Review: Boom 2 amplifies your Mac's audio and tunes with style

A few years ago, at Macworld Expo, my former colleagues and I stumbled upon a neat little Mac utility called Boom. The premise was simple: Your laptop's speakers don't always have the oomph you need when playing back music or video; Boom artificially boosts the sound levels to make everything sound just right.

Boom 2 (opens in new tab), released Wednesday, improves upon that initial concept while keeping the heart and soul of the utility intact. Boom's volume boost has now been tailored to each Mac in Apple's lineup, which means your louder audio is also clearer, crisper, and designed to best utilize the speakers in your computer. You can also select from several other equalizer settings (including your own custom equalizer profile) and individually boost the volume of a single song.

Mac as Boom box

Boom has been an essential utility for me since I first discovered it in 2011 — as a pretty regular MacBook Air user, I loved it for boosting volume when playing a video clip for friends or sharing a song outside the confines of an AirPlay-wired room. Boom 2 is just as useful as its predecessor, but its equalization tools make it a worthy successor.

The app's Mac-specific equalizer is surprisingly good at adjusting frequencies to compensate for a laptop's tinny speakers, while the 16 equalizer style presets offer a variety of tweaks to better boost a movie's sound, vocal track, or electronic beat. You can even customize the equalizer by dragging various sliders around for a more specifically-boosted song.

It's a small feature to improve upon, but Global Delight implements it very well. You can also set up keyboard shortcuts to toggle equalizer presets, letting you quickly switch between presets for different styles of music.

Imprinting the Boom effect on music

New to Boom in version 2 is the ability to imprint its volume boost onto a video file. (You could previously boost audio files only.) You can add a flat volume boost to just about any audiovisual file type now, including mp3, m4a, aiff, caf, wav, mov, mp4, m4v, 3gp, 3g2, or dv, though you might not be able to load a file with any sort of DRM or copy-protection.

In practice, the volume boost works very well, though it's a flat increase — no equalization tools here. It's simply a quick way to improve the volume on a file before sending it to a friend or putting it on a music player. I know I'll probably use it as a quick sound-balance for certain videos; I'm sure folks can think of other quick uses, as well.

Music to my ears

Overall, Boom remains a must-have utility for me on my Mac laptop, and its improvements make it all the better. You can download a free trial of Boom 2 on the company's website or purchase it outright (opens in new tab) for $15; if you purchased an original copy of Boom, you can get the new version for just $7.49.

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

15 Comments
  • This app still devour battery life? Last time I used it last year on my MBA the thing was chewing a significant amount of CPU, keeping it awake even when nothing was going on. Knocked a solid 2-4 hours off my mac's battery life.
  • Hi Matthew, Boom 2 has been built from the ground up and runs smoothly without issues on all Macs :)
  • This looks rad. Totally gonna try it.
  • I bought Boom and surely recommend it but I won't be paying the upgrade after a month of use... Too bad the CPU/Battery hog wasn't fixed in version 1 :(
  • Well, I personally haven't had the best experience with the original Boom app. A few months after using it my MBA's left speaker blew out. Don't know whether it was because of Boom or not but I've had my doubts. Had it replaced under warranty though. Stopped using Boom thereafter.
  • That's wacky. I used it on and off for movies and music over the last few years with no problems on my original MBA 11-inch, but I suppose it's possible repeated equalizer-boosting might cause that to happen. Glad you got it fixed under warranty!
  • Hi Siddharth, We've tested Boom 2 successfully on a range of Macs. Must be a weird co-incidence with respect to the timing of your speaker problem.
  • Hi, yeah , this happened on my macbook pro 2010 as well. Worst $20 ever spent. My mac's out of warranty so I have to live with a broken speaker caused by boom's equalization
  • I've used the Boom app for a couple years now and it's an absolute must have. Apple keeps its volume way too low to hear over a normal busy environment. Definite recommend.
  • I just uninstalled Boom a couple of days ago. I got tired of hearing no sound at all and having to go into system settings to reselect the default internal speakers to be able to hear anything. Has this been fixed in Boom2 (2010 17" MacBook Pro)?
  • YEP - Ive written them several times over the past month or so about it cutting out and having to do the same thing and gotten NO response at all. Now I know they were working on a new version and had no intention on fixing the old one. Makes me a bit suspect about upgrading so I probably won't.
  • Can Someone tell me how to set Boom up so that it does not Open when i boot up my Mac.
    Version 1 worked flawlessly but everytime i Boot up using Version 2.0 it opens up on my Desktop and not Hidden in the Background like Version 1.0.
    Thanks..
  • Thanks for the great recommend Serenity. I can now hear quite well on my 15" Retina MacBook Pro. Sent from the iMore App
  • I just want to post a warning about Global Delight's new version of Boom 2. I've been using the original version of Boom for a couple years on my 11" 2011 MacBook Air with good results. The 11" MacBook Air is a great computer but it seriously lacks in the audio output department. Boom is a software audio amplifier / equalizer which made it possible to listen to music or watch videos without the need for an external speaker or headphones. Global Delight recently came out with an updated version called Boom 2. Both are available in the App Store but if you want to get the updated version at a reduced price you have to go to the developer's website and supply Proof of purchase for the original. I did this, purchased the new version at a discount and installed it. Within a week and a half it blew both of my MBA's speakers. It wasn't a software glitch since the startup sound was also distorted. I contacted the developer and received and uninstall utility along with some lines to paste into terminal to completely rid the MBA of the program. I also used a search utility to find and eliminate anything associated with the program or developer. I also reset everything that could be reset on a Mac including reinstalling OS X. No luck. I spoke to Apple tech support (who also contacted an Apple store technician) and since the audio output is fine with headphones there's no damage to any electronics so to repair the MBA, only the speakers needed to be replaced. I found a couple of used ones on eBay and using iFixit.com had my MBA back in working condition. Needless to say, the developer has not been extremely helpful. Being located halfway on the other side of the planet, in India, they don't have to care or take responsibility. If I'm lucky I might be able to get a refund which would partially cover the cost of one speaker. This is notable because in 30 years of owning personal computers this is the only time I've seen software damage hardware. Keep your Mac safe and avoid this software. It may do worse than blow easily replaceable speakers.
  • @mark3785, i had similar issue with Boom 2. In less than a month of use, it blew my left MBA speaker. So painful! I'm currently making use of the right MBA speaker for now until i can get a replacement for the speaker.