but it makes no difference—play a song, slide them around and you’ll intuitively find the sweet spot.
There’s presets for stock music genres, plus a video mode if you’re catching up on last week’s House. iWOW can even attempt to auto-detect the genre of music currently playing and adjust accordingly on-the-fly.
Fluffy white kitty
The newest version of SRS iWOW is fully compatible with Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.6. Installation is just a few clicks and a restart of iTunes.
Not an animal lover
Windows users, you’re not totally out of luck. SRS’s Audio Sandbox appears to pull a similar feat. XP SP2 and Vista only (Windows 7 coming soon, we’d guess), but do a bit of homework yourself to make sure it’ll work with your system.