Why? Ears. As we age we just don’t hear sound the way we did when we were younger and just didn’t give a hoot. Now we have trouble even hearing the hoot. Mac users rejoice. There are ways to improve the Mac’s sound for those who need sound, and you can get it with little more than a few clicks and some money.
Both will set you back a few bucks and there’s not necessarily a need to run both at the same time as they provide a slightly different perspective on improving the Mac’s sound output.
Boom is as the name implies. Think loud. Or, rather, louder. Boom comes with built-in equalizers and presets that help you fine tune Mac sound output to fit your acoustics so you get sound that sounds better (whether it is or not is a different issue; probably subjective anyway; take that, Neil Young and Pono).
Whatever comes out of the Mac’s speakers or a connected speaker system will sound fuller, richer, clearer, but you get controls over the settings through equalizer (10 band) or advanced frequency controls. Boom can even do the deed on an audio file, too. It examines and recommends an optimal boost level.
What about Hear? A little more money gets you a little more control.
Hear comes with controls, including a built-in equalizer, to enhance Mac sound output but also options to embellish the sound with 3D-like controls for iTunes movies, reverb that simulates different physical venues, and a virtual subwoofer is your sound system is lacking.
As with Boom, Hear has plenty of presets to get you started, but non-Boom options include the ability to hear Hear through speakers, headphones, or the Mac’s speakers and effects can be enabled and disabled independently. The control center gives you options not found in Boom, too. EQ, Mixer, 3D, Ambience, FX, Maximizer (loudness) and much more, including options to string effects into a chain.
While Boom impacts the Mac’s outbound sound, Hear works with applications specifically, and not with others. That includes Flash, Safari, QuickTime, and Mail, among others. Both apps come with a free trial period so you can test each on your Mac. For just getting a better sound, Boom is my first choice. To tinker with sound output until the cows come home to roost (mixed metaphors are on sale this week), Hear is the choice.