iWire Broadcast 1.3
For audiophiles and those with a refined ear, music on a Mac can be a frustrating experience. Small speakers, inadequate headphones and low bit rates can combine to produce sound worthy only of a supermarket budget hi-fi. Volume Logic attempts to address these concerns with the first audio plug-in available for iTunes on Mac OS X. The company already offers plugs-ins for PC-based RealPlayer, Windows Media Player, Winamp and Musicmatch Jukebox players.
Volume Logic makes ambitious claims to “digitally remaster your audio in real-time with the same technology used by the pros”. It goes on to explain that a 5-band dynamics processor examines and corrects audio thousands of times a second, but initially everything simply sounded louder. The company suggests this processing achieves greater volume and clarity by working with audio elements that the ear can perceive and not by a gross adjustment to the overall volume.
Low noise levels are raised and loud signals are kept under control. Results are initially impressive. It’s all in the ear and ultimately the individual listener will decide if the results are worthwhile or not. Certainly when listening to variable quality recordings, from Apple Lossless to 128kbps MP3, it’s good to hear a more constant level of sound. It’s a pity then that those adjustments can’t be burnt to CD or indeed listened to on an iPod.
The plug-in works best with the iTunes volume high, when the Volume Logic has the full audio signal to work with. As well as songs played in iTunes, Volume Logic works with Podcasts, and to good effect on streaming radio.
Listening to music is a subjective experience and opinions of Volume Logic are likely to be mixed. For some the results will be outstanding, offering an impressive, enhanced listening experience. Others will question the tweaking of music that has already been painstakingly mastered in the studio by a program that seemingly runs on autopilot at the expense of dynamic range. Some users have suggested that any sound improvements are negated by a loss of dynamic range and even distortion. What is certain is that it’s worthy of your attention. It’s very much a case of try before you buy, as you can download the free trial and hear the results for yourself.