The Amp is many things to many people. The iPhone-compatible device clicks over your device and offers a backup batter, dual speakers, and, for the audiophile out there, a noise reducing pre-amp that can make your tinny MP3s sound like a live orchestra (your results may vary.)
Created by Alex Selig and Varun Srinivasan, the product is designed to improve iPhone audio exponentially. Using an interesting “tuning” system for your personal hearing profile, the app and device can bring out the various aspects of the audio you wouldn’t normally hear. The company also released an app, called SoundFocus, that slightly improves the audio from your own collection and Spotify.
So do you need this thing? I tested it with a pair of Grado SR60 headphones which require a nice preamp to really work well with portable devices. The Amp device added just enough pop to make a solid difference in the sound and convince me that this would be my pre-amp of choice when traveling. Because it also adds noise reduction to the mix, it turns any pair of good headphones into a pair of airport cans, allowing you to fly in peace.
The Amp also improves voice conferencing by reducing ambient noise and can even amplify calls, which makes it great for the harder of hearing. It’s a Swiss Army knife of audio devices and, at $69 for early birds, it’s worth the investment. Heck, it even has a built-in backup battery that increases listening time by 25%.
Selig and Srinivasan know from sound. Srinivasan is a DJ and Selig has suffered from hearing loss his entire life. Together they created a software and hardware solution that both makes hot EDM beatz hotter while improving things for folks like Selig. It’s a noble if disjointed goal, but it’s a cool product and should end up being useful for audiophiles and regular folks alike.