Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New iWow adapter brings big sound to more devices

5/22/2012

A common lament about MP3s and other digital audio formats is that by compressing music to make it portable we lose the detail and richness of the original version. Last year SRS Labs delivered an attractive solution with the iWow adapter, a tiny dongle with a headphone plug that works with the Apple communication slot on iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Built into the dongle is SRS Labs' patented sound enhancement chip that restores depth and clarity to compressed music. When I wrote about the iWow adapter about a year ago, I said the effect was dramatic. "You immediate hear cleaner, richer and more detailed sound. Bass tracks have more definition, vocals are more separated from the music and high notes don't get clipped."

It wasn't long after that column appeared that I started hearing from readers asking if SRS had a version that worked with computers or with Android phones and tablets. Back then, the answer was no. Today it's yes.

The new adapter is called the iWow Universal and it works with any device that has an output for a standard 3.5mm stereo pin plug. That includes mobile phones, tablets, computers, game machines and any other device that has a headphone jack, including Apple gadgets.

I tried the U watching movies on my iPad and listening to music played from my computer. In both instances it delivered the same enhanced sound that I heard with the original iWow. One difference between the two devices: The iWow Universal can't draw power from the host device, so it has an internal battery that lasts for about six hours. It has a mini-USB port for refueling.

The Universal version costs about $70 from the SRS Labs website


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.

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