Can anything make music sound better than a pair of Shure earphones? The answer, it appears, is yes.

I’ve just taken possession of a Creative Labs Xmod.

This USB device sits between your earphones and Mac (or iPod but for that you need a separate power supply) and claims to improve the sound of music. It does this using a device called the X-Fi Crystalizer. I spoke to Creative at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco and they explained that it smoothed out the blocks in a waveform created when you convert music from analogue to digital. I guess a bit like anti-aliasing for music.

Now I'm massively sceptical about this claim, after all you can't re-insert what's been taken out. But from first use it does certainly have a good effect on music. Especially when used alongside the aforementioned Shure earphones that I keep harping on about.

There's also a 3D effect, although I'm not too taken with that. Expect a full review in an upcoming issue.