Ever found your Mac too quiet, even though the volume is maxed out? In fact your Mac’s speakers can pump out much louder sound than the volume limit permits, and it’s sometimes necessary when showing presentations, watching movies, or listening to audio to give the volume an extra boost.
Boom, from Global Delight was awarded Best Of Show at this years Macworld Expo, and is a fantastic volume booster for breaking down the restrictive default volume limit. Along with simple volume boosting, Boom also packs a solid equalizer for fine tuning the sound, and the ability to boost the volume of individual audio files.
Let’s take a look at this interesting new app!
Once opened, Boom places itself into the menu bar and appears to act as nothing more than the standard volume bar. The original volume controller is still in use; the Boom slider simply ups the sound level by however much you choose above the original controller.
That funny looking button underneath the Boom slider is where you access the window and main interface of Boom. It’s very modern and is beautifully simplistic, housing the ‘Customize’ and ‘Boost File’ tabs, which I’ll delve into below…
The Customize tab of Boom is where you can switch the boosting on/off and adjust the sound of the audio using the Equalizer.
Boom has included seven equalizer presets for various enhancements such as bass/treble boost, soft/loud, and music/vocal. It’s also super easy to adjust the points on the equalizer yourself and save your own presets. I like the subtle touch of including icons below to show the general range of bass, vocals and treble sounds in music.
Hold the ‘Option’ key down while clicking Boom in the menu bar to quickly change between equalizer presets
Next to the Customize tab is the ‘Boost File’ tab, which is able to lift the volume of specific audio files, which means that you can play music or other audio louder than normally possible on a device such as an iPhone.
Audio can be dragged and dropped, or imported easily from iTunes or a folder. You then adjust how much to boost the files by, which can be previewed, before clicking ‘Boost’. Boom doesn’t alter the original files, but instead duplicates them and can save them to their own iTunes playlist, ‘Boom’ for easy syncing.
I tried this to test on an iPhone, and whilst it successfully managed to make the file play louder than the iPhone normally permits, the distortion created from the tiny speakers wasn’t worth the increase in volume. When played using Quick Look in the finder, the boosted file sounded fine, however I then played it in iTunes and the distortion was very much present even with the volume turned down, so perhaps this feature needs a bit of fine tuning.
Perhaps boosted audio files may work better on other devices.
If you click on the gear icon in the window pictured above, you can access the Boom Preferences. This is split up into three main tabs; General, HotKey, and Uninstall, most of which is pretty self explanatory.
Under General you can specify where to save boosted audio files as well as a suffix. For instance by default, Boom adds ‘_boosted’ on to the end of filenames of audio files that have been boosted so that it’s clear which files have been altered.
The HotKey tab has a useful feature which means that if the keyboard shortcut is already assigned to something else in an application, Boom will take priority.
All things considered, Boom is a very neat little app for boosting the system volume of your computer and individual audio files. If you often find yourself needing a bit more oomph from those speakers when in a noisy environment (or to better hear quiet movies or YouTube videos), Boom is well worth a go!
I feel the Boost File feature for individual tracks needs a little work, but this almost feels like an extra to Boom and has no effect on system wide volume increase.
Boom is available for a very reasonable $4.99, and whilst it is tucked away in the menu bar most of the time, lots of attention has gone into the details. Let us know in the comments what you think of Boom!