Gadgets iwow-76823

Published on March 1st, 2011 | by Greg


SRS iWow3D: iPhone and iPad Sound Booster

We’ve tak­en a look at quite a bit of cell­phone-re­lat­ed gear late­ly, re­view­ing ev­ery­thing from cel­lu­lar sig­nal boost­ers to Blue­tooth key­boards and cell­phone leash­es and head­sets. But we try not to leave any stone un­turned in our quest for in­ter­est­ing gear, and a few weeks ago at Mac­world found our­selves at a small par­ty for the re­lease of the iWOW 3D from SRS Labs. They’ve had pre­vi­ous ver­sions of the de­vice, but this was our first chance to go hands-on with the new and im­proved don­gle that takes your iPhone or iPad and great­ly changes the sound qual­i­ty. Used in con­junc­tion with a free app, it’s a sim­ple plug-and-play, one-but­ton op­er­a­tion- it might not look like much, but it has a marked ef­fect on the sound.

That night we spoke with some of the en­gi­neers and team be­hind it, who cov­ered ev­ery­thing from the in­tri­ca­cies of cus­toms and im­port is­sues around bat­ter­ies to why this ver­sion was Ap­ple-on­ly. But over the last month or so, we’ve al­so been putting the iWow through the paces of var­i­ous mu­sic and video, in a wide va­ri­ety of for­mats and styles. One thing we liked is that you can eas­i­ly com­pare and con­trast the orig­i­nal sound to the SRS ver­sion, as a sin­gle but­ton press dis­ables the iWOW 3D.

Sound boost­ing isn’t quite the right word- but you’ve def­i­nite­ly heard their tech­nol­o­gy, wide­ly used in a va­ri­ety of re­ceivers and iPod docks, head­phones and car au­dio so­lu­tions. They have a cute de­mo on their site to help you ex­pe­ri­ence the dif­fer­ence, and though it isn’t al­ways per­fect, it does make a pos­i­tive and sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence most of the time. For ac­tion movies and songs with a lot of tonal vari­a­tion, you’ll pick up and en­joy the SRS sound. Purists, and those who lis­ten to most­ly au­dio­books for ex­am­ple, might not find it use­ful. Pop and rock mu­sic have more spark, mak­ing the orig­i­nals feel a bit flat… but the ef­fect can be a bit dead­en­ing over time we found.

It’s lightweight, pow­ered via the typ­i­cal dock con­nec­tor, and sup­ports split con­nec­tions with­out is­sue. The ap­pli­ca­tion of­fers some nifty tweaks, though we wish it of­fered a few more op­tions (and per­haps some au­to­mat­ic ad­just­ing de­pend­ing on the mu­sic type or whether we were watch­ing a movie ver­sus lis­ten­ing to mu­sic). Any pair head­phones are sup­port­ed, but don’t ex­pect the mic-in to work when you’re us­ing the iWOW 3D- it us­es the dock con­nec­tor and ap­par­ent­ly Ap­ple is not anx­ious to al­low mi­cro­phone in­put. It’s for this rea­son alone that we rec­om­mend the pur­chase main­ly for iPad users, and es­pe­cial­ly heavy video watch­ers. We’d rec­om­mend a good pair of head­phones first, per­haps with SRS tech­nol­o­gy built-in. But $60 isn’t bad a gad­get that re­al­ly did have us say­ing “wow”. Avail­able wide­ly, though back-or­dered at press time, units should be ship­ping soon.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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