There’s a disturbing trend in music technology. Although home studios are rising, music is generally still recorded in specially designed environments and at high fidelity. Then for distribution, we compress the hell out of each track and do all sorts of terrible MP3-related things to them. And now, in order to repair the damage, we’re seeing a rise in after-market software designed to make the bad sound good. The Digital Power Station is one such plug-in, and just for you guys, we took it for a test run.
This plug-in is for Mac OS and iTunes only. There are different algorithms based on your input and output medium. The input is pretty limited since you can only use this thing with iTunes, but apparently the transients in music and movies are that drastically different. The real differences come out in the output profiles. Pick whether you’re using your computer’s built-in speakers, externals, or listening on headphones.
There are various output presets based on your hardware. All the different Mac laptop and desktop models are available, along with various “universal” settings for other brands of speakers and headphones. I found that this plug-in only really shines when you’re using either the built-in speakers, or low-quality peripherals. When listening on my Sony MDR-7506s, I didn’t notice any change from the enhancer.
I could see this being a piece of pre-installed software, but I would be hard pressed to drop $30 on it. Especially for only one license. They’ve got a free trial available, so you guys can go listen for yourself. They’ve even got endorsements from at least three members of Boston. Or you could encode your audio into a decent file format. Yeah, do that.