FRESHLY SQUEEZED REVIEWS: BOOM 3D
By Frank Petrie
I was introduced to Boom when it first launched at Macworld. After speaking with the developers (Global Delight) for a bit, I received a review copy, That evening I returned to my room, installed it on m MacBook Pro and put it through it’s paces. The concept was to provide heft to your Mac’s laptop’s tiny speakers to make them listenable.
Considering the speakers that it had to work with, it performed admirably. I immediately wrote a favourable review and posted it that night.
The next day I returned to Global Delight’s booth and told them how impressed I was. Several years later they released Boom 2. Now, they have added a bit of a twist with Boom 3D. (http://www.globaldelight.com/boom3d/index.php)
Boom is a system-wide volume booster and equalizer app that is designed to make everything sound louder, clearer and better! Since its release, Boom has always continued to be in the limelight after winning the Macworld’s Best of Show 2011 while it simultaneously remained as an inseparable part to enhance audio on Mac.
And now, next in line to Boom 2, Boom 3D is an all-new pro audio app that delivers rich and intense audio with 3D surround sound that makes any kind of headphones sound better!
I tested Boom 3D on two pair of headphones: a pair of Sennheiser’s Magnum cans and Apple’s AirPods. I also ran it through my iMac’s speakers.
To begin, you choose your output device in Settings. Choices range from ‘In Canal’ to ‘External Speakers’ and everything in-between.
Initially, I tried my over-the-ear headphones, listening to music. What could it do with a stereo recording? Well, quite a bit actually. I was very surprised. Even more surprising was just how wide a dynamic range it was able to produce on my AirPods. Impressive.
I have decompressed all the CDs that I have ripped. What Boom 3D provides numerous ways to enhance and personalize your audio experience. The beauty is that the results didn’t sound like technological hocus-pocus. The sound was very natural.
Access to the app is quickly accomplished through the Menu Bar. From there you can adjust the volume, the intensity of the surround sound, access the equalizer or choose a preset, open the app or quit the app.
The app is highly customizable. Adjustable audio effects include Ambience, Fidelity, Night Mode, Spatial and Pitch (I haven’t figured out when you would want to use this option; Global Delight says that it allows you to adjust the song to your pitch so that you can sing-along). All of these effects can also be accessed via hotkeys.
There are factory presets and equalizers to tweak to your heart’s content. The first preset was unexpected, however. You tell the app what device you’re using and it calibrates a preset to that specific device.
Precisely tailoring the surround sound set up was impressive. When you click on the arrow by the Surround Sound icon, you are presented with a representation of how you would physically position the speakers of a 5:1 system in a room. From here you can turn on/off specific tweeters and woofers, adjust the volume of the subwoofer and the overall intensity.
Want to compare and contrast the quality of the sound between iTunes and that of Boom 3D? Click on the logo in the upper left hand corner of the pane. You can toggle between the two and fine tune the sound to your liking.
And it’s not just your music files that benefit. The sound from Skype, You Tube and any films that you may own or stream are upped a notch or two. I recently purchased the most recent remaster of ’The Wizard of OZ’ from iTunes. The new audio mix was done in 5:1 surround sound. I was impressed with the new mix when playing it through iTunes. But when I ran it through Boom 3D the results were incredible!
And to go that extra mile, they have included a panel where you can set the volume levels individually for separate apps.
As impressed as I was with it’s performance on the headphones, I found that using 3D Boom with the iMac’s speakers improved the sound of the iMac a tad. Although an improvement was noticed on my external computer speakers.Not as impressive of a leap but it was designed for your headphone experience after-all.
And as a bonus, at the bottom of your equalizer pane, you’ll find a bar. Drag any music file onto it and you’ll automatically launch 3D Boom’s mini player. (During my tests, I could get it to play most files except, for example, .mp4 or .aiff files.)
The one problem that I encountered and could not find a solution to involved the equalizer. When left in regular mode, you get a 10-band equalizer. When you click on the advanced button, you are presented with a 31-band equalizer which would revert to the former within 2-3 seconds. I couldn’t find an answer in the manual as how to overcome this issue.
Will this replace my audiophile software? Honestly, no. But I use that primarily for my HD audio tracks that have a much higher bit rate (my aforementioned .aiff files).
When playing my ripped CDs on iTunes, Boom 3D held it’s ground. And if you’re not an audiophile, this will more than surpass your expectations. For listening to my iTune’s library, I would be most satisfied using this app.
If so far, nothing that I have told you of this app’s capabilities has convinced you to get it, let me ask you to do this. Launch your browser and go to You Tube’s site, then watch and listen to 2 Cello’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” (https://youtu.be/Mx0xCI1jaUM) using the free trial. This should seal the deal!
Boom 2 is available at Global Delight’s store (http://www.globaldelight.com/store) for USD $14.99 and requires OS X v 10.10.3 or later. (Should you wish to upgrade from Boom 2 to Boom 3D (http://www.globaldelight.com/boom3d/index.php), there is a special upgrade price.). Boom 3D is available for USD $16.99. (As of this writing, there is a special 33% discount. With a bit of luck, it’s still available as you read this.)
If Boom 3D impressed you, Global Delight (http://www.globaldelight.com) also makes Boom for iOS available for free on the iOS Store (https://itunes.apple.com/app/boom-for-ios/id1065511007?mt=8)! It requires iOS 8.4 or above.
Naturally, there is a free trial (http://www.globaldelight.com/boom3d/thankyou_for_download) available. As always, download it and see what you think. I’m betting that you’ll want this app on your Mac and iOS devices.
©2017 Frank Petrie
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